Posted tagged ‘Charles Spurgeon’

“Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.”

April 27, 2013

English: The Song of Songs (1853) by Gustave M...

(Song of Solomon 2:10)

He is risen,
I am risen in Him,
why then should I
cling to the dust?
From lower loves,

desires, pursuits,
and aspirations, I
would rise
towards Him.
He calls me

by the sweet title
of “My love,”

He calls me.
“Come away” has no
harsh sound in it
to my ear, for
what is there to hold me

in this wilderness of
vanity and sin?
O my Lord, would that
I could come away,
but I am taken–among the thorns!

and cannot escape
from them as I would.
I would, if it were
possible, have neither
eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin.

You call me to yourself
by saying “Come away,”
and this is a melodious
call indeed. To come to you
is to come home from exile,

to come to land out of the
raging storm,
to come to rest after long labor,

My Lord, Save Me  From the Maze o' Shadows  an...

My Lord, Save Me From the Maze o’ Shadows and Songs….. (Photo credit: -RejiK)

to come to the goal of my desires
and the summit of my wishes.

But Lord, how
can a stone rise,
how can a lump of clay
come away from
the horrible pit?

O raise me, draw me.
Your grace can do it.
Send forth your Holy Spirit
to kindle sacred flames
of love in my heart,

and I will continue
to rise until
I leave life and time
behind me,
and indeed come away.

( Adapted  from Spurgeon’s  “Morning by Morning” — 4/25)

A Happy Storm — Spurgeon’s Morning Song, August 31

September 3, 2012

Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this!
O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!
There is no getting at our God sometimes
because of the multitude of our friends;
but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless
that he has nowhere else to turn,
he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein!

When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar,
that he cannot tell them to any but his God,
he may be thankful for them;
for he will learn more of his Lord then
than at any other time.
Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble
that drives you to your Father!

Now that you have only your God to trust to,
see that you put your full confidence in Him.
Dishonour not your Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears;
but be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Show the world that your God is worth ten thousand worlds to you.
Show rich men how rich you are
in your poverty — when the Lord God is your helper.

Show the strong man how strong
you are in your weakness —
when underneath you are the everlasting arms.
Now is the time for feats of faith and brave exploits!
Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord your God
shall certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth,
glorify Himself in your weakness.

The grandeur of the arch of heaven
would be spoiled
if the sky were supported
by a single visible column,
and your faith would lose its glory
if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye.
May the Holy Spirit give you to rest in Jesus!

Mark Heard also reminds us here, “In the eye of the storm,
the friends of God suffer no permanent harm.”

Sinnerman (A Mashup with Spurgeon)

February 25, 2012

“the wrath to come”  (Matthew 3:7)

How terrible is it 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 look to the sun which shines not,
and the heavens which are angry and frowning!

How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane…
to wait in terrible apprehension
till the wind shall rush 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 as yet fallen,
but a shower of fire is coming.
No terrible winds howl around you,
but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery.
As yet the water-floods are dammed up by mercy,
but the flood-gates shall soon be opened:
the thunderbolts of God are yet in His storehouse,

But lo! the tempest hastens,
and how awful shall 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 flee?

O that the hand of mercy
may now lead you to Christ!
He is freely set before you in the gospel:
His riven side is the rock of shelter.
You know your need of Him;
believe in Him, cast yourself upon Him,
and then the fury shall be overpast for ever.

Adapted From Spurgeon’s ‘Morning by Morning’, February 25

Everyday Incense of Thanksgiving: Spurgeon Spoken Word, 11/20

November 20, 2011

"Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Je...

“O Lord,You  have pleaded
the causes of my soul;
You
have redeemed my life.”
A grateful spirit should ever
be cultivated by the Christian;

and especially after deliverances
we should prepare a song for our God.
Earth should be a temple filled
with the songs of grateful saints,
and every day should be a censor

smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving.  gratitude. =)smoking  with the sweet incense of thanksgiving

How joyful Jeremiah
seems to be while he records
the Lord’s mercy.
How triumphantly
he lifts up the strain!

He has been in the low dungeon,Dungeons / Mazmorras

and is even now no other
than the weeping prophet;

and yet in the very book
which is called “Lamentations,”

clear as the song of Miriam
when she dashed her fingers
against the tabor, shrill
as the note of Deborah
when she met Barak with shouts of victory,

we hear the voice of Jeremy
going up to heaven—”You have pleaded the causes
of my soul; you have redeemed my life.”
O children of God, seek

after a vital experience

Song Thrush

of the Lord’s lovingkindness,
and when you have it,

speak positively of it;
sing gratefully;
shout triumphantly.

