Tag Archives: charles spurgeon

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Tempted by Idols?

Can man make for himself gods?
Such are not gods!

Jeremiah 16:20

One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the church is vexed with a tendency to the same folly. The ancient gods of man’s invention have mostly disappeared, but the shrines of pride are not forsaken, and the golden calf still stands. Self makes an empty display, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favorite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when He sees us doting upon them beyond measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns with which to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their children.

It is accurate to say that “such are not gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace that they yield us now is dangerous, and the help that they can give us in the hour of trouble is small indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who worships a god of stone, and yet we worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case; the only difference is that our crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn to idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee
.

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Expect Trouble

In the world you will have tribulation.

John 16:33

Are you asking why this should be, believer? Look upward to your heavenly Father, and behold Him pure and holy. Do you know that you are one day to be like Him? Will you easily be conformed to His image? Will you not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify you? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of your corruptions and make you perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect?

Next, Christian, turn your eye downward. Do you know what foes you have beneath your feet? You were once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Do you think that Satan will leave you alone? No, he will always be at you, for he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”1 Expect trouble, then, Christian, when you look beneath you.

Then look around you. Where are you? You are in enemy country, a stranger and an alien. The world is not your friend. If it is, then you are not God’s friend, for whoever is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Be certain that you will find enemies everywhere. When you sleep, remember that you are resting on the battlefield; when you travel, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so the trials of earth will be sharpest to you.

Lastly, look within you, into your own heart, and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within. If you had no devil to tempt you, no enemies to fight you, and no world to ensnare you, you would still find in yourself enough evil to be a sore trial to you, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.”2 Expect trouble then, but do not despair on account of it, for God is with you to help and to strengthen you. He has said, “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”3

1) 1 Peter 5:8
2) Jeremiah 17:9
3) Psalm 50:15

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Are You a Grumbler?

And all the people of Israel grumbled.

 Numbers 14:2

There are grumblers among Christians now, just as there were in the camp of Israel of old. There are those who, when punished, cry out against the affliction. They ask, “Why am I afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?”

A word with you, grumbler! Why should you grumble against the dealings of your heavenly Father? Can He treat you more severely than you deserve? Consider what a rebel you once were, but He has pardoned you! Surely, if He in His wisdom considers it necessary to chasten you, you should not complain. After all, are you punished as severely as your sins deserve? Consider the corruption that is in your heart, and then will you wonder that so much of the rod is necessary to root it out? Weigh yourself, and discern how much dross is mingled with your gold; and do you think the fire is too hot to purge away the amount of dross you have? Doesn’t your proud rebellious spirit prove that your heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Aren’t those grumbling words contrary to the holy, submissive nature of God’s children? Isn’t the correction necessary?

But if you will grumble against the chastening, pay attention, for it will go hard with grumblers. God always chastises His children twice if they do not respond properly the first time. But know this—“He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”1 All His corrections are sent in love, to purify you and to draw you nearer to Himself. Surely it must help you to bear the chastening with submission if you are able to recognize your Father’s hand. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”2 “. . . nor grumble the way some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.”3

1) Lamentations 3:33
2) Hebrews 12:6
3) 1 Corinthians 10:10

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –An Explanation of Trials

You are my refuge in the day of disaster.

 Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. It is true that God’s Word says, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace”;1 and it is a great truth that faith is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above. But life confirms that if the experience of the righteous is “like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day,”2 sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light.

There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the early stages of their Christian life; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters.” But suddenly they find that the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the promised land they have to endure the wilderness; in place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Do not say that if you are walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the bitter potion; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his heart in constant tune.

Perhaps the Lord gave you in the beginning a smooth and unclouded path because you were weak and timid. He moderated the wind on account of your weakness, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten branches of self-reliance, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

1) Proverbs 3:17
2) Proverbs 4:18

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Our Fault

God, our God, shall bless us.

 Psalm 67:6

It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings that God gives us, but it is even stranger that we make such little use of God Himself. Though He is “our God,” we scarcely give ourselves to Him, and we ask so little of Him.

How seldom do we seek counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business without seeking His guidance! In our troubles how we constantly struggle to bear our burdens ourselves instead of casting them upon the Lord, that He may sustain us! This is not because we may not, for the Lord seems to say, “I am yours, soul; come and make use of Me as you will. You may freely come to My store, and the more you come, the more welcome you will be.”

