If you enjoy a book of substance, you’ll love Strengthen My Spirit—a collection of carefully-excerpted devotionals from the writings of Charles Spurgeon. Known as the “Prince of Preachers” for his upbeat, accessible sermons, Spurgeon preached to a nineteenth-century “megachurch” of several thousand members. Strengthen My Spirit brings together 180 selections from Spurgeon’s sermons, addressing issues like renewal, blessing, praise, patience, and more. Text is lightly updated for ease of reading. For a substantial yet never overwhelming devotional experience, turn to Strengthen My Spirit—and enjoy the refreshing truths of God from a giant of the Christian faith.
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Strengthen My Spirit
By Charles H. Spurgeon
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you."
Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
"Behold," says Christ, "I make all things new." What a wonder it is that a man should ever have a new heart!
You know if a lobster loses its claw in a fight it can get a new claw, and that is thought to be very marvelous. It would be very wonderful if men should be able to grow new arms and new legs, but who ever heard of a creature that grew a new heart?
You may have seen a bough lopped off a tree, and you may have thought that perhaps the tree will sprout again and there will be a new limb, but who ever heard of old trees getting new sap and a new core?
But my Lord and Master, the crucified and exalted Savior, has given new hearts and new cores; He has put the vital substance into man afresh and made new creatures of them. I am glad to notice the tear in your eye when you think on the past, but wipe it away now, and look up to the cross and say—
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Your blood was shed for me,
And that You bid'st me come to You,
O Lamb, O God, I come.
"Make me a new creature!" If you have said that from your heart, you are a new creature, dear brother, and we will rejoice together in this regenerating Savior.
Christ's Prayer for His Children
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
John 17:15 KJV
This prayer of Christ is an ever-precious portion to all true believers, from the fact that each of them has an inalienable interest in it.
Every one of us, beloved, when we listen to the words of Christ should recollect that He is praying for us; that while it is for the great body of His elect He intercedes in this chapter and the one preceding it, yet it is also for each believer in particular that He offers intercession.
However weak we are, however poor, however little our faith, or however small our grace may be, our names are still written on His heart; nor shall we lose our share in Jesus' love.
Oh, poor sinner, do not be doubtful of my Master's power. Do but touch the hem of His garment, and you shall be made whole. Like the poor woman in the crowd, get at it and touch it, and He will surely say unto you, "You are saved." If you will go to Him with this cry,
I'm a poor sinner and nothing at all,
And Jesus Christ is my all in all,
then you will see the blessed reason why Jesus interceded thus: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world."
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalm 9:10 KJV
Fellowship with Christ is so honorable a thing that it is worthwhile to suffer, that we may thereby enjoy it. You have sometimes heard me express a desire that I might be in the number of those who shall be alive and remain, and so shall escape death; but a dear friend of mine says he had rather die, in order that he might thus have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings, and the thought finds an echo in my own breast.
To die with Jesus makes death a perfect treasure; to be a follower in the grave with Him makes death a pleasure. Moreover you and I might be taken for cowards, although we may have fellowship with Him in His glory, if we had no scars to prove the sufferings we had passed through and the wounds we had received for His name.
Thus again you see it is for our good to be here; we should not have known fellowship with the Savior if we had not stayed here a little while. I should never have known the Savior's love half as much if I had not been in the storms of affliction.
How sweet it is to learn the Savior's love when nobody else loves us! When friends flee, what a blessed thing it is to see that the Savior does not forsake us but still keeps us and holds us fast and clings to us and will not let us go! Oh, beloved brother and sister, believe that your remaining here on earth is for your eternal benefit.
A Call to Win Souls
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
Proverbs 11:30 NKJV
Why is it that saints do not die as soon as they are converted? Because God meant that they should be the means of the salvation of their brethren. You would not surely wish to go out of the world if there were a soul to be saved by you. If I could go to glory before I had converted all the souls allotted to me, I should not be happy. We do not wish to enter heaven until our work is done, for it would make us uneasy if there were one single soul left to be saved by our means.
