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airIam2worship
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« Reply #180 on: September 05, 2007, 12:02:23 PM »

June 30

"The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and his word was in my tongue." –2 Samuel 23:2

We read that "no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation;" that is to say, it is the public property of the whole family of Jehovah; and "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit;" the Holy Spirit so influencing and working upon their minds as to make them bring forth out of their hearts that which should be suitable to the whole family of God. For instance, we read in Psalm 51, David's confession of sin; but David's confession of sin applies to every soul that is condemned on account of sin. When Job, also, poured out his piteous complaints, he was speaking; though he might not know it, for the children of God to the remotest time.

So when the Lord said to Joshua, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," it was a promise specially given to Joshua; it seemed to be confined to that individual; it appeared to be of private interpretation, as though Joshua, and Joshua alone, was entitled to that promise. But we find the apostle Paul bringing forward this promise as the general property of the whole Church of God--"Let your life be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have--for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). "He has said?" to whom? To Joshua; but in saying it to Joshua, he said it to the Church of God; in giving Joshua the promise, he gave that promise to every soul that needed with Joshua his help, that feared with Joshua to be forsaken, that wanted with Joshua his sustaining hand; and therefore this private promise to Joshua was not of private interpretation, but, when applied by the blessed Spirit, suits every living soul that is placed in similar circumstances with the individual to whom that promise was addressed


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« Reply #181 on: September 21, 2007, 09:18:58 AM »

July 1

"My grace is sufficient for you--for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

How mysterious are God's dealings! That such a highly-favored man as Paul should come down from the "third heaven" to the very gates of hell (that is not too strong an expression, for "the messenger of Satan" came from hell), that he should sink in soul-feeling to the very gates of hell, there to be buffeted by "the messenger of Satan;" and all to teach him a lesson that heaven did not teach him--the strength of God made perfect in weakness! Do you not think, that if WE are to learn our weakness, we must learn it in the same way? How did Paul get his religion? And must we not get ours, in our feebler measure, through the same channels, by the same means, and by the same inward teachings?

If we are to learn the secret of Christ's strength, it is not by making daily advances in fleshly holiness, and getting stronger in SELF day by day. It is not by old nature being so mended and improved, as bye and bye to be shaded off into grace, just as the colors in the rainbow are so harmoniously blended that you can scarcely tell where the one ends and the other begins. For this is what is really meant by "progressive sanctification," that the old nature is so gradually softened and blended into grace, that we can scarcely tell where the old man ceases and the new nature commences. Did the Apostle learn Christ's strength in that way? No; but by being buffeted by Satan's messenger, and thus being beaten out of his own strength, he found Christ's strength made perfect in his weakness.

 
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« Reply #182 on: September 21, 2007, 09:20:07 AM »

July 2

"Draw me; we will run after you! Let the king bring me into his chambers." Song of Solomon 1:4

How many of us can take the words of the bride into our lips, or have ever been able at any one time of our life to use such an expression? We must have had some sight and sense of the preciousness and loveliness of Jesus before ever we can cry, "Draw me," from the depth of a sincere heart. For the sincere soul is afraid to approach the holy Jehovah, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and insult him with mock petitions and words that it does not feel. But if ever that desire has been kindled, and that prayer raised up in your soul, "Draw me, we will run after you," it must have been the work of the Holy Spirit in your hearts, to raise up those feelings and to give you a living faith in the Son of God.

And "he that believes shall be saved." Whatever doubts, whatever fears, whatever temptations, whatever exercises beset the path, "he that believes shall be saved." He that has had given him one grain of spiritual faith in Christ's glorious person, who has had one sight of his atoning blood, one sip of divine love shed abroad in his heart, is sure to go to glory; he is saved with an everlasting salvation, in his covenant Head. The Lord that has kindled these strong desires after himself in his soul, will surely fulfill them. As we find he did in the case of the bride; he said to her, after a little time, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."


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« Reply #183 on: September 21, 2007, 09:25:24 AM »

July 3

"Who holds our soul in life." Psalm 66:9

"Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling." Psalm 66:9

It is indeed an unspeakable mercy for the heirs of promise that the life given them in Christ and communicated by the Holy Spirit to their souls cannot be extinguished. It may sink very low--one can hardly say how low, but so low as to sink out of sight and almost out of feeling; and yet if it has once been breathed into the soul from the mouth of God, it can never die.

