Here is a quote from the well known evangelist, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892):
“When going through affliction we are brave through the grace of God when we are faithful to His service. Then we believe that there is nothing in this world worth living for. When we think of the world to come, we gladly deny ourselves. But when the good times come, how difficult it is to think of the world to come. It is then that we sink in dishonourable lust and sin.”
Yes, whether in good time or bad times, we need to have the reality of what is ahead before our hearts. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). The preacher, John Wesley (1703-1791), when asked why he had given up so many earthly comforts to serve the Lord, replied, “There is another world.” Let’s not forget this truth as we start out on another week of planning and activity. It will keep everything we do in the proper perspective.
It is not possible for us to bring the Father true worship or to have fellowship with Him, if we are not filled with a profound impression of the preciousness of the person and sacrifice of Christ. Our heart must be filled with Him! Christ is the foundation of our blessed relationship with God. How can we enter the presence of God in spirit, without an enjoyment of the One who secured this place for us?
If the Lord is not constantly before our souls in all His preciousness, and if His loving-kindness fails to rejoice and refresh our hearts, then our worship will be a mere formality. We may be able to recount a whole list of truths fluently in our prayers, but that is of little value to God. He Himself finds His delight only in Christ and seeks souls who share His delight, so far as we are capable of doing so. That is worship! Singing hymns too, if we have lost sight of Christ, is at best pleasant to the ear, but not the expression of true worship. The Lord Jesus said, while sitting on the well at Sychar: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23).
Two men met in the elevator of a big hotel, in which dogs were not allowed. One of the men was wearing hunting clothes.
“It looks like you are going hunting,” the other said.
“Oh yes,” replied the first proudly.
“Haven’t you got a dog?” was the next question.
“I have, and between you and me I have him here in the hotel. I won’t tell you what trick I used to get him in, but nobody has noticed yet. Do you hunt as well?”
“Oh no!” answered the other, “I am the hotel owner.” In embarrassment and shame the hunter lowered his eyes. He had given himself away.
Isn’t this precisely how many people act towards God? They ignore His Word and imagine that He doesn’t notice. Or assert that He doesn’t exist. But God is very much alive and the Bible declares, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Thankfully the work of Christ is able to take care of every sin we have ever committed. He says: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).
The God who holds the universe is the God who holds our hand. “Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:23).
If the love of God is flowing into me, the love of God will be flowing out of me. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).
Fear will leave us when we remember that Jesus is with us. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee” (Isaiah 41:10).
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1:6).
Be careful with your words, once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
When I was a young man an older brother gave me some good advice. He said, “If you love your fellow-believers, learn to serve them.” However, the problem is that sometimes we may think certain tasks are beneath us. The following story from history is a good illustration of how we need to learn that no service for Christ is too lowly, and that the Lord Himself said: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10).
During the American War of Independence, also known as the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), some soldiers were laboring to raise a great log of wood from a roadway. Someone came along, and seeing a soldier standing by asked why he was not helping his fellow comrades. Drawing himself up, he answered: “Don’t you know that I am the Corporal?” He felt he was too big to serve. Too high to stoop to such a menial task.
The visitor, said: “If you won’t help, I will.”
The job was soon finished, and the Corporal asked: “And who are you?”
Every section of God’s Word has something to say to us. That makes every passage important. When should you have your quiet time? It’s important to read the Bible as often as possible, but it’s helpful to have a specific time each day when you shut everyone out except God. For many, that specific time is early in the morning. The mind is less cluttered then and the day is less complicated. Besides, God deserves us at our best, and the best part of the day is usually the first part. David said, “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee” (Psalm 63:1). Perhaps for your quiet time you will find another time of day suits your life-style better. That’s fine. But make sure you establish a time and stick to it.
What should you do when you have your quiet time? Here is a sample list
Start with prayer, asking the Lord to prepare your heart.
Read a specific portion of Scripture. Orderly, consistent reading of the Bible is helpful.
“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
When we get saved we need to grow in our new faith in Christ. To do this, it is important to establish a quiet time. By “quiet time” I mean getting alone with God and His Word. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, we sometimes find it easy to live our lives with little or no regard for the God who saved us—or for His Word. The Bible is the revelation of God’s mind to you. It’s what He wants you to know and do. Not only did God give His Son—the Living Word—to save you, He gave His Book—the Written Word—to guide you. Many people own a Bible, but they never read it. For many people, it’s an out-of-date book, good for their grandparents but not for them. Someone has said that if everyone blew the dust from their unused Bibles simultaneously, we’d all be killed in the dust storm. To be sure, some sections of the Bible are difficult to understand, and some are not as exciting as others. Once John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, said something like this: “I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible than I could understand; and yet at other times the whole Bible has been to me as dry as a stick.”
Many of our fellow-believers are really suffering for their faith and testimony in many parts of the world today. Most of our readers live in countries where we enjoy freedom of religion, and we have no fear from the authorities when we carry a Bible, meet for Bible meetings, or share the gospel with others.
Not only do we need to pray for Christians in persecuted countries, but we also need to pray that we, in lands of freedom, will be able to continue to have Bibles and meet freely with out fear of harassment from governments, imprisonment, and death. And that we will be able to freely spread the good news of the gospel, until the Lord Jesus comes. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the young man Timothy, he said: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
The wise men had travelled a long way to find out where “the King of the Jews” had been born. They made diligent search, and when they had found Him, they worshipped. They bowed in the presence of, not just the King of the Jews, but the King of kings, the Son of the living God. We too should feel the wonder of being in His presence when we remember Him in His death at Calvary.
The wise men presented to Him three gifts:
Gold: This speaks of the deity of Christ, the fact that He is God and man in one person.
Frankincense: This typifies the fragrance of His perfect, sinless life.
Myrrh: This reminds us of His death.
If we remember and meditate on these three aspects of the person and work of Christ today, there will be true worship, and we will be true worshipers.
Maybe you wonder why Christians emphasize the importance of the blood. The thought of blood and death is repulsive to many; they believe that a faith that should make people happy should offer something more attractive.
God has much to offer that is attractive: eternal life, a Father’s love, an inheritance in heaven, joy, peace, and rest of soul, now and in eternity.
But there is still a matter that needs to be settled, the question of sin. We are sinners, and every sin demands divine justice. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is where the matter of the blood comes in, as blood signifies life. Because we had forfeited our life forever, a perfect, sinless sacrifice had to shed its blood as a substitute for us. That is what God’s holiness demanded. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). There could be no salvation in any other way. Jesus Christ became that sacrifice, His blood flowed at Calvary’s cross to enable all who believe in the atonement it made to receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Their security is found in the BLOOD!