Tarry then, Christian; there is a sinner to be saved from his sins, a rebel to be turned from the error of his ways, and perhaps that sinner is one of your relatives. Perhaps you are spared in this world because there is a wayward son of yours not yet saved, and God has designed to make you the favored instrument of bringing him to glory. It may be that you are kept here because one of your offspring, by your instrumentality, is yet to be saved. Tarry then for your son's sake. I know how deeply you love him, and for his sake, surely, you are content to be left here a little while, counting it for the best that you may bring in your son to glory with you.
Enduring Trials for God's Glory
Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV
A tried saint brings more glory to God than an untried one. I think in my own soul that a believer in a prison reflects more glory on his Master than a believer in paradise, that a child of God in the burning, fiery furnace, whose hair is yet unscorched and upon whom the smell of the fire has not passed, displays more the glory of the Godhead than even he who stands with a crown upon his head, perpetually singing praises before the Father's throne.
Nothing reflects so much honor on a workman as a trial of his work and its endurance of it. So it is with God. It honors Him when His saints preserve their integrity. Peter honored Christ more when he walked on the water than when he stood upon the land. There was no glory given to God by his walking on the solid shore, but there was glory reflected when he walked on the water.
If we could but add more jewels to the crown of Christ by remaining here, why should we wish to be taken out of the world? We should say, "It is blessed to be anywhere where we can glorify Him."
Blessed by God
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
Psalm 68:19-20 NIV
Are any of you inclined to murmur? Do you think God deals harshly with you? Well, you are what you are by His grace. Though you are not what you wish to be, remember you are not what—if strict justice were carried out—you would be. In the poorhouse you might be—few admire that residence. In the prison you might be—God preserves you from the sin that would bring you there. At the grave's mouth you might be—on the sickbed, on the verge of eternity. God's holiest saints have not been spared from the grave.
O God, when we think of what we are not because Your grace has kept us from it, we can only say, "You have loaded us with benefits."
Think of what you are, you Christians. You are God's children; you are joint heirs with Christ. The "many mansions" are for you; the palms and harps of the glorified are for you. You have a share in all that Christ has and is and shall be. In all the gifts of His ascension, you have a part; in the gifts that come to us through His being seated at the right hand of God, you have your share; and in the glories of the Second Coming, you shall partake.
See how in the present and in the past and in the future, He loads you with benefits.
I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Psalm 145:2 NKJV
The one occupation of a Christian is to praise his God. Now in order to do this, we must maintain by God's grace a grateful, happy, praiseful frame of mind; and we must endeavor to express that condition of mind by songs of gratitude. Let us make both ends of the day bright with His praise, and throughout the day. We are in a wrong state of mind if we are not in a thankful state of mind. There is something wrong with you if you cannot praise God.
"Oh!" a person says. "Even in trouble?" Yes, in every bitter trouble, too, for Job could say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord."
"But are we never to be sorrowful?" Yes, yet always rejoicing. How can that be? The Lord will teach you! It is a work of grace. Cast down but yet rejoicing in the Lord! He lifts up the light of His countenance upon us, even when heart and flesh are failing us. There is something amiss when our heart does not praise God.
When your heart is glad, praise Him with your lips. Do you work alone? Sing. Perhaps, if you work with others, you cannot; then sing with your heart. Habitually praise Him. All our actions, as well as our thoughts and words, should praise Him who always blesses us. You may stop praising God when He stops having mercy on you—not until then.
Our Never-Changing God
"For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed."
Malachi 3:6 NKJV
What a consolation it is that our God never changes! What He was yesterday, He is today. What we find Him today, we shall find Him forever. Are you struggling against sin? Don't struggle in your own strength: It is God who performs all things for you. Victories over sin are only sham victories unless we overcome through the blood of the Lamb and through the power of divine grace.
May we have what we really think we have—no surface work but deep, inner, spiritual life fashioned in us from God—yes, every good spiritual thing from Him who performs all things for us; and I say,
whatever struggles may come, whatever temptations may overwhelm, or whatever thunderclouds may burst over your heads, you shall not be deserted, much less destroyed.