Still it is most desirable that this divine life should be maintained in strength and vigor, and not sink so low as to be scarcely perceptible either to ourselves or others, for if so, we have little comfort of it in our own breast, and are of little use or service to the people of God. It is a sad thing to be satisfied with a low, lean, and lifeless state of soul, or be placing our religion in external activity and zealous attention to forms and mere externals, just to preserve a clean outside, when within there is little else but darkness, bondage, and death. How the Lord seems, as it were, obliged to plunge us into trials and afflictions to bring us out of carnality and death, and to keep us from settling on our lees like Moab!

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« Reply #184 on: September 21, 2007, 09:29:54 AM »

July 4

"Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good." Jeremiah 32:41

God rejoices as much in saving your soul as you can rejoice in your soul being saved. Say I "as much?" His joy is infinite, and yours is finite; his the joy of God, and yours but the joy of man. Do you believe that God rejoices to save, delights in saving? Why else would he have given his dear Son? Do the angels rejoice over repenting sinners? Is there no joy then in the bosom of God to save a sinner too? How this takes us up, as it were, into the very realms of bliss, and reveals to us the wondrous character of God in his Trinity of persons and Unity of essence, that there is a rejoicing in the salvation of the Church, so that God himself, so to speak, is filled with eternal joy in the salvation of his people.

When his dear Son offered himself as a sacrifice for sin, and thus put away the transgressions and iniquities of the Church by his own blood-shedding and death, overcame death and hell, and washed us in his blood from all our filth and guilt and shame, God, so to speak; rejoiced with infinite joy in the completion of the work of his dear Son. It was the fulfillment of his eternal purposes of wisdom and grace. It was the manifestation of his glory to men and angels. It was the triumph of good over evil, of holiness over sin, of mercy over judgment, of love over enmity, of wisdom over deceit, of the counsels of God over the devices of man, and, above all, of the Son of God in his weakness over Satan in his might. It was peopling heaven with an innumerable multitude of saints by whom eternal anthems of praise should be sung to God and the Lamb. Thus we may see how the God of heaven even now rejoices with holy joy over every one whom he brings to the enjoyment of a salvation so free, so great, so glorious.


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« Reply #185 on: September 21, 2007, 09:31:50 AM »

July 5

"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22


What are the promises? Are not all the promises suited to the Lord's poor and needy family? What are the promises of pardon, except to the guilty? What are promises of salvation, except to the lost? What are promises of consolation, except to the afflicted? What are promises of grace, except to those who feel themselves altogether undone? Thus it is "through much tribulation" we enter into the sweetness of the promises. Then they come with power into the heart; they are manifested with life and feeling to the soul; and we begin, like Jeremiah of old, to "find God's word and eat it;" and feel it to be the very joy and rejoicing of our heart.

This is the effect of passing through tribulation in providence and in grace--of cutting trials; of severe, harassing temptations; of frowns from the world; of blows from sinners and saints; of learning the workings of a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; to lead us "into the kingdom of God;" and into those sweet manifestations of loving-kindness and tender mercy which alone can satisfy us whose consciences God's finger has touched. And I believe you that are honest, you that are sincere, you that fear to be deceived, you that know there is a secret in vital godliness, and long to know it more deeply, and feel it more powerfully; I am sure there is an inward witness in your soul that you never entered into any one mystery of the kingdom of God set up in your heart except through tribulation. Was it not through tribulation you understood the word, and felt it applied to your conscience by the power of God? And was it not by and through tribulation, through the medium of suffering, that you were made to value more and more the manifestation of God to your soul? and feel that nothing could satisfy you, nothing content you, but a blessed discovery of dying love?


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« Reply #186 on: September 21, 2007, 09:34:15 AM »

July 6

"Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God." 1 Peter 1:21

Observe the special mark which is here given of those for whom Christ was manifested. It is said of those who "by him they believe in God." If this be their distinctive mark, we may well inquire what is intended by it. It must surely be a very great thing to believe in God with a faith that brings salvation with it. It is easy to believe that there is a God in nature, or a God in providence, or a God in grace, according to the mere letter of the word, and this is what thousands do who have no manifested interest in redeeming love and atoning blood. In fact, it is the great delusion of the day, the religion of that religious multitude who know neither God nor themselves, neither law nor gospel, neither sin nor salvation. All this is a believing about God, or a believing of God, such as that he exists, or that he is such a God as the Scriptures represent him to be; but this is a very different thing from believing in God. This is a special and peculiar faith, and implies a spiritual and saving knowledge of God, such as our Lord speaks of (John 17:3); and as none can thus know him unto eternal life but from some discovery of himself, some personal manifestation of his presence, some coming near of himself in the power of his word and the operations of his grace, so none can believe in him without a faith of divine operation. To believe, therefore, in God is not an act of the natural mind, but it is the gift and work of God, bestowed upon us through the mediation of Christ, and therefore, as the Apostle says, "given in the behalf of Christ" (Phil. 1:29).



