C.H. Spurgeon M&E :: January 27th

Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness —John‬ ‭1:16‬

These words tell us that there is a fullness in Christ.

There is a fullness of essential Deity, for “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” 1

There is a fullness of perfect manhood, for in Him, bodily, that Godhead was revealed.

There is a fullness of atoning efficacy in His blood, for “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 2

There is a fullness of justifying righteousness in His life, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 3

There is a fullness of divine prevalence in His plea, for “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” 4

There is a fullness of victory in His death, for through death He destroyed him that had the power of death—that is, the devil.

There is a fullness of efficacy in His resurrection from the dead, for by it “he has caused us to be born again to a living hope.” 5

There is a fullness of triumph in His ascension, for “when he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 6

There is a fullness of blessings of every sort and shape; a fullness of grace to pardon, of grace to regenerate, of grace to sanctify, of grace to preserve, and of grace to perfect.

There is a fullness at all times; a fullness of comfort in affliction, a fullness of guidance in prosperity.

A fullness of every divine attribute—of wisdom, of power, of love; a fullness that it is impossible to survey, much less to explore. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” 7

Oh, what a fullness must this be of which all receive! Fullness, indeed, must there be when the stream is always flowing, and yet the well springs up as free, as rich, as full as ever. Come, believer, and get all your need supplied; ask largely, and you will receive largely, for this “fullness” is inexhaustible and is treasured up where all the needy may reach it, even in Jesus, Immanuel—God with us.

Excerpt taken from the January 27th devotional in C.H. Spurgeon’s 1865 work, Morning & Evening

1 Colossians 2:9; 2 1 John 1:7; 3 Romans 8:1; 4 Hebrews 7:25; 5 1 Peter 1:3; 6 Ephesians 4:8; 7 Colossians 1:19.

A Plea For Fishing :: Darrell W. Robinson

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually, they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. Further they said, ‘the fishing industry exists by fishing as fire exists by burning.? They loved slogans such as “Fishing is the task of every fisherman.? They sponsored special meetings called “Fishermen’s Campaigns? and ‘the Month for Fishermen to Fish.? They sponsored costly nationwide and world-wide congresses to discuss fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all the ways of fishing such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls, and whether any new bait had been discovered.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.? The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however: They didn’t fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. The board hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.

Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year, after tedious training, many were graduated and were given fishing licenses. They were sent to do full-time fishing, some to distant waters which were filled with fish.

Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. But like the fishermen back home, they never fished. Like the fishermen back home, they engaged in all kinds of other occupations. They built power plants to pump water for fish and tractors to plow new waterways. They made all kinds of equipment to travel here and there to look at fish hatcheries. Some also said that they wanted to be part of the fishing party, but they felt called to furnish fishing equipment. Others felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know the difference between good and bad fishermen. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.

After one stirring meeting on ‘the Necessity for Fishing,? one young fellow left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported that he had caught two outstanding fish. He was honored for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he did it. So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell about the experience to the other fishermen. He was also placed on the Fishermen’s General Board as a person having considerable experience.

Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished. They wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”‘

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never catches a fish? Is one following if he isn’t fishing’

Darrell W. Robinson, People Sharing Jesus, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), pp. 21-23

Paul David Tripp NMM :: January 20th

Where is hope to be found? In five life-altering words: “I am with you always.”

You and I are on a constant quest for hope. We all want a reason to get up in the morning and motivation to continue. Here are some things you have to know about hope ::

1. God hardwired human beings for hope. We don’t live by instinct; we all find our identity, meaning, purpose, and inner sense of well-being in something.

2. What you place your hope in will set the direction of your life. Whether you know it or not, your life path is directed by hope. Whether it’s hope in a philosophy, a person, a dream, a location, or whatever, your life will be shaped by what you place your hope in.

3. Hope always includes an expectation and an object. I am hoping for something and hoping that someone or something will deliver it.

4. Hope, to be hope, has to fix what is broken. Hope that does not address your needs isn’t very hopeful. You place your hope in your mechanic only if he has the ability to fix what’s broken on your car.

