25th March

Written by Steven Black on 25/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.”
Isaiah 54:13

The teaching of God can only be known and realised by those who have seen an end of all creature perfection, and who are completely and experimentally destitute of all wisdom in the flesh. And God’s teaching does not leave a man where it found him, dead, stupefied, worldly, unfeeling, and carnal. If he is in distress, it does not leave him in distress; if he feels guilty, it does not leave him guilty; if he is in darkness, it does not leave him in darkness; but it lifts him out of these evils. Thus God’s people are continually led to come unto him for his instruction, because they feel that without his special teaching they can know nothing as they ought to know.

Nay, the more they have, the more they want to have; for no sooner is the light withdrawn, than the darkness is more sensibly felt. If any text of Scripture has been opened up to them, it makes them want to have others made known in a similar way; if they have had any consolation, and it is taken away, it makes them want it again. So that the more wise and spiritual God’s people become, the more foolish and carnal they appear in their own eyes; the stronger they are in the Lord and in the power of his might, the more sensibly do they feel the weakness of their flesh; and the more they are enabled to walk closely with the Lord, the more they discover the wretched wanderings of their base and sinful hearts.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

24th March

Written by Steven Black on 24/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“That at that time ye were without Christ,
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,
and strangers from the covenants of promise,
having no hope, and without God in the world.”
Ephesians 2:12

The Apostle here tells the Ephesians that in their natural state, before divinely quickened and made alive unto God, they were “without Christ,” that is, without manifest union and communion with him. Though in the purposes of God, and by their eternal election in Christ, they were members of his mystical body, they had not been baptized into Christ by the Spirit so as to be made living members of his spiritual body, the Church (1 Cor. 12:13), and therefore had not “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

And as they were, such were we. We were “without Christ” in our Gentile days. He had no place in our thoughts. We knew nothing of his Person and work, blood and righteousness, beauty and blessedness, grace and glory. He was to us a root out of a dry ground, and in our eyes he had no form nor comeliness. His name might have been on our lips, but his Spirit and grace were not in our hearts. And if matters be in any way different now with us, if there be any faith on him, hope in him, or love to him, grace has wrought it all.

Let us never forget what we were before we were called by grace. Let the remembrance of our sins and of the whole bent and current of our lives be bitter to us, that we may all the more prize and admire the riches of that sovereign grace which stooped to us in our low and lost estate. The paschal lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs. The remembrance of Egyptian bondage should ever accompany the enjoyment of gospel liberty, and godly sorrow for sin the feeding on the flesh of Christ.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

23rd March

Written by Steven Black on 23/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2

How shall we find the will of God acceptable? Only as we are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and are transformed and conformed to the suffering image of the sorrowing Son of God. How fearful, then, how dangerous, and yet how ensnaring is that worldly conformity which sets us in deadly opposition to that good and perfect will of God which was, and is “acceptable” to his dear Son, to all the holy angels round the throne, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to his spiritually-minded people on earth, and hateful to none but devils and carnal, ungodly men. And how truly blessed to be brought out of the power and prevailing influence of this worldly spirit, and to be cast into the gospel mould, where, being renewed in the spirit of our mind, we prove that the will of God is not only “good,” pure goodness, and “perfect,” worthy of all his glorious perfections, but “acceptable” to our heart and affections, which therefore tenderly embrace it, and thus, as it were, incorporate it into our will, making the two wills one. To bring us to this point is the grand object of all gospel discipline; and one may say that the ultimatum of gospel obedience is, “To lie passive in his hand, And know no will but his.”

