Tag Archive | Spurgeon

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. 

~~~~

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

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Booking It 2011

I know…the month is closing down and I’m just now posting my 2011 reading list!  But I must speak to my inner guilt, and say..well, at least it’s still January!

Once again, with encouragement from LifeasMom, Carrie’s Busy Nothings, and Beth Stone’s Studio, I’m committing myself to another year of good reading with the Booking It 2011 project!  If you check out any of these blogs, you can see what they are reading, and read their reviews as the year progresses.  Last year I posted my reading list for 2010 HERE.  However, as things go, some were dropped and others added, so this is what I actually read:

Before Green Gables (reviewed here), by Budge Wilson
Broken-Down House (reviewed here), by Paul D. Tripp
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
Shelter in a Time of Storm, (reviewed here), by Paul D. Tripp
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy M Montgomery
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers, by Arthur Bennett
Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring, by Ele Parrott
Stuff Christians Like, by Jon Acuff (funny!!!!!)
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Now That is Amazing Grace, by William McDonald
Learning to Pray in 28 Days, by Kay Arthur
What Did You Expect?  by Paul D. Tripp, this time, about marriage

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For 2011, I’ve compiled this optimistic list and am really looking forward to all the great reading ahead!!

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Mataxas  (in progress)
Orthodoxy, by GH Chesterton
Generous Justice,  by Timothy Keller
Nicholas Nickleby,  by Charles Dickens
The Confession,  by John Grisham
Planet Narnia, by Michael Ward

And more ‘Anne‘ books:
Anne of the Island 
Anne of Windy Poplar  
Anne’s House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside

And I’ve added Faith Alone, by Luther, to my devotional list.  I hope Spurgeon won’t mind too much.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This list could take a wide detour if my courses in M.Ed assign copious reading projects!  So my ambitious aspirations, as Captain Barbosa would say, “are really more like guidelines.” 

Please join me, and many others over at LifeasMom, for good reading, discussion, and encouragement!  What are you reading?

Home is a Person

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Cor. 15:9

Home is a confusing word for me.

I grew up in Denver, Colorado, but moved away when I was 20.  My husband and I both served in the US Navy a total of 30 years, living in at least 18 different homes, on and off base, around the world, and back again.  The only house we ever owned, and that, only recently, is on a little plot in the Appalachian Mountains.  Our three daughters and their families live in as many places on the East Coast. My mom’s in Arizona, and my husband’s family is scattered here and there, including the town where we live.  And, our hearts are deeply knit with friends and fellowship in Ottawa, Ontario.

Each place was/is like home to me!?

Yes.  Upbringing, family, work, life, property, and fellowship; each set the stage for all that home means and feels. 

And no.  Each place leaves me with a sense of wanting.  Isn’t there something more? I feel like that little bird in the Dr. Seuss book who goes around to every living creature asking, “Are you my mother?” Is this my home? Where do I belong? 

Through this search, I’m discovering that home is not so much a place, as it is a Person.  God is my Home.  He is my refuge and shelter, upheld by His arms, carried on His shoulders, healed by His stripes.  He is the only lasting home I have.

I refer to Spurgeon’s devotional quite often in my posts, but that’s because he speaks to me in so many areas of my life.  And to this need for home, belonging and attachment, he speaks clearly:

“You have made the Lord your dwelling place, the Most High, who is my refuge.”  Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change.  Wherever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next day the morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, up the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. [Sound familiar?]

They never stayed for long in one place.  Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.  They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and its flame by night their fireplace.  They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, “now we are secure; we will stay in this place.” [I’ve said that!]

Instead, Moses says, “Though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”  Psalm 90:1

The Christian know no change with regard to God.  He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today and sad tomorrow–but there’s no change regarding his relationship to God.  If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.  My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.  Even when prospects are few and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have in God.

He is my refuge to which I continually return.  I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God.  In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet dwelling place.”

 

Teach me Lord, to find my rest in you, to be at home anywhere, and everywhere, because You are there.

You are my Home…now, and forever!

Hitherto…and beyond

 

“Hitherto has the Lord helped us.”  I Samuel 7:12

 

As we close out one year of Grace and head into another, Spurgeon encourages us that our faithful Lord, who carried us through 2010, will be with us each and every step of our journey into 2011:

The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past.  Whether for twenty years or seventy, “hitherto has the Lord helped us!”  Through poverty, wealth, sickness, health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation–hitherto has the Lord helped us!

We delight to look down a long avenue of trees.  It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves, In the same way, look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness that bear up your joys.  The birds in the boughs all sing of mercy received hitherto.

