Daily Wisdom

“To be carnally-minded is death; but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.”

~ Rom 8:6

Just in proportion as our heart and affections are engaged on heavenly objects, shall we feel a sweet savor of heaven resting upon our spirit; and as we can only give back what we receive, every going forth of divine life from the soul below is but the fruit and effect of the incoming of that life from above. Christ is our life above (Col. 3:4); and as he by his Spirit and grace maintains the life of faith in the soul, it manifests itself in gracious actings upon himself. Without this spirituality of mind, religion is but a mere name, an empty mask, a delusion, and a snare.

God does not take into heaven, into the fullness of his own eternal bliss, those whom he does not love, and who do not love him. It is a prepared people for prepared mansions. And this preparedness for heaven, as an inward grace, much consists in that sweet spirituality of mind whereby heavenly things become our only happiness, and an inward delight is felt in them, that enlarges the heart, ennobles the mind, softens the spirit, and lifts the whole soul, as it were, up into a holy atmosphere in which it bathes as its choice element.

This is “life,” not the cold, dead profession of those poor carnal creatures who have only a ‘natural faith’ in the Lord Jesus Christ and the truths of his gospel; but that blessed life which shall never die, but live in the eternal presence of God when earth and all it holds shall be wrapped in the devouring flames. And it is “peace”-the Redeemer’s dying legacy-whereby, as he himself fulfils it, he calms the troubled waves of the soul, stills every rebellious movement, and enthrones himself in the heart as the Prince of peace.

Daily Wisdom

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

~ Phil 1:29

After the Lord, by his special work on the conscience, has called us to repentance and confession of sin, as well as to faith in Jesus; after he has called us to godly sorrow; to live according to the precepts of the gospel; and to walk in the ordinances of his Church; he then calls us to suffer for and with Christ. But we cannot “suffer according to the will of God,” that is, in a gospel sense and from gospel motives, until the Lord enables us in some measure to look to him. The same Spirit, who calls the believer to walk in a path of suffering, strengthens and enables him to do so.

To suffer aright, we must walk in the steps of the great Captain of our salvation, who “though a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” The Father in this sense spared not his only-begotten Son, but led him into the path of tribulation. If the Lord of the house, then, had to travel in this dark and gloomy path of suffering, can his disciples escape? If the Captain of our salvation was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” must not the common soldiers, who occupy the ranks of the spiritual army, be baptized into the same sufferings, and taste in their measure of that cup which he drank to the very dregs?

Thus, every child of God is called, sooner or later, to “suffer with Christ;” and he that suffers not with Christ, will not reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12). But the Lord, who sees what we are, as well as what we need, apportions out suffering to our several states and necessities. And however the suffering may differ, all have to pass through the furnace; for the Lord brings “the third part through the fire.” All have to walk in the footsteps of a self-denying and crucified Jesus; all have painfully to feel what it is to be at times under the rod, and experience those chastisements of God, whereby they are proved to be sons, and not bastards.

Today With God

Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican.

~ Matt 10:3

It is remarkable how little we know about most of the apostles. Peter, James, and John, we know quite well. Matthew we know by the Gospel he wrote. Thomas we remember by his doubts. James, the son of Alphaeus, wrote an epistle. Another Judas, not Iscariot, left us a little letter. Of the rest we know almost nothing but their names.

No doubt one reason why no more is told about the apostles is that the Bible magnifies only one name. The Gospels were written to hold up Christ before the world. We need not trouble ourselves about the obscurity of great men. Earth keeps scant records of its benefactors, but there is a place where every smallest kindness done in the name of Christ is recorded and remembered. The stories of the obscure apostles and of the beautiful lives which have wrought God and for man have vanished, but are recorded indelibly before God. Their memorials are in other lives, and some day every touch and impression will be revealed.

