GOD’S BANNER OVER HIS ELECT IS LOVE

 

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GOD’S BANNER OVER HIS ELECT IS LOVE

J.C. Philpot

“In the light of the king”s countenance is life; and his favor is as a cloud of the latter rain.” Proverbs 16:15

What is religion without a living faith in, and a living love to the Lord Jesus Christ? How dull and dragging, how dry and heavy, what a burden to the mind, and a weariness to the flesh, is a “round of forms” where the heart is not engaged and the affections not drawn forth! Reading, hearing, praying, meditation, conversation with the saints of God, what cold, what heartless work where Jesus is not! But let him appear, let his presence and grace be felt, and his blessed Spirit move upon the heart, then there is a holy sweetness, a sacred blessedness in the worship of God and in communion with the Lord Jesus that makes, while it lasts, a little heaven on earth.
 

It is this inward sense of the blessedness of his presence and the misery of his absence, the heaven of his smile and the hell of his frown, that makes the sheep of Christ seek communion with him. He has won their heart to himself by discovering to them his beauty and his love, and they having once seen the glory of his Person, heard the sweetness of his voice, and tasted the grace of his lips, follow him wherever he goes, seeking to know him and the power of his resurrection, and counting all things rubbish and loss that they may win him, and have some manifestation of his love.

What is to support the soul under those trials and temptations that at times press it so sore, relieve those cruel doubts which so disquiet, take away those fears of death which so alarm, subdue that rebelliousness which so condemns, wean from the world which so allures, and make it look beyond life and time, the cares of the passing hour, and the events of the fleeting day, to a solemn and blessed eternity, but those visitations of the blessed Lord to the soul which give it communion with himself? Thus were the saints of God led and taught in days of old, as the Holy Spirit has recorded their experience in the word of truth.

Remembering the past, one says, “Your visitation has preserved my spirit.” Longing for a renewal, another cries, “O when will you come unto me?” and under the enjoyment of his presence the Church speaks, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

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6 thoughts on “GOD’S BANNER OVER HIS ELECT IS LOVE

  1. Thanks for posting this. Life’s been a struggle for awhile and the Lord’s seemed distant at times and I was discouraged. This post has been good for my soul.

      • Thanks man for the words and the prayer. I know I’m supposed to have joy on the journey but sometimes it’s just a bear and a fight. There’s defeats and losses, and it’s a fight not thinking that I’m screwing it all up. But God is good, I’m looking to him for strength and wisdom to go on and stay faithful to Jesus. Love back atcha Mike.

      • Truth is Alan, that for the most part the children of God because of the infirmity of their fallen flesn are “screwing it all up”. Not that they want to, but because the fight is so real and the enemy so powerful and they are so weak in thier own selves.

        Here’s a quote from the man who penned that immortal hymn Amazing Grace. Writing to a friend toward the end of his life he said . . . .

        “At my first setting out, indeed, I thought to be better, and to feel myself better from year to year; I expected by degrees to attain everything which I then comprised in my idea of a GODLY CHRISTIAN. I thought my grain of grace, by much diligence and careful improvement, would, in time, amount to a pound; that pound, in a farther space of time, to a talent; and then I hoped to increase from one talent to many; so that, supposing the Lord should spare me a number of years, I pleased myself with the thought of dying rich in grace.

        But, alas! these my golden expectations have been like South-Sea dreams! I have lived hitherto a poor sinner, and I believe I shall die one! Have I then gained nothing by waiting upon the Lord? Yes, I have gained, that which I once would rather have been without, such accumulated proofs of the DECEITFULNESS and DESPERATE WICKEDNESS of my heart, as I hope, by the Lord’s blessing, has, in some measure, taught me to know what I mean, when I say, “Behold I am vile!”

        And, in connection with this, I have gained such experience of the wisdom, power, and compassion of my Redeemer; the need, the worth, of his blood, righteousness, attention, and intercession; the glory that he displays in pardoning iniquity and sin and passing by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage—that my soul cannot but cry out, “Who is a God like unto Thee!” Thus, if I have any lower thoughts of MYSELF, [Eze. 16:63], and any higher thoughts of HIM than I had twenty years ago, I have reason to be thankful.