Upon His Palms : Spurgeon’s Spoken Word, 11/7

November 7, 2011

O unbelief, how strange a marvel you are!
We know not which most to wonder at,
the faithfulness of God

The Unbelief of Suspension

or the unbelief of His people.

He keeps His promise
a thousand times,
and yet the next trial
makes us doubt Him.

He never fails; He is never a dry well;
He is never as a setting sun,
a passing meteor, or a melting vapour;
and yet we are as continually vexed

with anxieties, molested with suspicions,
and disturbed with fears, as if our God
were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,”
is a word intended to excite admiration.

Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling.
Heaven and earth may well be astonished
that rebels should obtain so great
a nearness to the heart of infinite love

as to be written upon the palms of His hands.
“I have graven you.”It does not say, “Your name.”
The name is there, but that is not all:
“I have graven you.”See the fulness of this!

I have graven your person, your image,
your case, your circumstances,
your sins, your temptations,
your weaknesses, your wants, your works;

I have graven you, everything about you,
all that concerns you; I have put you
altogether there.

Will you ever say again
that your God has forsaken you
when He has graven you

Forsaken

upon his own palms?

Rejoicing with Little Faith — (more Spoken Word by C.H. Spurgeon)

October 19, 2011
Cover of "Little Faith (Faith of a Child)...

Cover of Little Faith (Faith of a Child)

Are you mourning, believer
because you are so weak in the divine life:
because your faith is so little, your love so feeble?

Cheer up, for you have cause for gratitude.
Remember that in some things you are equal
to the greatest and most full-grown Christian.

You are as much bought with blood as he is.
You are as much an adopted child of God
as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child

of its parents as is the full-grown man.
You are as completely justified,
for your justification is not a thing of degrees:

your little faith has made you clean every bit.
You have as much right to the precious things
of the covenant as the most advanced believers,

for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth,
but in the covenant itself;
and your faith in Jesus is not the measure,

but the token of your inheritance in Him.
You are as rich as the richest,
if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession.

The smallest star that gleams
is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light
has affinity with the great orb of day.

In the family register of glory the small and the great
are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father’s heart
as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you.

You are like the smoking flax; a rougher spirit
would say, “put out that smoking flax,
it fills the room with an offensive odour!”

but the smoking flax He will not quench.
You are like a bruised reed; and any less tender hand
than that of the Chief Musician

would tread upon you or throw you away,
but He will never break the bruised reed.
Instead of being downcast by reason of what you are,

you should triumph in Christ. Am I but little in Israel?
Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places.
Am I poor in faith? Still in Jesus I am heir of all things.

Though “less than nothing I can boast, and vanity confess.”
yet, if the root of the vine be in me
I will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the God of my salvation.


Beachcombing

April 12, 2011

sand seaweed seashell insect

Today, I found this unexpected treasure of free verse, complete with  meter, alliteration, assonance and exquisite imagery, lying  buried  in the sands of C.H. Spurgeon’s classic devotional, “Morning by Morning.”   All I did was frame it.  The Prince of Preachers, I am convinced, was a closeted  modern poet.    This is my outreach to poetry haters who love God.

Our drops of sorrow may well be forgotten
in the ocean of  His griefs;
but how high ought our love to rise!

Come in, O strong and deep love of Jesus,
like the sea at the flood in spring tides,
cover all my powers, drown all my sins, wash out all my cares,

lift up my earth-bound soul, and float it right up to my Lord’s feet,
and there let me lie, a poor broken shell,
washed up by His love, having no virtue or value;

and only venturing to whisper to Him
that if He will put his ear to me,
He will hear within my heart faint echoes

of the vast waves of His own love
which have brought me where it is my delight to lie,
even at His feet forever.

Stillborn Comfort

November 18, 2010

William Blake, etching

Thanksgiving is a strange time for me.  It begins a difficult season for many–especially for those given to melancholy and for those who grieve, because it heralds the season when we are commanded by the culture to be jolly; but  for some of  us who mourn there remains  an empty chair at the table, and an aching place in our hearts.  And time doesn’t heal any wounds. For some,  grief only progresses through time,  through our hearts until it passes  its hurts into our very bones; we are crippled, but walk the best we can.  We’ll muddle through your merry little Christmas, somehow.  Please bear with us.   And bear with me now.

