Daily Wisdom

“For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.”

~ Heb 10:36

Why is patience needed? Because if we are the Lord’s people, we are sure to have many trials. The Lord sends us afflictions that he may give us the grace of patience to bear them. But O, what a rebellious heart do we carry in our bosom! What perverseness, peevishness, and self-will dwell in us! How soon our temper is stirred up, and our irritable minds roused in a moment by the smallest trifle! How little patience have we under the trials that God sees fit to lay upon us! We thus learn our need of patience, and that it is not a fruit of nature’s soil. The lack of it makes the soul follow after it; and when the Lord does give submission to his will, and enables his children to see how profitable these trials are for their souls, and how, but for this heavy ballast, they would certainly have been carried away into the world, they can see his merciful hand in their heavy afflictions.

Thus sometimes by feeling peevish and rebellious, and thus knowing their need of patience; and sometimes by feeling submissive, and enjoying the sweetness of it, they see what a blessed grace patience is. Scarcely any grace do we more daily need. We need it toward God, when he crosses us in our schemes, thwarts us in our desires, and instead of showing why he afflicts us, hides himself behind a thick cloud that neither faith nor prayer can pierce through.

We need patience with each other, with the world, with our relations in life, and with the Church of God. We need patience when anything is said or done to hurt our minds, wound our feelings, irritate our tempers, and stir us up to revenge. And what a mercy it is, under these sharp trials, to have patience, and thus follow the example of the blessed Lord, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Daily Wisdom

“That I may win Christ.”

~ Phil 3:8

What is it to “win Christ?” It is to have him sweetly embraced in the arms of our faith. It is to feel him manifesting his heavenly glory in our souls. It is to have the application of his atoning blood, in all its purging efficacy, to our conscience. It is to feel our heart melted and swooning with the sweet ravishments of his dying love, shed abroad even to overpowering. This is winning Christ. Now, before we can thus win Christ, we must have a view of Christ, we must behold his glory, “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” We must see the matchless dignity of his glorious Person, the atoning efficacy of his propitiating blood, the length and breadth, the depth and height of his surpassing love. We must have our heart ready to burst with pantings, longings, and ardent desires that this blessed Immanuel would come down from the heaven of heavens in which he dwells beyond the veil, into our heart, and shed abroad his precious dying love there.

Now, is not this your feeling, child of God? It has been mine over and over again. Is it not your feeling as you lie upon your bed, sometimes, with sweet and earnest pantings after the Lord of life and glory? As you walk by the way, as you are engaged in your daily business, as you are secretly musing and meditating, are there not often the goings forth of these longings and breathings into the very bosom of the Lord? But you cannot have this, unless you have seen him by the eye of an enlightened understanding, by the eye of faith, and had a taste of his beauty, a glimpse of his glory, and a discovery of his eternal preciousness. You must have had this gleaming upon your eyes, as the beams of light gleam through the windows. You must have had it dancing into your heart, as the rays of the sun dance upon the waves of the sea. You must have had a sweet incoming of the shinings of eternal light upon your soul, melting it, and breaking it down at his footstool, as the early dawn pierces through the clouds of night. When you have seen and felt this you break forth—‘O that I might win Christ!’ Like the ardent lover who longs to win his bride, you long to enjoy his love and presence shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

Daily Wisdom

“To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

~ Luke 1:79

What was it that moved the divine Father to send his own Son into the world? Was it not the free mercy of God flowing forth from his bosom to his family? Then, what merit, what claim can his family ever have? Their misery is their claim. Their worthlessness, their sunken state, the depth of their fall—these things call forth God’s compassion. It is not what I have done for the glory of God; not what I am doing, or trying to do; not my wisdom, my strength, my resolutions, my piety, my holiness. No! my misery, my helplessness, my worthlessness, my deeply sunken state, my fallen condition; which I feel only because of a saving interest in the blood and love of the Lamb—this it is that makes me need God’s mercy; and this it is that qualifies me to go to God through Jesus to receive mercy—for “he is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him.”

Are you sitting in darkness and the shadow of death—far from the way of peace, troubled, perplexed, exercised, confused? You are the very characters for whom Jesus came. Are not unutterable mercies locked up in the bosom of God for you? What is to exclude you? Your sins? No! God has pardoned them. Your worthlessness? No! there is a robe of righteousness prepared for you. Your demerits? No! the merits of Jesus are upon your side. Your unholiness? No! “He is made to you sanctification.” Your ignorance? No! “He is made to you wisdom.” These are no barriers. I will tell you what is a barrier—self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-exaltation, pride, hypocrisy, presumption; a name to live, a form of godliness, being settled upon your lees, and at ease in Zion—these are barriers.

But helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, misery—these are not barriers; they are qualifications; they show, when felt, that your name is in the book of life, that the Lord of life and glory appeared in this world for you; and sooner or later, you will have the sweet enjoyment of it in your heart; and then be enabled to adore him for his grace, and admire and bless his name for glorifying his love and mercy in your free and full salvation.

