All posts by Katherine

A Jealous God

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
– Exodus 20:4-6

“Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did He choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did He buy you with His own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that He would not stay in heaven without you! He would sooner die—than you should perish; and He cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and Himself.
He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon Him, He is glad—but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend—worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own—He is displeased, and will chasten us that He may bring us to Himself.
He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse, so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret fellowship with Him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would sincerely have us abide in Him, and enjoy constant fellowship with Himself; and many of the trials which He sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon Himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ—be also a comfort to us, for if He loves us so much as to care thus about our love—we may be sure that He will allow nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!”
~ Charles Spurgeon

Viewing Feelings of Spiritual Dryness Through the Lens of the Cross

“O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory.
Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,
when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night;
for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”
~ Psalm 63:1-8, A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’
The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
~ John 4:10-14

“Though we have brought forth some fruit unto Christ, and have a joyful hope that we are ‘plants of His own right hand planting,’ yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak—each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, requiring the refreshing shower.
In such a condition what are we to do? …I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, heavy laden you were once—you lost your burden there. Go to Calvary again. That very cross which gave you life—may give you fruitfulness. What is my barrenness? It is the platform—for His fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the black setting—for the sapphire of His everlasting love. I will go in poverty, I will go in helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding, I will tell Him that I am still His child, and in confidence in His faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and cry aloud!
Sing, believer, for it will cheer your own heart, and the hearts of other desolate ones. Sing on, for now that you are really ashamed of being barren, you will be fruitful soon; now that God makes you loath to be without fruit—He will soon cover you with clusters. The experience of our barrenness is painful—but the Lord’s visitations are delightful. A sense of our own poverty drives us to Christ, and that is where we need to be—for in Him is our fruit found!”
~ Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Believer, do not rest in your own fickle emotions as the source of your joy. There will be dry, dark, difficult days where you feel used up, exhausted, unable to take one more step. Remember where your joy comes from…Christ…the cross. Grab hold of that, rest in it, despite the feelings of barrenness. Our hearts and emotions are wavering and deceiving, but Christ is steadfast and unchanging. He has promised to never forsake us, promised to sanctify us, to love us, to protect and guide us; He has promised us an eternity with Him. Our security is in His grace, His death on the cross, His resurrection, His work of salvation, His love, in what He has promised and what He will do…not in how “good” or “spiritual” we are feeling on a particular day. We can never attain Him in our own works or feelings. Behold the cross. Rejoice in the all-sufficiency of Christ. Drink deeply of His Words. Go forth and serve Him, love Him, glorify Him, in His strength, and not your own.

This Golden Truth

“And they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it.”
~ Mark 15:23

“A golden truth is couched in the fact that the Savior refused the myrrhed wine-cup from His lips. On the heights of heaven the Son of God stood of old, and as He looked down upon our globe He measured the long descent to the utmost depths of human misery; He cast up the sum total of all the agonies which expiation would require, and abated not a jot. He solemnly determined that to offer a sufficient atoning sacrifice, He must go the whole way, from the highest to the lowest, from the throne of highest glory to the cross of deepest woe. This myrrhed cup, with its sedative influence, would have stopped Him within a little of the utmost limit of misery, therefore He refused it. He would not stop short of all He had undertaken to suffer for His people!
Ah, how many of us have pined after reliefs to our grief—which would have been injurious to us! Reader, did you never pray for a discharge from hard service or suffering with a petulant and willful eagerness? Providence has taken from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke. Christian, did you say, ‘May Your will be done’? Oh, it is sweet to be able to say, ‘My Lord, if for other reasons I need not suffer—yet if I can honor You more by suffering, and if the loss of my earthly all will bring You glory, then so let it be. I refuse the comfort, if it comes in the way of Your honor.’ O that we thus walked more in the footsteps of our Lord, cheerfully enduring trial for His sake, promptly and willingly putting away the thought of self and comfort when it would interfere with our finishing the work which He has given us to do. Great grace is needed—but great grace is provided!”
~ Charles Spurgeon

Consider…the physical pain which our Savior experienced was minute compared to the pain of bearing our sin and receiving the full brunt of God’s wrath in our place. Believers, in Christ we are no longer condemned…we are set free from sin to serve and follow Him.

“Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let Him deny Himself and take up His cross and follow me.
For whoever would save His life will lose it, but whoever loses His life for my sake will find it.'”
~ Matthew 16:24-25

As Spurgeon pointed out…great grace is needed to follow Christ…and great grace is provided. On the cross He won the full and complete victory over our sin. He saves us. He gives us the grace to follow Him. And He grants eternal life. All a work of Him. He loved us first, and we love Him and follow Him in return. By His grace and strength, and by His transforming work in our lives can we learn to cry out, “Your will be done. Lord, make me more like Jesus, whatever it may take.” The path is not easy, but remember…He has already won the victory, and He promises that His grace is sufficient.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will he not also with Him graciously give us all things?
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
As it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:28-39

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Speechless

“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’
‘Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’
‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’
‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.’
‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins.
It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
– Romans 3:10-28

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to His own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous one, My servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the many, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
– Isaiah 53:4-12

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-
but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
– Romans 5:6-11

What righteousness! What justice! What love! Not one attribute of God eclipsing another in His complete and total perfection.
We are all completely depraved sinners. His righteousness abhors sin. His justice demands the punishment of sin. His justice demands that His wrath be poured out on sin. The only way we can be saved from that wrath is for someone who has fully kept every commandment of God to take that punishment in our place.
Jesus Christ did that. He, God, became a man, God in a body, loved God with His whole being, followed God’s perfect will completely, kept the law perfectly, withstood temptation far beyond what we can comprehend, and then He went to the cross and God poured out His wrath on Him and crushed Him. And then…God demonstrated His acceptance of that sacrifice by raising Christ from the dead, seating Him at the right hand of God, and exalting Him above all!
And as a result of that great sacrifice, those who cry out to Him in repentance, trusting in nothing but the work of Christ to save them, can live. In His great mercy He awakens them from their sin and places in them a heart of flesh…that they may believe and be saved from God’s wrath, and may have eternal life with their Savior and King, Christ, who will one day judge the entire world in righteousness and justice and power.

Speechless.

“God paid the demands of His own justice against us by dying in our place.” – Paul Washer

“Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.”
– “Rock of Ages”, Augustus Montague
Toplady

The Valley of Vision

“Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;

Let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.”

– Excerpt from, The Valley of Vision – A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

All to the Glory of God

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak,
knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence.
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:6-18

“God’s great design in all His works, is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this—is unworthy of Himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why He brings His people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes forth to work their deliverance.
He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence—but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. Those who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but those who ‘do business in great waters,’ these see His ‘wonders in the deep.’ Among the huge Atlantic waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach—we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road—it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and loving-kindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means—your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved—but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.”
– Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

“How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom”
– Stuart Townend, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”