19th March

Written by Steven Black on 19/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“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 Peter 1:13

Hope chiefly regards “the end;”—for that is “better than the beginning,” the crowning consummation of all that faith believes, hope expects, and love enjoys. But through what dark and gloomy seasons has hope often to look before this end comes, being sometimes sunk so low as almost to despair even of life! How it has in these low spots to muster all its evidences, look back to this and that Ebenezer, this and that hill Mizar, this and that deliverance, manifestation, and blessing; how it has to hang upon the word of promise, cry out for help, and that mightily, as if at its last breath, and hope against hope in the very face of unbelief, infidelity, and despair.

An end must come to all our struggles, trials, exercises, afflictions, and conflicts. We shall not be always struggling and fighting with a body of sin and death. We shall not be always exposed to snares and temptations spread in our path by sin and Satan, so as hardly to escape falling by them as if by the very skin of our teeth. Every day reminds us with warning voice that an end must come.

But now comes the question, and often a very anxious question it is, What will that end be? Here hope comes in to sustain and support the soul, enabling it to look forward, that it may prove to be a hope that maketh not ashamed, a good hope through grace, and a hope of such a complete and enduring nature that the end may prove it was a grace of the Holy Spirit, and, as such, stamped with his own perfecting power.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

18th March

Written by Steven Black on 18/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“”To them that have no might he increaseth strength.”
Isaiah 40:29

The Lord’s people are often in this state, that they “have no might.” All their power seems exhausted, and their strength completely drained away; sin appears to have got the mastery over them; and they feel as if they had neither will nor ability to run the race set before them, or persevere in the way of the Lord. Yet, even then, they have strength; for it says, “he increaseth strength.” It does not say, ‘he gives, bestows, communicates strength;’ but “he increaseth strength.” How can this be?

We must have power to feel our weakness. God must put forth his power to enable us to fall down into nothingness and helplessness. It therefore says, “he increaseth strength.” As though it would imply, ‘Is not the very power to sink down into creature weakness, helplessness, and nothingness, strength?’ It is so in God’s mysterious dealings. And, therefore, “to them that have no might” (in other words, those who are sensible in their own consciences that they have no power at all, who are completely exhausted of nature’s strength and wisdom), to these “he increaseth strength.”

Now the Lord “increaseth strength” in a very mysterious way. He often drops strength stilly and secretly into the soul. We are not always to expect very great manifestations. This is not the way in which the Lord usually increases strength. His visits to the soul are often better known by their fruits and effects, and by looking back upon them when they are past, than by any immediate impulse. The strength given is more easily felt than the hand seen which communicates it. In this respect it much resembles the new birth, of which the Lord says, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth” (John 3:8).

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

17th March

Written by Steven Black on 17/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“”God is faithful, by whom ye were called
unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:9

When God calls his people by his grace, it is to make them partakers of the highest bliss and the greatest glory that he could confer upon the sons of men. And this not only in eternity, but in time; not only beyond, but this side of the grave. He appeals, therefore, to them by his prophet. “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness?” (Jer. 2:31.) When the Lord calls his people out of earthly pleasures, is it for no other purpose than to lead them into paths of affliction and sorrow? Does he make them leave the fleshpots of Egypt to starve them in a waste howling wilderness? This was the complaint of the ancient murmurers, that Moses had brought them up out of Egypt to kill them with thirst (Exod. 17:3). Does he take them from earthly delights to abandon them to misery and despair? O no! He calls them even in this time state to the greatest privilege and highest favour that his everlasting love could confer upon them, which is no less than “the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” that they may have union and communion with the Son of God by grace here, and be partakers of his glory hereafter. God’s dear Son is and always has been the object of his eternal delight. To glorify him has been from all eternity his fixed, his settled purpose; and in pursuance of this settled purpose, he gave him a people whom he formed for himself, that they might shew forth his praise. Thus, therefore, the Redeemer addressed his heavenly Father—”And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

16th March

Written by Steven Black on 16/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“”Commit thy way unto the Lord;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
Psalm 37:5

What shall God bring to pass? The thing that lies deepest in the heart—”thy way.” Does not thy way lie deepest in thy soul—the path that God has led, the path that God is now leading you by? You may be troubled in your soul, doubting and fearing in your mind, distressed in your feelings; you may sink down to the lowest point that a child of God can sink to; yet that way, in which you are so deeply sunk, if the Lord enable you from time to time to commit it to him, and trust in him, he will bring to pass above what your heart desires.

