Three birds with one stone


J.C. Philpot

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing!” [John 15:5]
The great secret in religion – that secret which is only with those who fear the Lord and to whom He shows His covenant – is first to get sensible union with the Lord, and then to maintain it. But this union cannot be gotten except by some manifestation of His Person and work to our heart, joining us to Him as by one Spirit. This is the espousal of the soul, whereby it is espoused to one husband as a chaste virgin to Christ. From this espousal comes fellowship, or communion with Christ; and from this communion flows all fruitfulness, for it is not a barren marriage!

But this union and communion cannot be maintained except by abiding in Christ; and this can only be by His abiding in us. “Abide in Me, and I in you.” But how do we abide in Him? Mainly by faith, hope, and love, for these are the three chief graces of the Spirit which are exercised upon the Person and work of the Son of God. But as a matter of faith and experience, we have also to learn that to abide in Christ needs prayer and watchfulness, patience and self-denial, separation from the world and things worldly, study of the Scriptures and secret meditation, attendance on the means of grace, and, though last, not least, much inward exercise of soul.

The Lord is, so to speak, very cautious of His presence. Any indulged sin; any forbidden gratification; any bosom idol; any lightness or carnality; any abuse of the comforts of house and home, wife and children, food and clothing; any snare of business or occupation; any negligence in prayer, reading, watching the heart and mouth; any conformity to the world and worldly professors; in a word, anything contrary to His mind and will, offensive to the eyes of His holiness and purity, inconsistent with godly fear in a tender conscience, or unbecoming our holy profession, it matters not whether little or much, whether seen or unseen by human eye – all provoke the Lord to deny the soul the enjoyment of His presence.

And yet with all His purity and holiness and severity against sin, He is full of pity and compassion to those who fear and love His great and glorious name. When these sins are felt, and these backslidings confessed, He will turn again and not retain His anger forever. When repenting Israel returns unto the Lord his God, with the words in his heart and mouth–“Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously;” then the Lord answers–“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel – he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”

Then, under the influence of His love, Israel cries aloud – ” Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” [Micah 7:18,19] Hallelujah!


Anyone can be a father


Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate! [Psalm 127: 3-5]

No ‘Planned parenthood’ here!

Read that again – “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them!”


Blessed weekend 7


“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:11]

And all because you are IN CHRIST!


Life for a prey


J.C. Philpot

“Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.” [Jeremiah 45:5]

There is a life given to the elect when the blessed Spirit quickens their souls,—a life eternal, communicated to them out of the fullness of the Son of God. This life is a personal, individual life; and thus there seems to be a sweetness contained in the expression, “thy life.” “Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey.” This life which is treasured up in the fullness of Christ is breathed into the soul in the appointed time by the Holy Ghost, is kept alive there by his almighty power, and will burn brighter and brighter in the realms of endless day.

But we may observe, from the expression made use of in the text, that this life which is given to the child of God, is given to him in a peculiar way. “Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey.” The word “prey” points out that this life is an object of attack. We hear of “beasts of prey,” and of “birds of prey,” and the expression implies a carnivorous animal. Thus the words, “Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey,” imply that there are ravenous beasts that are continually seeking to devour this life, voracious enemies upon the watch, who are eager to prey upon this life, which God the Holy Spirit has kindled in the soul.

How accurately and how experimentally do these words describe the inward kingdom of God! Eternal life is given by God; and kept by him when given; preserved by his power from ever being extinguished. And yet preserved by a perpetual miracle, like a burning lamp set afloat upon the waves of the sea; or, to use a figure that I have somewhere seen, like a lighted taper carried over a heath in the midst of a gale of wind.

Thus, “our life is given us for a prey;” and the power, faithfulness, and wisdom of God are manifested in keeping this life unhurt amidst all its enemies. As Daniel was preserved in the den of lions; and as the three men were preserved in the burning fiery furnace; so the life of God is preserved in the soul, in the midst of lions, as David says, “My soul is among lions” (Ps. 57:4), and amidst the fires, “Glorify ye the Lord in the fires” (Isaiah 24:15).

