Daily Wisdom

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

~ 2 Cor 4:7

Be not surprised if you feel that in yourself you are but an earthen vessel; if you are made deeply and daily sensible unto what a frail body God has communicated light and life. Be not surprised if your clay house is often tottering; if sickness sometimes assails your mortal tabernacle; if in your flesh there dwells no good thing; if your soul often cleaves to the dust; and if you are unable to retain a sweet sense of God’s goodness and love. Be not surprised nor startled at the corruptions of your depraved nature; at the depth of sin in your carnal mind; at the vile abominations which lurk and work in your deceitful and desperately wicked heart. Bear in mind that it is the will of God that this heavenly treasure which makes you rich for eternity should be lodged in an earthen vessel.

We are to carry about a daily sense of our base original to hide pride from our eyes. We are to be despised by others; and by none so much as by our own selves. We have ever to feel our native weakness, and that without Christ we can do nothing; that we may be clothed with humility, and feel ourselves the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints. We thus learn to prize the heights, breadths, lengths, and depths of the love of Christ, who stooped so low to raise us up so high.

Daily Wisdom

“Watch and pray.” – Mark 13:33

There is no keeping up FAITH except by prayer and watchfulness. As prayer declines in the bosom, so does the strength of faith. You may go on neglecting prayer and supplication until every grain of faith seems lost from your bosom, and may come at last to do you think never knew anything of a work of God upon your heart, and have been deceived in believing there was any grace there.

By watchfulness also is the LOVE of God maintained. Unless you watch against your besetting sins, against the snares spread for your feet, against the temptations that daily and hourly beset your path, against being overcome by the strength or subtlety of your unwearied foe, you are sure to fall; and if you fall you will bring guilt and bondage, darkness and distress into your mind, and cut off for a time all friendly communion with God.

Therefore you must pray and watch; for without watchfulness, prayer is of little efficacy. And if we neglect the Scriptures, or read them carelessly or unbelievingly, they will do us little good. They must be read with believing eyes and heart, received as the revelation of God, and must be mixed with faith, or assuredly they will not profit us (Heb. 4:2).

The life of God is a very deep, secret, and sacred thing in the soul. God, it is true, will maintain it; he will not leave his work unaccomplished; but unless we read and pray, watch and meditate, wage war against besetting sins, and seek the Lord’s face continually, we shall find the strength and power of faith very sensibly decline; and if so, there is no comfortable walking with God.

Daily Wisdom

“That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

~ Heb 6:12

Patience is necessary in order to prove the genuineness and reality of faith. The Lord generally—I may say invariably—does not accomplish his purposes at once. He usually—I might say almost invariably—works by gradations. Is not this the case in creation? Do we see the oak starting up in all its gigantic proportions in one day? Is not a tiny acorn committed to the ground; and is not the giant oak, whose huge limbs we admire, the growth of a century? Men and women are years growing up to their full stature.

In a like manner, it is spiritually. “He that believes shall not make haste.” Faith in the soul is of slow growth for the most part; for the Lord takes care that every step in the path shall be tried by the perplexities and difficulties that surround it. And he has appointed this, that it may be a means of distinguishing the faith of God’s elect from the faith of those who have a name to live while dead. They apostatize and turn away from the faith. Like the stony-ground hearers, they believe for a time, but in temptation fall away. The various hindrances of nature, sense and reason, sin, the devil, and the world get the better of them; thus they turn back, often give up all profession of religion, and die in their sins. But the Lord’s people cannot so die. Their faith is of a lasting nature, because what God does he does forever. Thus their faith stands every storm and endures forever.

Daily Wisdom

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”

~ Eccl 7:8

Thus says the wise man, and it is often true in natural things, but invariably so in divine. Rarely at first can we foresee what will be the outcome of any matter which we take in hand. We may begin it with much hope, and find in the end those hopes sadly disappointed. We may begin it with much fear, and find from the event those fears utterly groundless. Whatever we take in hand it is very rare that our expectations are fully carried out, for we have again and again to learn that “man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps,” and that there are many devices in a man’s heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that and that only, shall stand.

