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Bad News Bearings

Bad News Bearings

No one eagerly anticipates the arrival of bad news. However, as Christ’s followers, we have no reason to fear it. Today’s Morning and Evening reminds us that our response to tragedy should not mimic those who are without hope and without help.

Fellow Christian, does the inevitability of bad news scare you? Take courage, stand firm, and trust in the unchanging nature of your ever faithful Savior.

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

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He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. — Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by bad news, rebel against God; they murmur and maintain that God has dealt harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: “Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”1 For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity.

How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but when you act as if there were no one to help, will your doubting and despondency magnify the Most High? Then take courage and, relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”2

1 Exodus 14:13, 2 John 14:27

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Wait? I Hate Waiting…

Wait? I Hate Waiting…

Learning to wait is one of life’s hardest lessons. Most of us echo this sentiment on a daily basis.

When darkness comes, our inclinations are to run away from danger or throw ourselves headlong into the fight. We run because we are afraid. We foolishly attack because we rely too much on our own strength or assume we have God’s plan figured out for ourselves.

Today’s Morning and Evening is an encouragement to faithfully remember where our help comes from. A patient pause will often protect us from anxiety, fear, retreat, and presumptuous folly. Time and again, the noblest course of action is simply to wait.

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

* * * * *

Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! — Psalm 27:14

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures that a Christian soldier cannot learn without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier for God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desiring to serve the Lord, does not know what role to play. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Retreat back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the matter before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of help.

In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is best to be humble as a child and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly and are genuinely willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting is just an insult to the Lord. Believe that if He keeps you waiting even until midnight, He will still come at the right time; the vision will come and not delay. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because things are difficult, but blessing your God for the privilege of affliction.

Never grumble against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the circumstance as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any selfish agenda, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but Yours be done. I do not know what to do. I am at an end of myself, but I will wait until You part the floods or drive back my enemies. I will wait, even if You test me for a while, for my heart is fixed upon You alone, O God, and my spirit waits for You in the deep conviction that You will still be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Devotional

 

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The Monster of Unbelief

The Monster of Unbelief

Doubt and unbelief are monstrous sins that produce severe consequences. Thomas Watson once wrote…

There are no sins God’s people are more subject to than unbelief and impatience. They are ready either to faint through unbelief, or to fret through impatience.

Today’s Morning and Evening is an encouragement to continually hack the Agag of our unbelief. It is a fight no one can afford to lose. As Spurgeon points out, to distrust Christ is a needless, foolish, and unwarranted sin. “Among hateful things it is the most to be defeated.”

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

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And how long will they not believe in me,
in spite of all the signs
that I have done among them? — Numbers 14:11

Strive with all diligence to keep out the monster of unbelief. It is so dishonoring to Christ that He will withdraw His visible presence if we insult Him by tolerating it. It is true it is a weed that we can never entirely remove from the soil, but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance. Among hateful things it is the most to be defeated. Its hurtful nature is so poisonous that he that uses it and he upon whom it is used are both harmed by it. In your case, believer, it is most wicked, for the mercies of your Lord in the past increase your guilt in doubting Him now. When you distrust the Lord Jesus, He may well cry out, “Behold, I will press you down in your place, as a cart full of sheaves presses down.” To doubt is to crown His head with thorns of the sharpest kind.

It is very cruel for a well-beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband. The sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted. Jesus has never given the slightest ground for suspicion, and it is hard to be doubted by those to whom our conduct is consistently affectionate and true. Jesus is the Son of the Highest and has unlimited wealth; it is shameful to doubt Omnipotence and distrust His sufficiency. The cattle on a thousand hills will be enough for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust His fullness, but who can drain a fountain? Countless believers throughout the ages have drawn their supplies from Him, and not one of them has complained at the insufficiency of His resources.

Dispel this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Savior. Bunyan tells us that unbelief has “as many lives as a cat”; if so, let us kill one life now, and continue the work until the whole nine are gone. Down with you, traitor, my heart detests you.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2014 in Devotional

 

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None Lost

None Lost

This morning’s Morning and Evening remembers the powerful grace of God. The text is John 10:28:

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

His grace is eternal, unbreakable, and permanent. It is impossible for true children of God to lose standing with their eternal family. This truth should continually compel us to praise and worship. Since before the beginning of time, the Lord has always kept His promises. Doubt yourself, but never question the faithfulness of your Savior.

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

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I give them eternal life, and they will never perish… — John 10:28

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For when a child of God mistrusts His love, His truth, His faithfulness, it is greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve Him by doubting His upholding grace?

Christian, it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that you would ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could He be true who has said, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”1 What would be the value of the promise—”‘The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you”?2 What truth would there be in Christ’s words—”I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”?3

What value would there be in the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. What value could be placed in the veracity of God, His honor, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath, if any of those for whom Christ died, and who have put their trust in Him, should nevertheless be cast away?

Banish then those unbelieving fears, which so dishonor God. Arise, shake yourself from the dust, and put on your beautiful clothes. Remember, it is sinful to doubt His Word in which He has promised you that you will never perish. Let the eternal life within you express itself in confident rejoicing.

The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood.

1 Isaiah 49:15, 2 Isaiah 54:10, John 10:28-29

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Staying Put

Staying Put

This morning’s Morning and Evening reminds us that “there is no ideal place for us to serve God except the place He sets us down.” The lowliest division of the King’s work is still an honor and privilege. With God, there are no accidents. He has not forgotten where He has placed us and the details of our situation are not lost on Him.

As Spurgeon says, “We are not to run from it on a whim or sudden notion, but we should serve the Lord in it by being a blessing to those among whom we live.” The grass may appear greener elsewhere, but who cares when God Himself has directed your steps? Often, the best course of action is to trust in Him, hope in His promises, and simply stay put.

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

* * * * *

These were the potters who were inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah.
They lived there in the king’s service. — 1 Chronicles 4:23

Potters were among the ranks of manual workers, but the king needed potters, and therefore they were elevated to royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay. In the same way we also may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for the King; and therefore we will play our part, hoping that, although we live among the pots, we will soar in the service of our Master.

These people dwelt among plants and hedges and had rough, rustic hedging and ditching work to do. They may have wanted to live in the city, amid its life, society, and refinement, but they kept their assigned places because they were doing the king’s work. There is no ideal place for us to serve God except the place He sets us down. We are not to run from it on a whim or sudden notion, but we should serve the Lord in it by being a blessing to those among whom we live. These potters and gardeners had royal company, for they lived with the king, and although among hedges and plants, they lived with the king there. No lawful place or gracious occupation, however menial, can keep us from communion with our Lord. In hovels, run-down neighborhoods, and jails, we may keep company with the King. In all works of faith we can count upon Jesus’ fellowship. It is when we are in His work that we may reckon on His smile.

You unknown workers who are serving the Lord amid the dirt and wretchedness of the lowest of the low, be of good cheer, for jewels have often been found among rubbish, earthen pots have been filled with heavenly treasure, and ugly weeds have been transformed into precious flowers. Dwell with the King and do His work, and when He writes His chronicles, your name shall be recorded.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Devotional

 

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