So that the life of the child of God is one continual conflict between faith and unbelief, between enmity and love, between the grace of God and the rebellion of the carnal mind, between the sinkings of the drooping spirit and the liftings-up of the light of God’s countenance.




Ken Wimer

“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” [Acts 4:19]

Religious organizations are structured such that they subject men to men. It gives men authority to dictate to others what they are to do, say, or believe if they hope to remain part of that organization. And yet, such a hierarchy is the spirit of antichrist, because the Church, has but one Head (Christ) and everyone else in His Spiritual Body is subject unto Him, and members one of another, where one member is not more important than the other (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Peter and John were called into question by the religious leaders of their day. They commanded the apostles not to speak, teach, or preach anymore in our LORD Jesus’ name, (Acts 4:16-17). As the LORD Jesus said of them, when He was on the earth with His apostles, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye,” (Mark 7:13). With boldness and great Spirit-given assurance they answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” The Word of the LORD through the apostle Paul is that if you will be the servant of men, you cannot serve Christ! (Galatians 1:10).

1.) Men’s traditions, customs, and culture must always be subservient to the rule of Christ.Biblical tradition is that which was received by God through the LORD Jesus Christ and is to be wholly upheld and adhered to the letter and the Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:15) even as received directly by revelation from the LORD Jesus Christ, such as water baptism, the Lord’s table, preaching of the Gospel, reading of Scripture, the care and order of the church (1 Corinthians11:23). Our worship, walk, and ways before the LORD individually or collectively as a congregation must have as their foundation and motive the glory of the LORD Jesus alone, and His work accomplished for sinners at Calvary as ALL our sanctification, justification and glorification before God the Father. Anything more or less is NOT worship (John 5:23).

2.) Men’s traditions evolve and change, and are as vain as the men that found them. Truth as it is in Christ (and there is no other) is as immutable as God Himself. The word ‘tradition’ occurs only 14 times in the whole New Testament, and in the Old Testament NOT ONCE. Eight references are from our LORD Jesus Himself, all of which denounce the traditions of men. Not once does He insinuate they are useful or Scriptural. The apostle Paul has five references, two of which he denounces as contrary to the Person and Work of the LORD Jesus (Col.2:8; Gal.1:14).

Peter also, directed by the Spirit of God denounces them as ‘vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers,’ (1 Peter 1:18). Our LORD said, “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men– the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” And He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” (Mark 7:7-9)

When men would impose their traditions and create a conflict with the Word of God, it is always right to obey God and follow His Word (Christ. the Eternal, Incarnate, Revealed, and Living Word). (Acts5:29).


Angel of His presence


preacher Tom Harding

“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” –[Isaiah 63:9]

Who is the angel of God’s presence spoken of here in this verse quoted? It is none other than the same person who speaks in verse 1 of this same chapter; “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” It is none other than our blessed God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. This angel is not a created angel but rather the Mediator and messenger of the everlasting covenant of grace (Mal. 3:1).

Who else could it be said, “in all their affliction He was afflicted?” Indeed, Christ was afflicted for our transgression, “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa. 53:4).

Who else but the Lord Jesus Christ could it be said, “in His love and pity He redeemed them?” None but Christ! “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1John 4:10). We are indeed redeemed with His precious blood (1 Peter 1:18; Heb. 9:12).

The Lord Jesus Christ has always appeared before God as our Intercessor (Heb. 7:25). He is the Surety and Sacrifice of the everlasting gospel (Heb. 7:22; 13:20). He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). The very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ before the throne of God as our Representative, Substitute and Mediator is the guarantee of our salvation (Eph. 2:4-6: Rom. 8:34).

The Lord Jesus Christ having accomplished our righteousness and redemption is now entered in and now occupies the throne of glory for us as our Forerunner; that, “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 6:19-20).