But so far as we are among the family of God, and as such are under especial guidance and divine teaching and leading, whether our first expectations are accomplished or not, the end stamps wisdom and goodness upon all the dealings of God with us both in providence and in grace. However chequered his path has been; however, as Job speaks, his purposes have been broken off, even the thoughts of his heart; however when he looked for good, then evil came unto him, and when he waited for light there came darkness; whatever bitter things God seemed to write against him when he made him to possess the sins of his youth, yet sooner or later every child of God will be able to say, “O how great is your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear you!” and this will embolden him to add, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, as they have already followed me, all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Daily Wisdom

“The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty.”
~ Zeph 3:17

What a mighty God we have to deal with! And what would suit our case, but a mighty God? Have we not mighty sins? Have we not mighty trials? Have we not mighty temptations? Have we not mighty foes and mighty fears? And who is to deliver us from all this mighty host except the mighty God? It is not a little God (if I may use the expression) that will do for God’s people. They need a mighty God because they are in circumstances where none but a mighty God can intervene in their behalf.

Why, if you did not know feelingly and experimentally your mighty sins, your mighty trials, your mighty temptations, and your mighty fears, you would not need a mighty God. This sense of our weakness and His power, of our misery and His mercy, of our ruin and His recovery, of the aboundings of our sin and the super-aboundings of His grace—a feeling sense, I say, of these opposite yet harmonious things brings us to have personal, experimental dealings with God; and it is in these personal dealings with God that the life of all religion consists.

O what a poor, dead, useless religion is that in which there are no personal dealings with God—no calling upon His holy name out of a sincere heart; no seeking of His face, or imploring of His favor; no lying at His feet and begging of Him to appear; no pitiable, lamentable case for Him to have compassion upon; no wounds or sores for Him to heal, no leprosy to cleanse, no enemies to put to the rout, no fears to dispel, and, I may almost say, no soul to save!

And yet such is the religion of thousands. They draw near to God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him, and while they outwardly say, “Lord, Lord,” they inwardly say, “This man shall not have dominion over us.” If you differ from them, and need a God near at hand and not afar off, a mighty God in the very midst of your soul, of your thoughts, desires, and affections, you may well bless Him for the grace which has made you to differ, and thankfully bow your neck to sufferings and trials, as means in His hand to bring you and Him together.

Daily Wisdom

“The eternal God is your refuge.”

~  Deut 33:27

There is, to my mind, much sweetness in the contrast between the eternal God being the refuge of his people, and the lying refuges that most hide their heads in. God’s people need an eternal refuge. They have a never-dying soul; and unless they have a never-dying refuge, it is not sufficient for a never-dying soul. Works! these are for time; the never-dying soul needs something to stand when works and wonders cease. Doctrines, opinions, sentiments, ordinances, the good opinion of men, the applause and flattery of the creature—these are of the earth, earthy; they fail when a man gives up the spirit.

But a child of God needs a refuge, not merely that his soul may anchor in it in time, but that when time is ended, when the angel proclaims, “There shall be time no longer,” and his liberated soul escapes its prison-house, and is wafted into the presence of the eternal God, it may find in Him at that solemn moment a refuge. No, all through eternity, in the rolling circle of its never-ending ages, the soul will still need a refuge. For could it even in eternity exist for a moment out of Christ—in a word, were the refuge of the elect anything but eternal, the moment the limited time of their shelter closed, the frowns of God would hurl them into perdition; so that nothing but an eternal God can ever be a refuge for a never-dying soul.

It does not say, “His grace is your refuge.” No; because grace will end in glory. Nor does it say, “His mercy is your refuge,” for his mercy will end in blessing and praise. Nor does it say, “His attributes or his perfections are a refuge.” It drops the gifts, and leads the soul up to the Giver, as though God’s own gifts and mercies were not sufficient, but that the immortal soul must have the immortal God, and the never-dying spirit is only safe in the bosom of an eternal Jehovah.

Daily Wisdom

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock.”

~ Song 2:14

Jesus is the hiding-place, the only hiding-place from sin and self. “You are my hiding-place,” said David of old. This was shown to Moses, in figure, when the Lord put him into the cleft of a rock, which Toplady has so beautifully versified, to paint the longing desires of his soul–

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee!”