In spiritual things it is God who performs all things for you. Rest in Him then. You cannot work to save your own soul; Christ is the Savior. If He cannot save you, you certainly cannot save yourself. Why do you rest your hopes where hopes never should be rested? Or let me change the question: Why do you fear where you should never have hoped? Instead of fearing that you cannot hold on, fear holding on yourself and never look in that direction again. Let your entire reliance be fixed in Him. Cast the burden of your care on Him who performs all things for you.
Boasting in the Lord
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Psalm 34:2 NKJV
Boasting is generally annoying. Even those who boast themselves cannot endure the boasting of other people. But there is one kind of boasting that even the humble can bear to hear—in fact, they are glad to hear it. "The humble shall hear thereof and be glad." That must be boasting in God—a holy glorifying and extolling the Most High with words sought out with care that might magnify His blessed name.
You will never exaggerate when you speak good things of God. It is not possible to do so. Try, dear brethren, and boast in the Lord. There are many poor, trembling, doubting, humble souls who can hardly tell whether they are the Lord's people or not and are half afraid whether they will be delivered in the hour of trouble, who will become comforted when they hear you boasting. "The humble shall hear thereof and be glad."
"Why," says the humble soul, "the God who helped him can help me. He who brought him up through the deep waters and landed him safely can also take me through the river and through the sea and give me final deliverance."
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. "The humble shall hear thereof and be glad."
Nearer to God
Get thee up into the high mountain.
Isaiah 40:9 KJV
Each believer should be thirsting for God, for the living God, and longing to climb the hill of the Lord and see Him face-to-face. My soul thirsts of the cup that is reserved for those who reach the mountain's brow and bathe their brows in heaven. How pure are the dews of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the fare of the dwellers aloft whose windows look into the New Jerusalem!
Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines who see not the sun; they eat dust like the serpent when they might taste the ambrosial meat of angels, they are content to wear the miner's garb when they might put on the king's robes, and tears mar their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. Many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof and view the goodly land of Lebanon.
Rouse yourself from your low condition! Cast away your sloth, your lethargy, your coldness, or whatever interferes with your chaste and pure love for Christ, your soul's husband. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of all your soul's range of delight.
What charms you into such folly as to remain in a pit when you may sit on a throne? Rest no longer satisfied with your dwarfish attainments, but press forward to things more sublime and heavenly. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life. Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!
The Redemption of God
I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
Jeremiah 15:21 KJV
Note the glorious personality of the promise. "I will"—the Lord Jehovah Himself interposes to deliver and redeem His people. He pledges Himself personally to rescue them. His own arm will do it that He may have the glory.
There is not a word said of any effort of our own that may be needed to assist the Lord. Neither our strength nor our weakness is taken into the account, but the lone I, like the sun in the heavens, shines out resplendent in all-sufficiency. Peace, you unbelieving thoughts—be still and know that the Lord reigns.
Nor is there a hint concerning secondary means and causes. The Lord says nothing of friends and helpers: He undertakes the work alone and feels no need of human arms to aid Him. Vain are all our lookings around to companions and relatives; they are broken reeds if we lean upon them—often unwilling when able and unable when they are willing. Since the promise comes alone from God, it would be well to wait only upon Him, and when we do so, our expectation never fails us. In all times of fiery trial, in patience let us possess our souls.
Contentment in God
O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
Psalm 34:9-10 KJV
They are very strong, those young lions. They are fierce. They are voracious. They are cunning. And yet they do lack and suffer hunger.
And there are many men in this world who are very clever, strong in body, and active in mind. They say that they can take care of themselves, and perhaps they do appear to prosper; but we know that often those who are the most prosperous apparently are the most miserable of men. They are young lions, but they do lack and suffer hunger.
But when a man's soul lives upon God, he may have very little of this world, but he will be perfectly content. He has learned the secret of true happiness. He does not want any good things, for the things that he does not have, he does not wish to have. He brings his mind down to his estate if he cannot bring his estate to his mind.
He is thankful to have a little spending money, but his treasure is above. He likes to have the best things last, and so he is well content, if he has food and raiment, to press on his way to the rest that remains for the people of God. "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
Excerpted from Strengthen My Spirit by Charles H. Spurgeon. Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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