Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The CURE For Discouragement

And David was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God" (1Sa 30:6).

The context is very solemn, showing that the best of men-are but men at the best.

Seeking help from the ungodly, David had placed himself under obligation to the king of Gath.

He had pretended to be a friend of the Philistines, and the enemy of his own people.

Accordingly, Achish determined to make use of David and his men, in the attack he had planned upon Israel.

But the Lord turned the hearts of the other "lords of the Philistines" against David (1Sa 29:2-7), and Achish was obliged to dispense with their service, so that they were allowed to depart.

Unconscious of the sad disappointment awaiting them, David and his men made for Ziklag, where he had left his wives and children.

Arriving there on the third day, "When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 

So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep" (1Sa 30:3-4).

That was an experience calculated to overwhelm the stoutest soul.

Arriving at the place where he had left his family and possessions, the city was a mass of smoking ruins, and those whom he loved were not there to welcome him.

Broken-hearted over this calamity, further trouble now came upon David, for his men murmured and mutinied, "for the people spoke of stoning him!" (1Sa 30:6).

They blamed their leader for having journeyed to Achish and leaving Ziklag defenseless, and for provoking the Amalekites (1Sa 27:8-9), who had thus avenged themselves.

To add to his grief, David knew that his own folly had brought down upon him this sore chastisement of the Lord.

And David was greatly distressed. He had cause to be so! Never before had he been called upon to drink so bitter a cup. 

What, then, was his reaction?

Did he yield to his sorrow and sink into abject despair? No!

He "encouraged himself in the LORD his God." That was where he found relief: that is the grand remedy for faint-heartedness!

David had sinned grievously-but conviction and contrition were now wrought in him. 

First, then, he took heart from the mercy of the Lord: 

God had promised His people that "if they shall confess their iniquity" and "be humbled" and "accept of the punishment of their iniquity," He would "remember" His covenant with their fathers (Lev 26:40-42).

It was on that ground he now acted: "David encouraged himself in the LORD his God"-that is, his covenant God.

I acknowledge my sin unto you…I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and you forgave the iniquity of my sin (Psalm 32:5).

However low the saint may fall, if he humbles himself before God, and confesses his sins, he may encourage himself in the divine mercy, for "the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting" (Psalm 103:17). 

Second, he encouraged himself in God's righteousness: 

 I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me" (Psalm 119:75...and that took the sting out of it.

Third, David encouraged himself in God's goodness:

He reviewed God's favors to him in the past, and recalled how often He had delivered him from trying situations.

Fourth, he encouraged himself in God's omnipotence:

Realizing that nothing is too hard for Him, no situation hopeless unto His almighty power, assured that He was able to overrule evil unto good, and to bring a clean thing out of an unclean.

Fifth, he encouraged himself in God's promises:

He "hoped in God" (Psalm 119:74), counting upon Him to undertake for him.

When we are at our wit's end-we should not be at faith's end-but trust in God's sufficiency.
David had sadly departed from God-but now he turned unto Him in penitence and faith.

Nor did the Lord fail him:

Read the sequel (1Sa 30:7-8) and behold how God enabled him to overtake the Amalekites and recover "all" (1Sa 30:18-19)!

When discouraged, encourage yourself in the Lord your God!

~Arthur Pink~

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Murmuring Proceeds From Pride

Men think they have deserved better; and, because they are crossed, therefore they utter discontented expressions against God.

He who is humble bears any thing from God; he knows his punishment is less than his sin, therefore says, "I will bear the indignation of the LORD" (Micah 7:9).

But pride raises discontent; and hence comes murmurings.

Murmuring is a sin that God cannot bear, "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation that murmur against me?" (Numbers 14:27).

The murmurer discovers much ingratitude; a murmuring tongue is always an unthankful tongue;

He considers not how much he is a debtor to free grace, and whatever he has is more than God owes him; he considers not that his mercies outweigh his afflictions;

There's more honey than wormwood in his cup; he considers not what God has done for him, more than such as are better than he;

He has the finest of wheat, when others feed, as Daniel, on pulse. 

The murmurer, I say, does not consider this; but, because he is crossed in some small matter, he repines against God. O ingratitude!

Israel, though they had manna from heaven, to satisfy their hunger, angel's food, yet murmured for want of quails; not content that God should supply their want, but must satisfy their lust too.

O unthankful! Israel's murmuring cost many of them their lives, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them did, and were destroyed of the destroyer" (1 Corinthians 10:10).

Their speeches were venomous, and God punished them with venomous serpents. 

~Thomas Watson~

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cleansing By Fire And Water

Numbers 31:23  Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.  

The great aim of this enactment was to render these articles ceremonially clean.

They had been in the use of the Midianites, and required cleansing, before they could be appropriated by Israel.

But the cleansing processes were to be determined by their texture. Fire for what would stand fire; water for what could not stand fire.

We must be thoroughly cleansed.

If a man will purge himself, he shall be a vessel unto honor, meet for the Master's use.

Not clever- ness, but cleanliness, is the prime condition of service.

