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!

FAITH THE ‘TITLE-DEED’ OF THE BELIEVER

 

 

FAITH THE ‘TITLE-DEED’ OF THE BELIEVER

“Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” [Heb 11:1]

Kenneth Wuest has the following to say about Hupostasis in Hebrews 11:1 in his Wuest Word Studies

THE TITLE-DEED TO ANSWERED PRAYER – “FAITH is the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1 ). The Greek word translated “substance” had a technical meaning in the business world of the first century. It referred to one’s property or effects. It was used in such expressions as “Out of this ESTATE I declare that my husband owes me,” or, “more land than I actually POSSESS,” the capitalicized words being the translation of the word. It was also used to refer to “the whole body of documents bearing on the ownership of a person’s property, deposited in the archives, and forming the evidence of ownership.” Moulton and Milligan in their “Vocabulary of the Greek Testament” say of these uses, “These varied uses are at first sight somewhat perplexing, but in all the cases there is the same central idea of something that underlies visible conditions and guarantees a future possession.” Thus, they translate “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.”

To substantiate this usage, there is in “Living Yesterdays,” a delightful brochure by H. R. Minn, the story of a woman named Dionysia. She is described as “a woman of set jaw and grim determination.” It seems that she had lost a case in a local court over a piece of land to which she laid claim. Not satisfied with the decision of a lower court, she determined to take her case to a higher court in Alexandria. She sent her slave to that city, with the legal documents safely encased in a stone box. On the way, the slave lost his life in a fire, which destroyed the inn where he had put up for the night. For 2,000 years, the sands of the desert covered the ruins of the inn, the charred bones of the slave, and the stone box.

Archaeologists have recently uncovered these remains. In the box, they found the legal documents. They read the note, which this woman had sent to the judge in Alexandria, “In order that my lord the judge may know that my appeal is just, I attach my HUPOSTASIS.” That which was attached to this note, she designated by the Greek word translated “substance” in Heb. 11:1. The attached document was translated and found to be the title-deed to the piece of land, which she claimed as her own possession, the evidence of her ownership.

What a flood of light is thrown upon this teaching regarding faith. The act of exercising true faith as one prays, or as one leans on the resources of God, is itself the title-deed or evidence of the sure answer to our prayer or the unfailing source of the divine supply. It is God’s guarantee in advance that we already possess the things asked for. They may still be in His hands, awaiting the proper time for their delivery, but they are ours. If the answers to our prayers are not forthcoming at once, let us rest content with the title-deed, which God has given us, namely, a Holy Spirit energized act of faith. We may be absolutely certain that our God will honor this title-deed at the right moment.

When you own property, you are given a ‘title-deed’ to prove your ownership . . . it is yours, and no-one can take it from you. Your God given ‘faith,’ is a title-deed that God holds on your behalf, His promised land. No-one can take this from you . . . there is no persuasion or pressure that can change your ‘stance.’. . . because of its ‘substance’ . . . He stands under you. You can own something that you do not see, and it is no less yours.

“Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” [Heb 11:1]

GOD ORDAINS AND PURPOSES ALL THINGS!

GOD ORDAINS AND PURPOSES ALL THINGS!

God is not a fortuneteller, a soothsayer, a mere predictor. He doesn’t have a crystal ball. He knows what’s coming because He plans what’s coming and He performs what He plans. In Isaiah 46:10 He says “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all My purpose!” He does not form purposes and wonder if someone else will take responsibility to make them happen. “I will accomplish all My purpose!”

So, based on this text, here’s what I mean by the sovereignty of God: God has the rightful authority, the freedom, the wisdom, and the power to bring about everything that He intends to happen. And therefore, everything He intends to come about does come about. Which means, God plans and governs all things.

When He says, “I will accomplish all My purpose,” He means, “Nothing happens except what is My purpose.” If something happened that God did not purpose to happen, He would say, “That’s not what I purposed to happen.” And we would ask, “What did You purpose to happen?” And He would say, “I purposed this other thing to happen which didn’t happen.” To which we would all say, then, “But You said in Isaiah 46:10, ‘I will accomplish all My purpose.’” And He would say, “That’s right.” Therefore, what God means in Isaiah 46:10 is that nothing has ever happened, or will ever happen that God did not purpose to happen. Or to put it positively: Everything that happened or will happen is purposed by God to happen.

