Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

"Salvation is of the Lord. Victory belongs to the Lord" (Jonah 2:9).

Without the Lord, there is no salvation. Without Him, there is no victory. Jonah's story was a disaster story - until God stepped in. It was God who changed everything. That's the way it was with Jonah. That's the way it is with us.

Monday, 27 February 2017

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple" (Jonah 2:7).

Where does this remembering come from? It comes from the Lord. He puts the prayer into our hearts. Jonah was running away from God. God was drawing Jonah back to Himself. Like Jonah, we lose our way in life. That's when we need to hear the wonderful words of Jesus, our Saviour. He tells us that He "came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

Sunday, 26 February 2017

What are we to do when the going gets tough?

"In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and You listened to my cry" (Jonah 2:2).
What are we to do when the going gets tough? We've heard the saying, When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We wonder if this really helps. What if we find that we're not really so tough? What happens when we can't get going? There are times when we know that this is too much for us. We can't raise ourselves up. We need to be lifted. We need You, Lord. You are "the lifter of my head." (Psalm 3:3). It's Your love that lifts us: "Love lifted me. When no-one but Christ could help, love lifted me" (James Rowe).

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Lord is our Helper.

"O Lord, I cry to You for help!" (Joel 1:19).
We look to some people for help - and they're no help to us, God is never like that. He is our Helper. He's always there for us. We call upon Him - and He helps us. He's "the help of the helpless" (from the hymn, "Abide with me"). We may not always feel 'helped' - but we have been helped, much more than we'll ever realize! Praise God! Thank Him for His help - even when you're only very vaguely aware of just how much He has helped you.
"Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart" (Joel 2:12).
"Now" - returning to the Lord is not to be left until later on. With all your heart" -a real return to the Lord must never be a half-hearted thing.

"The Lord will be a refuge for His people" (Joel 3:1).
People let us down. The Lord never lets us down. He lifts us up.


Friday, 24 February 2017

"I, Daniel, alone saw the vision ... the men who were with me did not see the vision" (Daniel 10:7).

Here, we have a vision that was intended for Daniel. The vision was not given to the men who were with him. While this was, for Daniel, a unique experience of divine revelation, it raises for us a more general question: Why is it that some people receive blessing from the Lord, while others miss out on the blessing?
What are we to say about those who miss out on God's blessing? They may be present when the Lord's people are gathered together for worship - but they have no real sense of the Lord's presence. The power of the Lord is at work in the lives of others, but nothing happens to them. The Word goes on one ear and out the other. Others are being transformed. They remain unchanged. Are we simply to say, "Some are blessed by the Lord. They give thanks for His blessing. Sadly others miss out on His blessing - and we can say no more about this"?
In Romans 9:13, we read these awesome words: "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." Here, Paul is writing about "the purpose of God according to election." He emphasizes that salvation is "not of works but of Him who calls" (Romans 9:11).
If we are to enter into the blessing of God's salvation, we must honour the principle upon which His salvation is based - "not of works but of Him who calls."
- "Not of works" - In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul emphasizes this point: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
- "Of Him who calls" - In 1 Corinthians 1:21, Paul emphasizes that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." In Romans 10:17, he writes, "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ."
When we come to hear the Word of God, we must come to God, seeking His glory. His glory is much more important than our blessing.
If we are preoccupied with getting a blessing for ourselves, we will find that His blessing is like the elusive butterfly - so close yet so far. We are so close to the blessing. It's all around us. Other people are being blessed. We may ask, "Why them? Why not me?"
There is a problem with the "Why not me?" question. It's centred on ourselves. It's asking about what I can get. It's more concerned with getting blessing for ourselves than giving glory to God.
When we gather together for worship, let's not get stuck at the self-centred level of "I hope there's a blessing there for me." Let's pray that God will lift us up to His God-centred level: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory, for the sake of thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness!" (Psalm 115:1).
Let's return to the tragic story of Esau: "Esau despised his birthright" (Genesis 25:34); "Afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears" (Hebrews 12;17).
The tragedy of Esau is this: everything centred around Esau - what Esau wanted. He showed his true colours when he "despised his birthright." Later on, he wanted to get the blessing for himself. He wanted to be 'one up' on his brother, Jacob. What did all this have to do with the glory of God? There were "tears" - but what was he crying about? There were "tears" - but they weren't tears of "repentance." Esau was feeling sorry for himself. Jacob had been blessed - and he hadn't.
Feeling sorry for ourselves because other people have been blessed and we haven't - This is very different from seeking the glory of God. God wants to bless us. We must never doubt that - but we must never forget this: He does not bless us because we want to get blessing for ourselves.
God looks at what's going on in our hearts. Are we filled with envy? - We see others being blessed and we become obsessed with one thing: "Why am I not being blessed as much as he is? I deserve blessing every bit as much as he does."
What does God say about this? - "not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:9); "not of works but of Him who calls" (Romans 9:11).
Let us pray that God will give us a heart which seeks its glory - and let's leave the blessing to Him. He will send His blessing to those who seek His glory: "the vision ... will surely come", "Though it tarries, wait for it" (Habakkuk 2:3).

