Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Let us examine ourselves lest we become conceited: C.H. Spurgeon

“But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon, to ask about the miraculous sign that occurred in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.”

2 Chronicles 32:31
King Hezekiah was growing so inwardly great, and priding himself so much upon the favour of God, that self-righteousness crept in, and through his carnal security, the grace of God was for a time, in its more active operations, withdrawn. Here is quite enough to account for his folly with the Babylonians; for if the grace of God should leave the best Christian, there is enough of sin in his heart to make him the worst of transgressors. If left to yourselves, you who are warmest for Christ would cool down like Laodicea into sickening lukewarmness: you who are sound in the faith would be white with the leprosy of false doctrine; you who now walk before the Lord in excellency and integrity would reel to and fro, and stagger with a drunkenness of evil passion. Like the moon, we borrow our light; bright as we are when grace shines on us, we are darkness itself when the Sun of Righteousness withdraws himself.

Therefore let us cry to God never to leave us. “Lord, don't take your Holy Spirit from us! Don't withdraw your indwelling grace from us! Have you not said, ‘I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day’? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we are not overcome by giddiness through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therefore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us labouring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need thee, O our God!”

Sunday, 27 June 2010


I often think that to be a friend of God is a greater honour than to be a child of God. At a natural level, though a child is bound to their father by blood, a friend is bound together only by love. Many children can not be regarded as friends of their parents, many rebel or fall out,perhaps never speaking to those who have given them birth for many years! But a true friend will stay close through thick and thin -in sickness and in health.Having said that the blessings and privileges attached to knowing God as Father are immense and our goal should be to become both a good son or daughter and at the same time a good friend!
One of my favourite periods of Church history was the time of the Pre-Reformation mystics, some of whom were known as 'the friends of God', two of which included the Johan Tauler and Henry Suso.To me there is no greater honour than to be a friend of God and in the verse that Andrew Murray comments on we see that Christ himself calls us to be that friend but what is more, He becomes a friend to us.For this I would say to you-give up all you have this friendship, for he who has Christ as his friend, though he is poor as regards earthly wealth, they will at once have everything they need in Him. As the Great hymn writer Charles Wesley wrote: Thou O Christ art all I want, More than all in Thee I find! Today draw near to him and speak to him as a friend speaks to his friend. AK

No Longer Do I Call You Servants; for the Servant does not know what His Lord Does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known to You—John 15.15

The highest proof of true friendship, and one great source of its blessedness, is the intimacy that holds nothing back, and admits the friend to share our inmost secrets. It is a blessed thing to be Christ’s servant; His redeemed ones delight to call themselves His slaves. Christ had often spoken of the disciples as His servants. In His great love our Lord now says: “No longer do I call you servants”; with the coming of the Holy Spirit a new era was to be inaugurated. “The servant does not know what his Lord does”—he has to obey without being consulted or admitted into the secret of all his master’s plans. “But, I have called you friends, for all things I heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Christ’s friends share with Him in all the secrets the Father has entrusted to Him.
Let us think what this means. When Christ spoke of keeping His Father’s commandments, He did not mean merely what was written in Holy Scripture, but those special commandments which were communicated to Him day by day, and from hour to hour. It was of these He said: “The Father loves the Son, and shows him all the things that he does, and he will show him greater things.” All that Christ did was God’s working. God showed it to Christ, so that He carried out the Father’s will and purpose, not, as man often does, blindly and unintelligently, but with full understanding and approval. As one who stood in God’s counsel, He knew God’s plan.
And this now is the blessedness of being Christ’s friends, that we do not, as servants, do His will without much spiritual insight into its meaning and aim, but are admitted, as an inner circle, into some knowledge of God’s more secret thoughts. From the Day of Pentecost on, by the Holy Spirit, Christ was to lead His disciples into the spiritual apprehension of the mysteries of the kingdom, of which He had hitherto spoken only by parables.
Friendship delights in fellowship. Friends hold council. Friends dare trust to each other what they would not for anything have others know. What is it that gives a Christian access to this holy intimacy with Jesus? That gives him the spiritual capacity for receiving the communications Christ has to make of what the Father has shown Him? “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” It is loving obedience that purifies the soul. That refers not only to the commandments of the Word, but to that blessed application of the Word to our daily life, which none but our Lord Himself can give. But as these are waited for in dependence and humility, and faithfully obeyed, the soul becomes fitted for ever closer fellowship, and the daily life may become a continual experience: “I have called you friends; for all things I have heard from my Father, I have made known unto you.”
I have called you friends. What an unspeakable honour! What a heavenly privilege! O Saviour, speak the word with power into my soul: “I have called you My friend, whom I love, whom I trust, to whom I make known all that passes between my Father and Me.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Security in Insecure Times!