        Every grain of this experience is worth mountains of gold. And if, by his mercy, I shall yet sink more in my own esteem, and he will be pleased to rise still more glorious to my eyes, and more precious to my heart—I expect it will be much in the same way. I was ashamed when I began to seek Him; I am more ashamed now; and I expect to be most of all ashamed when He shall appear to destroy my last enemy. But, oh! I may rejoice in him, to think that He will not be ashamed of me.” – John Newton

  2. “Thus, if I have any lower thoughts of MYSELF, [Eze. 16:63], and any higher thoughts of HIM than I had twenty years ago, I have reason to be thankful.”

    What great words, thanks for sharing that quote Mike. There’s days when circumstances and my own weakness work together to crush life out and it’s hard to see any good and my heart’s slow to turn to Jesus. It’s good to be reminded of what’s true and grace from God. Thanks man.

  3. Hey Mike, not sure if I read this by Philpot on your blog or on the web but I saved it as a file cause it’s where I live so often. I had just forgotten it.

    “Why is flesh so weak? Because it is fallen, because it is sinful, because it has an alliance with the temptation which is presented to it. It is weak against temptation for the same reason that a man who loves strong drink is weak against the offered wine. If we had no inward lusting after evil, no pride, no rebelliousness, no fallen nature, no carnal mind, no vile affections, nothing in us earthly, sensual, or devilish; would we fear temptation? No; for then we would be armored against it; it would be like dipping a match in water. Here our weakness lies. If we could always resist we would conquer, but resist we cannot, except by the special power of God. This is a lesson we all need to learn. The weakness of the flesh manifests itself continually in compliance, in nonresistance, in giving way, in yielding, often almost without a struggle, no, sometimes in acting a worse and more wicked part still. How striking are the words of Deer– “That mariner’s mad part I played, who sees, yet strikes the rock.”

    Is there any one that knows and fears God who can say he has never played that mad part; never seen the rock ahead, and yet run upon it; never mourned, sighed, cried, groaned and repented, and yet been again overcome; never seen the evil of the snare, never felt the rope round his neck, and yet been entangled–I was going to say strangled? It is through these things that we learn the weakness of the flesh; weak to believe, weak to hope, weak to love, weak to fight, weak to resist, weak to overcome, weak to watch, weak to pray, weak to stand, weak to everything good; strong to everything evil. The flesh indeed is weak. What are all resolutions, all promises, all desires, all endeavors, all strugglings, all strivings, except the soul is held up by the mighty power of God?

    And yet “the spirit is willing.” Here the child of God is distinguished from those who are given up as a prey to temptation. He has a willing spirit, which they have not. But how is the spirit willing? It is made “willing in the day of God’s power.” It is a new spirit, a free spirit, a holy spirit, a gracious spirit, and therefore a willing spirit. But what is it willing to do? Willing to obey, to watch, to pray, to be conformed to the will of God, to crucify the lusts and affections, to put off the old man and to put on the new. And how does it show its willingness? By the very struggles it maintains against the flesh; flesh and spirit pulling contrary ways; the spirit all willingness, the flesh all weakness; flesh twining around spirit, spirit struggling under the firm and strong embrace of flesh.

    Hence the conflict; the spirit willing to read God’s word, to pray and seek God’s face, and pour out the heart before him; the flesh weak, and finding prayer a burden. The spirit willing to make sacrifices, endure persecutions, bear afflictions, carry the cross, suffer with Jesus, resist even unto blood striving against sin; the flesh weak, dragging the spirit down with it, unable to stand a single moment, complying with every suggestion to evil, listening to every insinuation of Satan breathed into the ear, hearkening to the tempter, and almost as bad as he.

    This then, the willingness of the spirit and the weakness of the flesh, is the reason why there should be watchfulness and prayer. If there were no willing spirit, there would be no need of watchfulness; it would be useless; nor of prayer, for it would not ascend with acceptance into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath. If there were nothing but flesh, the believer would be all weakness; possessing spirit, there is in him some willingness, and this God looks at.”

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