PRAYERS FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING

GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH

PSALM 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

 

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A STONE OR BREAD?

A STONE OR BREAD?

What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? — Matthew 7:9

No loving father would give a stone or a snake to his hungry son if he asked for a piece of bread or a fish. Jesus used the absurdity of that analogy in Matthew 7 to underscore the heavenly Father’s readiness to give good things to His children when they ask Him. He wanted them to have complete confidence in the Father’s provision for their spiritual needs.

Sometimes, however, it may seem as if the Lord has given us “stones” instead of “bread.” But in His wisdom, He actually is working through our circumstances to give us something far better than what we requested. An unknown author expressed it this way:

I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn to obey.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power and the praise of men;
I was given weakness to sense my need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for but everything I hoped for;
In spite of myself, my prayers were answered—
I am among all men most richly blessed.

Yes, God always gives us what’s best for us.

We ask amiss, but God answers aright!

 

DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL YET CHRISTIAN

DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL YET CHRISTIAN

A.W. Pink

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” [Galatians 6:9]

Regeneration is but the commencement of the saving operations of the Holy Spirit, and those who are the favored subjects of them are assured that, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ” [Phi 1:6], causing them to grow in grace and become fruitful branches of the Vine.
Yet the divine work of grace in a soul is not carried forward MECHANICALLY without any concurrence on the part of its subjects. It is a fatal error to conclude that because the work of salvation and sanctification is a divine one — that WE have no responsibility in connection therewith. Scripture teaches the very OPPOSITE: we are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling — BECAUSE it is God who works in us [Phi 2:12-13]. Grace is bestowed not to encourage IDLENESS — but to energize unto holy activity. The Spirit of God does not produce APATHY — but stirs those He indwells unto a diligent use of means. The one who was loudest in owning, “But by the grace of God I am what I am,” hesitated not to add, “but I labored more abundantly than they all!” [1 Corinthians 15:10].God always deals with His people as rational and accountable creatures. Unto those who believed on Him, the Lord Jesus said, “If you CONTINUE in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” [John 8:31], and not merely by lip profession. The apostles returned to their converts, “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them TO CONTINUE in the faith,” warning them that they “must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” [Act 14:22].

Walking that “narrow” way, which is the ONLY ONE “which leads unto life” [Mat 7:14], is not the easy matter which so many vainly imagine. Rather does it call for self-denial, godly fear, circumspection, and persevering effort. “AS you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord — SO walk in him” [Col 2:6] must be heeded by us if we are to make a good continuance. HOW did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord”? By ceasing to fight against Him, and throwing down the weapons of our rebellion. By determining to end a life of self-will, giving ourselves up to Him freely and wholly, consenting to be His forever. By penitently confessing our sins and trusting in His redeeming blood. By coming empty-handed to draw upon His fullness.

How did we “receive” Him? As He is freely offered in the Gospel: “able also to save them to the uttermost all who come unto God by him” [Heb 7:25]. As a whole Christ: a PROPHET to teach, a PRIEST to atone, a KING to reign over us. As a COMPLETE Savior: to deliver from the penalty of sin, cleanse from its pollution, free from its power; to sanctify as well as justify, purify, and ultimately glorify. “SO walk you in him”: continue as you began — in subjection to, in dependence upon Him.

A Gospel FAITH — must issue in Gospel PRACTICE. “Walking in Christ means living OUT OF SELF, in conformity to Him. Only thus do we obtain evidence of having SAVINGLY “received” Him.

The GENUINENESS of faith is always seen in what it PRODUCES. Alas, the WALK of most professing Christians gives the lie to their TALK. A good continuance is only made possible by our regular use of those means of grace which God has appointed for His people.
If the WORD is neglected — the soul will be starved. . . .

If MEDITATION is not practiced — the heavenly manna will not be digested.

If PRAYER be omitted, or performed formally and mechanically — fresh supplies of grace will not be obtained.

Unless the love of God is kept constantly before the heart — the affections will soon cool.

Unless we draw daily upon Christ’s mediatorial fullness — we shall be feeble and incapable of wrestling with our foes.

Unless we tread the path of obedience — Satan will quickly overcome us.

There must also be a RIGHT USE of the means, or they will profit us nothing. The Word itself does not nourish — unless faith be mixed with it [Heb 4:2]. They must be used in a spirit of humble dependence on God, for they avail not apart from His BLESSING upon them. Put them not in the stead of Christ. Trust not in the mere use of them, as though your diligence therein ensured success. Yet they MUST BE USED patiently and perseveringly: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” [Gal 6:9]. Amen!

