Made Me Glad

A friend shared this with me today:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon :: Morning and Evening
August 14th — Morning Reading

“Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work.” — Psalm 92:4

Do you believe that your sins are forgiven, and that Christ has made a full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now? Luther said, “Smite, Lord, smite, for my sin is forgiven; if Thou hast but forgiven me, smite as hard as Thou wilt”; and in a similar spirit you may say, “Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what Thou wilt, Thou hast forgiven me,and my soul is glad.” Christian, if thou art thus saved, whilst thou art glad, be grateful and loving. Cling to that cross which took thy sin away; serve thou Him who served thee. “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Let not your zeal evaporate in some little ebullition of song. Show your love in expressive tokens. Love the brethren of Him who loved you. If there be a Mephibosheth anywhere who is lame or halt, help him for Jonathan’s sake. If there be a poor tried believer, weep with him, and bear his cross for the sake of Him who wept for thee and carried thy sins. Since thou art thus forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, go and tell to others the joyful news of pardoning mercy. Be not contented with this unspeakable blessing for thyself alone, but publish abroad the story of the cross. Holy gladness and holy boldness will make you a good preacher, and all the world will be a pulpit for you to preach in. Cheerful holiness is the most forcible of sermons, but the Lord must give it you. Seek it this morning before you go into the world. When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad.

Yes, this excerpt from the “Prince of Preachers” is in a style and beauty of language that seems so far away from my own current station in this world, but it has a voice and message that is timeless and that is in seemingly perfect unity with what my heart knows is true. 
He starts out at the heart of the matter, that all important question,  “Do you believe…” in sentence one. And as if that wasn’t bold enough, he hammers it home with “… what a joyful Christian you OUGHT TO BE!” In the continued opening of sentence two.
This approach might even be deemed as offensive or unwelcoming in many of today’s gathering places of those seeking enlightenment, self help, and betterment  (as long as it is only a tolerable sprinkling of God, of course). And some might even be offended at their main diet of religious and social gathering being seasoned with God, since He seems so unwavering and intent on His will being done. 
“Maybe just add Him as a garnish on the side so no one is offended”, they suggest,  “and then they don’t actually have to encounter Him in the midst of all this other pomp and circumstance and ceremony and entertainment.” Because the truth of God’s Word to them is still a harsh task master calling them to give up so many things they love more and greater — not a glorious and loving God who has the best for us in every promise, in every correction, in every discipline, in every trial, and in every victory over sin and death. 
Do you believe?
Or are you gauging your “own personal truth” by what you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, feel and experience in your carnal flesh?
Is your belief hinged upon the flood of blessings to be expected in this life now for your investment in religious participation, swinging wildly back and forth between grumbling and praising based on the circumstance?
Or is it rooted firmly in that prize and portion  — that prize that is above and beyond all other worthless and perishing offerings that the enemy might offer?

The enemy is tempting you to take your eyes off of the Truth, the Way, the Life — the source of your joy. Have you turned away? Have you forgotten the sweet, sweet love the Lord has for you, Child of God?
Or do you remember?

Are you filled with joy abounding in every way? Peace that presses understanding? Love even for your enemies? Patience because you know He has a plan and a purpose that is beautiful and wonderful and you are a part of It?
Did you hear me right? You are A PART OF IT! I didn’t say you are apart from it, but that you are a part of It!

How much we have to be thankful for!

Oh, how glad we can bee when the Lord God Almighty is at work in us, and through us, and yes, even for us. Hallelujah! Because He is for us and not against us!

Monday-Thursday? No, Maundy Thursday.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”  And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.  For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.  For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”
Luke 22:7-8, 14-22 ESV

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”  Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.  I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’  I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
John 13:2-20 ESV

Today,  we remember Maundy Thursday. The word Maundy likely comes from the Latin mendicare, Old French mendier, and English maund, which means “to beg” (verb) or a “small basket” (noun) held out by maunders (beggars) as they maunded (begged). It reminds us that we are to be servants at the feet of our fellow man, putting the needs of others above our own selfish wants, humbling ourselves before God, treating others as more important than ourselves.

When sharing the Good News with the lost who do not know Him, many times I am taking the stance of beggar, pleading in my heart that they will please take this bread of the Word of God, the example and testimony of His life, and please take this blood of His sacrifice poured out as the costly, necessary payment for our sin so that we can be restored to have a relationship with righteous and holy God. My hope is that they will hear the truth in their hearts and accept it, and receive it, and believe that Christ died on that cross and was raised to life for them.

Today, I am at your feet, dear child, precious friend, beloved creation of Almighty God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and the Lord knows the plans that He has for you, for good and not for evil, for love and life abundantly. When I am physically at your feet as a living servant,  at that same moment, I am spiritually at the feet of my Savior, Jesus Christ, in grattitude as I am annointing His feet with my grattitude through my service to you. Because He tells me that when I serve you, I am serving Him.

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:37-40 ESV

And my service,  when offered with that right heart – not out of obligation, not out of religious practice, not out of seeking rewards or exhibition, but out of gratitude for the prize He has already offered me – it is a pleasing aroma of my bringing praise and glory to His name. My life following His example is the living sacrifice that I offer my Lord, out of gratitude for the grace and forgiveness that He has offered me freely – gratitude for the undeserved mercy that He has shown me because I believe and have faith in His promises and His faithfulness.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.  For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
John 12:1-8 ESV

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”   “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred  denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”  Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 7:36-48 ESV

I do not bring offerings of my own good works to the feet of Christ because I think that they are valuable or worthy to Him – or because I think that they might buy me something in heaven (He tells me that my greatest works are like filthy rags). No, I bring the dust of my life,  these worthless rags of my works, the foolishness of my preaching,  to the altar because even though I know nothing I can offer is blameless or perfect enough for Him,  it is no longer about satisfying a payment due,  it is about testifying about the price already paid.

You see, I am bought with a price that I couldn’t pay – so any of my service and love poured out onto others isn’t because I’m trying to pay what is due, it’s because His payment in love for life is so overwhelming that my cup runneth over,  and I must pour out this love in service to you friend. I’ve tried being quiet. I’ve tried being still,  but this fire in my bones won’t allow it. Because I know how amazing it would be for this fire to catch hold of those still lost in the dark like I was,  because I know how hungry and thirsty I was before I found the only thing that satisfies eternally in Jesus Christ,  my Lord and Savior.

Whose feet are you called to wash today with forgiveness, with love, with encouragement, with help,  with selfless sacrifice of your wants so that their needs are fulfilled?

There are plenty of opportunities, Christian, for you to stoke the flames of that Holy Spirit fire in you through loving service to others. There are plenty of opportunities,  Christian, for you to awake, arise, and follow in the footsteps of Christ. There are plenty of opportunities,  Christian, for the world to see Christ’s love poured out today as you serving them humbly at their feet.

Please,  Lord,  soften our hardened hearts before we find ourselves so separated from you that we begin to wonder whether or not there is even a glimmer left of that flame. Please, Lord, quicken us in your Holy Spirit so that others might see past our imperfections, past our faults, to catch a glimpse of Christ at their feet – so we realize we can come to you from exactly where we are – so that we can know that you are close and not on some far away mountain – so that we can experience the love and the life change that comes from grateful obedience and service that delivers us from either empty religious compliance or outright rebellion. Lord, lead us in your ways, help us to seize the opportunity of seeing your Kingdom come in our lives today, as your will is done. Forgive us for our many imperfections as we fall short of your perfection, reminding us that we are pressing forward towards that upward call. Teach us to love you, Lord. Draw us into your presence. Change us to be more like the loving,  humble,  faithful servant we strive to know in our lives. Amen.