Look at the movements of your heart God-ward; look at your embarrassments, temptations, and exercises; look at that which rolls backwards and forwards in your mind, that which is tossed to and fro on the waves of your anxious bosom,—what lies nearest, dearest, and deepest,—let honest conscience speak. That, whatever it be, the Lord tells you, and sometimes enables you to commit, to trust to him.

Now whatever it be so committed and so trusted, the Lord has declared in his unerring word of truth, he “will bring it to pass;” he will fulfil it when his time has arrived. Does darkness envelope it? Do mountains of difficulty stand up in the way of its fulfilment? Never mind; God will bring it to pass in the face of all, over mountains and through difficulties, in spite of, and in the midst of, all surrounding obstacles. He “will bring it to pass,”—that which lies deepest in your heart, nearest your affections, and that which you are enabled in the actings of living faith sometimes to commit into the hands of the Lord God Almighty.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

15th March

Written by Steven Black on 15/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Being justified freely by his grace.”
Romans 3:24

And it is because grace is free it can reach us. How free is the sun in sending forth its enlightening, warming beams; how free the clouds in discharging their watery treasures; how free the dew in falling from the face of heaven; how free the wind in blowing where it listeth. Now these are scriptural types and representatives of the free grace of God. It shines as freely as the sun; drops as freely as the rain; falls as freely as the dew; and blows as freely as the wind. But not in grace as in nature to all men. I mean not that; but all to whom it comes it comes freely. And whenever it so comes it communicates precious things with it.

As the sun lights and warms, as the rain fertilises, as the dew softens, as the wind invigorates, so it is with the grace of God which comes out of the fulness of Christ. It enlightens the understanding, warms the heart, fertilises the soul, softens the spirit, and invigorates the whole new man of grace. And all this grace does freely, without charge or cost, without money or price, wanting nothing, asking nothing from us but a kindly return. The best debt to a benefactor is the debt of gratitude; the best return of kindness is the return of love; the best acknowledgment of a favour is good words and suitable deeds. The best thanks which the earth can give to the sun, rain, dew, and wind of heaven is to be fruitful—to manifest by the goodness of the crops, the goodness of what falls from heaven upon it. So it is in grace: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me” (Psalm 50:23). A believing, loving heart, a prayerful, thankful lip, and a holy, godly life are the best returns for grace.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

14th March

Written by Steven Black on 14/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”
1 Peter 1:4

Whatever you may have in this world, be it much or little, you must leave. And if you have no other inheritance than earth gives, where will be your portion in death and to all eternity? But if you are begotten again unto a lively hope, even if you do not enjoy the full assurance of faith, you have before you an inheritance which fadeth not away. We fancy sometimes how happy we should be if we had this man’s fine estate, or that man’s large property; how much better we should spend it than he does, and what good we should do with it. And do you think that these men are happy with all their possessions, and that you would be happier or better if you had them? It is not in nature to be happy. These rich men have a canker which eats up all their happiness. And even if free from the heavier troubles of life, all satisfaction of the flesh fadeth away, for possession of itself rubs off all the bloom, and with possession come all the anxieties and cares connected with it. But this eternal inheritance “fadeth not away.” The sweetest flowers fade and are thrown away as they become nauseous to sight and smell. But there is an abiding freshness, a constant verdure, a perpetual bloom, an unceasing fragrance, a permanent sweetness in this eternal inheritance, so that it is never flat or stale, but remains ever the same, or rather is ever increasing in beauty and blessedness, as more known, believed in, hoped unto, and loved.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

13th March

Written by Steven Black on 13/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“”Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
Matthew 11:6

What is the feeling of your heart toward Jesus? What is the solemn desire of your soul? that he would come and make your heart his abode? that he would visit your soul with the light of his countenance? that he would sprinkle his blood upon your conscience? that he would make himself very near, very dear, and very precious? Do you count one word from his lips worth a thousand worlds? a smile of his countenance worth thousands of gold and silver? Then you are blessed. You are not stumbling upon the dark mountains of error. You are not stumbling at the perfections of the Son of God. You are not offended at a free gospel, an unconditional salvation.

