Tag Archives: Alistair Begg

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Chosen for Affliction

 

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

 Isaiah 48:10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” [KJV]. Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not a protective shield, against which the heat has no power? Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, you may stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has “chosen” me.

If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He comforts you in your affliction and softens the place of rest. You are in poverty; but in your lovely house the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit you. Your friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see Him, but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.”1

Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, you carry Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you. In all your difficult trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with you” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Will you not, then, take hold of Christ and say:

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I’ll follow where He goes.

1) Isaiah 41:10

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Wisdom in War

 

But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle.

 1 Samuel 13:20

We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving—all must be brought into action, and talents that have been thought too mean for service must now be employed.

These various tools may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favorable or unfavorable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.

Most of our tools need sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness—in a word, complete adaptation—for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises. We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Witness the energy of some, how they travel over sea and land to make one proselyte—are they to monopolize all the earnestness? Consider what tortures some endure in the service of their idols! Are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavors, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all!

The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Means of Sanctification

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.

 Song of Songs 4:16

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that is to become the means of our sanctification. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace.

Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved, only entreating Him to send forth His grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation that would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer’s presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both, so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we.

How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. We may even court trial or death itself if by doing so we gladden Immanuel’s heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes trapped in the bottle: The wisdom of God overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result and makes both affliction and consolation produce the grateful aroma of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience what this means.

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Where Is Your Hope?

 

My hope is from him.

 Psalm 62:5

It is the believer’s privilege to use this language. If he is looking for anything from the world, it is a poor hope indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his needs, whether temporal or spiritual blessings, his hope will not be in vain. He may constantly draw from the bank of faith and get his need supplied out of the riches of God’s loving-kindness. I know this: I would rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds.

My Lord never fails to honor His promises; and when we bring them to His throne, He never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at His door, for He always opens it with the hand of abundant grace. At this hour I will turn to Him afresh.

But we have “hope” beyond this life. We will die soon; and still our “hope is from him.” May we not expect that when we face illness He will send angels to carry us to His bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint and the heart is weak, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us and whisper, “Come away!” As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”1 We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be among the company of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord—for “We shall see him as he is.”2

Then if these are your hopes, O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify Him from whose grace in your election, redemption, and calling you safely ”hope” for the coming glory.

1) Matthew 25:34
2) 1 John 3:2

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Our Quiet Dwelling Place

 

You have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge.

 Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next day the morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, up the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. They scarcely had time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Onward! this is not your rest; you must keep journeying onward toward Canaan!” They never stayed for long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.

They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and its flame by night their fireplace. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, “Now we are secure; we will stay in this place.” Moses says, “Though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”1

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today and sad tomorrow—but there is no change regarding his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.

My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Even when prospects are few and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my refuge” to which I continually return. I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet dwelling place.

1) Psalm 90:1

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –God’s Work in Salvation

 

Salvation belongs to the Lord!

 Jonah 2:9

Salvation is the work of God. It is He alone who quickens the soul “dead in…trespasses and sins,”1 and He it is who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.”

“Salvation belongs to the LORD!” If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand. I do nothing whatever toward my own preservation, except what God Himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Whenever I sin, that is my own doing; but when I act correctly, that is wholly and completely of God. If I have resisted a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm.

Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I separated from the world? I am separated by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”2

Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the bread that comes down from heaven? What is that bread but Jesus Christ Himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh supplies of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help comes from heaven’s hills: Without Jesus I can do nothing.

As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the ocean, let me learn this morning in my room: “Salvation belongs to the LORD.”

1) Ephesians 2:1
2) Psalm 62:2

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Storm of God’s Wrath

 

. . . The wrath to come.

 Matthew 3:7

It is pleasant to pass over a country after a storm has spent itself—to smell the freshness of the herbs after the rain has passed away, and to note the drops while they glisten like purest diamonds in the sunlight.

That is the position of a Christian. He is going through a land where the storm has spent itself upon His Savior’s head, and if there be a few drops of sorrow falling, they distill from clouds of mercy, and Jesus cheers him by the assurance that they are not for his destruction.

