Author Archive

30th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 30/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me.”
Psalm 25:5

What wonderful things does God sometimes shew us in his word! How our eyes sometimes seem to be anointed with eye-salve “to behold wondrous things out of God’s law!” (Psalm 119:18.) Sometimes in reading a chapter we see such beauty, such fulness, such sweetness, such glory in it, that it seems, as it were, to fill our very hearts. And what our souls want (I am sure my soul wants it, and it is my frequent cry to the Lord in secret that I may feel it) is to have this blessed truth taken out of the word of God, and applied to and sealed upon our hearts by the Spirit of God.

I want no new revelation. Day by day I seem more satisfied of this, and more established in it—that all saving truth is in the word of God. I seek no visions, I desire no dreams, I want no airy speculations; but when my heart is brought to lie at the footstool of mercy, this seems to be the panting and breathing of my soul—to know experimentally and spiritually the blessed truths that my eyes see in the word of God, to have them opened up to my understanding, brought into my heart, grafted into my soul, applied to my conscience, and revealed with such supernatural and heavenly power that the truth as it is in Jesus may be in me a solemn and saving reality, that it may bring with it such a divine blessing as to fill me with grace, enlarge my heart into the enjoyment of the gospel, gird up my loins with spiritual strength, give and increase faith, communicate and encourage hope, shed abroad and draw forth love, and fill me with joy and peace in believing.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

29th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 29/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Wherefore doth a living man complain,
a man for the punishment of his sins?
Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:39, 40

I believe in my conscience there are thousands of professors who have never known in the whole course of their religious profession what it is to have “searched and tried their ways;” to have been put into the balances and weighed in the scales of divine justice; or to have stood cast and condemned in their own feelings before God as the heart-searching Jehovah. From such a trying test, from such an unerring touchstone they have ever shrunk. And why? Because they have an inward consciousness that their religion will not bear a strict and scrutinizing examination.

Like the deceitful tradesman, who allures his customers into a dark corner of his shop, in order to elude detection when he spreads his flimsy, made-up goods before them, so those who have an inward consciousness that their religion is not of heavenly origin, shun the light. As the Lord says, “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved; but he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.”

Now if you know nothing of having from time to time your ways searched and tried by God’s word, or if you rise up with bitterness against an experimental, heart-searching ministry that would try them for you, it shews that there is some rotten spot in you—something that you dare not bring to the light. The candle of the Lord has not searched the hidden secrets of your heart; nor have you cried with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

28th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 28/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“My soul followeth hard after thee.”
Psalm 63:8

The Lord (we would speak with reverence) does not suffer himself at first to be overtaken. The more the soul follows after him, the more he seems to withdraw himself, and thus he draws it more earnestly on the pursuit. He means to be overtaken in the end: it is his own blessed work in the conscience to kindle earnest desires and longings after himself; and therefore he puts strength into the soul, and “makes the feet like hinds’ feet” to run and continue the chase. But in order to whet the ardent desire, to kindle to greater intensity the rising eagerness, the Lord will not suffer himself to be overtaken till after a long and arduous pursuit.

This is sweetly set forth in the Song of Solomon, 5:2-8. We find there the Lord coming to his bride; but she is unwilling to open to him till “he puts his hand in by the hole of the door.” She would not rise at his first knocking, and therefore he is obliged to touch her heart. But “when she opened to her Beloved, he was gone;” and no sooner does he withdraw himself, than she pursues after him; but she cannot find him; he hides himself from her view, draws her round and round the walls of the city, until at length she overtakes, and finds Him whom her soul loveth. This sweetly sets forth how the Lord draws on the longing soul after himself.

Could we immediately obtain the object of our pursuit, we should not half so much enjoy it when attained. Could we with a wish bring the Lord down into the soul, it would be but the lazy wish of the sluggard, who “desireth, and hath not.” But when the Lord can only be obtained by an arduous pursuit, every faculty of the soul is engaged in panting after his manifested presence; and this was the experience of the Psalmist, when he cried, “My soul followeth hard after thee.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

27th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 27/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:4

A person may be “in the flesh,” as indeed we all are, and yet not “walk after it.” To walk after it implies, a setting it up as a pattern, and walking in accordance with it. But a person may be dragged after another, as we see sometimes a child is dragged unwillingly along by its mother, who does not willingly walk with her. The child is not walking after its mother, nor hand in hand with her, nor side by side; but is compelled against its will to go a road which it hates, as to go to school when it fain would go to play.

So in a sense it often is with the child of grace; he is often dragged on by the flesh. He does not go after it willingly; he does not sin wilfully, but is entangled by the strength of the flesh, dragged on contrary to his best wishes, and sometimes in spite of his earnest cries, tears, groans, and desires. He does not walk after it as in Alpine countries tourists walk through the snow after a guide, setting his feet deliberately in every step which the flesh has made before him.

