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Archive for July 13th, 2012

“He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick.” Matthew 12:20

What is weaker than the bruised reed–or the smoldering wick?

A reed that grows in the marsh–let even a wild duck land upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river–moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed.

Then look at the smoldering wick–what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true–but it is almost smothered; an infant’s breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame.

Weak things are here described–yet Jesus says of them, “I will not break a bruised reed; I will not put out a smoldering wick.” Some of God’s children are made strong to do mighty works for Him; God has His Samsons here and there–who can pull up Gaza’s gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men. But the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passer-by. They are a little fearful flock. If temptation comes–they are captured like birds in a snare. If trial threatens–they are ready to faint. Their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave; they drift along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows–weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight.

Yet, as weak as they are–and because they are so weak–they have this promise made specially to them! Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and loving-kindness! How it reveals the compassion of Jesus to us–so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him–though He might well chide us for our weakness. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoldering wick no damping frowns!

~ C.H. Spurgeon

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A. W.Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy:

Almighty God, just because he is almighty, needs no support.

The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God that is precisely what we see.

Twentieth-century Christianity has put God on charity. So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. . . .

Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world. . . .

Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his hearers, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support.

I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of.

Add to this a certain degree of commendable idealism and a fair amount of compassion for the underprivileged and you have the true drive behind much Christian activity today.

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“Lord, forgive us all our sin.
If any cloud has arisen to hide you from any believing eye,
take that cloud away.

If in our march through this world, so full of mire as it is, we have any spot on us,
dear Savior, wash our feet and declare us “clean.”

May we know that there is no condemnation, no separation;
sin is removed as to its separating as well as its destroying power,
and may we enter into full fellowship with God.

Perfect your work within our hearts.
We are saved, but we would be saved from sin of every form and degree;
from sins that lie within, and we are scarcely aware that they are there.

If we have any pride of which we are not conscious,
any unbelief of which we are not aware,
if there is a form of idolatry which we have not yet perceived,
we ask you, Lord, to search us as with candles
till you spy out the evil and then put it away.
We are not satisfied with pardoned sin,
We pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.”

Save us, we pray, from ordinary religion;
give us the peculiar grace of a peculiar people.
May we abide in Christ,
may we live near to God.

Lord, arouse us to a deep concern for all with whom we come in contact from day to day.
Make us all missionaries at home or in the street, or in our workshop,
wherever Providence has cast our lot, may we there shine as lights in the world.”

– Charles Spurgeon, adapted  HT

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John Owen:

Flesh and blood is apt to have very hard thoughts of him — to think he is always angry, yea, implacable; that it is not for poor creatures to draw nigh to him. . .

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God — that there is still an indisposedness [unwillingness] of spirit unto close walking with him.

What is at the bottom of this distemper?

Is it not their unskillfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love?

So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in him, and no more.

Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from him; but if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto him.

This, if anything, will work upon us to make our abode with him.

If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?

Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in him. I dare boldly say: believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a further discovery of the sweetness of the streams. You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.

John Owen, Communion with the Triune Godpp. 126, 128.

HT: Between Two Worlds

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News of a better world

Blessed be God for the news of a better world, where there will be no sin, change, nor defect for ever. And let us praise him, likewise, that He has appointed means of grace and seasons for refreshment here below, for a throne of grace, a precious Bible, and returning ordinances: these are valuable privileges; and so they appear to us when our hearts are in a lively frame. Then everything appears little and worthless, in comparison of communion with God. Oh, for a coal of fire from the heavenly altar to warm our frozen spirits! Oh, for a taste of love and glimpses of glory, that we might mount up as with eagle’s wings! Let us pray for each other.

~John Newton~The Letters of John Newton – To Captain Clunie (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 62-63.

HT: The Old Guys

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