But how terrible it is to witness the approach of a tempest—to note the forewarnings of the storm; to mark the birds of heaven as they droop their wings; to see the cattle as they lay their heads low in terror; to discern the face of the sky as it grows black, and to find the sun obscured, and the heavens angry and frowning! How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane, to wait in terrible apprehension till the wind rushes forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling-places of man!

And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot drops have fallen as yet, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery. So far the water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the floodgates will soon be opened: The thunderbolts of God are still in His storehouse, the tempest is coming, and how awful will that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury!

Where, where, where, O sinner, will you hide your head, or where will you run to? May the hand of mercy lead you now to Christ! He is freely set before you in the Gospel: His pierced side is the place of shelter. You know your need of Him; believe in Him, cast yourself upon Him, and then the fury shall be past forever.

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Showers of Blessing

 

I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

 Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign mercy—“I will send down the showers in their season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy? For who can say, “I will send down showers” except God? There is only one voice that can speak to the clouds and bid them send the rain. “Who sends down the rain upon the earth? Who scatters the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?” So grace is the gift of God and is not to be created by man.

It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? Just as absolutely needful is the divine blessing; you work in vain until God then bestows the shower and sends salvation down.

Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send down the showers.” It does not say, “I will send down drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! We need plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace.

Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in their season.” What is your season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As your days, so shall your strength be.”1

And here is a varied blessing. “I will give you showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.

1) Deuteronomy 33:25

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –He Promises You

 

I will never leave you.

 Hebrews 13:5

No promise is for private application. Whatever God has said to one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When He opens a granary-door to give out food, there may be one starving man who is the reason for it being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses matters not, believer; He has given it to you as one of the covenanted seed.

There is not a high blessing too lofty for you, nor a wide mercy too extensive for you. Lift up your eyes now to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is yours. Climb to the mountaintop, and view the utmost limits of the divine promise, for the land is all your own. There is not a brook of living water of which you may not drink. If the land flows with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are yours. Be bold to believe, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In this promise, God gives His people everything. “I will never leave you.” Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on behalf of them that trust Him. Is He love? Then with loving-kindness will He have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on your side.

To summarize, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven that is not contained in this text—“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Mighty One

His bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob.

 Genesis 49:24

The strength that God gives to His Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valor, a fiction, a thing of which men talk but which ends in smoke; it is true—divine strength.

Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God enables him. There is nothing that we can do without the power of God. All true strength comes from “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph—“His arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.” God is represented as putting His hands on Joseph’s hands, placing His arms on Joseph’s arms. Just as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear Him. He puts His arms upon them. Marvelous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from His throne and lays His hand upon the child’s hand, stretching His arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong!

This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God’s covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have flow to us from the fountainhead, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we should fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend except by the ladder that Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you and shot at you and wounded you, but still your bow remains unmoved. Be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob’s God.

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –He Has Said

. . . For he has said . . .

 Hebrews 13:5

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there that shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God’s covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death, will not the internal corruptions and the external snares, will not the trials from above and the temptations from beneath all seem but light afflictions when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of “he has said”?

Yes; whether for delight in peace or for strength in our conflict, “he has said” must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word that would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch that would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacy of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “he has said.”

Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets. So should you not also be proficient in your knowledge of the Word of God, so that you may be able to quote it readily in solving a difficulty or overthrowing a doubt?

Since “he has said” is the source of all wisdom and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”1 In this way you will grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life.

1) John 4:14

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Go First to God

 

God, who comforts the downcast.

 2 Corinthians 7:6

And who comforts like Him? Go to some poor, melancholy, distressed child of God; tell him sweet promises and whisper in his ear choice words of comfort; he is like the deaf adder that doesn’t listen to the voice of the charmer, even though he charms wisely. He is drinking gall and wormwood, and no matter how you comfort him, you will only get a note or two of mournful resignation from him; you will bring forth no psalms of praise, no hallelujahs, no joyful sonnets. But let God come to His child, let Him lift up his countenance, and the mourner’s eyes glisten with hope. Do you not hear him sing—

‘Tis paradise, if you are here;
If you depart, ‘tis hell.