Thanksgiving is an anniversary  of one of my greatest griefs, and also the advent of one of my  greatest comforts.  I recall how securely the Father’s arms  were wrapped around me as I suffered, yet I wince when I remember the indifference shown by some, and even an incident of utter cruelty.

So this will be a long, ruminative post, and if you are of the sort that has  an attention span of three hundred words you are fairly warned.   I am not in a  hurry!   It has been eleven years but still I want to move leisurely through my story.  We who grieve must not be hastened. Sit Shiva with us. Say  Kaddish on all the anniversaries.  Look at the photos of our loved ones. Our greatest fear is that our memories of our loved ones  will vanish–as they have done–from this earth, so please talk about them, and let us talk if we will. Those in the  Happy-Clappy sects of Christianity might borrow something from these Jewish rituals of mourning; if nothing else, the patience it shows  a mourner.  Learn to bear with our sudden tears that seem to come from nowhere.  Bear with me now.

It was eleven years ago and a few days before Thanksgiving when I went to a routine ultrasound, and learned that our son, eighteen weeks preborn, had died in my womb. — Is that his face– I said,  as I saw an image, ghost-like and unmoving,  on the screen.  — Yes–the technician said, and she continued quietly to make her measurements as I turned my face away. I don’t think she was unmoved by my grief, but she didn’t know what to say.  I ran from that radiology department as soon as I could, and in the privacy of my car, I opened up my Bible, and cried out to God — oh speak to me!– And though I do not believe in Scripture roulette, I was in  such a desperate condition, and the Father is kind and compassionate to such a bowed head.   And my hope was not disappointed, for immediately I read, (oh bear with me now):

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.   For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?   But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8: 18-25)

Sometimes a moment is so holy it cannot be expressed save in the  heightened and compressed speech of poetry;  and indeed, I think the Spirit agrees with me that poetry is the best means of expressing these strong and spiritual moments because fully one-third of the Bible is the most glorious poetry ever conceived.  And I can find no other way to express that exchange of life that happened in that car.  I did try other kinds of words, but they failed, so bear with me now:

My son went  home too soon–

and I echo creation’s laboring groans here–
mourn my boy’s liberation
from corruption to His likeness:

how he  must have yearned,
and been impatient as I am
to be swallowed up by Life.

Oh the image of that face, so blurry
even as it changed to glory,
with his adoption as a son, and I

do not understand this though
I will patiently wait, though I wait long,
with all creation in bondage,

wait  for the revealing of the sons of God.

For one sight of that Face
and the voice of  His love, that is
‘so wonderful, so infinite, so abiding’
that now speaks to me so clearly!

Though I still mourn for my son,
Oh, he went home too soon!

In the  strength of this food from God, I cooked and served Thanksgiving dinner for two dozen relatives and nobody  even remembered that I sorrowed. But I was not embittered — I  had looked on Him, and I was radiant. Perhaps that is why there was barely a mention of my ‘unpleasantness.’ His unfailing love continued to sustain me throughout the grueling days that followed as well.

Because immediately there was pressure on me to just be rid of my little problem. I had, for the medical community in those days, an unseemly determination to go into labor instead of enduring a D@C, which was the usual procedure for cases like mine. Now, remember this was eleven years ago, in San Francisco, and  I hear that mothers of stillborns are given more dignity, that things have changed. But I was unusual in San Francisco in those days, and I was collateral damage in the abortion wars.

Because I wanted to give birth to my dead son.  I wanted to hold him and mourn for him and grieve his death with dignity and invite the comfort of family and friends in a memorial.  And I wanted to look in his face one last time to assure myself that he was really dead.  His life, though short, was not insignificant.  But for the medical community my insistence was inconvenient, expensive and a needless reminder that the battered bodies they routinely vacuum away would be valuable to some.

So I was given short shrift, and I went two more weeks with a corpse inside me because no medical personnel would have anything to do with me, until an inexperienced young visiting nurse was given the thankless job to attend me as I was induced after over two weeks of waiting for labor to start.