But the word also point forward.  For when one gets up to a certain mark and writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end; there is still distance to be traversed. 

More trials, more joys;

more temptations, more triumphs;

more prayers, more answers;

more toils, more strength;

more fights, more victories; 

and then comes sickness, old age, disease, and death. [!]  Is it over now?

No!

There is still more awakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, songs, psalms, the face of Jesus, the fellowship of believers, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss.

Be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence know that,

 He who has helped you hitherto, will help you all your journey through!    [1]

 

[1]  In Spurgeon’s discussion above, the older English word, hitherto, means “thus far” or ‘until now.”  

 

Christmas Carols Grace Notes – 3

Today’s Christmas hymn is little known and rarely never sung.  It was written by John Newton, who also penned “Amazing Grace” and countless other beauties.  In this mediation/song, Newton expresses his wonder and sadness at the human apathy towards the Lord’s incarnation.  He rightly claims that our praises should outshine the angels, for Christ came in OUR image, and for OUR redemption!

 

Flesh of our Flesh   

Jesus, who passed the angles by,
Assumed our flesh, to bleed and die;
And still He makes it His abode;
As a man, He fills the throne of God.

Our next of kin, our Brother now,
Is He to whom the angels bow;
They join with us to praise His Name,
But we the nearest interest claim.

But ah! how faint our praises rise!
Sure ’tis the wonder of the skies,
That we, who share His richest love,
So cold and unconcerned should prove.

Oh glorious hour! it comes with speed
When we from sin and darkness freed,
Shall see the God who died for man,
And praise Him more than angels can.      [1]

 

[1]  C.H. Spurgeon, compiler, Our Own Hymn Book, Reprint and 2nd Ed, Pilgrim Publications, Texas, 2002.  Page 66.

Unfading Grace

“To everything there is a season and a purpose to everything under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”  Genesis 8:22

I find comfort in the seasons the Lord has established for us.  At least for now.  I suppose, being in the autumn of my life, I’m not going to relish the onset of  winter.  But as with every day, every season requires trust.  Is God as faithful in the autumn as He was in the summer?  And will He be faithful when the winter comes?  I know it.  But as seasons change, that’s when I really learn it.  

Spurgeon assures us that God’s grace is present in every season:

Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come, but grace will light a candle in the darkest hour. How blessed it is as years roll around, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, “The Lord will give grace.”

He continues:

He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly.

Grace in all its forms He freely renders to His people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace. He generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and He always will do so, whatever may occur…

I can’t stop the seasons, anymore than I can keep the leaves from changing colours, the frost chilling the night, or the grass fading.   But I can trust in the Lord who is ever faithful.  His grace is unfading!

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  I Corinthians 1:9

I just placed a new song in the Blue Music Box which speaks to me of God’s faithfulness through the seasons.   In the song, “Show Me”, young songwriter and singer, Audrey Assad [1], recounts of the Lord, in His mercy, guiding her through the seasons.  Here’s one portion I particularly like:

“So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with.”  [1]
 

 

[1]  Audrey Assad, The House You’re Building.  Released, Jul 13, 2010.  ℗ 2010 Sparrow Records.

Harmful or Healing Memories?

“Forget none of His benefits.”  Psalm 103:2

Some of us seem to have better memories than others.  Some can remember things from their first year of life, or have perfect recall of an entire book or lesson.  On the other hand, there’s those of us who need lists to remind us of everything, then we forget to check the list, or worse, forget where the list is! 

Most often, our memories are misplaced too.  We forget things we should remember, and remember things we should forget.  As Spurgeon said,

While memory too well preserves a poisonous weed, it permits the Rose of Sharon to wither.”

We often preserve harmful memories so we can dwell on them for years to come.  We hold onto the poisonous things, like bitterness, anger, hurt and pains within, as well as twisted images or troubling reports from without.

However, in doing so, we may forget the more wonderous, healing memories–all of God’s benefits:   His goodness, grace and mercy, redemption at the Cross, and promise of eternal live!  Here are a few things God’s Word tells to

REMEMBER:

Jesus’ body broken for us  (Luke 22:19)

Jesus’ blood shed for us  (I Cor. 11:35)

God’s benefits, who pardons all our sins, heals our diseases and redeems our lives (Psalm 103)

Who created us (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

His Words (John 15:20)

Lord, help us to let go of poisonous memories, and preserve ones that heal.  Help us to hold fast to Jesus and never allow the precious Rose of Sharon to wither away in our hearts and minds!

 

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put way from you, along with all malice.

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:31,32

 

What helps you to let go of harmful memories and focus on healing ones?