“God worketh ALL THINGS after the counsel of His own will!” [Eph 1:11]

Hallelujah!

[Quoted from desiringgod.org]

THE GOD WHO TEACHES YOU TO FLY

THE GOD WHO TEACHES YOU TO FLY

C.H. Spurgeon

“Underneath are the Everlasting Arms.” [Deut 33:27]

This short passage is found in the midst of a mass of gold—sentences containing the richest treasures of the Truth of God. All this spiritual wealth is the heritage of the people of God—not only of His typical people to whom these words were spoken, but to His real people, the true seed of Abraham, those who are the believing children of the Father of all Believers.

If you are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, you may take these precious words home to yourself—and you may live upon them—you may eat the fat, drink the sweet and rejoice in all the refreshment that they bring to your spirit! In the four verses, from the 26th to the 29th, notice how near God is said to be to His people. He is described as being above us, arching us over with His Divine Power—“There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky. .” Faith can hear the trump of the celestial cavalry above our heads!

We who trust in the Lord are always safe, for the angels of God are looking down upon us from the battlements of Heaven, ready to show themselves strong on our behalf as soon as their presence is needed by us. Then, our text tells us of God beneath us. As He is above us in the heavens, so underneath us are the everlasting arms. The next sentence shows us God before us—“and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

And the remaining verses of the chapter represent Him as being all around us, so that we are encompassed with God—not only with His Presence, with which He fills Heaven, earth and all deep places—but with the glorious Presence of His mighty love. He is above, beneath, before, and all around us! He never forsakes us, for in Him we live, move, and have our being. Let us rejoice, therefore, in our Lord’s nearness!

IT’S A GOOD THING WHEN YOU FEEL UTTERLY UNWORTHY

IT’S A GOOD THING WHEN YOU FEEL UTTERLY UNWORTHY

C.H. Spurgeon

“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” [Proverbs 16:2.]

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. It is this: let us come my brethren, all of us, to the place of confession of sin and acknowledge that we have broken God’s law, and deserve his just displeasure. Let us go by the help of his Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of supplication, and let us confess the depravity of our nature and the error of our hearts.

Let us pray that instead of thinking our ways clean, we may know them to be foul, may mourn over them, and may learn to see them as God sees them, as crooked ways and wrong ways in themselves not to be boasted of, but to be remembered with shame and confusion of face. Blessed is he who is delivered from any rejoicing in himself. Happy is that man who can see no speck of soundness in his own flesh, but who feels that the leprosy of sin hath covered him without and within from head to foot.

And brethren, if we come to such deep humiliation of spirit, the next word is this: let us go together to the great salvation which God has provided in the person of Christ Jesus. Come, linking hand in hand, saint and sinner, now all sinners consciously, let us stand and see where sin has pierced the body of the blessed Substitute with yonder bleeding wounds. Let us read the lines of grief written upon that blessed face; let us gaze into the depth of His soul filled with an ocean of anguish, lashed to a tempest of suffering; let us believe that He suffered in our stead and so roll our sin and our sinfulness on him. Jesus, accept a sinner, a poor sinner still; though these twenty years I have known Thy name, yet still a sinner I come to Thee, the chief of sinners!

Ah, brethren and sisters, we are never safer I am sure, never healthier, never in a better frame than when we are right flat down on the ground before the cross.

WHEN YOU FEEL YOURSELF TO BE UTTERLY UNWORTHY YOU HAVE HIT THE TRUTH.

When you think you are doing something and are rich and flourishing, you are poor, and naked, and miserable; but when you are consciously weak and sinful, then you are rich. When you are weak you are strong; but O God, save us from letting our ways seem clean in our own sight, but may we weigh our spirits by the help of thy Spirit, and condemn ourselves that we may not be condemned of the Lord.

The Lord bless you richly and freely for His Name’s sake. Amen.

THE GOD WHO REMEMBERERS

THE GOD WHO REMEMBERERS

A.W. Pink

“Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever.” [Psalm 136:23

“Who remembered us.” This is in striking and blessed contrast from our forgettings of Him. Like every other faculty of our beings, the memory has been affected by the Fall and bears on it the marks of depravity. This is seen from its power to retain what is worthless and the difficulty encountered to hold fast that which is good. A foolish nursery-rhyme or song heard in youth, is carried with us to the grave; a helpful sermon is forgotten within twenty-four hours! But most tragic and solemn of all is the ease with which we forget God and His countless mercies. But, blessed be His name, God never forgets us. He is the faithful Rememberer.