Daily Blessings

“That you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”

~ Jas 1:4

The word “perfect” in the Scripture does not mean, as applied to a saint of God, anything approaching to the usual idea of perfection, as implying spotless, sinless holiness, but one who is ‘matured’ and ripened in the life of God, no longer a child but a grown man. As a tree grown to its full stature is said to have attained perfection; so when the Lord the Spirit has brought forth the work of patience in your soul, as far as regards that work you are perfect, for it is God’s work in you; and so far you are “entire,” that is, possessing all which that grace gives, and “lacking nothing” which that grace can communicate.

To submit wholly to the will of God, and be lost and swallowed up in conformity to it, is the height of Christian perfection here below; and he that has that, lacks nothing, for he has all things in Christ. What, then, is the greatest height of grace to which the soul can arrive? Where did grace shine forth so conspicuously as in the Lord Jesus Christ? and where did grace manifest itself more than in the gloomy garden and on the suffering cross? Was not the human nature of Jesus more manifestly filled with the Spirit, and did not every grace shine forth in him more conspicuously in Gethsemane and on Calvary than when enraptured upon the Mount of Transfiguration?

So there is more manifested grace in the heart of a saint of God who, under trial and temptation, can say, “Your will be done,” and submit himself to the chastening rod of his heavenly Father, than when he is basking in the full beams of the Sun of righteousness. How often we are mistaken in this matter; longing for enjoyment, instead of seeing that true grace makes us submit to the will of God, whether in the valley or upon the mount!

Daily Blessings

“And I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

~ Rev 21:7

What a promise! That the God of heaven and earth will be our God, our Father, our Benefactor, our eternal, almighty Friend! and that we, in overcoming, shall receive the adoption of sons; shall be manifested as the “sons and daughters” of the Almighty, and receive the inheritance reserved for the children of God! The promise runs in connection with “him that overcomes.” If we do not overcome, the promise is not for us. The promise of sonship is connected with overcoming, in the same manner as that of “inheritance” is connected with it. Do I need to receive into my heart the Spirit of adoption? Do I need to feel the love of God the Father shed abroad in my soul? Do I need to establish a blessed title to the inheritance that he gives to his children? How am I to get it? How is it to be obtained? By making myself religious, becoming holy, subduing my lusts in my own strength? This sets me farther from God than I was before. This makes me a god to myself! If I am saved by my own holiness, by my own strength, by my own righteousness, I worship myself; and in worshiping myself, I become my own god. That is idolatry, damnable idolatry; so that he who lives and dies in the worship of self, will live and die under the wrath of God as an idolater.

Then how am I to receive adoption? By overcoming, not in my own strength, but in the strength of the Lord of life and glory. If I am shut up in self, I inherit self; nothing more. If I inherit the world, I have no more than the world. If I inherit sin, I inherit death, which is the wages of sin. Nothing more. But if I overcome; if weak, helpless, and defenseless, I yield myself up to the hands of the Lord, as clay in the hands of the Potter; not seeking my own will, but looking to the Lord to make known his will in my conscience, and to work in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight—if I have this, I have an evidence of sonship; and where that evidence is, there will be a further evidence of it in the Spirit of adoption, enabling the soul to call God “Father.” And he that calls God “Father” here below, will call God “Father” above, where he will enter into the full enjoyment of it, and bathe in the consolations of Father, Son, and Spirit to all eternity.

Daily Wisdom

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace.”

~ Rom 14:19

What a sweetness is contained in the word “peace.” Bunyan well represents this in his Pilgrim’s Progress, where he speaks of Christian, after having been entertained in the “house Beautiful,” going to sleep in the chamber called “Peace.” And what blessed sensations are couched in that word “Peace!” It was the legacy that Jesus left to his Church. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you;” and the Apostle says of it that it “passes all understanding.”

Now many even of the Lord’s people seem as if they wanted and were expecting raptures. There is, I believe, a vast deal of enthusiasm in the natural mind of man, as is evident from what I may call its religious history in all ages; and this leads many who, in other points, seem rightly taught to look for wonderful visions, ecstasies, and raptures, things which nature can imitate, or Satan, as an “angel of light,” counterfeit to delude souls.