BRING NOTHING BUT YOUR SIN!

BRING NOTHING BUT YOUR SIN!

 By Thomas Wilcox

 “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” —MATTHEW 11:28

To believing, there must be a clear conviction of sin, and the merits of the blood of Christ, and of Christ’s willingness to save upon this consideration, merely, that you are a sinner. When we come to God, we must bring NOTHING but Christ with us. ANY ingredients, or any previous qualifications of our own, will poison and corrupt faith.

Believing is the most wonderful thing in the world. Put anything of your own to it, and you spoil it. Christ will not so much as look at it for believing. When you believe and come to Christ, you must leave behind your own righteousness, and BRING NOTHING BUT YOUR SIN: (Oh, that is hard!) leave behind all your holiness, sanctification, duties, or else Christ is not fit for you, nor you for Christ. Christ will be a pure Redeemer and Mediator, and you MUST BE AN UNDONE SINNER, OR CHRIST AND YOU WILL NEVER AGREE.

Hence see the nature of faith; it is a coming in as we are; poor, maimed, halt, blind, and naked as we are, without tarrying and waiting, for better qualifications, which we shall never have till we come in to Christ for them. WHATEVER COMES IN WHEN YOU GO TO GOD FOR ACCEPTANCE, BESIDES CHRIST, CALL IT ANTI-CHRIST; bid it begone; make only Christ’s righteousness triumphant. All besides that is Babylon, which must fall if Christ stand, and you shall rejoice in the day of the fall thereof, Isaiah 14:4. Christ alone did tread the winepress, and there was none with Him, Isaiah 63:3.

 IF YOU JOIN ANYTHING TO CHRIST, CHRIST WILL TRAMPLE UPON IT IN FURY AND ANGER, AND STAIN HIS RAIMENT WITH THE BLOOD OF IT.

You must take all out of God’s hand. Christ is the gift of God, John 4:10. Faith is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. Pardon, a free gift, Isaiah 45:22. Ah, how nature storms, frets, rages at this, that all is a gift and it can purchase nothing with its actings, tears and duties, that all workings are excluded, and of no value in heaven.

You say you cannot believe, you cannot repent. Go to Christ with all your impenitence and unbelief, to get faith and repentance from Him; that is glorious. Tell Christ, “Lord, I have brought no righteousness, no grace to be accepted in, or justified by: I am come for Thine, and must have it.”

You may be brought low, even to the brink of hell, ready to tumble in; you cannot be brought lower than the belly of hell. EVEN THERE you may look toward the holy temple, Jonah 2:4. Into that temple none might enter but purified ones, and with an offering too, Acts 21:26. But now Christ is our temple, sacrifice, altar, high priest, to whom none must come but sinners, and that without any offering, but His own blood once offered, Hebrews 7:27.

Despairing sinner! You look on your right hand and on your left, saying, “Who will shew us any good?” You are tumbling over all your duties and professions to patch up a righteousness to save you. Look at Christ now; look to Him and be saved all the ends of the earth. There is none else. He is a Saviour, and there is none beside Him, Isaiah 45:21,22.

Look anywhere else and you are undone. God will look at nothing but Christ, and you must look at nothing else. Christ is lifted up on high, as the brazen serpent in the wilderness, that sinners at the ends of the earth, at the greatest distance, may see Him and look towards Him. The least sight of Him will be saving, the least touch healing to you.

God intends that you should look on Him, for He has set Him on a high throne of glory, in the open view of all poor sinners who desire Him. You have infinite reason to look on Him, no reason at all to look away from Him: for He is meek and lowly of heart, Matthew 11:29.

He is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29. And he has drunk the bitterest of the cup and left the sweet; the condemnation is out. Christ drunk up all the Father’s wrath at one draught; and nothing but salvation is left for you, Luke 23:33,34.

See that the wound that sin has made in your soul be perfectly cured by the blood of Christ! not skinned over with duties, humblings and enlargements. APPLY WHAT YOU WILL BESIDES THE BLOOD OF CHRIST, IT WILL POISON THE SORE. You will find that sin was never mortified truly, if you have not seen Christ bleeding for you upon the cross. Nothing can kill it, but beholding Christ’s righteousness!