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« Reply #187 on: September 21, 2007, 09:36:14 AM »

July 7

"For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he has gained, when God takes away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble comes upon him? Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God?" Job 27:8-10

Many of God's people are at times exercised as to their hypocrisy, and sometimes they may think themselves the most consummate hypocrites that ever stood in a profession. But if you are exercised with these painful surmises, these doubts and fears, just see (and the Lord enable you to bring it to the light of his countenance) these two features of a spiritual character. Do not talk about your hope; it may be "a spider's web." Do not boast of your gifts; they may be altogether in the flesh. Do not bring forward the good opinion of men; they may be deceived concerning you. But just see if, with the Lord's blessing, you can feel these two tests in your soul, as written there by his own hand. If so, you are not a hypocrite; God himself, by his servant Job, has acquitted you of the charge.

Did you, then, ever "delight yourself in the Almighty?" It is a solemn question. Did your heart and soul ever go out after the living God? Did affection, love, and gratitude ever flow out of your bosom into the bosom of the Lord? Did you ever feel as if you could clasp him in the arms of faith, and live and die in his embrace? Now if your soul has ever felt this, you are no hypocrite; and nothing can rise up out of your wretched heart, as an accusing devil, that can prove you to be one.

Or if you cannot fully realize this, if you are one that always calls upon God, you are no hypocrite. I do not speak of your regular prayers, or any other of your regularities; for I believe that there is often more of God's Spirit, and more craving after God and delighting in him, in your irregularities, than in all the daily regularities which hypocrites delight in. But I mean, is there a sigh or cry by night, as well as by day; a pouring out of the heart into the bosom of God from time to time, as the Lord works it in you, in trouble, in perplexity, in sorrow, and in distress? This is a test and a mark which no hypocrite ever had or ever can have.


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« Reply #188 on: September 21, 2007, 09:38:27 AM »

July 8

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

There is not a more blessed declaration than this in the whole word of truth. It is the sweetest note sounded by the gospel trumpet, for it is the very crown of the whole jubilee. Is not condemnation the bitterest drop in the cup of trembling? the most chilling, piercing note of that terrible trumpet which sounded so long and so loud from Sinai's blazing top that all the people that were in the camp trembled? (Exod. 19:13, 16.) Condemnation is the final execution of God's righteous law, and therefore carries with it all that arms death with its sting and the grave with its terror. The apprehension of this; the dread and fear of being banished forever from the presence of God; of being lost, and that without remedy; of sinking under the blazing indignation of him who is a consuming fire, has filled thousands of hearts with horror. And it must be so as long as the law speaks in its thunders, as long as conscience re-echoes its verdict, and as long as the wrath of God burns to the lowest hell. O the blessedness, then, of that word of grace and truth, worthy to be sounded through heaven and earth by the voice of cherubim and seraphim, "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!"



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« Reply #189 on: September 21, 2007, 11:17:06 AM »

July 9

"What man is he that fears the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose." Psalm 25:12

In all the multiplicity and variety of circumstances that have distressed the children of God, has the Lord ever taken a wrong step? Though he has baffled nature, though he has disconcerted reason, though he has turned our plans upside down, though perhaps he has done the thing that we most feared, and thwarted every natural purpose and inclination of our heart--can we say that he has erred? that he has made a mistake? that he has acted unwisely? that he has not done that which is for our spiritual good?

Murmuring, rebellious, unbelieving heart, hold your peace! Shall man, foolish man, a worm of the earth, a creature of a day, lift up his puny voice and say that God can mistake? Your path is very dark, very intricate, very perplexed; you cannot see the hand of God in the trial that is now resting upon you; you cannot believe that it will work together for your good. I admit it. I have felt it. I have known it. But the time will come, when this dark path in which you are now walking, shall be seen full of radiancy and light, when you will prove the truth of these words, "He brought the blind by a way that they knew not."