You could not have cheered him: but the Lord has done it; He is the “God of all comfort.”1 There is no balm in Gilead, but there is balm in God. There is no physician among the creatures, but the Creator is Jehovah-rophi. It is marvelous how one sweet word of God will make whole songs for Christians. One word of God is like a piece of gold, and the Christian is the gold-beater and can hammer that promise out for weeks.

So, then, poor Christian, you need not sit down in despair. Go to the Comforter, and ask Him to give you consolation. You are a poor, dry well. You have heard it said that when a pump is dry, you must pour water down it first of all, and then you will get water; and so, Christian, when you are dry, go to God, ask Him to shed abroad His joy in your heart, and then your joy shall be full. Do not go to earthly acquaintances, for you will find them to be Job’s comforters; but go first and foremost to “God, who comforts the downcast,” and you will soon say, “When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul.”

1) 2 Corinthians 1:3

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Forerunner of Mercy

 

Thus says the Lord God: this also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them.

 Ezekiel 36:37

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favor, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you.

When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much and earnestly interceding with God that He would remove your doubts and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles and mighty help in great dangers, you have been able to say, “I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”1

Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing’s shadow. When the sunlight of God’s mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, He Himself shines behind them, and He casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest confident, if we are much in prayer, that our pleadings are the shadows of mercy.

Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought them earnestly.

Prayer makes the darken’d cloud withdraw;
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love;
Brings every blessing from above.

1) Psalm 34:4

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Why Do I Face Trials?

 

Let me know why you contend against me.

 Job 10:2

Perhaps, weary soul, the Lord is doing this to develop your graces. There are some of your graces that would never be discovered if it were not for your trials. Do you not know that your faith never looks as good in summer as it does in winter? Love is too often like a glowworm, showing but little light unless it is surrounded by darkness.

Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black foils in which God sets the jewels of His children’s graces, to make them shine brighter. It was only a little while ago that on your knees you were saying, “Lord, I fear I have no faith. Let me know that I have faith.” Were you not really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials? For how can you know that you have faith until your faith is exercised? Depend upon it—God often sends us trials so that our graces may be discovered and that we may be convinced of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.

God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and subjecting them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy backpacks of sorrow. Well, Christian, may this not account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is the Lord bringing out your graces and making them grow? Is it for this reason He contends with you?

Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Dwelling in God’s Presence

 

Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.

 Genesis 25:11

Hagar had once found deliverance there, and Ishmael had drunk from the water so graciously revealed by the God who lives and sees the sons of men; but that was a merely casual visit, such as unbelievers pay to the Lord in times of need, when it suits them. They cry to Him in trouble but forsake Him in prosperity. Isaac dwelt there and made the well of the living and all-seeing God his constant source of supply.

The usual tenor of a man’s life, the dwelling of his soul, is the true test of his state. Perhaps the providential visitation experienced by Hagar struck Isaac’s mind and led him to revere the place. Its mystical name endeared it to him; his frequent musings at its brim at evening made him familiar with the well. Meeting Rebecca there had made his spirit feel at home near the spot; but best of all, the fact that there he enjoyed fellowship with the living God had made him select that hallowed ground for his dwelling.

Let us learn to live in the presence of the living God; let us ask the Holy Spirit that this day, and every other day, we may sense, ”God, You see me.” May the Lord be as a well to us, delightful, comforting, unfailing, springing up unto eternal life. The bottle of the creature cracks and dries up, but the well of the Creator never fails; happy is he who dwells at the well and as a result has abundant and constant supplies at hand.

The Lord has been a sure helper to others: His name is Shaddai, God All-sufficient. Our hearts have often had most delightful communion with Him; through Him our soul has found her glorious Husband, the Lord Jesus; and in Him this day we live and move and have our being. Let us, then, dwell in closest fellowship with Him. Glorious Lord, constrain us, that we may never leave You but dwell by the well of the living God.

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The College of Contentment

 

For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

 Philippians 4:11

These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. Weeds grow easily. Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We do not need to sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth. And so we do not need to teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education.

But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. In order to have wheat, we must plow and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care.

Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature. It is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace that God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned . . . to be content,” as much as to say he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to discover that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained to it and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever situation I am to be content,” he was an old, gray-headed man, upon the borders of the grave–a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome.

