"They go from strength to strength."—Psalms 84:7Morning ThoughtThey go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress. Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough for us this morning. "They go from strength to strength." That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: "The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. "Alas!" say they, "we go from affliction to affliction." Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders. Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
"Salt without prescribing how much."—Ezra 7:22Morning ThoughtSalt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among his royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by him. Often are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure. Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the salt of grace no stint is made, "Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given unto thee." Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard, and the sweet jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from that. A man may have too much money, or too much honour, but he cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun waxed fat in the flesh, he kicked against God, but there is no fear of a man's becoming too full of grace: a plethora of grace is impossible. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy. Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of the Spirit is fulness of joy. Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions, which are unsavoury without salt; it will preserve thy heart which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have much. Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
"His ways are everlasting."—Habakkuk 3:6Morning ThoughtWhat he hath done at one time, he will do yet again. Man's ways are variable, but God's ways are everlasting. There are many reasons for this most comforting truth: among them are the following-the Lord's ways are the result of wise deliberation; he ordereth all things according to the counsel of his own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion, or fear, and is followed by regret and alteration; but nothing can take the Almighty by surprise, or happen otherwise than he has foreseen. His ways are the outgrowth of an immutable character, and in them the fixed and settled attributes of God are clearly to be seen. Unless the Eternal One himself can undergo change, his ways, which are himself in action, must remain for ever the same. Is he eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, tender?-then his ways must ever be distinguished for the same excellences. Beings act according to their nature: when those natures change, their conduct varies also; but since God cannot know the shadow of a turning, his ways will abide everlastingly the same. Moreover there is no reason from without which could reverse the divine ways, since they are the embodiment of irresistible might. The earth is said, by the prophet, to be cleft with rivers, mountains tremble, the deep lifts up its hands, and sun and moon stand still, when Jehovah marches forth for the salvation of his people. Who can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? But it is not might alone which gives stability; God's ways are the manifestation of the eternal principles of right, and therefore can never pass away. Wrong breeds decay and involves ruin, but the true and the good have about them a vitality which ages cannot diminish. This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with confidence, remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, and in him the Lord is ever gracious to his people. Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."—1 Thessalonians 5:24Morning ThoughtHeaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall cease our constant watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there will be no tempter to ensnare our feet. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Heaven is the "undefiled inheritance"; it is the land of perfect holiness, and therefore of complete security. But do not the saints even on earth sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The doctrine of God's word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe; that all the righteous shall hold on their way; that those who have committed their souls to the keeping of Christ shall find him a faithful and immutable preserver. Sustained by such a doctrine we can enjoy security even on earth; not that high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip, but that holy security which arises from the sure promise of Jesus that none who believe in him shall ever perish, but shall be with him where he is. Believer, let us often reflect with joy on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, and honour the faithfulness of our God by a holy confidence in him. May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May he assure you that your name is graven on his hand; and whisper in your ear the promise, "Fear not, I am with thee." Look upon him, the great Surety of the covenant, as faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the throne of God; and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord's pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that "faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
"So shall we ever be with the Lord."—1 Thessalonians 4:17Morning ThoughtEven the sweetest visits from Christ, how short they are-and how transitory! One moment our eyes see him, and we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, but again a little time and we do not see him, for our beloved withdraws himself from us; like a roe or a young hart he leaps over the mountains of division; he is gone to the land of spices, and feeds no more among the lilies. "If to-day he deigns to bless usWith a sense of pardoned sin,He to-morrow may distress us,Make us feel the plague within."Oh, how sweet the prospect of the time when we shall not behold him at a distance, but see him face to face: when he shall not be as a wayfaring man tarrying but for a night, but shall eternally enfold us in the bosom of his glory. We shall not see him for a little season, but "Millions of years our wondering eyes,Shall o'er our Saviour's beauties rove;And myriad ages we'll adore,The wonders of his love."In heaven there shall be no interruptions from care or sin; no weeping shall dim our eyes; no earthly business shall distract our happy thoughts; we shall have nothing to hinder us from gazing for ever on the Sun of Righteousness with unwearied eyes. Oh, if it be so sweet to see him now and then, how sweet to gaze on that blessed face for aye, and never have a cloud rolling between, and never have to turn one's eyes away to look on a world of weariness and woe! Blest day, when wilt thou dawn? Rise, O unsetting sun! The joys of sense may leave us as soon as they will, for this shall make glorious amends. If to die is but to enter into uninterrupted communion with Jesus, then death is indeed gain, and the black drop is swallowed up in a sea of victory. Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
"Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you."—Isaiah 30:18Morning ThoughtGod often DELAYS IN ANSWERING PRAYER. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that "the thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in? Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication. Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy."—Revelation 3:4Morning ThoughtWe may understand this to refer to justification. "They shall walk in white"; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow. Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. They who have not defiled their garments shall have their faces always bright; they shall understand what Solomon meant when he said "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works." He who is accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and gladness, while he walks in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Whence so many doubts, so much misery, and mourning? It is because so many believers defile their garments with sin and error, and hence they lose the joy of their salvation, and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus, they do not here below walk in white. The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those who have not defiled their garments here shall most certainly walk in white up yonder, where the white-robed hosts sing perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High. They shall possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss which imagination knoweth not, blessedness which even the stretch of desire hath not reached. The "undefiled in the way" shall have all this-not of merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for he has made them "worthy." In his sweet company they shall drink of the living fountains of waters. Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
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The angel said to [Mary], "Do not be afraid, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever."—Luke 1:30-33Thoughts on Today's Verse...Jesus is identified by many names stated or implied in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Notice how Jesus is identified in just this one passage: child, son, Jesus, great, Son of the Most High, King, son of David, and leader of Israel (Jacob). Jesus exhausts all descriptions, and yet chose to be limited to imperfect descriptions by becoming human. But this flood of names and descriptions helps us find Jesus as our Savior in every trial and blessing of life. Jesus is Savior for all seasons.My Prayer...Holy and Almighty Father, I thank you for all the ways Jesus is described and all the names he is given. They help me see the breadth of his nature and the depth of his character. Please bless me that I may always find a dimension of Jesus' ministry or a name or description of Jesus to help sustain me, when I walk through the shadows of doubt caused by the evil one. Help me, O Father, to see Jesus and not my preoccupations and biases so that when he comes again, I will know him, and he me. Through the glorious name of the Savior I pray. Amen.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."—Luke 1:26-28Thoughts on Today's Verse...Wow! Such a familiar sentence packed with emotion. An angel comes to Nazareth to visit and speak with a young woman engaged to be married. Before the history shattering news is announced, she is given one key reminder that will be truer than she could imagine, "The Lord is with you." My Prayer...My request, O God, I've sung many times: "Be with me Lord, I cannot live without Thee. I cannot bear, to take one step alone." Father, I need your abiding presence to face the challenges of life. As you have upheld your children through the ages, I am thankful to greet each day knowing that I will not face it alone. In Jesus' name. Amen.
