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Tag Archives: Love

Happy Monday: Romantically Challenged

“I don’t think that’s what the Ephesians 5 passage means…”

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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Video

 

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Giving and Getting

Giving and Getting

Giving to get and getting to give… today’s Morning and Evening highlights the reciprocal nature of providing for others.

The best medicines typically oppose our inclinations. Need comfort? Be a comfort to someone else. There is so much benefit in serving others, but those gains are not our only motivators. As Christ’s servants, we have been called to the task. Galatians 5:13-14 says…

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered. — Proverbs 11:25

We are taught here the great lesson that to get, we must give; to accumulate, we must scatter; to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and unused gifts that become apparent by exercise. Our strength for work is even hidden from ourselves until we take our stand and fight the Lord’s battles or climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow’s tears and soothe the orphan’s grief.

We often find in attempting to teach others that we gain instruction for ourselves. What gracious lessons some of us have learned in visiting the sick! We went to teach the Scriptures, and we came away blushing that our knowledge of them was so poor. In our conversation with humble saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it, and how much the humble saint may outstrip us in knowledge.

Our own comfort is also increased by working for others. We endeavor to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Consider the two men in the snow—one massaged the other’s limbs to keep him from dying, and in doing so kept his own blood circulating and saved his own life. Remember the poor widow who supplied the prophet’s needs from her own meager resources, and from that day she never experienced need again. Give, and it will be given to you—good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Devotional

 

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The Loving Knot

The Loving Knot

Christians do not fall in and out of their love for Christ. It is impossible for those who have truly been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to abandon the faith. As new creations, we are not capable of mutating back into God-haters and Christ-rejectors.

Today’s Morning and Evening reminds us that a true believer’s love for Christ will rightly deepen and persevere to the very end.

But what about those who share in the Holy Spirit and fall away (Hebrews 6:4-6)? In a sermon on this passage, Charles Spurgeon makes the helpful distinction between falling and falling away. He illustrates the concept with the disparity between fainting and dying. A fainting Christian may fall to the ground and appear dead for a while, but he will rise again once consciousness returns. Not so with a dead man.

Transformed sinners occasionally fall but never fall away. We may live in a season of unconfessed sin as David did… or, like Peter, deny our Lord with curses… but the undead heart will always return to its senses. We are bound together with Christ. Nothing can separate us from His love and nothing is capable of ultimately destroying the believer’s love for Him. As today’s devotional states,

Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Rightly do they love you. — Song of Solomon 1:4

Believers love Jesus with a deeper affection then they dare to give to any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother than part with Christ. They hold all earthly comforts with a loose hand, but they carry Him locked tight in their hearts. They voluntarily deny themselves for His sake, but they are not to be driven to deny Him. It is a feeble love that the fire of persecution can dry up; the true believer’s love is a deeper stream than this.

Men have tried to divide the faithful from their Master, but their attempts have been fruitless in every age. Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot. This is not just a routine attachment that the world’s power may eventually dissolve. Neither man nor devil have found a key that opens this lock. Never has the craft of Satan been more at fault than when he has exercised it in seeking to break this union of two divinely welded hearts. It is written, and nothing can blot out the sentence, “Rightly do they love you.” The intensity of the love of the upright, however, is not so much to be judged by how it appears as by what the upright long for.

It is our daily lament that we cannot love enough. If only our hearts were capable of holding more and reaching further. Like Samuel Rutherford, we sigh and cry, “Oh, for as much love as would go round about the earth, and over heaven—yes, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds—that I might expand it all upon this fairest Lord Jesus.” Unfortunately, our longest reach is only a span of love, and our affection is like a drop in a bucket compared with what He deserves. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is strong indeed; we trust that the Lord judges it in this way. If only we could give all the love in all hearts in one great offering, a gathering together of all loves to Him who is altogether lovely!

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Private Prayer

Private Prayer

John Bunyan once said, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” Prayer should characterize the daily conduct of our lives. It ignites the soul with godly passions and holy trajectory. It is essential to the vitality of our walk with Christ. As Paul commanded the believers in Rome…

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. — Romans 12:12

Today’s Morning and Evening is an encouragement to continually engage in private prayer. Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually;
it shall not go out. — Leviticus 6:13

Keep the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety. The sanctuary and family altars borrow their fires here; therefore let this burn well. Secret devotion is the very essence, evidence, and barometer of vital and experimental [experiential] religion.

Burn here the fat of your sacrifices. Let your closet seasons be, if possible, regular, frequent, and undisturbed. Effectual prayer avails much. Have you nothing to pray for? Let us suggest the church, the ministry, your own soul, your children, your relations, your neighbors, your country, and the cause of God and truth throughout the world.

Let us examine ourselves on this important matter. Do we engage with lukewarmness in private devotion? Is the fire of devotion burning dimly in our hearts? Do the chariot wheels drag heavily? If so, let us be alarmed at this sign of decay. Let us go with weeping, and ask for the Spirit of grace and of supplications. Let us set apart special seasons for extraordinary prayer. For if this fire should be smothered beneath the ashes of a worldly conformity, it will dim the fire on the family altar and lessen our influence both in the church and in the world.