But I believe Satan cannot speak gospel peace to the conscience; he cannot bring a holy calm into the soul. He could lash the waters of Gennesaret into a storm; but there was only One who could say to them, “Peace, be still.” Satan may raise up a storm in our carnal mind, but he cannot allay it; he cannot pour oil upon the waves; nor calm the troubled breast, and enable it to rest upon God. Of all spiritual blessings, none seem preferable to peace; and I believe that it is what a child of God covets more than anything. For, O how much is implied in the word “peace!” Is not man by nature an enemy to God? Then to be saved he must be reconciled; and that implies peace. Is not his heart often troubled, as the Lord said, “Let not your heart be troubled?” Then he needs peace. And is not his mind often agitated and tossed up and down by conflicting emotions? Then he needs peace to calm it. And when he has to lie upon his dying bed, O, if he can but lie there in peace, peace with God through Jesus Christ, and a holy calm comes over his soul, flowing out of manifested mercy and felt reconciliation, it will beat all the raptures in the world!

To be blessed with peace, through the blood of sprinkling, before the soul glides out of its earthly tabernacle to enter into the haven of peace above—this indeed will make a death-bed happy, this will extract every thorn from the dying pillow, and enable the departing believer to say, with holy Simeon, “Lord, now let you your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation.”

Daily Wisdom

“And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”

~ Ps 107:7

“He led them forth.” Forth out of the world—forth out of sin—forth out of a mere profession—forth out of a name to live—forth out of everything hateful to his holy and pure eyes.

“To go to a city of habitation.” They had no city to dwell in here below; but they were journeying to a city of habitation above, whose walls and bulwarks are salvation, and whose gates are praise; where there are eternal realities to be enjoyed by the soul; where there is something stable and eternal; something to satisfy all the needs of a capacious and immortal spirit, and give it that rest which it never could find while wandering here below. If we have a city here in this earth, we desire no city above; and if we have a city above, we desire no city here.

This then must be our state and case; either to be pilgrims, journeying onwards, through troubles, to things above, or taking up our abode below; seeking heaven here, or heaven hereafter; resting upon the world, or resting upon the Lord; panting after the things of time, or panting after the things of eternity; satisfied in self, or satisfied only in Christ. One of the two must be our state and case. The Lord decide it clearly in the hearts of his people that they are on his side; and give us to know and feel that our very restlessness and inability to find food and shelter in the things of time and sense, are leading us more earnestly and believingly to seek after the things that have reality in them; that finding no city to dwell in here below, we may press forward to be manifestly enjoying testimonies of being citizens of that city which is above, “which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God!”

Daily Wisdom

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

~ Rom 8:32

I have thought sometimes of the sweet figure of Solomon, as a type of Christ, in his royal liberality to the queen of Sheba. We read of him that he “gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty.” So our Royal Benefactor gives more to the sons of men than is in their heart to ask for. And what he gives, he gives freely, out of his royal bounty. As freely as the rain drops from the sky; as freely as the sun casts forth his glorious beams and ripens the fruits of the field; as freely as the wind courses over the earth; as freely as the dew drops upon the morning grass; so free are the gifts of God to his Church and people.

Indeed, in giving Christ, God gave everything. The Apostle declares, he “has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” We must never look upon spiritual blessings as broken fragments of the love of God, mere shreds and patches, scattered crumbs, waifs and strays, like floating pieces of some shipwrecked vessel; but we must look on the blessings of the gospel as all stored up in Christ our covenant Head. Whatever is given, is given out of Christ, in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; and it is by virtue of union to him, and out of his fullness, that all these blessings are received.

How can we lift up our thoughts, how raise up our hearts, adequately to conceive of the gift of God’s only begotten Son, his eternal Son, the Son of the Father in truth and love, given out of the bosom of God that he might become incarnate, suffer, bleed, and die; and by a suffering life and meritorious death offer a sacrifice acceptable to God, a sacrifice whereby the sins of God’s people were forever put away?