We were very much impressed when, on consulting the concordance, we found that the first five times the word “remember” is used in Scripture, in each case it is connected with God. “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark” (Gen. 8:1). “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Gen. 9:16). “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt” (Gen. 19:29), etc. The first time it is used of man we read, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him” (Gen. 40:23)!

The historical reference here is to the children of Israel, when they were toiling amid the brick-kilns of Egypt. Truly they were in a “low estate”: a nation of slaves, groaning beneath the lash of merciless task-masters, oppressed by a godless and heartless king. But when there was none other eye to pity, Jehovah looked upon them and heard their cries of distress. He “remembered” them in their low estate. And why? Exodus 2:24,25 tells us: “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto it.”

Our text is not to be limited to the literal seed of Abraham: it has reference to the whole “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). The saints of this present Day of salvation also unite in saying, “Who remembered us in our low estate.” How “low” was our “estate” by nature! As fallen creatures we lay in our misery and wretchedness, unable to deliver or help ourselves. But, in wondrous grace, God took pity on us. His strong arm reached down and rescued us. He came to where we lay, saw us, and had compassion on us (Luke 10:33). Therefore can each Christian say, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” (Psa. 40:2).

And why did He “remember” us? The very word “remember” tells of previous thoughts of love and mercy towards us. As it was with the children of Israel in Egypt, so it was with us in our ruined condition by nature. He “remembered” His covenant, that covenant into which He had entered with our Surety from everlasting. As we read in Titus 1:2 of eternal life “which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world was. Promised to Christ, that He would give that eternal life to those for whom our covenant Head should transact. Yes, God “remembered” that He had “chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), therefore did He, in due time, bring us from death unto life.

Yet this blessed word goes beyond our initial experience of God’s saving grace. Historically, our text refers not only to God remembering His people while they were in Egypt, but also, as the context shows, while they were in the Wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land. Israel’s experiences in the desert but foreshadow the saints’ walk through this hostile world. And Jehovah’s “remembrance” of them, manifested in the daily supply of their every need, adumbrated the rich provisions of His grace for us while we journey to our Home on High. Our present estate, here on earth, is but a lowly one, for we do not now reign as kings. Yet, is our God ever mindful of us, and hourly does He minister to us.

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” Not always are we permitted to dwell upon the mount. As in the natural world, so in our experiences. Bright and sunny days give place to dark and cloudy ones: summer is followed by winter. Disappointments, losses, afflictions, bereavements came our way, and we were brought low. And ofttimes just when we seemed to most need the comfort of friends, they failed us. Those we counted on to help, forgot us. But, even then, there was One “who remembered us” and showed Himself to be “the same yesterday and today and forever,” and then did we prove afresh that “His mercy endureth forever” (1 Chron. 16:34)

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” There are some who may read these lines that will think of another application of these words: namely, the time when you left your first love, when your heart grew cold, and your life became worldly. When you were in a sadly back-slidden state. Then, indeed, was your estate a low one; yet even then did our faithful God “remember” thee. Yes, each of us has cause to say with the Psalmist “He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (23:3).

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” Still another application of these words may be made, namely, to the last great crisis of the saint, as he passes out of this world. As the vital spark of the body grows dim and nature fails, then too is our “estate” low. But then also the Lord remembereth us, for “His mercy endureth for ever. Man’s extremity is but God’s opportunity. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is then that he “remembers” us by making good His comforting promises, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (Isa. 41:10).

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” Surely this text will furnish us with suitable words to express our thanksgiving when we are at Home, present with the Lord. How we shall then praise Him for His covenant faithfulness, His matchless grace, and His loving kindness, for having “remembered us in our low estate! Then shall we know, even as we are known. Our very memories will be renewed, perfected, and we shall remember all the way the Lord our God hath led us” (Deut. 8:2), recalling with gratitude and joy His faithful remembrances, acknowledging with adoration that “His mercy endureth for ever.”

THE CHISEL OF AFFLICTION!

THE CHISEL OF AFFLICTION!