When King Herod had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"—Matthew 2:4-6Thoughts on Today's Verse..."The first will be last and the last will be first." That's one of Jesus' favorite sayings. Isn't interesting that God said it long before he was born. Isn't interesting that those who knew the Scriptures, but didn't know Jesus, said it too! Isn't it interesting that Herod and Jesus lived it thirty years before Jesus would teach it? Isn't it interesting that the Jesus gave us the Lord's Supper to remember that while Jesus died and shed his blood, on the first day of the week, Sunday, he rose. When it matters most, Jesus and his people will finish first!My Prayer...You, O Lord, are marvelous. You are God Almighty, the holy and majestic Creator. Yet you became the least so I can share in your glory. Please help me, O God, never to look down on someone else because they look like the least. I know, Father, that as I serve and love them, I'm serving and loving you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.—Galatians 4:4-5Thoughts on Today's Verse...God waited till history reached his appointed time and sent Jesus. Just the right time — Roman rule, Jewish subordination, good roads, freedom, a degree of safety, a common trading language, cruel and barbaric punishment accompanied by religious infighting. In times such as these, he sent his Son to be a woman's son. He emptied his home so he could send a redeemer to our home. He did it so we could be his children — not pretend children, but real children, with full rights. So he could not only be God, but so he could be Abba.My Prayer...Abba Father, even your name is precious to me. I gasp at how much it cost you to let me call you Abba. I don't understand such extravagant love, but I thank you for it. I know I don't deserve to call you Abba, but it sounds so right. Something inside resonates at the sound of Abba — Holy, Righteous, Almighty, Abba! While I know that I will never be a perfect child, I rest today in the confidence that I am your child and you claim me. Thank you in Jesus' name. Amen.
The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.—Isaiah 7:14Thoughts on Today's Verse...God is interested in us personally. So much so, that he personally gives us this sign. Because of Matthew's explanation of the meaning of the name Immanuel, we know what that sign was — Jesus coming to live as God with us. His presence is God's presence. His life is God's sign. The miracle of his conception is God's mystery and also his statement of grace for us.My Prayer...Holy and Almighty Lord who refuses to be the god who is detached and far away: I thank you for coming to live among us in Jesus. I thank you and praise you for your sacrifice and pain. I know this sign cost you greatly so please let my praise in prayer, song, thought and life reflect my thanks to you in Jesus name. Amen.
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like [Moses] from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.—Deuteronomy 18:15Thoughts on Today's Verse...Jesus is that prophet like Moses. He has come and taught us God's truth. He has taught us with his words recorded in the Gospels. He has taught us with his example, through the deeds he has done. He is teaching us through his abiding presence in us and through the Spirit he has given us. But he teaches us most effectively when we put into practice what he has said.My Prayer...El Shaddai, who thundered from Mount Sinai and gave your Law to your servant Moses, I believe you are still speaking today through Jesus. Help me not only hear his voice, but listen to his message and life and put it into practice today. Gently correct and lead me in the way of obedience so that I may more perfectly glorify you with the worship of my daily life. Through the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
[Jesus said,] "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."—John 15:5,8Thoughts on Today's Verse...We take on Jesus' character (bear fruit) by remaining intimately connected to him. The distance between heaven and earth is not so great when heaven lives within us. In John 14, Jesus reminded us that if we will obey him, he will come and live in us and will reveal himself to us. So as we obey him, we know him better. His life becomes real in us.My Prayer...Precious Lord, I want to obey your word, your will, and your example. I want to obey you to honor you, to love you, and to know you. So please, help me better come to know you as I more closely walk in your steps. Help me to know what it means to live your life in my world. Because of Jesus' mighty name I pray and thank him as my Lord. Amen.
"Watch your thoughts; they become words.|Watch your words; they become actions.|Watch your actions; they become habits.|Watch your habits; they become character.|Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."—Frank OutlawⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"If we would learn from our prosperity, we would not need so much adversity."—Charles H. SpurgeonⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"I longed to be a flame of fire continually glowing in the divine service and building up of Christ's kingdom to my last and dying breath."—David BrainerdⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"Tied to the value of the person is the principle of servanthood. We value what we freely serve."—Douglas GroothuisⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."—William PennⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."—C. S. LewisⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."—G. K. ChestertonⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.