Daily Wisdom

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
~ Phlm 1:25

It is the regenerating breath of the Lord Jesus Christ which makes the soul alive unto himself. This is manifest from his own language, “It is the Spirit who quickens; the flesh profits nothing, the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Then for the first time “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with our spirit.” For you will observe that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is not with our carnal mind that ever remains the same, a body of sin and death, flesh, corrupt flesh, “in which dwells no good thing,” and therefore not the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace is with our spirit, that “new man” of which we read that “it is after the image of God” created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is called our “spirit,” because it is born of the Spirit, as the Lord himself unfolded the solemn mystery to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This is no subtle, thinly-drawn distinction, but a very important truth; for unless we see the difference between the two natures, the spirit and the flesh, the law in the members and the law of the mind, we shall always be in bondage, as looking for holiness in the flesh.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ being thus with our spirit, it breathes from time to time upon that spirit, moves and acts in it and upon it; for there is what I may call a gracious or spiritual union between the two. Thus we can no more live without the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ than the earth can live without the sun. He must shine, or we have no light; he must revive, or we have no warmth; and he must fertilize, or we bring forth no fruit. Thence time after time there is an outgoing of the single desire of the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ that his grace would be with our spirit; that this grace may be ever flowing forth into us, so as to make us new creatures, dispel all doubt and fear, break to pieces all bonds and fetters, fill us with love and humility, conform us to his suffering image, produce in us every fruit that shall redound to his praise, be with us in life and death, and land us safe in eternity.

Daily Wislom

“O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these things is the life of my spirit.”
~ Isa 38:16

When Hezekiah said, “By these things men live,” he meant that by these trials and deliverances, by these sinkings and risings, strippings and clothings, emptyings and fillings, “by these things men,” that is, spiritual men, “live.” It is a mystery, but a great truth, that just in proportion as we die to the world, to self, to sense, to nature, and to false religion, the more the life of God is strengthened in our conscience. The Lord, perhaps, has taught some of you this truth through great afflictions. But when these trials came upon you at the first, it seemed as though they would entirely overwhelm you; they took away your standing, and it appeared as though they had destroyed your faith and hope.

But though these floods of temptation passed over the soul, they swept away nothing but rubbish, which until then was mistaken for the inward teachings of God the Spirit. So far then from these afflictions overwhelming your faith, you found that faith was secretly strengthened by the very flood that threatened at first to drown it. True faith is no more destroyed by sharp trials, than the oak is destroyed by cutting away the ivy, or by a storm blowing down some of its rotten branches. And thus, as the oak, the more the winds blow upon it, takes a firmer root in the soil; so the storms and tempests that blow upon the soul, only cause it to take a firmer hold of the truth, and to strike its fibers more deeply into the Person, love, work, and blood of Jesus. So that, “by these things men live,” for through them, the life of God is maintained and kept up in the soul, the Holy Spirit secretly strengthening it by the very things that seemed to threaten it with destruction.

Daily Wisdom

“Then Gideon said to God, ”Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.“ So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.”
~ Judg 6:39-40

Many of the Lord’s people labor under doubts and fears, questionings and suspicions as to the reality of the work of grace upon their hearts; whether their convictions were not merely convictions of natural conscience, and whether their joys have been anything else but the joys of the hypocrite. “O,” they say, “what would I not give to have a divine testimony that the blessed Spirit was leading me in the right path!”

It is through these very doubts that the evidence is obtained. Doubts lead to cries and groans after a divine testimony; and in answer to these cries the heavenly witness is given. A man without doubts is without testimonies. Doubts are to testimonies what the lock to the key, the enigma to the solution. Testimonies are Ebenezers, “stones of help” (1 Sam. 7:12, marg.); but the stone must have a hole dug for it to stand in, and that hole is doubt. Doubts of salvation are to manifestations of salvation what hunger is to food, nakedness to clothing, a thunderstorm to a shelter, a gallows to a reprieve, and death to a resurrection. The one of these things precedes, prepares, and opens a way for the other. The first is nothing without the last, nor the last without the first. Thus, next to testimonies, the best thing is spiritual doubts. To know we are right is the best thing; to fear we are wrong is the second best. To enjoy the witness of the Spirit is the most blessed thing this side of the grave; to pant after that enjoyment is the next greatest blessing. I am speaking, mind, only of spiritual doubts; that is, doubts in a spiritual man, for natural doubts are as far from salvation as natural hopes. The path through the valley of Baca is “from strength to strength,” that is, according to the eastern mode of traveling, from one halting-place to another, where wells are dug, and “the rain fills the pools” (Ps. 84:6, 7).