When we know God to be infinitely wise, that he cannot err, that all his dealings must be stamped with his own eternal wisdom, we are silenced, we hold our peace, we have nothing to say, we are where Aaron was. When Nadab and Abihu were smitten by the Lord, Aaron knew that God could not err; he held his peace (Lev. 10:3). This is our right spot. If we know anything of the folly of the creature--if we know anything of the wisdom of God--this is our spot. When our dear Nadabs and Abihus are smitten before our face, our spot is to hold our peace, to put our mouth in the dust; for God is still accomplishing his object, in the face, and in spite of nature, sense, and reason.


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« Reply #190 on: September 21, 2007, 11:18:42 AM »

July 10

"O you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted." Isaiah 54:11

The Lord here compares his suffering Church to a ship at sea, laboring in a heavy storm, driven out of her course by contrary winds, as was Paul's case in the Adriatic, and doubtful whether she will ever reach the harbor; as the hymn says, "Half a wreck by tempests driven."

What a picture of a tempest-tossed soul! Sun and stars beclouded, compass lost, chart useless, pilot absent, and breakers ahead! Many, very many of the Lord's dear family are thus "tossed with tempest;" some with a tempest of doubts and fears; others with a tempest of lust and corruptions; some with a tempest of rebellion and fretfulness; others with a storm of guilt and despondency, or with gloomy forebodings and dismal apprehensions. Thus they are driven from their course, their sun and stars all obscured; no clear evidences, no bright manifestations; darkness above, and a raging sea beneath; no harbor in sight, and hope of reaching the desired haven almost gone.

But it is further said of Zion, that she is "not comforted;" that is, not comforted by, nor capable of comfort from, any other than God. This I look upon as a very decisive mark of a work of grace upon the soul. When a man is so distressed in his feelings, so cast down in his mind, and so troubled in his conscience, that none but God can comfort him, we seem to be at once on the footsteps of the Spirit. We do not find hypocrites on this ground. False professors can easily take comfort; they can steal what God does not give, and appropriate what he does not apply. But Zion's special mark is that she is "not comforted," that her wounds are too deep for human balms, her sickness too sore for creature medicines. God has reserved her comfort in his own hands; from his lips alone can consolation be spoken into her soul.

 
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« Reply #191 on: September 21, 2007, 11:20:14 AM »

July 11

"Behold, I will lay your stones with fair colors." Isaiah 54:11


By these "stones," which the Lord has promised to "lay with fair colors," I think we may understand the blessed truths of the gospel which are laid into the soul by the hand of God. The fair colors are deeply ingrained and embedded in the very substance of the stone, not artificially laid on. They are like beautiful marbles, in which every bright hue and vein penetrate into the deepest substance of the material. Such are the truths of God, beautiful throughout, penetrated with grace and glory into their inmost depths.

But these colors are hidden from view until brought out and laid into the soul by the hand of God. However fair or beautiful any word of God be in itself, it only experimentally becomes so as inlaid by his own divine hand into the soul. This brings out the fair colors. How often we read the word of God without seeing the least beauty in it! But let the very same portion come home with sweetness and power to the soul, then beauty, inexpressible beauty, is seen in it immediately; it becomes "a stone of fair colors." Salvation full and free, the pardoning love of God, the precious blood of the Lamb, justification by Christ's imputed righteousness, "wine and milk without money and without price," super-abounding grace, eternal mercy, everlasting life--these are some of the precious stones with fair colors which God the Spirit with his own hand lays into the conscience.



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« Reply #192 on: September 21, 2007, 11:21:36 AM »

July 12

"I will lay your foundations with sapphires." Isaiah 54:11

Before we can stand firmly in the things of God we must have a good foundation, something solid for our faith, our hope, our love, our all, to rest upon. This God promises to lay for his afflicted Zion--"I will lay your foundations with sapphires." "A gift," we read, "is a precious stone in the eyes of him that has it." Every testimony, then, that God gives to the soul, every promise brought into the heart, every manifestation of mercy, every visit of love, or application of truth, we may call, in a spiritual sense, a sapphire; for it is indeed a precious stone, radiant with heaven's own hue. When God thus lays his sapphires in the soul, they afford a solid foundation for faith. And as they are laid by the hand of God himself, they must be firm; as they are sapphires, they must be indestructible. These sapphires, it is true, may every one of them be buried in the dust of carnality and worldly-mindedness; the filth and sewage, the mud and slush, of our fallen nature may roll over them flood after flood. But are they injured thereby? is their nature changed, their value impaired, their hue tarnished, their luster faded and gone? They may be hidden from view, their setting be obscured, and their faces for a while be dimmed, but one ray from the Sun of righteousness will bring them again to light; one touch of the Polisher's hand will restore all their beauty. Grace has no more communion with sin than a diamond with an ash-heap.