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

" ... so will I seek out My sheep ... on a cloudy and dark day" (Ezekiel 34:12).

Our life on earth is " a cloudy and dark day." Left to ourselves, we always lose our way. We cannot find our way back on to the way of the Lord without the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus does not leave us to stumble around on a "cloudy and dark day." He has come "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). He is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12). His Light is still shining brightly. The darkness can't put it out (John 1:5). We look to Jesus, and we see beyond "the cloudy and dark day." We look to Him, and we say, "The Lord is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1).

Monday, 20 February 2017

"Is there any word from the Lord?" (Jeremiah 37:17).

There are different ways of asking questions.
"Is there any word from the Lord?" This is a question which invites Jeremiah to speak the Word of the Lord.
In Genesis 3:1, we have a very different way of asking questions - "the serpent ... said to the woman, Did God really say ... ?"
The "ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan" (Revelation 12:9) is always trying to get us to stop believing the Word of God.
"Is there any Word from the Lord?" - Jeremiah's answer is "Yes" (Jeremiah 37:17).
What was the Word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah at that time? - "You will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon" (Jeremiah 37:17).
What are we to do when God's Word doesn't say what we had been hoping to hear? - We must refuse to ask the Satanic question, "Did God really say?" We must learn to say, from the heart, "This is the Word of the Lord."
It's not our place to say what the Word of God should say to us and what it should not say to us. Our response must always be, "Let it be to me according to Your Word" (Luke 1:38);  "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17).
We're not to set up as those who have the right to keep on asking the Satanic question: "Did God really say?" We're to bow before the Word of the Lord, which says to us, "This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven" (Matthew 16:17).
We must take care that we don't get drawn into the way of the foolish man who builds his life upon the shifting sands of human opinion. There is a better way than that. It's the way of the wise man who builds his life on God's revelation:  "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:24).

Sunday, 19 February 2017

"Great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22).

Day by day, we learn more about our own human failure. Day by day, we learn also of God's divine faithfulness. "We are faithless. He remains faithful" (2 Timothy 2:13). Day by day, let's praise God for His wonderful love, His amazing grace and His superabundant marvellous mercy. "The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant ... Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ... I obtained mercy ... Now to the King eternal ... be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:14-17).

Saturday, 18 February 2017

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

God loves us. This isn’t for some perfect people who’ve never fallen into sin. There’s nobody who’s like that. All of us have made a mess of things – but God still says to us, “I love you.” He says, “My Son, Jesus, died for you.” This is what gives us the strength to choose His way rather than our own way. This is what keeps us from sin. This is what convinces us that there’s a better way than the way of sin. There’s a way of blessing. It comes to us when we’re learning how much God loves us. He doesn’t give up on us when we let Him down. He keeps on loving us. He keeps on lifting us up. He sets us on our feet. He changes the direction of our life. It becomes less about ourselves, and more about Him (Galatians 2:20).
So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’(Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us.
The Lord is at work in our hearts. He is bringing us ‘to our senses’. He is reminding us of His love. He is drawing us back to Himself. In love, He is calling us home again. He is speaking to our hearts. He is saying to us, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3).
As His love reaches our hearts, ‘the prodigal son’ becomes ‘the returning son’: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’. ‘Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God!’(Jeremiah 31:18).
Where do God’s peace and joy come from? They come from His love. It’s the greatest love of all (Ephesians 3:18). There’s nothing like the love of God. His peace is great. His joy is great. His love is even greater. This is where His blessing comes from. He loves us. He loves us with “an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). It’s a love that will not let us go. It’s a love that goes on forever. When we say, “May God’s blessing surround you each day”, what we’re saying is this: May you know that God loves you; may you know that He’s never going to stop loving you; may you know the blessing of His love.