No; the Lord in mercy has slaughtered your prejudices, subdued your enmity, and brought you to receive the gospel as a little child. “Well,” but some may say, “I believe all this; but, then, I have doubts and fears whether the Lord has begun his work in me, whether I am one of his family. I cannot enjoy the power of truth as I could wish.” But does not the Lord say, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me?” You are not offended and stumbled at Jesus. And he that is not offended in him, but is enabled to receive him as the Christ of God, to look to him, to believe in him, and at times to feel him precious—he comes under the blessing which maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

12th March

Written by Steven Black on 12/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“”Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us,
and we are called by thy name.”
Jeremiah 14:9

If the Lord has ever been in our soul to manifest there a sense of his goodness and mercy, we can then make use of this as our plea, “Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us.” If he has ever heard your prayer he is with you; if he has ever given you a promise he is with you; if he has ever touched your heart with his finger he is with you; if he has ever favoured you with a smile he is with you. And though taking the general run of your experience he may be a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night, or though even as it may seem, as if he were astonied at what you are—a mighty man that cannot save, still every token for good encourages you to cling, to cleave, to hang round him, to catch hold of his feet as the Shunamite caught Elisha by the feet, and would not be thrust away; for you cannot but feel that, with all that you are and have been, you dearly love him, and have a good hope, if not a clear testimony, that he loves you.

Can you not sometimes look up to him, may I not say almost look at him in the face and say, “‘Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee?’ And though my abominable sins have often made thee a stranger to me, yet in my heart of hearts, in the very depths of my soul thou knowest that I love thee.” And if you can look at the Lord in the face, and appeal to his heart-searching eye that you do love him, depend upon it he loves you, for the word of truth declares, “We love him because he first loved us.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

11th March

Written by Steven Black on 11/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“This is the true God, and eternal life.”
1 John 5:20

O the blessedness, which eternity itself can never exhaust, of possessing eternal life! There is something to my mind so singularly blessed in the expression “eternal life,” that I cannot help dwelling upon it. How the thought, the feeling of it expands the breast! Compared with it, how poor, mean, and low is our temporal life and all its concerns—the short span which God has allotted to us here below! And do observe how our eye is directed by holy John to the true God as being himself eternal life. He is not only the Giver, the Spring, the Subject, the Object of it; He himself is it all. O if he has but quickened our souls by his Spirit and grace, we carry now, even now, eternal life in our breast! for this eternal life is the precious fruit on earth of that eternal life in heaven which was with the Father and was manifested unto us (1 John 1:2).

But how shall we know that we have eternal life, you may ask? How do we know that we have natural life? By an inward consciousness that we are alive; by the pulse which beats, the lungs which breathe, the eye which sees, the ear which hears, the tongue which speaks, the hands which feel, by the warm play of blood through our veins, by the thoughts which pass to and fro through our mind.

Similarly we know the possession of spiritual life by an inward consciousness of it and by its inward actings. And as where there is spiritual there is eternal life, as we feel the bubblings, springings, risings, and varied movements of this spiritual life in our bosom, we have a testimony that we have also eternal life; that this eternal life is in the Son of God, and from the Son of God has been breathed into and communicated unto our souls.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

10th March

Written by Steven Black on 10/03/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
Psalm 107:9

We find the living family of God sometimes set forth under the character of the hungry. Let us see what they are hungering after. Is it pleasure, honour, promotion, respectability? O no; these toys and baubles cannot satisfy the spiritual hunger of a living soul. They cannot hunger after that on which they cannot feed. They hunger then after righteousness, as the Lord said: “Blessed are ye that hunger and thirst after righteousness.” They hunger after God himself in his blessed manifestations; they hunger after the bread of life which came down from heaven, that a man should eat thereof and not die.

Christ in the letter of the word cannot satisfy their keen appetite. They must feed upon him internally, or their famine still continues. To these hungry, famishing souls, to have Christ in the letter is like a starving beggar standing outside a shop where there is plenty of provisions, and not having a farthing to buy them with. What is Christ in the letter? Will a sight of Christ in the word of God remove the burden of guilt, bring peace into the soul, purge the conscience or subdue the power of sin? Will the mere doctrine of Christ draw up the affections to him, cast out the world, dethrone self, or purify the heart? “Alas!” we say by painful experience, “not one jot, not one jot.” But the presence of Christ in the soul can at once do all these things. Thus a hungry, famishing soul can only be pacified by Christ coming into his heart as the hope of glory.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869