The saint of God, therefore, though he is in the flesh, does not walk after the flesh; for if he so walked he could not fulfil the law of love, and therefore the righteousness of the law could not be fulfilled in him. But, as enabled by grace, he does from time to time walk after the Spirit, for as the Spirit leads, he follows; as the Spirit prompts, he obeys; and as the Spirit works, he performs. When the Spirit reveals Jesus, he loves him with a pure heart fervently; when the Spirit applies a promise, he believes it; and when he makes known the truth of God to his soul, he feeds upon and delights in it.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

26th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 26/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Thou hast set our iniquities before thee,
our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.”
Psalm 90:8

Thus Moses the man of God testified, and so Job found it: “For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth” (Job 13:26). But though the Lord sets his people’s sins in the light of his countenance, and brings them to bear with weight and power upon their conscience, and thus for a time at least lets them sink and fall into distress and grief, he will support them under the heavy load, that they may not altogether be crushed by it.

I do think, that if there is one single grace more overlooked than another in the Church of God at the present day, it is the grace of repentance. Though it lies at the very threshold of vital godliness, though it was one main element in the gospel that Paul preached, for he “testified both to the Jews and also to the Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), yet how it is passed by.

Men speak of faith, hope, and love; but repentance, contrition, godly sorrow for sin, how much this part of God’s work upon the soul is passed by. But the Lord will not pass it by. Books may pass it by; men may pass it by; ministers may pass it by; but the Lord will not pass it by. He will bring out these secret sins and set them in the light of his countenance; and when he lays them upon the sinner’s conscience, he will make him feel what an evil and bitter thing it is to have sinned against the Lord.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

25th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 25/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
1 Peter 1:2

Peter declares that we are “elect unto obedience.” Election unto eternal life, unto salvation, unto the blood of sprinkling many gladly hear of, receive, and profess. This, they say, is sweet and precious doctrine. And so indeed it is. But do they find or feel any similar sweetness and preciousness in being chosen and ordained to know and do the will of God? Do they see and feel the blessedness of the precept being secured by divine decree, as well as the promise; and that there is a constraining power in the love of Christ under which they experience a holy and sacred pleasure in no longer living unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again, similar in kind, if not in degree, to the pleasure which they experience in knowing they were ordained unto eternal life?

But until this obedience be rendered, until these good works be brought forth, half of the sweetness and blessedness of real religion and of salvation by grace is not felt or known, nor the liberty of the gospel thoroughly realised or enjoyed, for the gospel must be obeyed and lived, as well as received and believed, that its full, liberating, sanctifying influences may be experienced as sweetening the narrow and rugged path of doing and suffering the whole will of God.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

24th April

Submitted by Steven Black on 24/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.”
Proverbs 16:6

There is a very close and intimate connection between godly fear and being “holy in all manner of conversation.” When do we drop into levity of conversation? When do light and frothy words fall from our lips? When do any of those hasty bursts of temper, or those fretful expressions, or that mere carnal, worldly talk to which we are naturally prone, hover upon our lips and break forth, more or less unguardedly, from our tongue? Is it not when this godly fear is not playing its streams as a fountain of life to well water the soul and soften it into humility and love, and is not springing up in wholesome checks and godly admonitions to keep the tongue as with a bridle and to rule that little member which, though so little, if untamed, defileth the whole body?

But if this fear be in exercise, it will restrain that levity of speech which not only grieves and wounds our own conscience, but is often a stumbling-block to the world, a bad example to the family of God, and a weapon in the hands of Satan to bring death into their soul. We should do well to ponder over those words of the Apostle, and to carry them with us when we are brought into conversation with others in the daily walks of life: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:29, 30).

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

“STAND THEREFORE”

Submitted by Steven Black on 23/04/2019. Posted in Articles

By: Mr. B. A. Ramsbottom

It seems remarkable that when the Lord describes the Heavenly armour, He mentions the girdle before anything else. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Eph. 6:14). Why should this be so?
The purpose of the girdle was to fasten up long-flowing garments. Before anything of effort or importance (e.g. Israel on the Passover night), it was necessary to “gird up the loins” – otherwise you might trip, or stumble, or fall, certainly not stand. Hence the exhortation before breastplate, shield, sword, to “bind the golden girdle round thee” (as Hart expresses it).
So this expression of “girding up the loins” is often used in a figurative way in Scripture. For instance:
“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately” (Luke 12:35,36).
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).
The golden girdle is truth. Apart from this there can be no “girding up the loins” and no “standing.” There must be a vital, personal acquaintance with the truth.

  1. The Truth “as in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21). The Holy Spirit reveals the truth of our lost, fallen condition and our need of a Saviour, and then the glorious truths of the Gospel: the Trinity; the Person of the Lord Jesus, God and Man; the covenant ordered in all things and sure; the riches of free grace; eternal election; the preciousness of atoning love and blood; the security of God’s people; the Person and work of the Holy Ghost – and a personal interest.

Apart from this golden girdle there can be no standing.

  1. Truth in the heart and life through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Scripture speaks of truth being received “in the love of it” (2 Thess. 2:10), of walking in the truth (2 John 4). We cannot stand without this. There are those things about us by nature which, like the long-flowing garments, would trail in the mire unless girt up by the golden girdle.