It is our own fault if we do not enjoy the riches of our God. Since you have such a friend, and He invites you, draw from Him daily. Never be wanting while you have a God to go to; never fear or faint while you have God to help you; go to your treasure and take whatever you need—there is all that you can ever want. Learn the divine skill of making God all things to you. He can supply you with everything; or better still, He can be everything to you.

Let me urge you, then, to make use of your God. Make use of Him in prayer. Go to Him often, because He is your God. Will you fail to use such a great privilege? Run to Him; tell Him all your needs. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has cast a shadow on you, use God as a sun; if some strong enemy has attacked you, find in Jehovah a shield, for He is a sun and shield to His people. If you have lost your way in the mazes of life, use Him as a guide, for He will direct you. Whatever you are, and wherever you are, remember, God is just what you want and just where you want, and that He can do everything you want.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Remember Me

Do this in remembrance of me.

 1 Corinthians 11:24

It appears that Christians may forget Christ! There would be no need for this loving exhortation if there were not a fearful possibility that our memories might prove treacherous. Nor is this an empty notion: It is, sadly too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb and loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God could forget that gracious Savior; but if startling to the ear, sadly it is too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the crime. Forget Him who never forgot us! Forget Him who poured His blood out for our sins! Forget Him who loved us even to death! Can it be possible? Yes, it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault with all of us that we treat Him as a stranger, like an overnight guest. Instead of Him being a permanent resident in our memories, we treat Him as a visitor. The cross where one would expect that memory would linger and disinterest would be an unknown intruder is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness.

Doesn’t your conscience say that this is true? Don’t you find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some other love steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you ought to be fixed steadily upon the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things, that takes the soul away from Christ. While memory works to preserve a poisonous weed, it allows the rose of Sharon to wither. Let us charge ourselves to tie a heavenly forget-me-not around our hearts for Jesus our Beloved, and whatever else we let slip, let us hold tight to Him.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –How Are You Fighting Sin?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

 Romans 8:37

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul issues this rebuke: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? . . . Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”1 Take your sins to Christ’s cross, for the flesh can only be crucified there: We are crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear that pierced the side of Jesus.

To give an illustration—if you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go about it? It is very possible that you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way. It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it and say to Jesus, “Lord, I trust You to deliver me from it.” This is the only way to give it a deathblow.

Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil as long as you please, but if it is your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any other way than by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him, “Lord, I have trusted You, and Your name is Jesus, for You save Your people from their sins. Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!”

Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears—the whole of them put together—are worth nothing apart from Him. Only Jesus can do helpless sinners good, and helpless saints too. You must be conquerors through Him who has loved you if you will be a conqueror at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.

1) Galatians 3:1-3

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Exalted with Him

God exalted him.

 Acts 5:31

Jesus, our Lord, who once was crucified, dead, and buried, now sits upon the throne of glory. The highest place that heaven affords is His by undisputed right. It is vital and helpful to remember that the exaltation of Christ in heaven is a representative exaltation. He is exalted at the Father’s right hand, and though as Jehovah He had eminent glories, in which finite creatures cannot share, yet as the Mediator, the honors that Jesus wears in heaven are the heritage of all the saints.

It is delightful to think of how close Christ’s union is with His people. We are actually one with Him; we are members of His body; and His exaltation is our exaltation. He will allow us to sit upon His throne, even as He has overcome and is seated with His Father on His throne. He has a crown, and He gives us crowns too. He has a throne, but He is not content with having a throne to Himself; on His right hand there must be His queen, dressed in fine gold. He cannot be glorified without His bride.

Look up, believer, to Jesus now. Let the eye of your faith see Him with many crowns upon His head; and remember that one day you will be like Him, when you will see Him as He is. You shall not be as great as He is, you will not be as divine; but you will, in some measure, share the same honors and enjoy the same happiness and the same dignity that He possesses. Be content to live unknown for a little while and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty or up the hills of affliction; for soon enough you will reign with Christ, for He has “made [us] a kingdom and priests to our God,” and we shall reign forever and ever.1

What a wonderful thought for the children of God! We have Christ for our glorious representative in heaven’s courts right now, and soon He will come and receive us to Himself, to be with Him there, to see His glory and to share His joy.

1) Revelation 5:10

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Not Far from Home

. . . That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death.

 Hebrews 2:14

Child of God, death has lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Stop fearing death! Ask God the Holy Spirit to grant you an intimate knowledge and a firm belief in your Redeemer’s death, so that you may be strengthened for that journey. Living near the cross of Calvary, you may learn to think of death with pleasure and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is blessed to die in the Lord: It is a covenant blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment; it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones are already living. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not.