5. You always preach to yourself a gospel of some kind of hope. You’re always reaching for hope and preaching to yourself the validity of what you reach for.

But here is the radical truth of the gospel. Hope is not a situation. Hope is not a location. Hope is not a possession. Hope is not an experience. Hope is more than an insight or a truism. Hope is a person, and his name is Jesus! He comes to you and makes a commitment of hope: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Now, there’s hope. You have something profoundly deeper to hold on to than the hope that people will be nice to you, that your job will work out, that you will make good choices when tempted, that you’ll be smart enough to make good decisions, that you’ll be able to avoid poverty or sickness, or that you’ll have a good place to live and enough to eat. No, this is eternal and deeply personal hope. It rests in the truth that Jesus has wrapped his powerful arms around you and he will never, ever let you go. If nothing you envisioned ever works out and all the bad things that you’ve dreaded come your way, you still have hope, because he is with you in power and grace.

For further study and encouragement :: Haggai 1:12–15

Charles Haddon Spurgeon M&E :: January 9th

Serve the Lord with Gladness — Psalm 100:2

Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving Him at all; they bring the form of loyalty, but the life is absent. Our God requires no slaves to grace His throne; He is the Lord of the empire of love, and would have His servants dressed in the uniform of joy. The angels of God serve Him with songs, not with groans; a murmur or a sigh would be a mutiny in their ranks.

That obedience that is not voluntary is disobedience, for the Lord looks at the heart, and if He sees that we serve Him from force, and not because we love Him, He will reject our offering.

Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity. If a man be driven to battle, he is no patriot; but he who marches into the fray with flashing eye and beaming face, singing, “It is sweet for one’s country to die,” proves himself to be sincere in his patriotism.

Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness. The man who is cheerful in his service of God proves that obedience is his element; he can sing,

Make me to walk in your commands, It’s a delightful road.

Reader, let us put this question—do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master.

Excerpt taken from them

Excerpt taken from Morning & Evening by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Originally published in 1865

Updated edition, 2003

Paul David Tripp NMM :: January 5th

If you obey for a thousand years, you’re no more accepted than when you first believed; your acceptance is based on Christ’s righteousness and not yours.

The fact is that sin is a bigger disaster than we think it is and grace is more amazing than we seem to be able to grasp that it is. No one who really understands what Scripture has to say about the comprehensive, every-aspect-of-your-personhood-altering nature of sin would ever think that anyone could muster enough motivation and strength to rise to God’s standard of perfection. The thought that any fallen human being would be able to perform his or her way into acceptance with God has to be the most insane of all delusions. Yet we all tend to think that we are more righteous than we are, and when we think this, we have taken the first step to embracing the delusion that maybe we’re not so bad in God’s eyes after all.

This is why the reality check of Romans 3: 20 is so important. Paul writes, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight.” If you prayed every moment of your life, you could not pray enough prayers to earn acceptance with God. If you gave every penny of every dollar that you ever earned in every job you ever had, you could not give enough to deserve acceptance with God. If every word you ever spoke was uttered with the purest of conscientious motivations, you would never be able to speak your way into reconciliation with God. If you gave yourself to an unbroken, moment-by-moment life of ministry, you could never minister enough to achieve God’s favor. Sin is too big. God’s bar is too high. It is beyond the reach of every human being who has ever taken his or her first breath.

This is why God, in love, sent his Son: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5: 8). You see, there was and is no other way. There is only one portal to acceptance with God—the righteousness of Christ. His righteousness is given over to our account; sinners are welcomed into the presence of a holy God based on the perfect obedience of another. Christ is our hope, Christ is our rest, Christ is our peace. He perfectly fulfilled God’s requirement so that in our sin, weakness, and failure we would never again have to fear God’s anger. This is what grace does! So as the children of grace, we obey as a service of worship, not in a desperate attempt to do what is impossible—independently earn God’s favor.

