"His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."—Genesis 49:24Morning ThoughtThat strength which God gives to his Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valour, a fiction, a thing of which men talk, but which ends in smoke; it is true-divine strength. Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God gives him aid. There is nought that we can do without the power of God. All true strength comes from "the mighty God of Jacob." Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph-"The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob." Thus God is represented as putting his hands on Joseph's hands, placing his arms on Joseph's arms. Like as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear him. He puts his arms upon them. Marvellous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from his throne and lays his hand upon the child's hand, stretching his arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong! This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to "the mighty God of Jacob." Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God's covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have, flow to us from the well-head, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we should fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend, save upon that ladder which Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you, and shot at you, and wounded you, but still your bow abides in strength; be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob's God. Ⓒ 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.
"He hath said."—Hebrews 13:5Morning ThoughtIf we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there which shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God's covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death; will not the corruptions within, and the snares without; will not the trials from above, and the temptations from beneath, all seem but light afflictions, when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of "He hath said"? Yes; whether for delight in our quietude, or for strength in our conflict, "He hath said" must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacopoeia of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what "He hath said." Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? Since "He hath said" is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as "A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life." So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life. Ⓒ 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.
"God, that comforteth those that are cast down."—2 Corinthians 7:6Morning ThoughtAnd who comforteth like him? Go to some poor, melancholy, distressed child of God; tell him sweet promises, and whisper in his ear choice words of comfort; he is like the deaf adder, he listens not to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely. He is drinking gall and wormwood, and comfort him as you may, it will be only a note or two of mournful resignation that you will get from him; you will bring forth no psalms of praise, no hallelujahs, no joyful sonnets. But let God come to his child, let him lift up his countenance, and the mourner's eyes glisten with hope. Do you not hear him sing-"'Tis paradise, if thou art here;If thou depart, 'tis hell?"You could not have cheered him: but the Lord has done it; "He is the God of all comfort." There is no balm in Gilead, but there is balm in God. There is no physician among the creatures, but the Creator is Jehovah-rophi. It is marvellous how one sweet word of God will make whole songs for Christians. One word of God is like a piece of gold, and the Christian is the gold beater, and can hammer that promise out for whole weeks. So, then, poor Christian, thou needest not sit down in despair. Go to the Comforter, and ask him to give thee consolation. Thou art a poor dry well. You have heard it said, that when a pump is dry, you must pour water down it first of all, and then you will get water, and so, Christian, when thou art dry, go to God, ask him to shed abroad his joy in thy heart, and then thy joy shall be full. Do not go to earthly acquaintances, for you will find them Job's comforters after all; but go first and foremost to thy "God, that comforteth those that are cast down," and you will soon say, "In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." Ⓒ 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.
"Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."—Ezekiel 36:37Morning ThoughtPrayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favour, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you. When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much, and earnestly interceding with God that he would remove your doubts, and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles, and mighty helps in great dangers, you have been able to say, "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing's shadow. When the sunlight of God's mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, he himself shines behind them, and he casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our pleadings are the shadows of mercy. Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly. "Prayer makes the darken'd cloud withdraw;Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;Gives exercise to faith and love;Brings every blessing from above."Ⓒ 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.
"Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me."—Job 10:2Morning ThoughtPerhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy graces. There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials. Dost thou not know that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter? Love is too often like a glow-worm, showing but little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star-not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black foils in which God doth set the jewels of his children's graces, to make them shine the better. It was but a little while ago that on thy knees thou wast saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith." Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials?-for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised? Depend upon it, God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains his soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why he is contending with you? "Trials make the promise sweet;Trials give new life to prayer;Trials bring me to his feet,Lay me low, and keep me there."Ⓒ 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.
"Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi."—Genesis 25:11Morning ThoughtHagar had once found deliverance there and Ishmael had drank from the water so graciously revealed by the God who liveth and seeth the sons of men; but this was a merely casual visit, such as worldlings pay to the Lord in times of need, when it serves their turn. They cry to him in trouble, but forsake him in prosperity. Isaac dwelt there, and made the well of the living and all-seeing God his constant source of supply. The usual tenor of a man's life, the dwelling of his soul, is the true test of his state. Perhaps the providential visitation experienced by Hagar struck Isaac's mind, and led him to revere the place; its mystical name endeared it to him; his frequent musings by its brim at eventide made him familiar with the well; his meeting Rebecca there had made his spirit feel at home near the spot; but best of all, the fact that he there enjoyed fellowship with the living God, had made him select that hallowed ground for his dwelling. Let us learn to live in the presence of the living God; let us pray the Holy Spirit that this day, and every other day, we may feel, "Thou God seest me." May the Lord Jehovah be as a well to us, delightful, comforting, unfailing, springing up unto eternal life. The bottle of the creature cracks and dries up, but the well of the Creator never fails; happy is he who dwells at the well, and so has abundant and constant supplies near at hand. The Lord has been a sure helper to others: his name is Shaddai, God All-sufficient; our hearts have often had most delightful intercourse with him; through him our soul has found her glorious Husband, the Lord Jesus; and in him this day we live, and move, and have our being; let us, then, dwell in closest fellowship with him. Glorious Lord, constrain us that we may never leave thee, but dwell by the well of the living God. Ⓒ 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.