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« Reply #193 on: September 21, 2007, 11:27:01 AM »

July 13

"And I will make your windows of agates, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your walls of pleasant stones." Isaiah 54:12

Upon Zion in her time-state "the Sun of righteousness" does not shine in all his brightness; the "windows of agate," while she is in the flesh, temper his rays. Her prospects, also, are not fully bright and clear; as the Apostle speaks, "We see through" (or in) "a glass darkly;" we have not those clear views which the saints have in glory, where they see Jesus face to face. We have prospects sometimes, I hope, in our souls, of God, and Christ, and heavenly glory; but still these views are but semi-transparent, streaked and clouded like a window of agate, not bright and clear as a pane of plate glass. But as Daniel opened his windows toward Jerusalem, that he might see by faith what he could not see by sight, so should we aim to look towards the heavenly Jerusalem, that by faith we may there "see him who is invisible."

But the Lord speaks of Zion's "gates." "And your gates of carbuncles." The carbuncle is of a blood-red color; and why should the Lord have chosen that Zion's gates should be of this peculiar hue? May we not, without wresting the figure too closely, believe that there is some mystic allusion here to the blood of the Lamb? As scarlet wool was taken by Moses, when he sprinkled the people, and as Rahab's house was marked by a scarlet thread, may there not be something here significant in the color of the gates?

But "gates," or doors, not only give exit, but admission. How does God hear prayer, and answer it too? Only through the "gate of carbuncle." Prayer ascends through Jesus, and answers descend through Jesus; groans through Jesus enter the ears of the God of Sabbath, and through the same bleeding gate of mercy do answers drop into the soul. Our poor self-righteous hearts can hardly comprehend this; we think we must have a good frame, or bring a good deed, or something good in ourselves, to make our prayers acceptable to God. Perish the thought! It is nothing but the spawn of self-righteousness. The "gates of carbuncle," the open wounds of the Lamb, through these every prayer ascends, through these every answer comes down; and if we set up anything else, or make a gate of human merit, we do despite to the Spirit of God, and pour contempt upon the grace and blood of the Lamb.

"And all your walls of pleasant stones." God's providential dealings, which often form the outer setting of his inward mercies, are of pleasant stones. North, south, east, west, all Zion's walls are of precious materials. The daily events of life, the circumstances of family, station, employment, success, or the contrary, the ties of domestic affection, with all those varied circumstances which seem rather the walls and outer courts than the inner sanctuary of gracious experience--yet all these are of divine material and workmanship. Viewed by faith, every event and circumstance of life, however apparently grievous, is a pleasant stone; for Zion is a king's daughter, and the lowest of all her courts is made of pleasant stones. For of wisdom, that is, vital godliness, we read, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."

 

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« Reply #194 on: September 21, 2007, 11:40:39 AM »

July 14

"Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22


Until in soul feeling, we are at "the ends of the earth," we have no eyes to see, no ears to hear, no hearts to feel what a glorious Mediator there is at the right hand of the Father. And the more we feel to be at "the ends of the earth," the deeper is our need of him; and as the Spirit unfolds the mystery of the glorious Person of Christ, and reveals his beauty, the more does he become the object of the soul's admiration and adoration. And O what a Mediator is held out in the word of truth to living faith! What a subject for spiritual faith to look to, for a lively hope to anchor in, and for divine love to embrace! That the Son of God, who lay in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the second Person in the glorious Trinity, should condescend to take upon him our nature, that he might groan, suffer, bleed, and die for guilty wretches, who, if permitted, would have ruined their souls a thousand times a day--what a wonder of wonders!

But we cannot enter into, nor feel the power of this mystery until we are reduced to such circumstances, that none but such a Savior can save our souls. Can we do anything to save ourselves? Then we need no help from that mighty One on whom God has laid help; and we secretly reject him. Can we heal ourselves? Then we do not need the good Physician. But when our eyes are opened to see our own thorough ruin and helplessness, and to view the glorious Person of the Son of God, faith is drawn out to flee to and rest upon that glorious Object.



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