Friday, 17 February 2017

What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord?

"Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord!”... Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:4,11).
Jeremiah spoke to the people of his own day. He speaks to us as well. Don't let the place where you worship become more important than it really is. This is what he says to us. These are not only the words of Jeremiah. This is the Word of the Lord. What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord? Are we thinking to ourselves, "I never miss a church service - not like those who've stopped coming to church"? What kind of "worship" is this? Lord, take us to the heart of worship. Give us a worshipping heart.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

"Listen to the Lord's Word, all you people of Judah who go through these gates to worship the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:2).


We worship the Lord. We listen to His Word. It's His Word that inspires our worship. How can we worship the Lord truly if we're bot listening to His Word attentively. We listen so that we might worship.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Peace with God

The proclamation of peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) must be carefully dissociated from a proclamation which says, "'Peace, peace', when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 8:11).

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

"Lord, Your eyes look for the truth" (Jeremiah 5:3).

God is looking for more than truth in our teaching. He's looking for truth in our living.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Arise, shine ...

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you" (Isaiah 60:1).
* Let the light of Christ shine.

* Let the words of Scripture lead to thoughts of the Saviour.
* In Christ, we are called to salvation, sanctification and service.
* Be wise – worship the Saviour.

Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-7,10-14; Eph 3:1-12; Mt 2:1-12

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

Because of our sin, we are under the judgment of God. Christ has taken our judgment that we might receive His salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we have a great reminder of this. Christ drank from the cup of our condemnation that we might drink from the cup of His salvation. This is amazing grace, reaching out to us.

What we do with this grace, which is so freely offered to us in Christ, is a matter of eternal significance. May God, in this generation where there is so much unbelief, bring many people to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” These great words of grace are followed by some words which tell us how amazing this grace is: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (55:6-9).

In ourselves, convicted of our sin, we feel that there is no hope. As the Spirit works in our hearts, we are able to look to Christ in faith. As we come to Him, we see how wonderful the love of God is. We think, “The Lord could never accept me after what I have done.” Jesus says, “Those who come to Me, I will never turn away” (John 6:37). “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin; How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin?”

God’s Word does not return to Him empty. It accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
Often, we feel like God’s Word returns to us empty. It never returns to Him empty. Wherever God’s Word is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, God is at work. He is doing more than we realize. Some may refuse to listen to the voice of the Spirit – but the Spirit keeps on speaking to them, calling them to return to the Lord and receive His free gift of salvation: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). Let us pray that the Word of God will be spoken in the power of the Spirit of God: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth

Isaiah 54:1-17

‘The Lord’ is not only ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘the God of the whole earth’ (Isaiah 54:5). The Gospel is for ‘all nations’. The ministry of Christ’s apostles began in ‘Jerusalem’, but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God’s promise: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’ (Isaiah 54:17). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God’s love: ‘With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (Isaiah 54:8).

Friday, 10 February 2017

We thank You, Lord, that Your love is always reaching out to us ...

We thank You, Lord, that Your love is always reaching out to us, calling us back from wandering away from You. Whatever our past has been, help us to make a new beginning with You. In Your great love, give us the hope for the future which comes from knowing that the sin of the past has been forgiven and forgotten.

God’s Word for hard times

God’s Word for hard times: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Awesome holiness, awesome love

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty" (Isaiah 6:3); "Your sins are forgiven" (Isaiah 6:7).
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them" (1 Timothy 1:15).
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Awesome holiness: It was my sin which sent Christ to the Cross.
Amazing love: Christ has taken my sin to the Cross. I receive His forgiveness.

God’s love for us comes before our love for Him.

“I will sing for the one I love” (Isaiah 5:1).
Isaiah speaks here of our love for God. When we speak of our love for God, we must always remember this: God’s love for us comes before our love for Him. We sing to the One who has loved us. The song we sing to Him is the song of love: “Loving Him who first loved me.”