We do not learn either God or ourselves, sin or salvation, in a day. The question is not so much whether you have much faith, but whether you have any. It is not quantity, but quality; not whether you have a very great religion, but whether you have any at all. A grain of true faith will save the soul; and I have known many, many seasons when I would have been glad to feel certain that I had the thousandth part of a grain. A grain of mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds; and even faith as small as that can move mountains. Happy is he that has one divine testimony to his eternal interest in the electing love of the Father, in the atoning blood and justifying righteousness of the Son, and in the divine teachings of the Holy Spirit.

Daily Wisdom

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
~ Rom 5:10

What a fearful spot it is to be in—to feel and fear oneself an enemy to God! I think it is one of the most painful feelings that ever passed through my breast, to fear I was an enemy to God. For what must be the consequence, if a man lives and dies having God for his enemy? In that warfare he must perish. If God be his enemy, who can be his friend? Such sensations in the bosom are well-near akin to despair. Let a man fully feel that he is God’s enemy, where can he hide his head? Hell itself seems to afford him no refuge. But he must be exercised with something of this before he can prize reconciliation. He must see himself to be an enemy of God by birth—that he was born in what our Reformers called “birth sin;” and that his carnal mind is enmity against God. O the painful sensations of the carnal mind being enmity against God! It is bad enough to be God’s enemy; but that every fiber of our nature should be steeped in enmity against God, that holy and blessed Being to whom we owe so much, and to whom we desire to owe everything; that our carnal heart in all its constitution, in its very blood, should be one unmitigated mass of enmity to God, O it is a dreadful thought! If you are made to experience that enmity in your bosom, and to feel more or less of its upheavings and risings—that will cut to pieces all the sinews of creature righteousness; that will mar all your loveliness, and turn it into corruption.

Now, when a man is thus exercised, it will make him look out, if he has any root of spiritual feeling, for a remedy. God has provided such in the sacrifice of his dear Son, in the blood of the Lamb; in the sufferings, obedience, death, and resurrection of the blessed Jesus. Now when this is opened up in our soul by the Spirit of God; when faith is given to receive it; when the Holy Spirit applies it; when it is received into the heart (for the Apostle says, “We have received the atonement”), then a felt reconciliation takes place; we are then reconciled to God; love takes the place of enmity, praise of sighing, and blessing his name instead of writing bitter things against ourselves.

Daily Wisdom

“Who holds our soul in life.” 
~ Ps 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!

Daily Wiisdom

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
~ 1 Pet 1:18-19

O the unspeakable depths of the goodness and mercy of God! O the riches of his super-abounding grace! When there was no other way of redemption, God sent his only-begotten Son, that by his precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, we might be redeemed from all the consequences of our vain way of life; and not only from all its consequences, but from its power and practice. It is a knowledge, a personal, experimental knowledge of this redemption, which lays us under a spiritual obligation to walk worthy of our high calling. And it acts in this way.

A view by faith of the bleeding, dying Lamb of God, a seeing and feeling what he suffered in the garden and on the cross to redeem us from hell, will ever make sin hateful in our eyes, and holiness longed after, as the soul’s happiest element. If ever sin is mourned over, hated, confessed, and forsaken; if ever there be ardent desires after a conformity to Christ’s image; if there ever be a longing after union and communion with him, it is at the foot of his cross. By it and it alone is the world crucified unto us, and we unto the world; and well may we say that our highest attainment in grace is to have the experience of the Apostle ~ “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Daily Wisdom

“Though I am nothing.”
~ 2 Cor 12:11

Paul did not mean to say that he had no religion, but none in himself. ‘What! could not Paul stand against temptation?’ Not more than you or I, unassisted by the grace of God. ‘Could not Paul pray more than I can?’ No, not at all, except so far as the spirit of grace and supplication was given to him. ‘Could not Paul love more than I do?’ Not a bit more, nor think a spiritual thought more, as far as self was concerned. I do not mean to say that Paul did not pray, believe, and love more than any of us do; but he did not perform these actions in himself one whit more than we can. He says, expressly, “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing;” and therefore not the good thing of faith, or love, or divine communion.

Now when the Lord has brought a soul down to be nothing, he then makes his strength perfect in that nothingness; he communicates strength to pray, strength to believe, strength to hope, to love, to receive the gospel. Just like the poor man with the withered hand, to whom Jesus said, “Stretch forth your hand.” It was withered, he could not do it of himself. But Christ’s strength was made perfect in weakness, when he spoke the word, the withered hand was stretched forth, and became as whole as the other. So with the dead Lazarus, he was asleep in death; but when the voice of love and power penetrated into the tomb~ “Lazarus, come forth,” life was made perfect in the dead corpse. So with the Old Testament worthies, who “out of weakness were made strong” (Heb. 11:34). And so, each in our measure, it is with us; our weakness, helplessness, and inability are the very things which draw forth the power, the strength, and the grace of Jesus.