We are not far from home—a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will its voyage be? How many weary winds must beat upon the sail before it shall be berthed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be buffeted on the waves before it comes to that sea that knows no storm? Listen to the answer: “away from the body and at home with the Lord.”1 The ship has just departed, but it is already at its destination. It simply spread its sail, and it was there. Like that ship of old upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and immediately it came to land. Do not think that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth, they open in heaven. The chariots of fire are not an instant on the road.

So child of God, what is there for you to fear in death, seeing that through the death of your Lord Jesus its curse and sting are destroyed? And now it is like a Jacob’s ladder with its base in a dark grave, but with its top reaching to everlasting glory.

1) 2 Corinthians 5:8

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Torn in Two

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

 Matthew 27:51

No small miracle was performed in the tearing of so strong and thick a curtain; but it was not intended merely as a display of power—many lessons were contained in it.

The old law of ordinances was put away and, like a worn-out garment, torn and set aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because they were fulfilled in Him; and therefore the place of sacrifice, the temple, was marked with a clear sign of this change.

With the curtain torn, all the hidden things of the old dispensation became apparent: The mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleaming above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face.”1 Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things that have been hidden since the foundation of the world are displayed in Him.

The annual ceremony of atonement was also abolished. The atoning blood that once every year was sprinkled inside the curtain was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was finished. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered inside the curtain with his own blood.

Therefore access to God is now permitted and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. It is not just a small opening through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the tear reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of heavenly grace.

Is it wrong to suggest that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvelous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was signifying the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord has the key of heaven; He opens and no man shuts; let us enter in with Him to the heavenly places and sit with Him there until our common enemies shall be made His footstool.

1) 2 Corinthians 3:13

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Precious Blood!

. . . The precious blood of Christ.

 1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands and feet and side all distilling crimson streams of “precious blood.” It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him.

Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it cleanses from all sin. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”1 Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer; no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood that makes us clean, removing the stains of our iniquity and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved despite the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

The blood of Christ is also “precious” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember, it is God’s seeing the blood that is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “precious” also in its sanctifying influence.

The same blood that justifies by taking away sin also quickens the new nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to obey the commands of God. There is no greater motive for holiness than that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “precious,” unspeakably precious, is this blood because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.”2 How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus fights with a weapon that cannot know defeat.

The blood of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence; death ceases to be death: Heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!

1) Isaiah 1:18
2) Revelation 12:11

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Has He Forsaken You?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 Psalm 22:1

Here we view the Savior in the depth of His sorrows. No other place displays the griefs of Christ like this, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as when His cry rends the air—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which He had to pass; His grief culminated in suffering the spiritual agony beyond all telling that resulted from the departure of His Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of His horror—when He descended the abyss of suffering.

No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” There are seasons when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never really does forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ’s case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from His Son—who can calculate how deep the agony that caused Him?

In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: In His case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season. Poor, distressed soul who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face but now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken you. God in the clouds is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the beauty of His grace; but since even the thought that He has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the suffering of the Savior have been when He exclaimed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Even in the Face of Mockery

All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads.

 Psalm 22:7

Mockery was a large factor in our Lord’s suffering. Judas mocked Him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed Him to scorn; Herod set Him at nothing; the servants and the soldiers jeered at Him and brutally insulted Him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed His royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrible jibes and hideous taunts were hurled at Him.

Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Consider the Savior crucified, racked with anguish far beyond anything we can imagine, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or making mouths in bitter contempt of the poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the Crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not have unanimously “honored” Him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness that was then reigning on the cross?

O Jesus, “despised and rejected by men,”1 how could You die for men who treated You so badly? Here is amazing love, love divine, love beyond degree. We despised You in our pre-converted days, and even since our new birth we have given the world a place in our hearts, and yet You bled to heal our wounds and died to give us life. O that we could set You on a glorious high throne in all men’s hearts! We would ring out Your praises over land and sea until men would universally adore you just as they once unanimously rejected You.

Your creatures wrong Thee, O sovereign Good!
You are not loved, because not understood:
This grieves me most, that vain pursuits beguile
Ungrateful men, regardless of Thy smile.

1) Isaiah 53:3

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Why a ‘Sachet of Myrrh’?

My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh.

 Song of Songs 1:13

Myrrh may well be chosen to typify Jesus because of its preciousness, its perfume, its pleasantness, its healing, preserving, disinfecting qualities, and its connection with sacrifice. But why is He compared to “a sachet of myrrh”?

First, because it speaks of plenty. He is not a drop of it—He is a basketful. He is not a sprig or flower of it, but a whole bundle. There is enough in Christ for all my needs; do not let me be slow to avail myself of Him.