Excerpt from the January 5th reading of New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

Charles Haddon Spurgeon M&E :: January 4th

Grow In The Grace & Knowledge Of Our Lord Jesus Christ — 2 Peter 3:18

“Grow in grace”—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith . Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love . Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility . Seek to lie very low and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “ grow in . . . the knowledge of our Lord and Savior .” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know Him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet. Whoever has sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ does satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction that the appetite is not choked, but whetted. If you know the love of Jesus as the hart pants for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.” Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Do not rest content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. Live close to the Cross, and search the mystery of His wounds. An increase of love to Jesus and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.

Excerpt taken from the updated version of Morning & Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1865

Reading The Bible In 2020

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As the new year presents an opportunity for life-change resolutions…many followers of Christ take the beginning of a new year to rethink their Bible reading customs and then apply a renewed emphasis in learning the Bible by reading it themselves. Why?

Because the Bible is—a message from the heavens. It is the transcendent God speaking to us His people that He loves. He does this according to His purpose and He does this through words we can understand. He gives us a message that is God-breathed, profitable, wise, correcting, rebuking, instructing, & completing us (2 Timothy 3:16).

This is an amazing and gracious gift that God has placed in our hands and before our eyes.  As Christians in this part of the world we have been privileged with access to what many others around the world will spend their entire lives seeking. We don’t have to spend ourselves on a mighty quest to attain it.  We have been gifted with the world around us sharing about the Creator and that is good. But God has done that which is so great. The access to the Word of God (The Bible) is already near us—in our pockets, on our shelves, available on our modern devices, and on our kitchen tables, offering the reader the revelation of who God is, what God is like, what does does, and what God has spoken. It is good news!  So how are we to respond with such a gift…Let us be hungry, avid readers with a desire to know the Lord more intently.

Listed below are some of the Bible reading plans that you may choose from. These plans incorporate the Bible.com  reading plans can be added to the devices in your pocket or on your desktop.  Of course, you can also reading along in a physical copy of the Bible.

Murray M’Cheyne Reading Plan ::

This plan is based on the M’Cheyne reading system, featuring four different readings for use in both family and personal devotions. Each day has two passages from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from either the Psalms or the Gospels. In one year, you read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. This is the one that I will be doing again this year.

Reading God’s Story – One Year Chronological Plan ::

Created by Dr. George Guthrie, this plan takes the material of the Bible and organizes it to flow in chronological order. Since exact dating of some materials or events is not possible, the chronology simply represents an attempt to give you the reader the general flow and development of the Bible’s grand story. Some passages are placed according to topic (e.g., John 1:1-3 in Week 1, Day 2; and many of the psalms). There are six readings for each week to give you space for catching up when needed.

The Bible Project Read Scripture Plan ::

This plan takes you on a chronological journey through the entire Bible over the course of one year. Each book includes videos specifically designed to enhance your understanding and engagement with God’s Word.

The 5 Day Reading Plan ::

Read through the Bible in a year with readings five days a week.

Foundations 260 Bible Reading Plan ::

The F-260 is a two hundred and sixty day reading plan that highlights the foundational passages of Scripture that every disciple should know. The HEAR journaling method promotes reading the Bible with a life-transforming purpose. No longer will your focus be on checking off the boxes on your daily reading schedule; your purpose will instead be to read in order to understand and respond to God’s Word.

The One Year Bible Reading Plan ::

Experience the insights and joy gained from reading the entire Bible. You can do it in as little as 15 minutes a day with The One Year ® Bible, the world’s most popular annual reading Bible. Daily readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs will guide you through God’s Word in one year.

Four Streams Bible Reading Plan ::

At Four Streams, we are simply guides fulfilling the great commission and inviting men, women and children to launch into the great adventure that is life in Christ. This plan will go through the NT 4 times per year, the OT once, Psalms twice, and Proverbs 4 times per year. This plan was developed by John Morton and Tom Anderson, members of the Four Streams ministry team.

Discipleship Journal Reading Plan ::

By reading from four separate places in the Scriptures every day, you will get a better grasp of the unity of the Scriptures. And you can begin at any point of the year.

Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan ::

Prof. Horner’s Bible Reading System is meant to be an intense foray into every part of the Bible. This system will have you reading ten chapters each day if followed properly. The intent is to read quickly through each chapter, being careful not to “skim” or “dig-deep” into any single section. Good luck!