We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities and share the cold dungeon with him, if we also might by some means attain to his good stature. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Christian, hush that murmur, even though it is natural, and continue as a diligent pupil in the College of Contentment.

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – To Him Be the Glory

 

To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.

 2 Peter 3:18

Heaven will be full of the ceaseless praises of Jesus. Eternity! Your unnumbered years shall run their everlasting course, but forever and forever; “to him be the glory.” Is He not a “priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”? “To him be the glory.” Is He not king forever—King of kings and Lord of lords, the everlasting Father? “To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” His praises shall never end.

That which was bought with blood deserves to last while immortality endures. The glory of the cross must never be eclipsed; the luster of the grave and of the resurrection must never be dimmed. O Jesus, You will be praised forever. So long as immortal spirits live—as long as the Father’s throne endures—forever, forever, unto You shall be glory.

Believer, you are anticipating the time when you will join the saints above in ascribing all glory to Jesus; but are you glorifying Him now? The apostle’s words are, “To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” Will you not today make it your prayer? Lord, help me to glorify You. I am poor; help me to glorify You by contentment. I am sick; help me to give You honor by patience. I have talents; help me to extol You by spending them for You. I have time, Lord; help me to redeem it, that I may serve You. I have a heart to feel; Lord, let that heart feel no love but Yours, and glow with no flame but affection for You. I have a mind to think, Lord; help me to think of You and for You. You have put me in this world for something. Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose. I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two copper coins, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into Your treasury. I am all Yours; take me, and enable me to glorify You now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –All We Need for Today

 

And for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.

 2 Kings 25:30

Jehoiachin was not sent away from the king’s palace with provision to last him for months, but it was given to him as a daily supply. In this He provides us with a picture of the happy position of all the Lord’s people. A daily portion is all that a man really wants.

We do not need tomorrow’s supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and its wants are as yet unborn. The experience that we may suffer in the month of June does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet; if we have enough for each day as the days arrive, we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day is all that we can enjoy. We cannot eat or drink or wear more than the day’s supply of food and clothing; the more we have, the more we have to store, and we worry about it being stolen. One cane helps a traveler, but a bundle of sticks is a heavy burden. Enough is not only as good as a feast, but it is all that the greediest glutton can truly enjoy.

This is all that we should expect; a craving for more than this is ungrateful. When our Father does not give us more, we should be content with his daily allowance. Jehoiachin’s case is ours; we have a sure portion, a portion given to us by the king, a gracious portion, and a perpetual portion. Here is surely ground for thankfulness.

Beloved Christian reader, in matters of grace you need a daily supply. You have no store of strength. Day by day you must seek help from above. It is a very happy assurance that you are provided with a regular allowance. In the Word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer, and waiting upon God you will receive renewed strength. In Jesus everything you need is provided for you. So enjoy your continual allowance. Never go hungry while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy.

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – God’s Children Now

 

See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now.

 1 John 3:1-2

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us.” Consider who we were and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is at work within us, and you will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are called God’s children. What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness the son expects from his father, and what love the father feels toward the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ.

As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honor: “The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” We are content to be unknown with Him in His humiliation, for we are to be exalted with Him.

Beloved, we are God’s children now.” That is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled underfoot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live: you must live simply by faith in Christ.

With all these things against us, now—in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be—now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, “Beloved, we are God’s children now.” “Ah, but,” you say, “look at my condition! My graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory.” But read the next: “What we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him.” The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies, and then we shall see Him as He is.

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Comfort in Trial

 

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

 2 Corinthians 1:5

There is a perfect balance in this. God in His providence operates the scales; on one side He puts His people’s trials, and on the other He puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the dark clouds gather, the light is more brightly revealed to us. When night falls and the storm is brewing, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to His crew.

It is a blessed thing that when we are most downcast, then we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit. One reason is, trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart–He finds it full–He begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man is, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it.

Another reason why we are often happiest in our troubles is this–then we have the closest dealings with God. When the barn is full, man can live without God: When the purse is bursting with gold, we try to do without so much prayer. But when our shelter is removed, then we want our God; when the house is purged of idols, then we are compelled to honor the Lord. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!”1

There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains, no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. They bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, do not fret over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.

1) Psalm 130:1

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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