Mr Do right


preacher Gary Shepard

When I was young there was a cartoon character by the name of “Dudley Do-Right.” He was a clumsy, dimwitted character that never really could or did do right. He was much like those who would seek to “do right” in order to be accepted by God. First of all, we do not know naturally what it is to do right. Doing right is not doing your best. Our best is not right in the sight of God, it is still sin. No one does right by his seeking to keep the law because all fail in many points. James said that to offend in one point is to be guilty of all. Furthermore, it is far from the doing righteousness that John speaks of:

“If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.”
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.”
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” [1John 3:6-10]

This is the same apostle who tells us that all who say they have not sin, lie! John in these three verses has to be talking about the obedience of faith which is to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS! This is what Christ is talking about in John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” The only “right” that has been done on this earth is the right that those who do right look to, the doing and the dying of the Lord Jesus. God is right to justify sinners through His cross death.

Believers are right to trust Him alone, to plead only His blood and righteousness. In fact, His blood shed is righteousness. God is just (doing right) to count every sinner Christ died for as righteous in His sight. Plus, every sinner who is looking to Christ alone, resting in His righteousness imputed to them, is doing right, doing righteousness. God’s salvation is all about His doing right in the salvation of His people. The gospel is the message, the proclamation of how He did it and therein is the righteousness of God revealed.

Dudley Do-Right may not have done right but all who believe on the Savior alone do. Their peace, comfort and assurance lies firmly grounded in the fact that, in saving them, God has done right! John’s examples are Cain and Abel. (1 John 3;12) Cain presented his own works before God and was rejected, he did not righteousness. God saying, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door..” Abel presented the sacrifice appointed of God, sin cleansing blood, and he “DID RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Then Cain, not loving his brother, killed him.


Sure Foundation


Henry Denne

Let us have a care to lay a sure foundation, and to make a right application, that we may clear the way unto the distressed conscience, in the light of the knowledge of God. Far be it from us, to think the duty of a minister discharged, by crying out against Sin, Drunkenness, Adultery, and the rest. These things are to be done in their order; but we must know that there is a difference between a minister of the Gospel, and a moral Philosopher, between Plato and Paul, Aristotle and Apollos.

Alas what profits it to salvation if we have reclaimed men from sin to virtue, from drunkenness to temperance, &c. not having laid a sure foundation? Have we brought them any whit nearer the Kingdom of Heaven? Nay, have we not made them seven times more the children of Hell than they were before? Publicans and Harlots enter into the Kingdom of God before you. Far be it from us to build without a foundation!

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1Cor 3:11]


Bold as a Lion


Henry Morris III

“The righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)

A HOLY BOLDNESS IS IMPARTED TO THOSE WHO SEEK TO SPEAK THE TRUTH OF GOD (Acts 4:31). The miracle of the Pentecost outpouring of the Holy Spirit was followed by several incidents where the various apostles and early Christian leaders spoke “boldly in the Lord” (Acts 14:3, etc). Where does this boldness come from?

THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Sanhedrin “saw the boldness of Peter and John” when they were dragged before them (Acts 4:13), after they had healed the lame man shortly after Pentecost. Peter was “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 4:8) and boldly answered the farcical questioning of those self-righteous leaders, and they “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). When we speak with God’s authority, we speak boldly.

THE WORDS OF GOD’S WORD: The first church prayed “that with all boldness they may speak thy word” and they were enabled to speak “the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31). When Paul was starting the church in Ephesus, he “spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). We should have boldness when we have opportunity to “make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).

THE ASSURANCE OF A RIGHTEOUS LIFE: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Several godly traits of righteous men are given in Hebrews, “so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).


Cant even walk 77


I thought number one would surely be me,
I thought I could be what I wanted to be.
I thought I could build on life’s sinking sand
But I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.

I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
The mountain’s too high and the valley’s too wide.
Down on my knees, I learned to stand.
And I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.

I thought I had done a lot on my own.
I thought I could make it all alone.
I thought of myself as a mighty big man,
But I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.

