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Posts Tagged ‘charles spurgeon’

When it comes to our salvation, one of the most comforting thoughts is that God is “all-in.” Some people imagine (much to their needless worry) that somehow Jesus is convincing a reluctant Father to do a big favor and be nice to sinners; or that the work of the Son and the Spirit are somehow disconnected and perhaps even at cross-purposes; but all such unworthy notions should be put away when we read the testimony of the Scriptures.

Trinity sanctifies

The mystery of the Triune God of the Bible is great – and anyone who claims to have wrapped their head around the depths of the essence of the One-God-Three-Persons of the Christian faith is either a genius of the highest order, or else delusional (I vote for the latter).

But that doesn’t stop us from affirming, as Charles Spurgeon does above, the clear teaching of the New Testament: that God is united in His love, His intentions, and His work. God’s purpose is one – and He is all-in on our salvation.

We are sanctified (progressively purified and made holy) by, in, and through the single purpose and all-in activity of the living God – Father, Son, and Spirit.

AllIn

Today, we may feel spiritually dead. We may have defiled ourselves through some indulgence of sin last night. We may be filled (again) with doubts and anxieties. We may even feel like opting-out.

Has any of this changed God? Not a bit. His eternal purpose remains steadfast; His love is unfailing and unchanging. When God gives a covenant promise, it is not up for negotiation or renewal. His purposes are a cord of three strands, which cannot be broken.

All things are of Him and from Him, and He will bring all of His redemptive work to completion.

Our hope is not in a “part” of a fragmented or fickle God – it is in all of God, who is all-in.

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It’s one thing to hear, or see, something beautiful to the senses. And, it’s a qualitatively more wonderful experience to meet someone who is fascinating.

But the real beauty is in going deep. Time spent in contemplation, reflection, and communion. Making new connections of mind and soul that take a few scattered gold coins and turn them into a fortune.

That’s what meditation is for. It’s gaining insight. It’s self-aware application. It’s soul-digestion.

It is expansion.

Meditation is not the emptying of yourself. It is knowing your emptiness, pulling up to the pump, and re-filling.

Meditation

We humans have been given an extraordinary gift – the capacity to contemplate. We rob ourselves when we settle for digital distraction, which only serves to occupy the bare surface of the mind and heart before the next sensation comes along.

That’s junk food. Meditation is how we create a nutritious, 3-course meal.

A couple of days ago, I read this passage from the (always excellent) devotional volume by Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening:

Revolve in your mind that wondrous word, “faultless!” We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in his work of love, we shall reach it one day. The Saviour who will keep his people to the end, will also present them at last to himself, as “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish.” All the jewels in the Saviour’s crown are of the first water and without a single flaw. All the maids of honour who attend the Lamb’s wife are pure virgins without spot or stain. But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in his own blood until we are white and fair as God’s purest angel; and we shall be clothed in his righteousness, that righteousness which makes the saint who wears it positively faultless; yea, perfect in the sight of God. We shall be unblameable and unreproveable even in his eyes. His law will not only have no charge against us, but it will be magnified in us. Moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. Judgment, memory, will-every power and passion shall be emancipated from the thraldom of evil. We shall be holy even as God is holy, and in his presence we shall dwell for ever. Saints will not be out of place in heaven, their beauty will be as great as that of the place prepared for them.

…and the thought struck me – how often do I ponder the work of salvation as positive – absolutely re-creating me – as opposed to just the removal of sin?

God, and His law, will be magnified in me?? Can that be??

Therefore, it isn’t my destiny to “barely make it” through this life of fallenness – no, God is infusing my life, and will infuse my life for all eternity, with Himself. And He won’t stop and cannot be stopped. This led to very liberating contemplation which I am even now enjoying as I re-read the words.

Yet how often have I read and heard such words with dull ears and a sleepy heart, so that the benefit never takes root?

A new perspective is often the key to unlocking deep levels of freedom and change. It’s not enough to just take in words, images, and other “content”. We need to gain clearer vision, continually. Daily. There’s no short-cut to practical acuity and wisdom – it comes through contemplation.

Scratching the surface of information or relationships may give us a form of breadth. But we don’t need more roots; we need deeper ones. We don’t need more snacks – we need to digest and assimilate. Meditation is the pathway to greater insights and life-giving understanding.

 

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Every once in a while, a dark and heavy thought floods my mind. I try to dismiss it because I know it’s not going anywhere healthy, but when things happen like the recent suicide of Robin Williams, I can’t avoid it.

What if I sink, too?

dark cloudsIf you’ve had a history of depression, I suspect you know the train of thought I’m talking about.

I remember feeling this profoundly the first time I watched the movie, “A Beautiful Mind.” Russell Crowe’s portrayal of mental illness in that movie rocked me to my core. It scared me.

Despite the fact that my depression is currently under control, what if the darkness returns and overwhelms me? What if I, like hymnist/poet William Cowper, enter a darkened state that plagues me for the rest of my days? Or – what if I develop Alzheimer’s disease and degenerate into helpless forgetfulness?

Morbid, I know – but you’ve thought about it too, right? Come on, be honest – our minds wander into these dark places whether we want them to or not!

That’s why this reading from Charles Spurgeon’s classic devotional book, Morning and Evening, was such a comfort today:

“And I will remember my covenant.”
Genesis 9:15

Mark the form of the promise. God does not say, “And when ye shall look upon the bow, and ye shall remember my covenant, then I will not destroy the earth,” but it is gloriously put, not upon our memory, which is fickle and frail, but upon God’s memory, which is infinite and immutable. “The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant.” Oh! it is not my remembering God, it is God’s remembering me which is the ground of my safety; it is not my laying hold of his covenant, but his covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God! the whole of the bulwarks of salvation are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we may imagine might have been left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget, but our Lord cannot forget the saints whom he has graven on the palms of his hands. It is with us as with Israel in Egypt; the blood was upon the lintel and the two side-posts, but the Lord did not say, “When you see the blood I will pass over you,” but “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus which secures my salvation and that of all his elect, since it is impossible for our God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then to be angry with us for sins already punished in him. No, it is not left with us even to be saved by remembering the covenant. There is no linsey-wolsey here–not a single thread of the creature mars the fabric. It is not of man, neither by man, but of the Lord alone. We should remember the covenant, and we shall do it, through divine grace; but the hinge of our safety does not hang there–it is God’s remembering us, not our remembering him; and hence the covenant is an everlasting covenant.

The book of Isaiah uses striking language to make a similar point:

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15)

Even the bond, the memory, of a mother for her child may be broken. But God is way beyond these human limits. For which I am profoundly grateful.

I might, in fact, lose it. I might sink. I might forget. But my hope isn’t in MY remembering. It is in God’s infinite memory, and commitment, and power, and covenant. He alone is unfailing.

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