THE FALLING SPARROW  – A MEDITATION

THE FALLING SPARROW  – A MEDITATION

John Marshall

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?” [Matt 10:29]
Jesus, sending forth the Twelve to do ministry and missions, here takes time to encourage them. Their involvement in kingdom work entails danger. To depict God’s tender loving care for them, our Master used sparrows as an object lesson.

Sparrows, the smallest and least valuable of edible birds, were cheap finger food. They could be purchased live, if a buyer wanted to cook them fresh at home, or could be bought plucked and stuck on skewers, ready to be eaten like kebabs.

The price was right, two for a penny, five for two pennies (Luke 12:6). By paying extra, a sparrow was thrown in free to make a bargain. Sparrows were cheap, not valuable, in people’s eyes a trifle, but in God’s eyes, not trivial. Even the free fifth sparrow, the one thrown in to close a deal, was not forgotten by God.

“And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” [Matt 10:29]

Few things in nature seem less significant than a dying sparrow plummeting to the ground. Nevertheless, God attends the funeral of every fallen sparrow.

Our text does not say a sparrow falls without His knowing about it. This is a valid and accurate observation, but does not convey the precise intent of our text.

God knows, but also somehow vitally interacts, with a sparrow’s fall. Even seemingly callous, capricious laws of nature are not outside Father’s involvement.

What appear to us to be accidents of nature are never off God’s radar screen. He tracks each fowl on the wing, logging every mile they fly. Though birds are as numerous as stars, none of them, not one, is ever lost track of by God. Even birds of no value to people, including the free fifth sparrow, are never forgotten by God.

When gravity draws a dying bird to the ground, God descends in the fall, accompanying the flight as a constant active presence in the moment. In a very real way, God is with dying sparrows. When a bird fulfils its purpose, God gives it a nest in which to die, and the nest is His own soft, infinite presence (Morgan).

Well, this is all interesting and good for ornithologists and bird watchers, but what does it have to do with you and me? EVERYTHING!! If God is engaged in every small incident in a sparrow’s life, He is also intimately involved in OUR LIVES.

God is aware of every incident, however little, in our lives. They are not outside His knowledge, nor are they outside His care and involvement. Whatever minutia hurts us grieves the Father, draws Him near, and engages His intervention.

I desperately need this truth branded deep in me. In worship last Sunday we wrote on cards what we feel keeps us from growing in Christ. I wrote on my card “Distrust. I need to trust Jesus more.” To these verses about God’s interest in us I come with a profound spirit of humility. I approach them more as student eager to learn than as accomplished teacher. I must make progress in trusting Christ more.

My personal quest is not primarily focused on gaining increased knowledge about God’s ways, though this is a worthy goal. My chief objective is increased faith in God’s ways. Facts alone do not provide answers adequate for our frailties.

“If I understood God, he could not be the true God. . . .When I cannot climb, I kneel. Where I cannot build an observatory, I set up an altar” (Spurgeon).

We do want increased knowledge, but along with it we crave deeper peace, stronger confidence. We want to trust God more in every part, every inch, of life.

We yearn to draw closer to this One whose involvement in our lives is punctual and particular, whose omnipotence and omniscience make His interaction with us universal. Finite minds fumble with Infinity, yet long to love it anyway.

Our Father does not flit (move swiftly) in and out of lives, stopping by only on occasions when He thinks He has time, and feels a need to deal with some matter of huge importance. God does not take care of big things and leave little things to chance.

The two are in fact indistinguishable. What we deem important often fizzles into being trivial. What we see as insignificant may change the course of history.

The Bible records two events that occurred at Dothan (Gen 37:17; 2 Kin 6:13). Here Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, and Elisha’s scared servant saw the mountain filled with God’s protecting horses and chariots of fires. The latter, a huge miracle, is often told to inspire confidence in God. Joseph being sold into slavery isn’t as exciting a story, but God used it to save the whole nation of Israel.
From our limited viewpoint, we can’t predict if an event, however trivial or important it seems to us, will prove huge or not. In high school, I rode horses one Sunday afternoon. I so chafed the insides of my thighs that I preached that night with my legs bowed to keep my pants from galling my skin. You may laugh it off as insignificant, but due to this, months later I did not go ride horses on a Sunday afternoon with a college revival team. One other student also chose not to go, for reasons I don’t know. We two were put in an elderly couple’s home that afternoon and fell in love. Ruth and I are wed today because we chose not to go horse back riding one afternoon in Ellington MO. Let us rejoice in serving a God engaged in each moment, each detail, each incident, of life. We must come to trust Him in all.