Here then only can we fully enter into the beauty and blessedness of gospel truth; here only can we submit to the weight of a daily cross, glory in tribulation, patiently endure afflictions, feel the sweetness of the promises, walk in obedience to the precepts, and tread the path that leads to endless glory.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

22nd March

Written by Steven Black on 22/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands
were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.”
Genesis 49:24

Our ancestors, you know, were celebrated bowmen. Victories were won at Cressy and Agincourt by the English yeomanry, who were skilled in the use of the bow. Latimer says, in a sermon preached before the king, that no man could be a good archer who did not learn from his boyhood; and the custom he tells us was for the father to put his hands upon the son’s hands, to teach him how to shoot, and throw the whole strength of his body into the bow. When the boy drew the bow, it was not the strength of his own arm that drew the string, nor was it the keenness of his eye that directed the arrow to the mark. The child appeared to draw the bow and to direct the arrow; but the hand of the father was upon the hand of the child, and the eye of the father was guiding the eye of the child; thus though the child seemed to draw the bow, it was the strength of the father that really pulled the string.

So in the case of Joseph to whom our text refers, “the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” God put his hands upon the hands of Joseph, drew the bow for him, directed the arrow, and hit effectually the mark. Apply this to your experience. When you pray effectually, it is not you that pray; it is the Spirit of God that prays in you; for he helpeth our infirmities, and intercedeth for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. When you believe, it is the Spirit of God that works faith in you; when you hope, it is the Spirit of God that produces hope in you; when you love, it is the Spirit of God that sheds abroad love in you; it is the arms of his hands that are put upon your hands, and they are made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

21st March

Written by Steven Black on 21/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
Exodus 15:26

How does God heal the diseases of his people? He heals them chiefly by subduing them; for in this life they are never thoroughly healed. The promise runs: “He will subdue our iniquities” (Micah 7:19). To subdue them is to restrain their power. Thus he sees one suffering under the power of unbelief. He gives him faith: this subdues his unbelief. Here is another poor languid patient, dying of exhaustion: he gives him strength. Here is a third mourning under his corruptions: he gives a drop of his blood to purge his conscience, and a taste of his love to warm his heart. He sees a fourth crying under the strong assaults of Satan: with one look Satan flies and the soul is set free. Thus with infinite wisdom blended with infinite love and power, he passes on from bed to bed of every sick patient, administering health wherever he goes. This blessed Physician has a remedy for every disease, and the remedy is always felt to be exactly suitable to the exigency of the case. It goes, so to speak, at once to the right spot; it heals the malady wherever it be, and whatever it be, just in the right way, and just at the right time. O then how good it is to bring all our diseases before the Lord! In a case of bodily sickness or painful complaint we uncover freely our malady to a physician whom we can trust; we tell him every circumstance and disclose every symptom. So should we go to the Lord with all our diseases, tell him all our complaints, unfold to him all our sorrows, and fully and freely lay before him everything that burdens the conscience, pains the mind, and distresses the soul, looking and waiting until he speaks the word, and every malady is healed.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

20th March

Written by Steven Black on 20/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”
Psalm 116:9

There is a distinction between walking before God and walking with God. To walk before God is to walk with an abiding sense of God’s eye being upon us; to walk with a desire to do those things which are pleasing in his sight; to walk in his ordinances blameless; to walk before his people with our garments unspotted by the world; in a word, to walk before him in private as in public, alone and in company, before the Church and the world, by day and by night, as we should walk if we had a personal view of his glorious majesty in heaven before our eyes.

Now if you carried about with you a deep and daily sense that God saw every thought, marked every movement, heard every word, and observed every action, this sense of his presence would put a restraint upon your light, trifling, and foolish spirit. You would watch your thoughts, your words, your actions, as living under a sense of God’s heart-searching eye. This is to walk before God.

But we read of Enoch that he “walked with God.” This is a more advanced stage of the divine life. To walk with God is to walk with him in sweet familiarity, in holy confidence, in a blessed sense of interest in his love and grace, and thus to walk with him and talk with him as a man walketh and talketh with his friend. There are some who walk before God, but how few walk with God! Many live under a more or less deep and daily sense of God’s heart-searching presence, who are not admitted into this sweet familiarity, nor enjoy the blessedness of this heavenly intercourse.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

19th March

Written by Steven Black on 19/03/2019. 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 18/03/2019. 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 17/03/2019. 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 16/03/2019. 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