Only having our loins “girt about with truth” can the Church of God, or the individual believer, stand today in this world of wickedness. The great need today in the Church of God is what Luther called “Amen men;” men who will stand whatever the cost.
“Stand therefore.” We live in a day of compromise. People do not wish to stand – unless they personally are affected, their ease, their reputation. When England was guilty of the infamous slave trade, John Newton said no professing Christian really liked it or really approved of it – but they did not stand against it because it did not affect them personally. When taxes were raised, they were only too willing to stand!
So often today, when vital issues arise, the position taken is: “It is not my business”; “It is nothing to do with me”; “I feel it is right to keep out of it.” May the Lord give us singleness of eye for His glory, the spirit of Elijah: “the Lord God of Israel before whom I stand.” May we not be like Ephraim: “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle” (Ps. 78:9).
In all this we need a right spirit. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.” “Lord, help us by Thy grace to stand.” Stormy petrels, who love contention and conflict, are no help to the Church of God.
“Stand therefore.” We need to stand for “the present truth” (2 Pet. 1:12). Luther said that if we stand firmly for every truth except the one at present being assailed, God counts us unfaithful. Some are wonderfully faithful in standing against the errors of the Pope and Archbishop, writing about them, denouncing them, but they do not stand firmly in the local Church against any deviation in faith or practice. This is not “standing.”
Some say they do not like trouble. No one does. Some seek to please both sides. Some (who should know better) say they do not understand. Some compromise. Some “look over their shoulder” to see what others think. Some say they do not wish to offend. “Stand therefore.”
But above all, the need to stand personally in the conflict. Satan is a mighty foe, too strong for us. So is the world, either opposing, persecuting or alluring. But what of indwelling sin, the conflict with self – evil self, proud self, self-righteous self? We can only stand as we are upheld. We do need the golden girdle. We do need to pray:

“Lord, help us by Thy grace to stand,
And every trial firm endure;
Preserved by Thy sovereign hand,
And by Thy oath and covenant sure.”

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.”
 

“Gird thy loins up, Christian soldier;

Lo! Thy Captain calls thee out;

Let the danger make thee bolder;

War in weakness, dare in doubt.

Buckle on thy Heavenly armour;

Patch up no inglorious peace;

Let thy courage wax the warmer,

As thy foes and fears increase. (J. Hart)


Previously published in The Gospel Standard – June, 2006

“STAND THEREFORE”

23rd April

Submitted by Steven Black on 23/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.”
1 Peter 1:17

Our life here is but a vapour. We are but pilgrims and strangers on this earthly ball, mere sojourners, without fixed or settled habitation, and passing through this world as not our home or resting-place. The Apostle, therefore, bids us pass this time, whether long or short, of our earthly sojourn, under the influence and in the exercise of godly fear. We are surrounded with enemies, all seeking, as it were, our life, and therefore we are called upon to move with great caution, knowing how soon we may slip and fall, and thus wound our own consciences, grieve our friends, gratify our enemies, and bring upon ourselves a cloud of darkness which may long hover over our souls.

Our life here below is not one of ease and quiet, but a warfare, a conflict, a race, a wrestling not with flesh and blood alone, but with principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. We have to dread ourselves more than anything or anybody else, and to view our flesh as our greatest enemy. This fear is not a slavish, legal fear, such as that which John speaks of, and of which he says that “it hath torment,” but that holy, godly, and filial fear which is the firstfruit and mark of covenant grace, and is “a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” How needful, then, is it to pass the time of our sojourning here in the exercise of this godly, reverential fear! And let no one think that this filial fear is inconsistent with faith even in its highest risings, or with love in its sweetest enjoyments.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

22nd April

Submitted by Steven Black on 22/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“The entrance of thy words giveth light;
it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
Psalm 119:130

The word “simple” means literally something which is not folded or twisted together. But owing to the treacherous and desperately deceitful heart of man, all, without exception, in a state of nature are the reverse of this. All their plots and contrivances for worldly profit or fleshly pleasure are tangled and complicated; and they are continually twisting together some thread or other of carnal policy.

But when God the Holy Ghost begins the work of grace upon the souls of the elect, he proceeds (if I may use the expression) to untwist them. He takes hold of that rope which Satan and their own hearts have been twisting together for years, and he untwists it throughout its whole length, so as to leave the strands not intertwined as before, but riven, separated, and torn from each other. The light that shines into the soul out of the fulness of Jesus discovers to a man the tortuousness, the crookedness, the complicated deceit and hypocrisy of which he is guilty. A man then is made “simple,” when the folds and rumples of his heart are shaken out, and he is brought to see and feel that God looks into him; that his eye penetrates into every recess of his bosom; and that there is not a thought in his heart, nor “a word in his tongue, but the Lord knoweth it altogether” (Psalm 139:4).

This character is aptly represented by Nathaniel. He had gone through this untwisting work in his soul. He had been under the fig-tree, and whilst kneeling and praying there, the eye of God looked into him, and just as a flash of lightning runs, in a moment, through a coil of wire, so, when the eye of God looked into Nathaniel’s soul, that instantaneous flash unravelled and untwisted the devices of his heart, and made him a simple man before him— “an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile” (John 1:47).

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869