Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Lord's Answered Prayer

Amid Charles Haddon Spurgeon's Morning & Evening devotionals, I found this one especially edifying, based on John 17:24--

O DEATH! why dost thou touch the tree beneath whose spreading branches weariness hath rest? Why dost thou snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom is all our delight? If thou must use thine axe, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; thou mightst be thanked then. But why wilt thou fell the goodly cedars of Lebanon? Oh, stay thine axe, and spare the righteous. But no, it must not be; death smites the goodliest of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus’ prevailing prayer—“Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” It is that which bears them on eagle’s wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ’s prayer. A good old divine remarks, “Many times Jesus and His people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say ‘Father, I will that Thy saints be with me where I am;’ Christ says, ‘Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’” Thus the disciple is at cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice; if the King should step from His throne, and say, “Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another; which shall be answered?” Oh! I am sure, though it were agony, you would start from your feet, and say, “Jesus, not my will, but Thine be done.” You would give up your prayer for your loved one’s life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction—“Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” Lord, Thou shalt have them. By faith we let them go.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Regrets: hauntings of guilt wistfully mixed with wondering "what might have been." Second guessings slip so easily into self-pity, pleasing self and the flesh, taking sides against God's sovereignty. Strengthened by complaining, self-pity bleeds into bitterness, urging anger on in its relentless rebellion. Allowed time to linger, and sinking roots deep into the soul's soil, bitterness produces fruit most devastating: a seared conscience, broken fellowship, and spiritual blight.

"Grant grace, Father, to heighten our sensitivity to sin's subtlety, to our enemy's strategies of erosion. Strengthen our resolve to walk in Your Spirit, to hide Your Word in our heart that we may not sin against You, and to put on the armor You've so graciously provided. Restore our awareness of the warfare, and what is at stake, eternally. Be pleased to deepen our love for You, to cherish You, to please You in all things.
In the Lord Jesus' Name,

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Isaiah 41:10

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

At the core of cowardice is unbelief, the refusal to faith God. Fear focuses on self and circumstances, rather than looking to our Lord and His unfailing sufficiency.

Why so many commands in Scripture to refuse fear?

My loving Lord knows how powerfully the enemy wields this weapon against my soul. Through His multiple admonitions He is calling Satan's bluff, revealing time and again the truth that He in me is INDEED greater than he who is in the world! (I John 4:4)

Ephesians 2:8b,9

"that (salvation) [is] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

Before salvation, man worships at the altar of himself, deciding what is good or bad, true or false by his own sense of right and wrong. However consistently he may or may not live up to his own standard, there is yet the desperate hope that God will accept his attempts at goodness as sufficient for entrance into heaven in the end.
After all, he reasons, nobody's perfect. And God's in the forgiving business. Besides, everyone will eventually get to heaven anyway, right?
What is missed in this vain thinking is the eternal seriousness of sin's consequences in the light of God's absolute holiness.
Not comprehending (much less experiencing) God's perfect holiness, man simply ignores it, preferring to focus on a warped perception of His love, for hope. But this is whistling in the wind. For God is not mocked; neither does His holiness change.
Whatever man may wish, prefer, hope, or speculate, there is salvation in no one but the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and He alone, satisfied by His sinless life and atoning death the righteous requirement of God's holiness affronted. No human deeds, however noble, could possibly earn or deserve the salvation provided freely by the Lord Jesus. To even try is to insult His grace.