The best of times?

 

SpurgeonMy times are in your hand… Psalm 31:15

Jesus, at his death, prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (31:5). The Psalms were a comfort to Him in the worst of times. Charles Spurgeon experienced times of persecution for preaching the gospel, and times of painful illness, and depression. The day he preached on Psalm 31:15 he said, “I have not been able to preach on this text as I hoped to do, for I am full of pain, and have a heavy headache, but, thank God, I have no heartache, with such a glorious truth before me. Sweet to my soul are these words— “My times are in Your hand.” This first of three brief posts on the theme of our times comes from C.H. Spurgeon…

Charles Spurgeon preached…. To be entirely at the disposal of God is life and liberty for us.   The great truth is this – all that concerns the believer is in the hands of the Almighty God.

“My times,” these change and shift, but they change only in accordance with unchanging love, and they shift only according to the purpose of One with whom is no variableness nor shadow of a turning.

“My times,” that is to say, my ups and my downs, my health and my sickness, my poverty and my wealth – all those are in the hand of the Lord, who arranges and appoints according to His holy will the length of my days, and the darkness of my nights.

“Storms and calms vary the seasons at the divine appointment. Whether times are reviving or depressing remains with Him who is Lord both of time and of eternity, and we are glad it is so.” 

From a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Sunday morning May 17th, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

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Perfect Pitch?

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“From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.” Genesis 12:8 ESV

Moved by music but without the talent to make music? Welcome to my world, where the idea of perfect pitch is as alien as algebra. In worship, too, perfection eludes me. It is difficult to hit the right pitch for a worshipping life as well. This third brief post on the theme of worship also comes from Oswald Chambers….

Oswald Chambers wrote… “Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship.

“If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded. God will never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself; it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others.

“Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two. The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him. Rush is wrong every time; there is always plenty of time to worship God.

“Quiet days with God may be a snare. We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be.

“There are not three stages in spiritual life – worship, waiting and work. Some of us go in jumps like spiritual frogs, we jump from worship to waiting, and from waiting to work.

“God’s idea is that the three should go together. They were always together in the life of Our Lord. He was unhasting and unresting. It is a discipline. We cannot get into it all at once.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

No prayer? No Wonder!

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“And He…wondered that there was no intercessor.”
Isaiah 59:16 (KJV)

I cannot expect my prayers for others to be truly loving, wise, (or effective) if I am not, first, worshipping God whenever I pray. This second brief post on the theme of worship also comes from Oswald Chambers…

Oswald Chambers wrote… “The reason many of us leave off praying and become hard towards God is because we have only a sentimental interest in prayer. It sounds right to say that we pray; we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial, that our minds are quieted and our souls uplifted when we pray; but Isaiah implies that God is amazed at such thoughts of prayer.

“Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other.

“Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. Too often instead of worshipping God, we construct statements as to how prayer works.

“Are we worshipping or are we in dispute with God –  ‘I don’t see how You are going to do it.’ This is a sure sign that we are not worshipping.

“When we lose sight of God we become hard and dogmatic. We hurl our own petitions at God’s throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do. We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ. If we are hard towards God, we will become hard towards other people.

“Are we so worshipping God that we rouse ourselves up to lay hold on Him, that we may be brought into contact with His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship to God, or are we hard and dogmatic?

‘But there is no one interceding properly’ – then be that one yourself, be the one who worships God and who lives in holy relationship to Him. Get into the real work of intercession, and remember it is a work, a work that taxes every power; but a work which has no snare. Preaching the gospel has a snare; intercessory prayer has none.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Of Fig Trees and Fitness…

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Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you,
when you were under the
fig tree, I saw you.”
John 1:48 ESV

Leon Morris, in his commentary on John’s gospel, says that the fig tree was ‘almost a symbol of home’ and ‘its shade was…used as a place for prayer and meditation and study’ and he adds, ‘It seems probable that Nathaniel had had some outstanding experience of communion with God in the privacy of his own home, and that it is this to which Jesus refers’. This first of three brief posts on the theme of worship comes from Oswald Chambers…

Oswald Chambers wrote… “The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. The time comes when there is no more ‘fig tree’ life possible, when it is out into the open, out into the glare and into the work, and you will find yourself of no value there if you have not been worshipping as occasion serves you in your home.

“Worship aright in your private relationships, then when God sets you free you will be ready, because in the unseen life which no one saw but God you have become perfectly fit, and when the strain comes you can be relied upon by God.

“The workshop of missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshipping life of the saint.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.