We need this blessed assurance, for tough times await us. God watches and cares, but sparrows still fall. Even in the Lord’s holy work itself, troubles dog our steps. Sometimes God wills His servants to suffer and yea to die. The Lord said of Saul of Tarsus, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (AC 9:16). It helps us to know in all of life, but especially in doing ministry and missions, nothing bad can happen to us without our Father knowing about it in advance, allowing it to come, and accompanying it to us with His own dear presence. Harm can befall us only if God sees good reason for it to come our way.

In our text, Jesus was sending the Twelve on a dangerous mission, a microcosm of what their life work would become. In later years, they all were hurt, and most died, for their dear Savior’s cause. Come life or come death, they needed to know Jesus would be engaged with them. We too need to know this.

To prove His involvement even in these situations, Jesus appeared at the death of the first martyr in Acts (7:55). As Stephen died a martyr’s death, the Master STOOD in respect and LET HIS STANDING BE SEEN. The sight speaks comfort into our darkest hours. If we believe God is with us in situations this inexplicable, we can believe He is with us in EVERY difficulty. Amen!

THE COMFORTS OF GOD DELIGHT MY SOUL!

THE COMFORTS OF GOD DELIGHT MY SOUL!

Susannah Spurgeon (1898)

‘In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.” [Psalm 94:19]

“Thy comforts delight my soul!” Blessed Lord, how sweet is this text in my mouth! The taste of it is “like wafers made with honey.” It is both food and drink to my heart, for every word has joy and refreshing in it; so that, like the “best wine” of the Canticles, it “goes down sweetly.”

The first of Thy comforts, gracious God, is this — that You have said unto my soul, “I am Thy salvation!” He SAVES us, not because of any merit in us, or any deservings of our own; but because sovereign grace CHOSE us, and Divine compassion REDEEMED us. And when we were afar off, infinite pity brought us back, and made us near by the precious blood of Christ. This may well comfort our hearts — coming as it does directly from “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace!” A saved and pardoned sinner can truly say, “THY COMFORTS DELIGHT MY SOUL!”

The next thought is that, having SAVED us — He KEEPS us. “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Comparatively few Christians put GOD’S KEEPING POWER fully to the test. If we would trust Him for the KEEPING, as we do for the SAVING — our lives would be far holier and happier than they are. “I will keep it every moment,” is one of those grandly unlimited promises which most of us are afraid of; and we store them away in the background because we dare not believe them, and bring them out into the light of our DAILY PRACTICE. O foolish and unbelieving hearts, how much of soul-delighting comfort do we thus miss!

Then comes another thought — He CARES for us. Dear friends, if you are His, you know the exceeding comfort of CASTING ALL YOUR CARE UPON HIM — and being quite sure that He will “undertake” for you. Have we not often come to Him oppressed and burdened with an INTOLERABLE WEIGHT OF ANXIETY AND DISTRESS — and been enabled to roll the whole mass of it on Him, leaving it all at His feet, and returning to our work with a lightened and restful heart? Some of us have had burdens and sorrows, which would have crushed the very life out of us — if we had not been enabled to look up and say, “You, O Lord, have helped and comforted me!” Yes, truly, God’s care for us is one of the sweetest comforts of our mortal life!

Closely linked with this, is the thought that He KNOWS all about us. Our enemies — sometimes, even our friends — misunderstand and malign us; they misconstrue our words and actions, and impute to us motives which never actuated us. But our God knows the THOUGHTS and INTENTS of our heart, and never makes a mistake in the judgment He passes on us. The comfort of this knowledge on the Lord’s part, to those who are “suffering wrongfully,” is inexpressibly precious. They can lift up their heads with joy, and say, “The Lord is good. He knows those who trust in Him.” I have known this comfort to so delight my soul, that trials and temptations had no power to vex or annoy it, for my soul was hidden “secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Lastly (though there are many, many more), one of the multitude of thoughts which stand out prominently from the rest, as a comfort which delights the soul — is that He LOVES us. This truth has been running through the fields of previous thought, as a silver streamlet glides through the meadows — here, it would deepen and expand to a broad and fathomless ocean, had I the power to speak of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and to tell of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! But my pen utterly fails here. You who love Him, and know that He loves you — must each one say to himself what that “comfort of His love” is to your own heart. This will be a better commentary than any I can offer.