Our well-beloved is compared to a “sachet,” again, for variety, for there is in Christ not only the one thing needful, but “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”;1 everything needful is in Him. Consider the numerous aspects of Christ, and you will see a marvelous variety—Prophet, Priest, King, Husband, Friend, Shepherd. Consider Him in His life, death, resurrection, ascension, second coming; view Him in His virtue, gentleness, courage, self-denial, love, faithfulness, truth, righteousness—everywhere He is a sachet of preciousness.

He is a “sachet of myrrh” for preservation—not loose myrrh tied up, but myrrh to be stored in a container. We must value Him as our best treasure; we must prize His words and His ordinances; and we must keep our thoughts of Him and our knowledge of Him as under lock and key, in case the devil should steal anything from us.

Furthermore, Jesus is a “sachet of myrrh” for specialty. The emblem suggests the idea of distinguishing, discriminating grace. From before the foundation of the world, He was set apart for His people; and He gives His perfume only to those who understand how to enter into communion with Him, to have close dealings with Him—blessed people whom the Lord has admitted into His secrets, and for whom He sets Himself apart.

Choice and happy are those who can say, “My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh.”

1) Colossians 2:9

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –A Heavy Heart

My heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast.

 Psalm 22:14

Our blessed Lord experienced a terrible sinking and melting of soul. “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”1 Deep spiritual depression is the most devastating of all trials; nothing compares to it. No wonder the suffering Savior cries to His God, “Do not be far off,” for more than at any other time a man needs his God when his heart is melted within him because of heaviness.

Believer, come to the cross this morning, and humbly worship the King of glory as one who has been brought far lower, in mental distress and inward anguish, than anyone among us; and consider Him a faithful High Priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness. Especially let those of us whose sadness springs directly from the withdrawal of a present sense of our Father’s love enter into near and intimate communion with Jesus. Let us not give in to despair; our Master has already walked this dark road.

Our souls may sometimes long and faint, and thirst even to the point of anguish, to see the light of the Lord’s face; at such times let us calm ourselves by focusing on the sympathy of our great High Priest. Our drops of sorrow may be forgotten in the ocean of His griefs; how high ought our love to rise! O strong and deep love of Jesus, come in like a flood, cover all my powers, drown all my sins, wash away all my cares, lift up my earthbound soul, and bring me up to my Lord’s feet.

Let me lie, a poor broken shell, washed up by His love, having no virtue or value; but knowing that if He will bend His ear to me, He will hear within my heart faint echoes of the vast waves of His own love that have brought me to where I am happy to stay, even at His feet forever.

1) Proverbs 18:14

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Source of His Grief

And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.

 Luke 23:27

Among the rabble that hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish found an outlet in wailing and lamentations—suitable music to accompany that woeful march. When I can, in imagination, see the Savior bearing His cross to Calvary, my soul joins the godly women and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief—cause lying deeper than those mourning women recognized. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die; but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn. My sins were the scourges that lacerated those blessed shoulders and crowned with thorns those bleeding brows: my sins cried, “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders.

His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been His murderer is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express. The reason for those women’s love and tears is plain to read, but they could not have had greater reasons for love and grief than my heart has. The widow of Nain saw her son restored—but I myself have been raised to newness of life. Peter’s mother-in-law was cured of the fever—but I of the greater plague of sin. Out of Magdalene seven devils were cast—but a whole legion out of me. Mary and Martha were favored with visits—but He dwells with me. His mother bore His body—but He is formed in me, the hope of glory. Since I am not behind the holy women in debt, let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.

Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears His feet I’ll lave— 
Constant still in heart abiding,
Weep for Him who died to save.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –What Are Your Chances?

For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?

 Luke 23:31

Among other interpretations of this suggestive question, the following is full of teaching: “If the innocent substitute for sinners suffers in this way, what will be done when the sinner himself—the dry tree—falls into the hands of an angry God?”

When God saw Jesus in the sinner’s place, He did not spare Him; and when He finds the unregenerate without Christ, He will not spare them. O sinner, Jesus was led away by His enemies; and you will be dragged away by fiends to the place appointed for you. Jesus was deserted by God; and if He, who was only imputedly a sinner, was deserted, how much more will you be?

“Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?” What an awful shriek! But what will be your cry when you shall say, “O God! O God! Why have You forsaken me?” and the answer shall come back, “Because you have ignored all My counsel and would have none of My reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you.”