Charles Naylor

[Editor’s note: Naylor is peculiarly qualified to write on affliction by his training in the SCHOOL OF SUFFERING. As a young evangelist, Naylor was severely injured in an accident. For forty-one years as an invalid, he lay day and night on a bed of pain as a constant sufferer.]

“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His HOLINESS. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE for those who have been trained by it!” Hebrews 12:10-11

One thing very difficult for many Christians to learn, is that the CHASTENING ROD of God is applied in love, not in anger. We are told that God “scourges every son whom He receives,” and that that scourging is the proof of our sonship. So often people are inclined to take God’s chastisement as an evidence that they are no longer His sons. They look upon it as a mark of God’s disapproval–or even of His anger. But Scripture tells us that His chastening is for our profit. He does it not for His own pleasure–but that we may be made HOLIER by it. It is a mark of His love. He says, “As many as I LOVE–I rebuke and chasten!” Revelation 3:19

Note carefully God’s attitude in His chastening in Hebrews 12. We are all ready to admit the truth of the eleventh verse, “No chastening for the present seems to be joyous–but grievous.” None of us like to be chastened–but yet it is necessary; out of chastening come the fruits of righteousness. When the Lord chastens us, therefore, let us bear it with meekness. Let us profit by it. Let us neither be grieved nor discouraged.

GOLD is purified in the furnace. It is not destroyed–it is made the better by the flames.

In the same way, every believer must pass through the furnace. The purpose of the furnace is . . .
that we may be purged from our dross,
that our graces may be refined,
that we may be rid of worldliness,
that we may be made more holy.

If you and I have to pass through THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION or sorrow, of losses or failures–then let us submit ourselves to the hand of God. Let us not question either His mercy or His goodness.

We must often endure the chisel of affliction, as God carves us into His image. We desire to be in His image. We desire to be godlike in character. Remember that God only afflicts for our good. Like the surgeon, God does not hurt willingly–but only of necessity.

In our times of trouble, He would have us run into His arms and tell Him all our troubles, our questionings, our heartaches!

GOD NEVER FORSAKES HIS CHOSEN

GOD NEVER FORSAKES HIS CHOSEN

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken – Psalm 37:25

Here is David’s testimony: although I have seen many adventures as a youth, and faced many struggles throughout my life, I have never yet seen God neglect one of His children or forsake the godly when they are in need.

David was a man of action, a prominent ruler, and a longtime servant of God. This was not a man who lacked experience, or had hid in a corner, or had recently joined the ranks of godly men. And his declaration is that—in all his years of service, in the great variety of his circumstances—he has never, even once, seen the godly forsaken or left uncared for!

But there seems to be even more behind David’s statement than mere observation. He admits that he is now old. He has seen many other saints grow old, and even die, throughout his lifetime. And now that he is facing old age himself, he looks back on his past observations in order to draw present comfort.

“If God has never forsaken any of His servants in the past, then he will not forsake me now,” David seems to be saying. “Just as I have seen Samuel, and my father, and many others grow old—and God remained faithful to them to the end—God will be with me to the end, as well.”

Dear believer, God was faithful to David; and he will be faithful to you. He has never yet failed to make good on a single one of His promises; he will be with you through the challenges of youth, and in the losses and pains of old age.

[From the Baptist Devotional]

WHEN TO REJOICE

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WHEN TO REJOICE

“Rejoice evermore!” [1Thes 5:16]

If you only rejoice when things are perfect, you may not be rejoicing very much in THIS life. . . . because, a lot of things go wrong in this life especially if you’re a true Christian!

Why miss out on something so pleasant as rejoicing in the Lord?

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer!” [Romans 12:12]

You can rejoice in hope! That means to rejoicing ahead of time.

Why? Because you EXPECT deliverance. You know God’s blessing is coming your way — because GOD IS FAITHFUL. So rejoice now! “I had fainted, UNLESS I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” [Psalm 27:13]

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!”

God NEVER changes. He’s ALWAYS good. Focus on Him and you will have something to rejoice about.

If nothing else at least thank God that you are not already in Hell which you deserve to be; and that God in His mercy has had pity on you and has given commandment to save you!

“Be Thou my strong habitation (O God!), whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast GIVEN COMMANDMENT TO SAVE ME; for Thou art my rock and my fortress!” [Psalm 71:3]

I will rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!

Hallelujah!

Love
Michael Jeshurun