The grand source of all the admiration and adoration and the eternal blessedness of the saints, will be the holy enjoyment of the ‘mystery of an incarnate God’. The incarnation of the second Person in the glorious Trinity the eternal Son of the eternal Father his taking human nature into union with his own divine Person will be the mystery that will ravish the hearts and fill the lips of God’s saints with an endless theme of admiration and joy through the countless ages of eternity.

Daily Wisdom

“He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the ash-heap, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.”

~ 2 Sam 2:8

A man can never reach heaven unless he travels heavenwards, Zionwards, in the way that God has marked out for his people to walk in. It is a delusion to think that we are going to heaven unless we know something of divine teaching in the soul. But if we know anything of divine teaching, we know what it is to be poor and needy, we know what it is, more or less, to have our mouth in the dust. But many people do so mistake the way to heaven. The ordinary way is to set up a ladder to reach from earth to heaven, and progressively clambering up the different rungs, at last to climb up into the abode of God. But that is not the way of God’s people. They have to go down, down, down, that they may be raised up. It is not with them first “up, up, up,” to scale the battlements of heaven. Every such step upwards in SELF is in reality only a step downwards; but, on the other hand, every step downwards in self, downwards into the depths of poverty, downwards into felt misery, downwards into soul-trouble and the real groanings of a broken heart—every such step downwards in self is, in fact, a step upwards in Christ.

Until we get to the very bottom there is no promise. “He raises up the poor out of the dust.” But how? He does it in a moment. The Lord does not raise up his people rung by rung, enabling them to clamber and crawl with their hands and feet to him. But, when he lifts up the poor out of the dust, he gives them a smile which reaches, so to speak, to the very bottom of their hearts; and that smile has such a miraculous power, such a drawing efficacy, that it lifts them in a moment out of the dust into the very bosom of God. When, therefore, the Lord raises up the poor out of the dust, he does not lift them up by a gradual process, step by step as they went down. They were, perhaps, many years going down; but they are raised up in a moment. The God of all grace, by one word, or by one smile, lifts them up in a moment out of the lowest depths of felt degradation, “sets them among princes, and makes them inherit the throne of glory.”

Daily Wisdom

“I will cry unto God most High; unto God who performs all things for me.”

Ps 57:2

In the word “most High,” there is something to my mind very expressive. It is to “God most High” that prayers go up from broken hearts, in all parts of the world where the Lord has a quickened people. “Unto God most High” every eye is pointed, every heart is fixed, and every breath of living prayer flows. Jesus sits in glory as “God most High,” hearing the sighs and cries of his broken-hearted family, where they dwell in the utmost corners of the earth; and he is not only sitting on high to hear their cries, but also to bestow upon them the blessings which he sees suitable to their case and state.

Now when shall we thus come “unto God most High?” When we are pleased and satisfied in SELF? when the world smiles? when all things are easy without and within? when we are in circumstances for which our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness are amply sufficient? We may, under such circumstances, appease our conscience by prayer, or rather its form; but there is no “CRY unto God most High.” Before there is a real, spiritual cry raised up, we must be brought to that spot, “Refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). Here all the saints of old were brought; Job upon his ash-heap, Hezekiah upon his sick bed, Hannah by the temple gate. All were hopeless, helpless, houseless, refugeless, before they cried “unto God most High.” And we must be equally refugeless and houseless before we can utter the same cry, or our prayers find entrance into the ears of the Lord Almighty.

“Unto God who performs all things for me.” If God did not perform something for us; no more, if God did not perform all things for us, it would be a mockery, a delusion to pray to him at all. “The Hope of Israel” would then be to us a dumb idol, like Ashtaroth or Baal, who could not hear the cries of his lancet-cutting worshipers, because he was hunting or asleep, and needed to be awakened. But the God of Israel is not like these dumb idols, these ash-heap gods, the work of men’s hands, the figments of superstition and ignorance; but the eternal Jehovah, who ever lives to hear and answer the prayers that his people offer up.