Jesus will not put throne-water into impure and polluted receptacles.

What fellow- ship hath Christ with Belial?

We shall not be passed through fire, unless we can stand it. Our faith is too precious to God to be exposed to risk.

He will not let us be tempted beyond what we are able, lest we be dis- couraged, and make shipwreck.

If, then, you are called at this time to pass through an unusually searching ordeal, be sure that your Heavenly Father knows that you can endure it.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

We must go through water, if not through fire. The law provided also that "all that abideth not the fire, ye shall make go through the water." 

The one is negative, the other positive; the first appertains to John the Baptist, the second to the Holy Spirit.

The latter is the best; but be thankful, if you cannot endure it, that there is a discipline more tempered and gentle, which will yet render you meet for the handling of the Holy Saviour.

~F. B. Meyer~

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Need And Value of Suffering

Let it be settled with us once for all that the sufferings of Christ are an absolute necessity.

I am going to say a very strong thing, and it is this...that if you know nothing about the sufferings of Christ, there is something wrong with you as a Christian.

I am not, of course, speaking of such as have only just entered upon the Christian life, though suffering is sometimes encountered right from the first.

But obedience and faithfulness soon lead to the experience of some form of Christ’s sufferings.

If you are avoiding those sufferings, if you are rebelling against them, you are taking an entirely wrong line.

They are the true lot of children of GOD. I do not say that you will each have them in the same measure or of the same kind, but you will have them.

Ask the LORD if your bad times may not, after all, fit into this. 

You have been thinking of them merely as circumstances, as disappointments, working out to your misfortune, your disadvantage.

But wait; see whether these are not, after all, bound up with your spiritual life, whether they do not bear a relationship to your spiritual growth.

Interrogate yourself, examine this question.

Sufferings are necessary for several things; first of all, to keep things real, practical and up-to-date.

The Lord is not going to allow any one of us to live upon a past, upon a theory, upon a tradition, upon a doctrine as a doctrine. 

He will allow us to live only on what is real and practical and up-to-date, and, being made as we are, we do not so live unless we are made to.

If I know even a little about the LORD and the LORD'S things, I can tell you perfectly frankly it is because of suffering.

I could not and would not have learned unless the LORD had made me learn, and taught me in a very deep and practical school where things were kept right up-to-date, and where every bit of ministry sprang out of some new experience.

It is a law which applies to us all.

The fact is that these sufferings are absolutely essential to keep things real; people have a right to ask, ‘How did you get to know that?

Have you proved that?

How much has that been to you in the deepest hours of life, when things were beyond your power?

Did that prove to be true then?

If we are not able to say with all our heart in utter sincerity, ‘I found the LORD to be like that; I have put that truth to a thorough test and proved it’, then we are frauds.

The LORD has no place for frauds; therefore He keeps us up-to-date.

Reality is by suffering.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dealing With the Past

Matthew 9:28  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

GOD deals with impossibilities.

It is never too late for Him to do so, when the impossible is brought to Him, in full faith, by the one in whose life and circumstances the impossible must be accomplished if GOD is to be glorified.

If in our own life there have been rebellion, unbelief, sin, and disaster, it is never too late for GOD to deal triumphantly with these tragic facts if brought to Him in full surrender and trust.

It has often been said, and with truth, that Christianity is the only religion that can deal with man's past.

GOD can "restore the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25); and He will do this when we put the whole situation and ourselves unreservedly and believingly into His hands.

Not because of what we are but because of what He is.

GOD forgives and heals and restores. He is "the God of all grace."

Let us praise Him and trust Him.

~Sunday School Times~

Nothing is too hard for Jesus No man can work like Him.

We have a GOD who delights in impossibilities. Nothing too hard for Me.

~Andrew Murray~

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How To Wait

Dan 12:12  Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching.

Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God's warriors than standing still.

There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take.

Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption?

No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid.

Wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him. Believe that if He keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come, and shall not tarry.

Wait in quiet patience. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses.

Accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, "Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done.

I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities; but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes.

I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon Thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for Thee in full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.

 ~Morning by Morning~

Wait patiently wait, God never is late; Thy budding plans are in Thy Father's holding, And only wait His grand divine unfolding.

Then wait, wait, Patiently wait. Trust, hopefully trust, That God will adjust Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings, Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings.

Then trust, trust, Hopefully trust. Rest, peacefully rest On thy Saviour's breast; Breathe in His ear thy sacred high ambition, And He will bring it forth in blest fruition.

Then rest, rest, Peacefully rest!

~Mercy A. Gladwin~

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We May Speak for GOD

Jer 15:19  Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.

Poor Jeremiah! Yet why do we say so? The weeping prophet was one of the choicest servants of God and honored by Him above many.

He was hated for speaking the truth.

The word which was so sweet to him was bitter to his hearers, yet he was accepted of his LORD.

He was commanded to abide in his faithfulness, and then the LORD would continue to speak through him.

He was to deal boldly and truthfully with men and perform the LORD's winnowing work upon the professors of his day, and then the LORD gave him this word: "Thou shalt be as my mouth."