"I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content."—Philippians 4:11Morning ThoughtThese words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. "Ill weeds grow apace." Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener's care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, "I have learned ... to be content;" as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave-a poor prisoner shut up in Nero's dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul's infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content. Ⓒ 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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There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.—1 John 4:18Thoughts on Today's Verse...What is there to fear since God sent his Son to die to redeem us? What is there to fear since we cannot be separated from the love God has for us in Christ Jesus? What is there to fear except ourselves, and God has poured his Spirit into our hearts to reassure us and strengthen us in our weakness! As we love God and his children, we are reminded of his love for us which is far better than our meager love for others. Rather than run from him in fear, we bow before him in thanks knowing that he who hears our prayers is also he who loves us and yearns to calm our fears.My Prayer...Loving Father, thank you that I can reverence you without fearing your wrath. Thank you that I can revere your word and yet not be terrified with my inadequacies. May your love in me produce a closer likeness to your holiness, righteousness, justice and mercy than all the laws, threats, and judges combined. I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, who ransomed me from sin and poured out his love upon me. Amen.
The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.—Romans 13:9-10Thoughts on Today's Verse...Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to have laws to keep people in line! That's the point behind Paul's message here. Treat our neighbors like we would like to be treated. Love them as we like to be loved. If we do that, then we're not going to do anything that would hurt them, much less violate a command of law!My Prayer...God who gave Moses the Law on tablets of stone, please write your character and will on my heart that I might be a living stone, testifying to your righteousness and grace. Help me to think more carefully about how my neighbors feel before I act or react to them — not just today, but every day! In the name of your Son, Jesus I pray. Amen.
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.—Proverbs 17:9Thoughts on Today's Verse..."It's just a little harmless gossip." The Wise Teacher reminds us that gossip is neither little or harmless. Its consequences are huge and its damage horrible. Instead, it is much better to be a peacemaker and an offense mender.My Prayer...Father of Glory, I confess that I am often more a peace lover than a peacemaker. Give me the character not to repeat gossip and instead have the wisdom and strength to be an offense mender. Through the Prince of Peace I pray. Amen.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.—1 John 4:11-12Thoughts on Today's Verse...Can you imagine what an honor it is to have the Creator of the universe, the Lord God Almighty, living inside of you! And when we love each other, that is exactly what happens. When our hearts are full of love, there is room for God. When they are not full of love, we leave God little room to take up residence and produce his character in us. Let God complete his love in you. Make a commitment to do loving things for others today!My Prayer...Abba Father, it is so comforting to know that you are not far away — that I live in you and you live in me. Help me see others with your eyes and respond to their needs with your heart so that your love may be complete in me. In the name of Jesus, the Servant and Savior of all, I pray. Amen.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:38-39Thoughts on Today's Verse...Separation is something we fear whether it's separation from a child, a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a friend, or from God. Jesus endured separation from God by becoming a human and by going to the cross. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we can know we won't have to ever be separated from God's love. He bore the separation so we would never have to fear it!My Prayer...Great Father of all peoples, thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me the promise that nothing can separate me from your love. Make me more aware of your accompanying presence in my life. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.—Romans 8:35-37Thoughts on Today's Verse...Conquerors! We win!! When you open up the final book of the Bible, Revelation, that is the message — Christians win because Jesus is the one true conqueror. No matter how the battle is going for you right now, remember that in the end, we win!My Prayer...El Shaddai, God Almighty, thank you for securing the ultimate victory for me by raising Jesus from the dead. I know he is coming with victory on the day you have determined, but I pray that I may live victoriously for you until that day. Through Jesus my conquering King I pray. Amen.
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.—1 John 3:11Thoughts on Today's Verse...The original message — love one another. The enduring message — love one another. The most convicting message — love one another. The most difficult message — love one another. I'm reminded of the little verse: To dwell above with saints we love, O that will be glory. But to dwell below with saints we know, now that's another story. But it's the story we're called to write with our lives! This is God's enduring message he wants demonstrated in his children. Let's go out and live it!My Prayer...Loving Father, I commit to you that I will intentionally show my love for your children in what I do and say. I do this trusting your grace to empower me to do more than I would do on my own. Through Jesus my Savior I pray. Amen.
"God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event."—Matthew HenryⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"Dear Lord, either quiet the waves or lift me above them; it's too late to learn to swim."—Mary CrowleyⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"It is the acknowledgment of our humanity and our frailness that places us in a position to have a personal encounter with the living God."—Os HillmanⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.
"The essence of temptation is the invitation to live independently of God."—Neil AndersonⒸ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.