And, if some poor distressed soul is mourning the loss of the sweet consolation which Christ’s love alone can give — let him call to remembrance a tenderly precious promise which the Lord put into the lips of the prophet Isaiah, “I have seen his ways — but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him!” Isaiah 57:18

GOD’S CARE FOR HIS ELECT

GOD’S CARE FOR HIS ELECT

C.H. Spurgeon

“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Luke 12:27]

So that God cares not only for things that have necessities, as ravens have, but for things that have luxuries, as lilies have! When God does anything, He does it well. He is a grand Housekeeper! He does not measure out so many ounces of bread per diem, as if we were in a workhouse, but, “they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” The lilies might do as well without their golden hues. They might ripen their seed without the lengthened stems that lift them where they can be observed, but God takes more care of them, even, than Solomon did of himself, for, “Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Now, dear children of God, if you trust your Heavenly Father, He will see that you have no cause for care. If you trust Him with your souls, He will not give you a bare salvation, but a rich robe of righteousness to cover all your nakedness! When He does any work, He does it after a better fashion than the wisest of men could do it and, Nature herself, working as she does for the lilies, is only God working in another way! But when God, Himself, without the intervention of the laws of Nature, works in the Kingdom of His Grace, He does it perfectly—He does it gloriously!

If, then, God so clothes the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? Your life is not like that of the grass, or the flower of the field that fades on a summer’s day. God will take care of you and the everlasting things shall have from Him a care greater than He gives to the temporal. Yet how much God really does for flowers—flowers that only open their cups in the morning and shut them in death at night! How much of skill and wisdom there is, even, about them! Shall there not be greater skill and wisdom employed upon you who, when you have once begun to bloom in the Light of God, shall go on blooming, flowering and shedding your perfume throughout the endless ages?

IT IS GOD WHO ASSURES OUR SLEEP

IT IS GOD WHO ASSURES OUR SLEEP

 A.W. Pink

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep”.  [Psalm 127:2]

How often is it now lost sight of that the Lord cares for the bodies of His saints as well as for their souls. This is more or less recognized and owned by believers in the matter of food and clothing, health and strength, but it is widely ignored by many concerning the point we are here treating of.

SLEEP is as imperative for our physical well-being as is food and drink, and the one is as much the GIFT of our heavenly Father as is the other.

We cannot put ourselves to sleep by any effort of will, as those who suffer with insomnia quickly discover. Nor does exercise and manual labour of itself ensure sleep: have you ever lain down almost exhausted and then found you were “too tired to sleep”?

Sleep is a DIVINE GIFT, but the nightly recurrence of it blinds us to the fact.

When is so pleases Him, God withholds sleep, and then we have to say with the Psalmist, “Thou holdest mine eyes waking” (77:4). But that is the exception rather than the rule, and deeply thankful should we be that it is so. Day by day the Lord feeds us, and night by night He “giveth His beloved sleep.” Thus in this little detail—of Elijah’s sleeping under the juniper tree—which we are likely to pass over lightly, we should perceive the gracious hand of God ministering in tenderness to the needs of one who is dear unto Him.

Yes, “the Lord pitieth them that fear Him,” and why? “for He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). He is mindful of our frailty, and tempers His winds accordingly; He is aware when our energies are spent, and graciously renews our strength. It was not God’s design that His servant should die of exhaustion in the wilderness after his long, long flight from Jezreel, so he mercifully refreshes his body with sleep. And thus compassionately does He deal with us.

Alas, how little are we affected by the Lord’s goodness and grace unto us. The unfailing recurrence of His mercies both temporally and spiritually inclines us to take them as a matter of course. So dull of understanding are we, so cold our hearts Godward, it is to be feared that most of the time we fail to realize WHOSE loving hand it is which is ministering to us. Is not this the very reason why we do not begin really to value our health until it is taken from us, and not until we spend night after night tossing upon a bed of pain do we perceive the worth of regular sleep with which we were formerly favored?

And such vile creatures are we that, when illness and insomnia come upon us, instead of improving the same by repenting of our former ingratitude, and humbly confessing the same to God, we murmur and complain at the hardness of our present lot and wonder what we have done to deserve such treatment. O let those of us who are still blessed with good health and regular sleep fail not daily to return thanks for such privileges and earnestly seek grace to use the strength from them to the glory of God.

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Life of Elijah’]

I CAN’T PAY YOU BACK LORD!