What an honor! Should not every preacher, yea, every believer, covet it?

For God to speak by us, what a marvel!

We shall speak sure, pure truth; and we shall speak it with power.

Our word shall not return void; it shall be a blessing to those who receive it, and those who refuse it shall do so at their peril.

Our lips shall feed many. We shall arouse the sleeping and call the dead to life.

O dear reader, pray that it may be so with all the sent servants of our LORD. 

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

No Need To Stint

The book of Proverbs is also a book of promises. Promises ought to be proverbs among the people of God. This is a very remarkable one.

We are accustomed to think of our good things as in reversion, but here we are told that we shall have them in possession.

Not all the malice and cunning of our enemies can work our destruction: they shall fall into the pit which they have digged.

Our inheritance is so entailed upon us that we shall not be kept out of it, nor so turned out of the way as to miss it.

But what have we now?

We have a quiet conscience through the precious blood of Jesus. 

We have the love of God set upon us beyond all change.

We have power with God in prayer in all time of need.

We have the providence of God to watch over us, the angels of God to minister to us, and, above all, the Spirit of God to dwell in us.

In fact, all things are ours. "Whether things present or things to come: all are yours." Jesus is ours. 

Yea, the divine Trinity in unity is ours. Hallelujah.

Let us not pine and whine and stint and slave, since we have good things in possession.

Let us live on our God and rejoice in Him all the day. Help us, 0 Holy Ghost

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, May 13, 2016

Why Does GOD Test Us?

Psa 35:3  Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

To keep water sweet, it must be perpetually running; and to keep the life of God up in the soul, there must be continual exercises.

This is the reason why the Lord's people have so many conflicts, trials, painful exercises, sharp sorrows, and deep temptations, to keep them alive unto God; to bring them out of, and to keep them out of that slothful, sluggish, wretched state of carnal security and dead assurance in which so many seem to have fallen asleep--fallen asleep like the sailor upon the top of the mast, not knowing what a fearful gulf is boiling up below.

The Lord, therefore, "trieth the righteous.

He will not suffer his people to be at ease in Zion; to be settled on their lees, and get into a wretched Moabitish state.

He therefore sends afflictions upon them, tribulations, and trials, and allows Satan to tempt and harass them.

And under these feelings the blessed Spirit, from time to time, raises up in them this sigh and cry, Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

None but thyself, Lord, can save me; nothing short of thy voice can whisper peace to my conscience; nothing short of thy blood can speak away guilt from lying as a heavy burden upon my heart; nothing short of thy love shed abroad by the Holy Ghost can make my soul happy in thyself.

~J. C. Philpot~

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I AM The LORD I Change Not

Mal 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

The authority of darkness is a very real thing to us. We have experiences, and if we were to capitulate to them, that would be the end of us.

He tries to bring upon us that impingement of the authority of darkness, and if we surrender to it, capitulate to it, accept it, we are beaten.

If we are the Lord's, Christ is within, and Christ is supreme and we must go on even if we have no feeling, or if we have a very bad feeling; when it seems to be the last thing we ought to be saying, we say it because it is God's fact, and when we begin to affirm God's fact we win through.

Believers know what it is for the enemy to try to make them accept the authority of darkness. 

Stand upon the truth of God. God does not change with our feelings. God does not alter with our consciousness.

This whole life of ours is subject to variation more swift than the variation of weather, but He rules, unalterable, unchangeable.

He is "the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."

And if He is there within, He has come to stay, and victory is in faith; believing that, standing on that, holding to that; and we must carry that through to its final and full issue, that He is Lord of all, "Head of all principality and power."

Satan will sometimes try to make us believe that he is in the place of ascendancy, the place of supremacy, but since Calvary he is not, we stand there.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Monday, May 2, 2016

Waiting Is Hard

Numbers 9:19  And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.

This was the supreme test of obedience. It was comparatively easy to strike tents, when the fleecy folds of the cloud were slowly gathering from off the Tabernacle, and it floated majestically before the host.

Change is always delightful; and there was excitement and interest in the route, the scenery, and the locality of the next halting-place. But, ah, the tarrying.

Then, however uninviting and sultry the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however irksome to the impatient disposition, however perilously exposed to danger-there was no option but to remain encamped.

The Psalmist says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry."

And what He did for the Old Testament saints He will do for believers throughout all ages.

Still God often keeps us waiting.

Face to face with threatening foes, in the midst of alarms, encircled by perils, beneath the impending rock. May we not go?

Is it not time to strike our tents? Have we not suffered to the point of utter collapse?

May we not exchange the glare and heat for green pastures and still waters?

There is no answer. The cloud tarries, and we must remain, though sure of manna, rock-water, shelter, and defense.

God never keeps us at post without assuring us of His presence, and sending us daily supplies.

Wait, young man, do not be in a hurry to make a change! Minister, remain at your post!

Until the cloud clearly moves, you must tarry. Wait, then, thy Lord's good pleasure! He will be in plenty of time!

~Daily Devotional Commentary~