Perfection and Preservation
He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this.[1 Thess 5:24 NET]
What will He do? He will sanctify us wholly. See the previous verse. He will carry on the work of purification till we are perfect in every part. He will preserve our “whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He will not allow us to fall from grace, nor come under the dominion of sin. What great favors are these! Well may we adore the giver of such unspeakable gifts.
Who will do this? The Lord who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, out of death in sin into eternal life in Christ Jesus. Only He can do this: such perfection and preservation can only come from the God of all grace.
Why will He do it? Because He is “faithful”—faithful to His own promise which is pledged to save the believer; faithful to His Son, whose reward it is that His people shall be presented to Him faultless, faithful to the work which He has commenced in us by our effectual calling. It is not their own faithfulness but the Lord’s own faithfulness on which the saints rely.
Come, my soul, here is a grand feast to begin a dull month with. There may be fogs without, but there should be sunshine within.
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus.
[Acts 4:13 NET]
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we would be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of Him that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness”: but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of Him; he is like Him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every day actions.”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon ~
Grow in His Strength
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, so the Lord spread out his wings and took him, he lifted him up on his pinions. The Lord alone was guiding him, no foreign god was with him.
[Deut 32:11-12 NET]
Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.
[The Song of Victory]
“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”
There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.
Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, “My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!”
“No, no,” saith the angel of that flower; “now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, ’How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!’”
See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers—not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times. Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?
~ Spurgeon ~
Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste.
The Lord hasn’t allocated us much time on earth; we’re made for eternity in heaven. In the time we have left, let’s set about our Father’s business with haste.
The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, giving him a message for two men—Zenas and Apollos. Of Zenas, we know nothing; he is mentioned only here in the Bible. Apollos, however, was a well-known teacher. Paul’s message to them both was: There’s no time to waste. Hurry up. Make haste.
Charles Spurgeon once preached a sermon from Luke 14:23, the passage where the master says to the servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.” Spurgeon was so overcome by the urgency of the task that he skipped the introduction of his sermon and started compelling people to come to Christ, immediately, urgently, now.
Let’s do the same! Make haste. Time is short.
I feel in such a haste to go out and obey this commandment this morning by compelling those to come in who are now tarrying in the highways and hedges that I cannot wait for an introduction, but must at once set about my business.
~ Charles Spurgeon ~
(in opening his sermon, “Compel Them to Come In”)
Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen.
When the crash of a falling cedar is heard in the forest—it is a sign that the woodsman is abroad, and every tree may tremble, lest tomorrow the sharp edge of the axe should find it out. We are all like trees marked for the axe, and the fall of one—should remind us that for every one, whether great as the cedar, or humble as the fir, the appointed hour is stealing on apace!
I trust we do not, by often hearing of death, become callous to it. May we never be like the birds in the steeple, which build their nests when the bells are tolling, and sleep quietly when the solemn funeral peals are startling the air. May we regard death—as the most weighty of all events and be sobered by its approach. It ill behooves us to sport—while our eternal destiny hangs on a thread. The sword is out of its scabbard—let us not trifle; it is furbished, and the edge is sharp—let us not play with it!
He who does not prepare for death—is more than a common fool—he is a madman. When the voice of God is heard among the trees of the forest—let fig tree and sycamore, and elm and cedar, alike hear the sound thereof. Be ready, servant of Christ—for your Master comes suddenly, when an ungodly world least expects Him. See to it that you be faithful in His work—for the grave shall soon be dug for you! Be ready, parents—see that your children are brought up in the fear of God, for they must soon be orphans! Be ready, men of business—take care that your affairs are correct, and that you serve God with all your hearts, for the days of your earthly service will soon be ended, and you will be called to give account for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil. May we all prepare for the tribunal of the great King—with a care which shall be rewarded with the gracious commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
After The Frost
I will pray to God, my high ridge: “Why do you ignore me? Why must I walk around mourning because my enemies oppress me?”
[Ps 42:9 NET]
Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! for God fails thee not.
~ C. H. Spurgeon ~
“He was better to me than all my hopes;
He was better than all my fears;
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.
“The billows that guarded my sea-girt path,
But carried my Lord on their crest;
When I dwell on the days of my wilderness march
I can lean on His love for the rest.
“He emptied my hands of my treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed,
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
But the balm of His breath hath healed.
Oh, tender and true was the chastening sore,
In wisdom, that taught and tried,
Till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.
“He guided by paths that I could not see,
By ways that I have not known;
The crooked was straight, and the rough was plain
As I followed the Lord alone.
I praise Him still for the pleasant palms,
And the water-springs by the way,
For the glowing pillar of flame by night,
And the sheltering cloud by day.
“Never a watch on the dreariest halt,
But some promise of love endears;
I read from the past, that my future shall be
Far better than all my fears.
Like the golden pot, of the wilderness bread,
Laid up with the blossoming rod,
All safe in the ark, with the law of the Lord,
Is the covenant care of my God.”