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The Table or the Host?

“Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house.”  ~ Spurgeon

 

Jesus asked him the third time,

“Do you love me?”

He said,

“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you!”  (John 17:21)

 

Where are our affections?  On the things the Lord provides?

Or Him?

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Do we love the table?

Breakfast Table with Tulips

Children's Table for Thanksgiving

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Or the Host?

Giver of All Good

Where grace and judgement meetEternal Redeemer

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Do  we love the cupboard…

Cupboard on Long Island

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…or the Master of the house?

Who Loved us First

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Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life….

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”  from John 6:26-35

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Assurance for the Journey

Someone may have made this point already, but my husband says that each day is a lifetime.  We wake up/are born, we move through the day/live, and go to sleep at night (sometimes)/a mini-death.  So resolutions shouldn’t be limited to New Years, birthdays, anniversaries, etc;  everyday we should resolve to surrender to the Lord, and trust His guidance… moment by moment.  God’s promises are for each day (give us this day..), so too, should be our reliance and trust.

Spurgeon offers this assurance for today’s Journey, and every Today:

And the LORD shall guide thee continually. ~ Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but JEHOVAH shall guide  thee. He said He would not go through the wilderness before His people, an angel  should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If Thy  presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you  in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: He Himself leads the van. [yes, he said ‘van’ :-)]

 You  may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice  the word shall–“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it!  How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills”  are better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Then  observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes,  but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own  understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding  voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at His heels, we shall not  err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in.

If you have to change your  position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen  that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast  among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.”

There  are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God,  and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the  company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You  have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal  power to defend you. “Jehovah”–mark the word–“Jehovah shall guide thee  continually.

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Dear Father and loving Guide, Thank you for the assurance of your Presence and the promises you give.   Help me to trust you more.  “Trust in the Lord with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  I’m so blessed to be your child, and I trust you as my loving Father.  In your son’s precious name, Jesus, Amen. 

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Timely Word for the Journey

My favourite Christian author, preacher, writer, and teacher is Charles H. Spurgeon.  Anyone who’s read my blog for even a week has probably figured that one out!  The devotional I’ve worn out for the past 7 years is Morning by Morning.  Each page offers insight, encouragement, and Scriptures that always point to Jesus.  His daily meditations have never ceased to offer timely words for my journey.

Sometimes I share little blurbs, other time composites of Spurgeon thought, but today I must share the devotional in its entirety.  It’s That good!  May it connect with someone’s heart and need today, and lift up a weary pilgrim along the way:

“He led them forth by the right way.”  Psalm 107:9

Changing circumstances often causes the anxious believer to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” I looked for light, but darkness came; for peace, but faced trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved.  Lord, You hide Your face, and I am troubled. Only yesterday I could read my title clearly; but today my evidences are blurred, and my hopes are clouded.  Yesterday I could climb the mountain and view the landscape and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but great distress.

Is this part of God’s plan for me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven?

Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope–all these things are just parts of God’s method of making you ready for the great inheritance, which you will soon enjoy.

These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith–they are waves that wash you further upon the rock–they are winds that steer your ship more quickly toward the desired haven. What David wrote then will be true of you: “He brought them to their desired haven” (verse 30). By honor and dishonor, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace–by all these things your spiritual life is maintained, and by each of these you are helped on your way.

Do not think, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom.” Learn, then, to “count it all joy . . . when you meet trials of various kinds.”

O let my trembling soul be still,
And trust Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.

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If you would like some daily encouragement from Spurgeon, you can buy his devotionals HERE, or read it online HERE.

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

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I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

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Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Out of the Fog

In the Fog

In the Fog

Spurgeon thoughts for Fearless Friday:
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“It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal…
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May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety, and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth, and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below, and assist us to mount!
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We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped. May God now grant us grace…like Abraham, to attain the top of the mountain, there to indulge in communion with the Most High.”
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Dear Lord, please lift us out of the fog of our fears, cares, and all the things that choke out the Light of your presence. The fog is sickly, dark, hindering and oppressive. We pray, grant us grace and lift us up to your mountain, so we can breath and see unhindered, our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Then, ‘the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” In His name, Amen.

Above the Fog

Above the Fog

Fearless Fridays

Though I’m really almost too organized in some areas, blogging’s never been one of them.  For the past three years (!), I’ve written when I feel like it, shared songs and hymns, Spurgeon thoughts, etc.  And loved it!!  However, I’ve been considering how to be more consistent, as well as in tune with the heart of the Lord in my writing.  So, with a little tweaking in my schedule and mindset, I may make some headway! 

For the next few months, I’m designating Fridays as Fearless Friday.   Each week, we’ll look at one of the many (!) verses in the Bible where we’re encouraged to Fear Not!

Then each Monday, I will join Carrie, Beth and other online friends, by listing 10 things I’m thankful for, to “The List that Never Ends!”

And Tuesdays…well, you’ll just have to drop by then to see what I’m up to 🙂

That’s as organized as I’m going to get, because I still want open days for sharing songs, personal heart thoughts, devotionals, or whatever!

So….

Let Fearless Friday begin!

I’m tormented with anxiety, fear, and care, and yet realize full well that that doesn’t glorify the Lord.  So last year I began a study on all the verses in the Bible that say “FEAR NOT!”   Encouraging fact–there’s a lot!! 

Even more encouraging is–this command doesn’t stand on its own.  When the Word says FEAR NOT, it’s always accompanied with a reason why fear is not necessary.  That’s where the comfort lies.  For example:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Why can we step away from fear?  Because God is with us!  He is our God, our strength, our help, and He holds onto us!

Spurgeon paints this picture:

In that silent room of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He makes your bed in affliction and smoothes your pillow for you.

Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you.  In all you fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety.  He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own.  “Fear not…for I am with thee” is His sure word of promise to His chosen one is the furnace of affliction.

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Dear Lord, Help us through our earthly fears.  Thank you for reminding us that You are with us, by us, and yes, in us.  Nothing is too difficult for You.   Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, You are with us.  May this realization grow and subdue our fears.  Open our eyes to see You beside us.  Amen

 

God is FOR Us

 

God is for us.

Kari Jobe’s song, You are For Me, is still in the music box if you need a reminder today. 

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And God’s Word is here to remind us too:

Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I call:  This I know, that God is for me.  Psalm 56:9

The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?  Psalm 118:6

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?  Romans 8:31, 32

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.  Hebrews 9:24

Cast all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.  I Peter 5:7

Spurgeon summarizes these verses and others, much better that I could:

It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this delightful phrase, God is for me. He was for us before the worlds were made; He was for us, or He would not have given His well-beloved Son; He was for us when He smote the Only-begotten, and laid the full weight of His wrath on Him; He was for us when we were rebels against Him; He was for us in many struggles…how could we have remained unharmed to this hour if He had not been for us?

Because He is for us, the voice of prayer will always ensure His help. “When I cry to Thee, then shall my enemies turn back.”  This is no uncertain hope, but a well-grounded assurance – “this I know!”

If God be for us, who can be against us?!

 

“Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in a time of need (Heb. 4:16), knowing this, that God is for Us!

   

Draw near with Confidence

 

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