I like this article of Spurgeon particularly because it speaks to many people who are facing pressure because of the present economic recession in the world- but our problem need not necessarily be a financial one, it may equally be another pressure or insecurity we are confronting. The article also reminds us of the many things we have in Christ that neither man, economic depression or the devil can take away from us! Though it was written over a hundred years ago the truth it speaks is just as relevant today as it was then!

Another verse that I would encourage you with are the well known words of Solomon :'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding'. How often we look to self and our own strength to find the answer when we should be looking to God. AK

That those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”
Hebrews 12:27

We have many things in our possession at the present moment which can be shaken, and it ill becomes a Christian man to set much store by them, for there is nothing stable beneath these rolling skies; change is written upon all things. Yet, we have certain “things which cannot be shaken,” and I invite you to think of them, that if the things which can be shaken should all be taken away, you may derive real comfort from the things that cannot be shaken, which will remain.

Whatever your losses have been, or may be, you enjoy present salvation. You are standing at the foot of his cross, trusting alone in the merit of Jesus’ precious blood, and no rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation in him; no breaking of banks, no failures and bankruptcies can touch that. Then you are a child of God today. God is your Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. Although by losses brought to poverty, and stripped bare, you can say, “He is my Father still. In my Father’s house are many mansions; therefore will I not be troubled.” You have another permanent blessing, namely, the love of Jesus Christ. He who is God and Man loves you with all the strength of his affectionate nature—nothing can affect that. The fig tree may not blossom, and the flocks may cease from the field, it matters not to the man who can sing, “My Beloved is mine, and I am his.”

Our best portion and richest heritage we cannot lose. Whatever troubles come, let us play the man; let us show that we are not such little children as to be cast down by what may happen in this poor fleeting state of time. Our country is Immanuel’s land, our hope is above the sky, and therefore, calm as the summer’s ocean; we will see the wreck of everything earthborn, and yet rejoice in the God of our salvation.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

How much should Christians love the lost?

In thinking about this question we must also consider the two great commandments- to love the Lord our God with all our hearts,with all our souls, with all our strength and with all our mind; and to love our neighbour as ourselves.If we truly love God the second will come as a natural consequent of the first. It should also be understood that we as human beings do not have a natural love for God and the love we do have for our fellow human is usually based on selfishness -that is, what we can get out of it.However when the light of the gospel and God's love dawns on us we begin to change.John tells us that we love because He first loved us and Paul declares that 'the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us'.Paul also tells us that it is a fruit of the Spirit and that without this love,that though we give up all we have for God,it counts for nothing!

So what about the Christian and his relationship with lost humanity-what should his attitude be? Scripture is very clear throughout its pages. From Moses who prayed that God would take his life in order to spare the people of Israel to Paul who stated that he would wish that he himself were cursed in order that his fellow countrymen would be saved, it shows us that we must be prepared to put our lives on the line for the lost.Jesus was of course the perfect example when he laid down his life for us on the cross and took the punishment for our sin in order that we might go free.

I am tempted to say it is only the spiritually mature who will have this attitude-perhaps this is true, but it does not necessarily have to do with the length of years a person has been a Christian. A young Christian fully grasping the love of God in his own life might easily be prepared to lay down his life for God and the lost, whereas sadly it is often the older Christian, whose love has become lukewarm, who would rarely dare countenance such a thought.

The preacher Charles Spurgeon expresses the essence of my thoughts more eloquently that I in the follow paragraph, and my prayer is that it would stir our hearts in prayer and action for our unsaved friends and family as well as the myriads of people that we meet throughout our lives.AK

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set its heart. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Christ's Charge to Harvest Hands

Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
"Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

"When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.

"When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry—but it's no concern of yours now.

"Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.

"Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.

"When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.

"A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, 'Dungface,' what can the workers expect?

"Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now.

"Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.