I CAN’T PAY YOU BACK LORD!

C.H. Spurgeon

“What shall I render unto the LORD for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the LORD.” [Psalm 116:12,13]

I will take the cup of salvation. “I will take” is a strange answer to the question, “What shall I render?” and yet it is the wisest reply that could possibly be given.

“The best return for one like me,
So wretched and so poor,
Is from His gifts to draw a plea
And ask Him still for more.”

To take the cup of salvation was in itself an act of worship, and it was accompanied with other forms of adoration, hence the Psalmist says, and call upon the name of the LORD. He means that he will utter blessings and thanksgivings and prayers, and then drink of the cup which the Lord had filled with His saving grace. What a cup this is! Upon the table of infinite love stands the cup full of blessing; it is ours by faith to take it in our hand, make it our own, and partake of it, and then with joyful hearts to laud and magnify the gracious One who has filled it for our sakes that we may drink and be refreshed.

We can do this figuratively at the sacramental table, and we can do it spiritually every time we grasp the golden chalice of the covenant, realizing the fulness of blessing which it contains, and by faith receiving its divine contents into our inmost soul. Beloved reader, let us pause here and take a long and deep draught from the cup which Jesus filled, and then with devout hearts let us worship God.

Let God’s afflictions be what they can be, yet I will always acknowledge they can never be in any degree so great as His benefits: and oh, that I could think of something that I might render to Him for all his benefits: for shall I receive such great, such infinite benefits from Him, and shall I render nothing to Him by way of gratefulness? But, alas, WHAT HAVE I TO RENDER? ALL MY RENDERING TO HIM WILL BE BUT TAKING MORE FROM HIM: for all I can do is but to take the cup of salvation, and call upon His Name, and what rendering is there in this taking?

If I could take the cup of tribulation, and drink it off for His sake, this might be a rendering of some value; but this, God knows, is no work for me to do. It was His work, who said, “Can ye drink of the cup, of which I shall drink?” Indeed, HE drank of the cup of tribulation, to the end that WE might take the cup of salvation; but then in taking it we must call upon His name; UPON HIS NAME AND UPON NO OTHER; or else we shall make it a CUP OF CONDEMNATION, seeing there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN, IN WHICH WE MAY BE SAVED, BUT ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS!

I AM A PERVERSE AND UNRULY PATIENT!

I AM A PERVERSE AND UNRULY PATIENT!

(Letters of John Newton)

I am bound to speak well of MY PHYSICIAN – He treats me with great tenderness, and bids me in due time to expect a perfect cure. I know too much of Him (though I know but little) to doubt either His skill or His promise.

It is true, I HAVE SUFFERED SAD RELAPSES since I have been under His care. Yet I confess that the fault has not been His – but my own! I AM A PERVERSE AND UNRULY PATIENT! I have too often neglected His prescriptions, and broken the regimen He appoints me to observe. This PERVERSENESS, joined to the EXCEEDING OBSTINACY OF MY DISORDERS, would have caused me to be turned out as AN INCURABLE long ago–had I been under any other hand but His! Indeed – there is none like Him! When I have BROUGHT MYSELF very low–He has still helped me. Blessed be His name – I am yet kept alive only by means of His perfect care.

Though His medicines are all BENEFICIAL–they are not all PLEASANT. Now and then He gives me a PLEASANT cordial; but I have many severe disorders, in which there is a NEEDS-BE for my frequently taking His BITTER and UNPALATABLE medicines!

We sometimes see published in the newspapers, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OF CURES RECEIVED. Methinks, if I were to publish my own case, that it would run something like this:
“I, John Newton, have long labored under a multitude of grievous disorders:
a fever of ungoverned passions,
a cancer of pride,
a frenzy of wild imaginations,
a severe lethargy, and
a deadly stroke!

In this deplorable situation, I suffered many things from many physicians, spent every penny I had – yet only grew worse and worse!

In this condition, Jesus, the Physician of souls, found me when I sought Him not. He undertook my recovery FREELY, without money and without price – these are His TERMS with all His patients! My FEVER is now abated, my SENSES are restored, my FACULTIES are enlivened! In a word, I AM A NEW MAN! And from His ability, His promise, and the experience of what He has already done – I have the fullest assurance that He will infallibly and perfectly heal me – and that I shall live forever as A MONUMENT OF HIS POWER AND GRACE!”

Hallelujah!