I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
The mountain’s too high and the valley’s too wide.
Down on my knees, I learned to stand.
And I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.

By Colbert and Joyce Croft

Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually.” [Psalm 119:117]

C.H. Spurgeon [Treasury of David]

Hold Thou me up: as a nurse holds up a little child. “And I shall be safe,” and not else; for unless Thou hold me up I shall be falling about like an infant that is weak upon its knees. We are saved by past grace, but we are not safe unless we receive present grace. The Psalmist had vowed to keep the Lord’s commands, but here he pleads with the Lord to keep him: a very sensible course of procedure.

Our version reads the word “uphold,” and then “hold up;” and truly we need this blessing in every shape in which it can come, for in all manner of ways our adversaries seek to cast us down. To be safe is a happy condition; there is only one door to it, and that is to be held up by God himself; thank God, that door is open to the least among us.

And I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually. In obedience is safety; in being held up is obedience. No man will outwardly keep the Lord’s statutes for long together unless he has an inward respect for them, and this will never be unless the hand of the Lord perpetually upholds the heart in holy love. Perseverance to the end, obedience continually, COMES ONLY THROUGH THE DIVINE POWER; we start aside as a deceitful bow unless we are kept right by Him that first gave us grace.

Happy is the man who realizes this verse in his life: upheld through his whole life in a course of unswerving integrity, he becomes a safe and trusted man, and maintains a sacred delicacy of conscience which is unknown to others. He feels a tender respect for the statutes of the Lord, which keeps him clear of inconsistencies and conformities to the world that are so common among others, and hence he is a pillar in the house of the Lord.

Verse 117. — HOLD THOU ME UP, and I shall be safe. Not only the consciousness of my weakness, but the danger of the slippery path before me, reminds me, that the safety of every moment depends upon the upholding power of my faithful God. The ways of temptation are so many and imperceptible — the influence of it so appalling — the entrance into it so deceitful, so specious, so insensible — and my own weakness and unwatchfulness are so unspeakable — that I can do nothing but go on my way, praying at every step, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” –Charles Ridges.

Verse 117. — HOLD THOU ME UP. Three things made David afraid.

First, great temptation without; for from every air the wind of temptation blows upon a Christian.

Secondly, great corruption within.

Thirdly, examples of other worthy men that had fallen before him, and are written for us: not that we should learn to fall, but to fear lest we fall.

These three should always hold us humble, according to that warning, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
–William Cowper.

Verse 117. — UP, up above the littleness in which I have lived too long, — above the snares which have so often caught me, — above the stumbling blocks upon which I have so often fallen, — above the world, — above myself, — higher than I have ever reached yet, — above the level of my own mortality: worthy of thee, — worthy of the blood, with which I have been bought, — nearer to heaven, — nearer to thee, — “hold Thou me up.”

God’s methods of holding his people up are many. Sometimes it is by the preacher’s word, when the word comes fitly spoken to the heart and conscience. May God, in His infinite condescension, enable His servants in this church so to hold you up. Sometimes it is by the ordained means and sacraments which His grace commanded. Sometimes it is by the efficacy of the Holy Scriptures, when some passage in your own room strikes the mind, Just in season; or the stay of some sweet promise comes in sustaining to your spirit. Sometimes by the simple in working of the Holy Ghost in a man’s own thoughts, as He will work “Uphold me with thy free Spirit.” Sometimes by the ministration of angels, — “They shall hold thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Sometimes by putting you very low indeed, making you feel that the safe place is the valley.

There is no elevation like the elevation of abasement. Sometimes by severe discipline to brace up the heart, and strengthen it, and make it independent of external things. Sometimes by heavy affliction, which is the grasp of His hand, that He may hold you tighter. Sometimes by putting into your heart to think the exact thing that you need, — to pray the very prayer which He intends at the moment to grant. Sometimes by appearing to let you go, and forsake you, while at the same time — like the Syrophenician woman — He is giving you the wish to hold on that He may give you the more at the last. — James Vaughan, of Brighton, 1877.