It is on this “Rock of Ages” that God has built his Church. As a rock, he is deep as well as high—so deep as to have under-bottomed the depths of the fall, so high as to be God’s fellow, seated at his right hand. As a rock, also, he is broad as well as long—broad enough to bear millions of living stones built on him, and long enough to reach from eternity to eternity. The Apostle, therefore, prays that the Church at Ephesus may comprehend with all saints, “what is the breadth and length, and depth and height, and know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.”

Daily Wisdom

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

~  John 3:3

True religion begins with an entrance into the soul of supernatural light and supernatural life. How or why it comes, the soul knows not; for “the wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it comes or where it goes, so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The wind itself is not seen, but its effects are felt. The sound of the wind is heard in the tops of the mulberry trees, where God himself is not seen. “The voice of the Lord, powerful and full of majesty. You heard his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice,” (Deut. 4:12). Thus effects are felt, though causes are unknown.

Streams flow into the heart from a hidden source; rays of light beam into the soul from an unrisen sun; and kindlings of life awaken in us a new existence out of an unseen fountain. The new-born babe feels life in all its limbs, though it knows not yet the earthly father whence that natural life sprang. And thus new-born souls are conscious of feelings hitherto unpossessed, and are sensible of a tide of life, mysterious and incomprehensible, ebbing and flowing in their heart, though “Abba, Father,” has not yet burst from their lips.

A man’s body is alive to every feeling, from a pin’s scratch to a mortal wound, from a passing ache to an incurable disease. The heart cannot flutter or intermit for a single second its customary beat, without a peculiar sensation that accompanies it, notices it, and registers it. Shall feelings, then, be the mark and evidence of natural life, and not of spiritual? Shall our ignoble part, the creature of a day, our perishing body, our dust of dust, have sensations to register every pain and every pleasure, and be tremblingly alive to every change without and every change within; and shall not our immortal souls be equally endowed with a similar barometer to fluctuate up and down the scale of spiritual life? We must lay it down, then, at the very threshold of vital godliness, that if a man has not been conscious of new feelings, and cannot point out, with more or less precision, some particular period, some never-to-be-forgotten season, when these feelings came unbidden into his heart, he has not yet passed from death unto life. He is not in Christ, if he is not a new creature (2 Cor.5:17).

Daily Wisdom

“He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

~ Heb 2:17

What heart can conceive or tongue express, the infinite depths of the Redeemer’s condescension in thus being made like unto his brethren—that the Son of God should assume a finite nature, subject to the sinless infirmities necessarily connected with a time-state and a dwelling on earth; that he should leave the bosom of his Father in which he had lain before all worlds, and should consent to become a inhabitant of this world of tears; to breathe earthly air; to be an eye-witness of, and himself share in human sorrows; to have before his eyes the daily spectacle of human sins; to be banished so long from his native home; to endure hunger, weariness, and thirst; to be subject to the persecutions of men, the flight of all his disciples, and the treachery of one among them whose hand had been with him on the table; not to hide his face from shame and spitting, but to be mocked, struck, buffeted, and scourged, and at last to die an agonizing death between two malefactors, amid scorn and infamy, and covered, as men thought, with everlasting confusion and disgrace! O what infinite condescension and mercy are displayed in these sufferings and sorrows of an incarnate God! The Lord give us faith to look to him as suffering them for our sake!

Daily Wisdom

“He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

~ Heb 2:17

What heart can conceive or tongue express, the infinite depths of the Redeemer’s condescension in thus being made like unto his brethren—that the Son of God should assume a finite nature, subject to the sinless infirmities necessarily connected with a time-state and a dwelling on earth; that he should leave the bosom of his Father in which he had lain before all worlds, and should consent to become a inhabitant of this world of tears; to breathe earthly air; to be an eye-witness of, and himself share in human sorrows; to have before his eyes the daily spectacle of human sins; to be banished so long from his native home; to endure hunger, weariness, and thirst; to be subject to the persecutions of men, the flight of all his disciples, and the treachery of one among them whose hand had been with him on the table; not to hide his face from shame and spitting, but to be mocked, struck, buffeted, and scourged, and at last to die an agonizing death between two malefactors, amid scorn and infamy, and covered, as men thought, with everlasting confusion and disgrace! O what infinite condescension and mercy are displayed in these sufferings and sorrows of an incarnate God! The Lord give us faith to look to him as suffering them for our sake!