The text will also apply to the altar of the heart. This is a golden altar indeed. God loves to see the hearts of His people glowing toward Himself. Let us give to God our hearts, all blazing with love, and seek His grace, that the fire may never be quenched, for it will not burn if the Lord does not keep it burning. Many foes will attempt to extinguish it; but if the unseen hand behind the wall pours on the sacred oil, it will blaze higher and higher. Let us use texts of Scripture as fuel for our heart’s fire; they are live coals. Let us attend to sermons, but above all, let us be much alone with Jesus.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Devotional

 

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The Source of Love

The Source of Love

This morning’s Morning and Evening comes from one of my favorite New Testament books, 1 John. As Spurgeon says, “This truth is foundational, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us.” Every day is a good day to remember the source of our love. He loved us while we were unlovable (and continues to do so).

Even the marriage relationship is built upon Christ’s perfect love for the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). In every way, Christ sets the standard. If He had not intervened, we would never have loved Him. If it were still up to us, we would never last. His love is flawless, complete, and eternal. Not one drop of the Savior’s blood fell in vain. His sacrificial love should motivate us to love sacrificially. Why do we love? Because He first loved us.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. — Psalm 138:8

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

We love because He first loved us. — 1 John 4:19

There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and there is no true love for Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the Lord Jesus Himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring.

This truth is foundational, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us. Our love for Him is the result of His love for us. When studying the works of God, anyone may respond with cold admiration, but the warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God’s Spirit.

What a wonder that any of us, knowing what we’re like, should ever have been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvelous that when we had rebelled against Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. We would never have had a grain of love toward God unless it had been sown in us by the sweet seed of His love for us.

Love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: But after it is divinely born, it must be divinely nourished. It is not like a plant, which will flourish naturally in human soil—it must be watered from above. Love for Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts, it would soon wither. As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on high. Love must feed on love. The very soul and life of our love for God is His love for us.

I love Thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord; but all the love is Thine,
For by Thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in Thee.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Matchless Love

Matchless Love

This morning’s Morning and Evening highlights the measure of Christ’s love. Undoubtedly, Spurgeon knew he could not do the subject justice when he quickly asked the question, “Where can we find the words to describe His matchless, His unparalleled love toward the children of men?” The right words could never exist. So Spurgeon did the next best thing any of us can do…

In Philippians 4:7, Paul refers to:

“the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”

In today’s passage, Ephesians 3:19, he prays for his readers to know:

“the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”

What tremendous benefits! The peace of God and the love of Christ are beyond our capacity for comprehension. And yet, we are given both. These glories of the Godhead are not only available, but inexhaustible. As Spurgeon says so well, “It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow simply skims the water without diving into its depths, so all descriptive words merely touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie below.”


The love of Christ surpasses all knowledge, but that does not mean His love is unknowable. We simply cannot comprehend how far it goes. Praise the Lord for His matchless love!

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

…to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge… — Ephesians 3:19

The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness passes all human comprehension. Where can we find the words to describe His matchless, His unparalleled love toward the children of men? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow simply skims the water without diving into its depths, so all descriptive words merely touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie below. Well might the poet say,

O love, thou fathomless abyss!

For this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless; no one can fully comprehend it. Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand His previous glory in its height of majesty, and His incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. But who can tell us the majesty of Christ? When He was enthroned in the highest heavens He was very God of very God. By Him the heavens were made, and all its inhabitants. His own almighty arm upheld the spheres; the praises of cherubim and seraphim perpetually surrounded Him; the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe flowed without ceasing to the foot of his throne. He reigned supreme above all His creatures, God over all, blessed forever.

Who can tell His height of glory then? And who, on the other hand, can tell how low He descended? To be a man was something; to be a man of sorrows was far more. To bleed and die and suffer—these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony—to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father—this is a depth of condescending love that the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom. Herein is love! And truly it is love that “surpasses knowledge.”

O let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude and lead us to practical demonstrations of its power.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Immutable

Immutable

My world has always contained electrical outlets, air conditioning, and running water.  Processed foods, airplanes, live broadcasts, telephone poles, videogames, satellites, flu shots… and that doesn’t scratch the surface. Modern life on this planet is strange. The exponential increase of knowledge since the Industrial Revolution is staggering. No civilization in the history of man has ever worked, traveled, eaten, or relaxed the way so many of us do. And the world keeps changing. Science Fiction is today’s Nonfiction.

This morning’s Morning and Evening is enough to fire the groggiest sleeper awake. The immutable nature of our Creator, Savior, and King should hasten our hearts and strengthen our bones with confident affections. Google Earth is still God’s Earth. He never changes. His laws, His love, His character; all remain the same as they always have, true today and forever.

Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

For I the LORD do not change…
— Malachi 3:6

It is just as well for us that in all the variableness of life there is One whom change cannot affect, One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow inconsistency can make no furrows.

All other things have changed—all things are changing. The sun grows dim with age; the world is growing old; the final chapter of the worn-out vesture has begun; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they will perish-they shall grow old like a garment. But there is One who only has immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change.

The delight that the sailor feels when, having been tossed about on the waves, he steps again upon the solid shore is the satisfaction of a Christian when, in all the changes of this distressing life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth—”I the LORD do not change.” The stability that the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a solid hold is like that which the Christian’s hope provides him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God “there is no variation or shadow due to change.”1

Whatever His attributes were in the past, they are now; His power, His wisdom, His justice, His truth are unchanged. He has forever been the refuge of His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is still their sure Helper. He is unchanged in His love. He has loved His people with “an everlasting love”;2 He loves them now as much as ever He did, and when the creation itself is set free from its bondage to decay, His love will still endure. Precious is the assurance that He does not change! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.

Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love.

1James 1:17 2Jeremiah 31:3

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2013 in Devotional

 

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