Alistair Begg Devotional - Truth For Life

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Truth for Life - December 13, 2016

December 13

Seek Much Grace

Give me children, or I shall die. - Genesis 30:1

The cry of Rachel for physical children should be more than matched by the believer's longing for spiritual children. Our great object in living is to glorify God, and we mainly achieve this end by the winning of souls. We must see souls born unto God. If we do not win souls, we should mourn as the farmer who sees no harvest, as the fisherman who returns to his cottage with an empty net, or as the hunter who has roamed in vain over hill and dale. Ours should be Isaiah's language uttered with many a sigh and groan—"who has believed what they heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"1 As ambassadors of peace we should not cease to weep bitterly until sinners weep for their sins. If we intensely desire to see others believing in the Lord Jesus, we must act in accordance with the principle and pattern of Scripture. We must depend entirely upon the Spirit of God. Do we not fail in many of our efforts because we practically, though not doctrinally, ignore the Holy Spirit? His place as God is on the throne, and in all our enterprises He must be the beginning, the middle, and the end; we are instruments in His hand and nothing more.

We must be most of all clear upon the great soul-saving doctrine of the Atonement. "He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."2 This truth that Christ died in the place of sinners gives rest to the conscience by showing how God can be just and the justifier of whoever believes. This is the great net of gospel fishermen; the fish are drawn or driven in the right direction by other truths, but this is the net itself.

We must declare the love of God in Christ Jesus. Always keep His abounding mercy connected to His unerring justice. Never exalt one attribute at the expense of another. Let boundless mercy be seen in calm consistency with stern justice and unlimited sovereignty.

Believer, are you longing to see spiritual offspring? Do not let the sun set on this day without imploring God to show Himself strong in this regard. Beseech Him, "Give me children, or I shall die."

Editor's note: This meditation replaces Spurgeon's original devotional, on Isaiah 54:12 and was adapted from Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to Students, page 375.

1 John 12:38 2 2 Corinthians 5:21

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Haggai 2

verse 2 John 3

Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas

What is Christmas? For many it is a time for holidays, parties, family gatherings, gifts, meals together, music, and special events. For others it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas takes place at the onset of winter with its cold weather and short days. There are more incidents of depression at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It is the best of times for some, but the worst of times for others, to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.

The birth of Jesus divided history into two major epochs. Until the dawn of our hyper-sensitive age, even the way we dated events underscored this. From time immemorial, every day, week, month, and year has been described as either “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). Even the modern, pluralistic style abbreviations, B.C.E. (“Before the Common Era”) and C.E. (“Common Era”) cannot obliterate the indelible impress of Jesus birth. For what makes the “Common Era” so “common”? And what explains the dividing line date? The answer is the same: the birth of Jesus. At the very center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. And He does so because He is at the center of God’s story.

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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

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