prostrate awe; sacred fear

And when I saw Him [the One like the Son of Man], I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.(Revelation 1:17-18)

Spurgeon says of John’s encounter with the Alpha and Omega, “The sight of the King in His beauty caused no alarm to John in Patmos, and yet it made him fall at His feet as dead. Oh to behold Him and worship Him with prostrate awe and sacred fear!” O Lord, let me see You and worship You today.

And from one of my most cherished passages of Scripture, John 20:14-16, we find Mary, weeping at her Lord’s tomb…she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” How my heart will sing with joy to hear Him speak my name.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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perfect holiness; infinite wisdom

God’s way is perfect, and when we would have him alter it to please us, we are guilty of tempting him; and the fact that we do so in vain, while it magnifies the Lord’s holiness, by no means excuses our guilt. We are in most danger of this sin in times of need, for then it is that we are apt to fall into unbelief, and to demand a change in those arrangements of providence which are the transcript of perfect holiness and infinite wisdom. C.H. Spurgeon

Lord,
these arrangements of providence I find so trying
are born of Your Perfect Holiness
and Infinite Wisdom.
Forgive my murmuring heart.
Ravish me with Your grace
until my fear gives way to thanksgiving.
My Savior, cleanse me.
My Shepherd, lead me.
My king, rule me.
My Lord, subdue me.
Amen.

our dwelling place

Lord, You have been our dwelling place for all generations.
Psalm 90:1

One commonly accepted definition of insanity comes from none other than Albert Einstein: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. The sane child of God recognizes that God has been our rock in times past, is our hope and help in the present, and will work all things together for good for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. Because the Lord has been our dwelling place for all generations, Spurgeon admonishes us to draw, from the [His] eternal condescension, reasons for expecting present and future mercies. Thus, I am not in my right mind (the mind of Christ), if I expect something other than grace and mercy from the hand of my Father, because He has always been faithful; there is no variation or shadow of turning with Him.

Prayer
Faithful Father, I do tend toward insanity; I forget your faithfulness and fall into despair. You have set my feet on the Rock; set my thoughts there as well. When I tend to despair, grab hold of my face and turn it towards Christ; I cannot help but hope when I catch sight of my Saviour! Oh, Lord I believe; help my unbelief. These things I ask because of Him who died for me. Amen.

lift up my soul

For to You, O Lord, I will lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:4b

Spurgeon likens the turning of the soul to God to flowers created to seek out the rays of the sun. I’ve seen many flowers and other botanicals strain the bounds of their containers and contort their bodies to capture as much of the sun’s life-giving power as possible. These were created to draw from the sun as I am created to draw from God. Even when my flesh is faint and discouraged, yes, when expressly so, my spirit strains and contorts to lift up to God. Grace it is, that as I lift my soul (however weary and heavy-laden it may be) to God, it is He that comes to me. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you (James 4:8a). Of course, Spurgeon states this with far more eloquence than I: unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. As the heliotrope looks to the sun for its smile, so turn I my heart to thee. Thou art as the brazen serpent to my sick nature, and I lift up my soul’s eye to thee that I may live. I know that the nearer I am to thee the greater is my joy, therefore be pleased to draw me nearer while I am labouring to draw near. It is not easy to lift a soul at all; it needs a strong shoulder at the wheel when a heart sticks in the miry clay of despondency: it is less easy to lift a soul up to the Lord, for the height is great as well as the weight oppressive; but the Lord will take the will for the deed, and come in with a hand of almighty grace to raise his poor servant out of the earth and up to heaven.

Prayer
Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? And there is none on Earth I desire besides Thee! Thank You, gracious Father, that in Your grace and mercy You come to Your child. Even when all I can do is cry to You, groan, and weep, You condescend and come to me. Keep my feet firm in Your path this day, stumbling not, falling not. Because of Jesus. Amen.

Remembering God’s Faithfulness

You called in trouble, and I delivered you.
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.     ~Selah
Psalm 81: 7a, c

When I have been tempted to despair, the Holy Spirit has often been gracious to remind me of the numerous times God has delivered me from seemingly impossible difficulties. What hope and comfort that remembrance ignites in my heart. When I harbor a forgetful heart and a fretting spirit, hope is quenched and comfort slips through my grasp. Spurgeon tells us, God heard His people’s cries in Egypt…God does not forsake us in our need…[w]hen our hearts wander from God, our [previously] answered prayers cry, “Shame on us”…[t]oo often, our unbelief returns to us the wretched yield of mistrust, murmuring, and rebellion. Great is our sin. But greater is the mercy of our God. Let us reflect on both and pause [Selah] awhile.

Prayer
Abba, Father, grant that I might remember Your faithfulness to answer the cries of Your people, even my own cries, for deliverance, O most merciful King. The trials that afflict me now are certainly no greater than those You have delivered me from in the past, and most assuredly, no trial is as great as my former heart of stone and bondage to sin. You are always gracious; let me rest in Your care. Through Christ, my Maker, Redeemer, and Friend. Amen.

a cup of wrath

Psalm 75:8, 10b
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup,
And the wine is red;
It is fully mixed,
And He pours it out;
Surely its dregs shall all the wicked
of the earth drain
and drink down.
But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Spurgeon, once again, amplifies the text in such a way that I cannot help but me moved with horror at the portion that will be the wicked’s inheritence throughout eternity, “Ten thousand woes are burning in the depths of that fiery cup…the wicked cannot refuse the terrible draught, for God himself pours it out for them and into them. Vain are their cries and entreaties…They must drink on and on for ever, even to the bottom where lie the lees of deep damnation; these they must suck up, and still must they drain the cup. Oh the anguish and the heart break of the day of wrath! Mark well, it is for all the wicked; all hell for all the ungodly; the dregs for the dregs; bitters for the bitter; wrath for the heirs of wrath. Righteousness is conspicuous, but over all terror spreads a tenfold night, cheerless, without a star. Oh happy they who drink the cup of godly sorrow, and the cup of salvation: these, though now despised, will then be envied by the very men who trod them under foot.”

Prayer
Oh most merciful and gracious Father, all honor and reverence are due Your Name, that You would redeem one such as me from the horrors of even sampling the cup that You have prepared for the wicked. All honor and glory are due to the Son, who drank this cup of poison in my stead. All praise and thanksgiving are due to the Spirit who sealed to me the righteousness of the Son that I might be exalted with Him forever. Father, keep always in my thoughts the act of love and mercy that is the spreading of your gospel, and may I never cease to give thanks that Your gospel was (and daily is) proclaimed to me. Through my Lord, my Saviour, and my Friend, Jesus Christ. Amen.

up from the depths

Psalm 71:19-21
…Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

While reading Spurgeon’s thoughts on verse 20, “He has shown me many heavy and severe trials, and He will also show me many precious mercies…” I was struck by the thought that the very troubles that God has ordained for me, though most heavy, and most severe, are often themselves the precious mercies, or revival, that the psalmist anticipates.

Prayer
Most wise and gracious Father, I thank You that “all things work together for good” when they are ordained by a loving and merciful God. When severe trials threaten to capsize my faith, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would remind me that You, far above the love and wisdom of earthly fathers, love me and wisely ordain my circumstances that I might even more depend upon You. Let me not forget, gracious Lord, that though I may not see Your good purpose behind a setback, obstacle, or seeming disaster, the Scriptures declare that Your plans are for my “welfare and not for calamity” and to give me “a future and a hope.” Through Christ, my Saviour, I pray. Amen.