I was alone in the hospital room when my son was born.   I was standing and he slipped out and fell to the floor all forlorn, and he had broken out of the amniotic sac.  How that image has haunted me over the years– I had so desired dignity to be a part of his birth. He was like a broken baby bird, fallen out of a nest.  I felt desolate.  I picked him up, oh so tiny he was, barely stretching out over the palm of my hand.  His face was very like his brothers and sisters, his lips so finely shaped like his fathers: the same perfect long fingers and squared nails.  Yet it was a face only a mother could love, the skin so thin it was discolored from the blood beneath.  And I kissed the cystic hygroma, the fluid filled sac at the back of his neck that is common in  babies with Trisomy-18.   My husband came in and we grieved together until I began to be faint with loss of blood.

I had an emergency  D@C later to correct hemorrhaging because  placental material  still remained in my uterus,  and I will never forget the scornful look of a resident doctor  who came in my hospital room the next day as I was mourning the child my husband and I had named Thomas.  Because my child had died a week earlier than the 20 weeks preborn — though I had carried him two more weeks — his brief life did not merit a death certificate in my state, his birth was not even noted as such in my chart, only the scraping out of  my uterus.

That heedless doctor broke through the sanctuary provided by a solitary teardrop on my door to mark the room of one who grieved the loss of a baby. She interrupted my mourning with a taunt, “So you had a D@C after all.”   I just stared at her. I said nothing.  She slunk out of the room. I hope my  face  haunts her the rest of her life.  She was deluded that I was in some sort of contest with her, and her glee at her seeming triumph led her to intrude on the  very private suffering of a grieving mother.

Indeed, I pity her greatly.  What can be more horrifying than to be such a fool?  Her ultimate end without repentance is more tragic than my own loss. My son is with His heavenly Father.  Twelve years later, I have found redemptive value in my experience; my faith has been tried as gold, and I  had a privileged glimpse of the Father’s sorrow as He sees the souls made in His image treated with utter contempt.  I shared His grief.

When some don’t share our griefs, what do we do?  I heard somebody say once concerning the ministry of encouragement,  that  “Love must reach its destination.” Sometimes that love doesn’t come for whatever the reason–sometimes the world unmasks its cruel agenda, and sometimes the family of God displays their issues, and that “pity like a newborn babe” meant for another’s woe is a stillborn comfort.  Instead of the warm hug or cold cup of water the Father meant for your consolation, there is only a lukewarmness coming from those in the household of faith. These are testing moments for a saint: Will we seek to escape this added pain of rejection — with entertainment or food or alcohol or drugs or even antidepressants?    There is a way to forgive another when it hurts so bad, when we look for comforters, and there are none. Because Jesus knew this sorrow too, He says in the Psalms, “I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none.” (Psalm 69:20)

Job found the place of comfort  in his crisis.  He cried out in the midst of his misery, “Oh that I might find Him!”  Spurgeon writes here,

“Job’s desire to commune with God was intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation. The patriarch turned away from his sorry friends, and looked up to the celestial throne, just as a traveller turns from his empty skin bottle, and betakes himself with all speed to the well. He bids farewell to earth-born hopes, and cries, “O that I knew where I might find my God!” Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with bitter scorn from earth’s hives, where we find no honey, but many sharp stings, we rejoice in him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to realize God’s presence with us. Only let us enjoy his smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for his dear sake.”

When we have enjoyed His smile, and our hearts overflow with a sense of His faithfulness, we can be the ones–even in our grief — to give the hug or bring the refreshments.  We can be the ones to turn the other cheek, which is the real triumph in this very real spiritual battle in the heavenlies. Because God’s enemies are strutting to and fro.  We can be like Job, who prayed for his friends who ridiculed him, or even better,  be like Jesus, who prayed for the enemies who killed him.

Ah, Reader, if you have reached the end of my two thousand words, thank you for bearing with me!  I have said my Kaddish.  It was cathartic, as all such rituals are.  Do not worry for this mourner, I have been amply comforted; I am a happy mother of children.  I gave birth to a beautiful daughter exactly one year to the day later on the anniversary of Thomas’ stillbirth.  Yes, it was a little confusing, the mix of tears and elation on that morning when joy came.  And when I asked, and kept asking Him, what that was all about, the Lord told me some years later why she was born on that day of all days.  , He graciously replied, “To give you a double portion.”  And blessed be Him whose ways are not our ways, who makes everything beautiful in its time, who makes of our lives His own sweet poem.

And so the memory of the comfort of  my lovely daughter makes a merry little ending to an especially long and very sad story.