Lord, we sing a song of love. We sing about the best love of all - Your love for us. There is no love like Your love. It's the greatest love of all. It's Your love for us that inspires our love for You. Our love for You grows strong when we think less about our love for You - and more about Your love for us.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Worship The Lord With Joy. Live For Him With Joy.

"Come, let’s sing joyfully to the Lord. Let’s shout happily to the rock of our salvation" (Psalm 95:1). We are to worship the Lord with joy.  We are to happy with him, in him and for him. (a) Be happy with the Lord. He is all that we need - "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). (b) Be happy in the Lord. Where do we find true happiness? We find it in the Lord. We do not set out to find happiness. We find happiness when we find the Lord. (c) Be happy for the Lord. Let us share our happiness. May God help us to live for him - with joy.

I know that everything God does will endure forever ...

"I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
God's salvation

- It's a permanent salvation: it "will endure forever";
- It's a complete salvation: "nothing can be added to it";
- It's a secure salvation: "nothing" can be "taken from it";
- It's a salvation which leads to worship: "so that men will revere Him."

Monday, 6 February 2017

What kind of people are we to be?

What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You're calling us to live a life of "love" (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? - We learn from You. You show us what love is - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... " (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love - "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love - "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life - a life of love.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Be wise. Win souls.

"He that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).
Be wise. Win souls.

"Those are the best educated ministers, who win the most souls" (Charles Finney) - It is estimated that over 250,000 souls were converted as the result of Finney's preaching!
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Trust the Lord with all your heart ...

"Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding ... Blessed is the one who finds wisdom  and the one who obtains understanding" (Proverbs 3:5, 13).
Real understanding of what our life really means - this isn't something that comes from within ourselves. It is given to us by the Lord. The first thing we must learn to do is this: Trust the Lord. He knows what our life is all about. When we don't understand what's going on, may we learn to trust Him.

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Search For Wisdom

The search for wisdom may begin for us with the question, “What does the book of Proverbs teach us about wisdom?”, but it must not end there. While it is important to learn what the Old Testament has to say to us, we should not allow ourselves to get trapped in the Old Testament so that we fail to look beyond the first stage of God’s revelation and see the fullness of God’s revelation – our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).The book of Proverbs encourages us to search for wisdom. In our search for wisdom, we find that we are led beyond the book of Proverbs. We read what the New Testament says to us – “you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). We are to led to “Christ” who is “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). Christ leads us beyond “man’s wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25). Whatever else may be said about wisdom, there is one thing that we must always say, “Christ Jesus … has become for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
We do learn about wisdom as we read the book of Proverbs – but there is more to learn than the book of Proverbs, on its own, is able to teach us. In the book of Proverbs, we read of “Wisdom” calling out to us (Proverbs 1:20-21). In the Gospels, Jesus speaks to us. He tells us that He is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He tells us that He is “the Light” (John 8:12). We seek understanding. We seek enlightenment. We find these things in Jesus. We are truly wise when we build our life on Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).
When, in the book of Proverbs, we read the words, “Get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7), we must follow where our search for wisdom leads us. For us, “Get wisdom” means more than it meant for the writer of the book of Proverbs. It means, “Come to Christ and receive salvation.”
Whatever we may learn about wisdom from the book of Proverbs, this is only the beginning of our search. From there, we look to Jesus and we see that in Him are “‘all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3) – all that we need for salvation, sanctification and service.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

A New Song - The Song Of Salvation

The world sings its songs. They do not sing the song of the Lord. There is a song which can only be sung by those who have been saved by the Lord. It is "a new song." It is the song of "salvation." Saved by the Lord, we sing to Him our song of "thanksgiving." We think of what the Lord has done for us and we say, "Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 149:1).
"Let Israel find joy in her Creator" (Psalm 149:2).
We do not create our own joy. Joy is given to us by the Lord. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

"Hallelujah! ... Hallelujah!" (Psalm 147:1,20)

"Hallelujah! ... Hallelujah!" (Psalm 147:1,20) God has given us plenty of reasons to praise him - reasons to "sing to the Lord with thanksgiving" (Psalm 147:7).

What are we to do, Lord, when we think that You're against us?

Job 9:20-10:22 What are we to do, Lord, when, like Job, we think that You are “against” us (Job 10:2)? Where do such negative thoughts ...