If God did not spare His own Son, how much less will He spare you! What whips of stinging pain will be yours when your conscience smites you with all its terrors. You rich, you merry, you most self-righteous sinners—who would stand in your place when God says, “Awake, O sword, against the man that rejected Me; smite him, and let him feel the sting forever”?

Jesus was spat upon. Sinner, what shame will be yours! We cannot sum up in one word all the mass of sorrows that met upon the head of Jesus who died for us; therefore it is impossible for us to tell you what streams, what oceans of grief must roll over your spirit if you die as you are now. You may die in this state; you may die now. By the agonies of Christ, by His wounds and by His blood, do not bring upon yourselves the wrath to come! Trust in the Son of God, and you shall never die.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

http://www.truthforlife.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –A Mournful List of Honors

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?

 Psalm 4:2

An instructive writer has made a mournful list of the honors that the blinded people of Israel awarded to their long-expected King.

  1. They gave Him a procession of honor, in which Roman legionaries, Jewish priests, and men and women took part, He Himself bearing His cross. This is the triumph that the world awards to Him who comes to overthrow man’s greatest enemy. Derisive shouts are His only acclamations, and cruel taunts His only songs of praise.
  2. They presented Him with the wine of honor. Instead of a golden cup of generous wine, they offered Him the criminal’s anesthetic potion, which He refused in order that he might, in all its unmitigated horror, taste death; and afterwards when He cried, “I thirst,” they gave Him vinegar mixed with gall, thrust to His mouth upon a sponge. What wretched, detestable inhospitality to the King’s Son.
  3. He was provided with a guard of honor, who showed their esteem of Him by gambling over His clothes, which they had seized as their treasure. The bodyguard of Jesus was a quaternion of brutal gamblers.
  4. A throne of honor was found for Him upon the bloody tree. The cross was, in fact, the full expression of the world’s feeling toward Him. “There,” they seemed to say, “you Son of God, this is the manner in which God Himself should be treated, could we reach Him.”
  5. The title of honor was nominally “King of the Jews,” but this was distinctly repudiated. They really called Him “King of thieves” by preferring Barabbas and by placing Jesus in the place of highest shame between two thieves. In this way His glory was turned into shame by the sons of men, but it shall nevertheless still gladden the eyes of saints and angels, world without end.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

http://www.truthforlife.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Outside the Camp

Therefore let us go to him outside the camp.

 Hebrews 13:13

Jesus, bearing His cross, went to suffer outside the gate. The Christian’s reason for leaving the camp of the world’s sin and religion is not because he loves to be isolated, but because Jesus did so; and the disciple must follow his Master. Christ was “not of the world.” His life and His testimony were a constant protest against conformity with the world. Although He displayed overflowing affection for men, He was still separate from sinners.

In the same way Christ’s people must “go to him.” They must take their position “outside the camp,” as witness-bearers for the truth. They must be prepared to walk the straight and narrow path. They must have bold, unflinching, lion-like hearts, loving Christ first, and His truth next, and Christ and His truth more than all the world. Jesus desires His people to “go . . . outside the camp” for their own sanctification.

You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world. The life of separation may be a path of sorrow, but it is the highway of safety; and though the separated life may be painful and make every day a battle, yet it is a happy life after all. No joy can excel that of the soldier of Christ: Jesus reveals Himself so graciously and gives such sweet refreshment that the warrior feels more calm and peace in his daily strife than others in their hours of rest.

The highway of holiness is the highway of communion. It is in this way we shall hope to win the crown if we are enabled by divine grace faithfully to follow Christ “outside the camp.” The crown of glory will follow the cross of separation. A moment’s shame will be well rewarded by eternal honor; a little while of witness-bearing will seem nothing when we are forever with the Lord.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

http://www.truthforlife.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Your Cross

. . . Laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

 Luke 23:26

We see in Simon’s carrying the cross a picture of the work of the church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Notice, Christian, that Jesus does not suffer so as to prevent your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer. But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon’s, it is not our cross but Christ’s cross that we carry. When you are persecuted for your piety, when your faith is the occasion of cruel jokes, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ’s cross; and what a privilege it is to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus!

You carry the cross after Him. You have blessed company; your path is marked with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of His blood-red shoulder is upon that heavy burden. It is His cross, and He goes before you as a shepherd goes before his sheep. Take up your cross daily, and follow Him.

Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the whole of it. That is very possible. Christ may have carried the heavier part, against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end. Certainly that is the case with you; you only carry the light end of the cross Christ bore the heavier end.

And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for only a short while, it gave him lasting honor. Even so, the cross we carry is only for a little while at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should love the cross and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, for it works out for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

http://www.truthforlife.org