The Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3

To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by the rich grace and mercy of God; to be willing to be where God places us, to bear what he lays on us, to go where he bids us, and to die when he commands; to be willing to be in his hands, and to feel that we deserve no favor from him. It is opposed to pride, and vanity, and ambition.

– Albert Barnes, 1798-1870, Barnes Notes

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How to be a better Christian

I will meditate on your precepts. Psalms 119:15

There are times when solitude is better than companionship, and silence is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting on God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labor in his service. We ought to meditate on the things of God, because by this we get the real nutriment from them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we wish to have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully on the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must tread the grapes well, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we wish to get the wine of consolation from it. Our bodies are not nourished by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening for a while to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating on it. Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make very slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their prayer closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they wish to have the grain, but they will not go out into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs on the tree, but they will not pick it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, oh Lord, and let this be our resolve this morning, “I will meditate on your precepts.”

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, Morning & Evening

Stand like a Pillar

” But Mordecai bowed not.” – Esther 3:2

There was stern stuff in this old Jew. He was not going to prostrate himself before one so haughty and so depraved as Haman, albeit that he was the king’s favorite. To be the only one in a city office that does not laugh at the questionable story; to stand alone on shipboard against the gambling mania; to refuse to countenance cleverness which is divorced from cleanness, and genius which is apart from goodness—this is to do as Mordecai did in the gate of the king’s palace.

Only God can give this power, since of ourselves we are as reeds shaken by the wind. Sooner might a single ear of wheat resist the breeze that bends all its companions in the same direction, than we stand alone, while all our associates bow, unless God himself enable us.

But God is prepared to enable us. Listen: ‘I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right and of my righteousness.’ {Isa. 41:10} But the mistake we are so apt to make is to brace ourselves up by resolution and firm determination, in anticipation of some impending struggle. To do this is to fail. Live in Christ, look up into his face, derive from Him strength for the moment and at the moment; and often wrap about thee that exceeding great and precious promise, ‘I will make him to become a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go no more out; and I will write on him the name of my God.’ Oh to stand like a pillar amid men, bearing up the temple arch of truth, and inscribed with God’s name, while the crowds go and come on the pavement beneath!

F. B. Meyer, Our Daily Homily

A saint abroad, and a devil at home

The way in which a man lives in his home is vital. It will not do to be a saint abroad, and a devil at home! There are some of that kind. They are wonderfully sweet at church, but they are dreadfully sour to their wives and children. This will never do! Every genuine believer should say and mean it: “I will be careful to lead a blameless life . . . I will walk in my house with blameless heart.” Psalm 101:2

It is in the home that we get the truest proof of godliness.

“What sort of a man is he?” said one to George Whitefield, and Whitefield answered, “I cannot say, for I have never lived with him.”

The best way to test what a man really is, is to live with him.

– Charles Spurgeon

“I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:1-2

Published in: on November 30, 2018 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Of His Will

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. – James 1:18

A true Christian is a creature begotten anew. He becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of divine grace as if he were formed over again, and born afresh.

The origin of this good work is here declared: it is of God’s own will; not by our skill or power; not from any good foreseen in us, or done by us, but purely from the good-will and grace of God.

– Matthew Henry New Testament Commentary

This is the doctrine that we preach

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

This is the doctrine that we preach:
If a man is saved–all the honor is to be given to Christ.
If a man is lost–all the blame is to be laid upon himself.

You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences:
Salvation is all of the grace of God!
Damnation is all of the will of man!

– Charles Spurgeon

Published in: on October 30, 2018 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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All Things for Good

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Christians have unfailing grounds of satisfaction and contentment, for they know that all their affairs are managed by a wise and gracious Providence.

The calamities which the believer suffers are unstinged to him through the Redeemer’s cross, which, like the tree that Moses cast into the waters of Marah, makes bitter things sweet.

He is not visited with any unnecessary evil, and those evils which visit him are made good on the whole, by the tendency which they have to do him good, and make him good.

Reproaches and tribulations, sicknesses and deaths, are the common lot of men. And they are very evil things to those who are strangers to God–but they are good to those who love God, for they are appointed and useful means to make them partakers of God’s holiness, and prepare them for that blessed world where sins and sorrows are no more!

– George Lawson, 1821, A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Published in: on October 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Submitting

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” – Ephesians 5:21

“Submitting yourselves one to another.” Maintaining due subordination in the various relations of life. This general principle of religion the apostle proceeds now to illustrate in reference to wives, (Eph 5:22-24); to children, (Eph 6:1-3); and to servants, (Eph 6:5-8). At the same time that he enforces this duty of submission, however, he enjoins on others to use their authority in a proper manner, and gives solemn injunctions that there should be no abuse of power. Particularly he enjoins on husbands the duty of loving their wives with all tenderness, (Eph 5:25-33); on fathers, the duty of treating their children so that they might easily obey them, (Eph 6:4); and on masters, the duty of treating their servants with kindness, remembering that they have a Master also in heaven, (Eph 6:9). The general meaning here is, that Christianity does not break up the relations of life, and produce disorder, lawlessness, and insubordination; but that it will confirm every proper authority, and make every just yoke lighter. Infidelity is always disorganizing; Christianity never.

– Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes on the New Testament

Little Sinners

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. – Ps 51:5

The Bible is absolutely crystal clear that all children are sinners from conception…all children. The principle of iniquity is embedded in the human race. Children are born morally corrupt. They are born with an irresistible bent toward evil. And any notion that children are born morally neutral and free from a predisposition to sin is absolutely contrary to Scripture.

All humans are born in sin. If infants were not sinful, if they were not morally corrupt, then they wouldn’t die. If they were born innocent or pure or morally neutral there would be no basis for their death. The very fact that they die indicates that the disease of sin is there in them because sin is the killer. It is in their inherited sin nature that the seeds of death are planted.

–  John MacArthur, American pastor and author, 1939 –

Published in: on August 26, 2018 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Depart from us

“Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” – Job 21:14

“They say unto God” – This is the language of their conduct. Men do not often formally and openly say this; but it is the language of their deportment.

“Depart from us” – This is about all that the wicked say of God. “They wish him to let them alone.” They do not desire that he would come into their habitations; they would be glad never more to hear his name. Yet what a state of mind is this! What must be the condition and character of the human heart when this desire is felt?

“We desire not the knowledge of thy ways” – We have no wish to become acquainted with God. His “ways” here mean his government, his law, his claims — whatever God does. Never was there a better description of the feelings of the human heart than is here expressed. The ways of God are displeasing to people, and they seek to crowd from their minds all respect to his commandments and claims. Yet, if this is the character of man, assuredly he is very far from being a holy being. What higher proof of depravity can there be, than that a man has no desire to know anything about a pure and holy God; no pleasure in becoming acquainted with his Maker!

– Albert Barnes, 1798 – 1870, Barnes Notes Commentary

Published in: on July 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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