Bulletin Edition August 2019


Octavious Winslow

“A God at hand, says the Lord.”–Jer. 23:23

More saints than Luther have felt a personal interest in the forty-sixth Psalm–“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble;” thus drinking with him of the “river the streams whereof make glad the city of God.” My soul, are you not one of them? Has not your praiseful exclamation often been, “You are NEAR, O Lord!” God is everywhere, but it is only His own children who forcibly feel, and gratefully acknowledge, and holily exhibit, not His omniscience only, but His especial and personal presence. Look at this precious truth, my soul, in connection with two or three features of your varied experience.

He is a God at hand in the person of Christ. The Lord Jesus brings God very near to us. He is not only the revealed One of God, but He is in His own person really and absolutely God–“He who has seen Me, has seen the Father.” Could a mere creature, a man only, say this? Impossible, with any truth, and without blasphemy. Oh, how near to us has Jesus brought the Father! Come to Jesus, look at Jesus, listen to Jesus, and realize that in so doing you approach to, gaze upon, and hear the voice of, God your Father in heaven.

God is near in the work of Jesus. The blood brings us sinners near to God, as it brings a sin-pardoning God near to us. “You that were afar off are made near by the blood of Christ.” See then your true and present standing, O my soul! Nothing comes between you and God but the atoning blood of Jesus. His blood annihilates all your sin and guilt. Robed in His imputed righteousness, you are to God nearer than the highest angel in heaven–and nearer you can not be–and God draws near to you and speaks–“A God at hand, says the Lord.”

God is near at hand when you do approach Him in prayer. Oh, comforting truth! A God at hand to hear the softest breath of prayer–to listen to every confession of sin–to every cry of need–to every utterance of sorrow–to every wail of woe–to every appeal for counsel, strength, and support. Arise, O my soul! and give yourself to prayer; for God is near at hand to hear and answer you. Listen to His word, “Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto Me? says the Lord.” “You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those who remember You in Your ways.”

A God at hand is He in every time of trouble. “A very present help.” Not far have you to travel for the guidance and deliverance you need. If forsaking the Lord your God you go down into ‘Egypt’ for help, and trust in the chariots and horses thereof, then will you be ashamed of your confidence. But why fly to creature help, when the Lord your God is near unto you in all that you call upon Him for? Cease from man; for God in Christ is very near, and one step of believing prayer will bring you to His feet.

Oh, live as in His presence! Be your life a life of communion, doing and enduring, toiling and suffering, as beholding Him who is invisible. In a little while we shall pass from our partial and imperfect realizations of His presence when on earth, to enjoy His full, unclouded, and eternal presence in heaven! Then shall our eyes see the King in His full unveiled beauty, not as now, through a glass darkly, but then face to face. And, oh transporting thought! we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Guard vigilantly and strive prayerfully against that which creates a conscious distance between God and your soul. Is it the world?–come out of it. Is it the creature?–relinquish it. Is it the flesh?–mortify it. Is it sin?–forsake it. Is it unbelief?–nail it to the cross. Oh, let nothing separate you from Christ–no earthly good or carnal delight cause a distance, or coldness, or shyness between God and your soul. Give Jesus your undivided heart, and let God be your all in all. Then shall your happy experience be–“You are NEAR, O Lord.”

Nothing in God’s universe breathes or wiggles contrary to His decree!

(Don Fortner)

Providence is God’s government of the universe. If we have a proper view of God’s providence, we will see the hand of God and the heart of God in everything, in all the experiences of our lives.

God almighty, our God and heavenly Father, is always at work, governing His world.

We recognize that God’s providence is mysterious (Romans 11:33-36). His judgments are a great deep. His ways are past finding out.

God’s providence is as minute as it is mysterious. Our God has ordained the number of hairs on the heads of all. Not even a worthless sparrow falls to the ground without His decree.

God’s providence is all-inclusive. God rules everything, great and small, everywhere, and at all times. He who created all things, rules all things.

Our God and heavenly Father controls (absolutely and totally) all rational creatures. He controls all men and women everywhere, good and bad, in the good they do and in the evil they perform. All angels, all demons, and Satan himself are under the total control of our God (Psalm 76:10; Isaiah 14:24-27). Nothing in God’s universe breathes or wiggles contrary to His decree (Isaiah 46:9-13). Satan is not a rival to our God, but His vassal!

As a wise, skilled pharmacist mixes medicine, so our heavenly Father wisely mixes exactly the right measure of bitter things and sweet things to do us good.

Too much joy would intoxicate us.

Too much misery would drive us to despair.

Too much sorrow would crush us.

Too much suffering would break our spirits.

Too much pleasure would ruin us.

Too much defeat would discourage us.

Too much success would puff us up.

Too much failure would keep us from doing anything.

Too much criticism would harden us.

Too much praise would make us prideful.

Our great God knows exactly what we need.

His providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

Let Him therefore send and do whatever He will.

By His grace, if we are His, we will bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it.

God’s providence is always executed in the wisest manner possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. We bow to His will, which is evident in His works of providence, and say, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Romans 11:33

All God’s works of providence are executed in perfect holiness and righteousness. Even the way He uses the evil works of men and devils, is totally free of sin on His part. Though He has predestined and permits deeds of wickedness, sin cannot be imputed to the Almighty. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works.” Psalm 145:17

God’s providence demands and deserves our unceasing praise.

He who is God indeed, is the God of providence, the God who rules all things, and rules all things well. How we ought to trust Him! Ever remember, our heavenly Father is God all-wise, good, and omnipotent. He is . . .

too wise to err,

too good to do wrong,

and too strong to fail!


(John MacDuff, “The Night Watches”)

“Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Where shall I flee from Your presence?” Psalm 139:7

The omnipresence of God! How baffling to any finite comprehension! To think that above us, and around us, and within us — there is Deity — the invisible footprints of an Omniscient, Omnipresent One! “His Eyes are in every place!” On rolling planets — and tiny atoms; on the bright seraph — and the lowly worm; roaming in searching scrutiny through the tracks of immensity — and reading the dark and hidden page of my heart! “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do!”

O God! shall this Your Omnipresence appall me? No! In my seasons of sadness and sorrow and loneliness — when other comforts and comforters have failed — when, it may be, in the darkness and silence of some midnight hour, in vain I have sought repose — how sweet to think, “My God is here! I am not alone. The Omniscient One, to whom the darkness and the light are both alike — is hovering over my sleepless pillow!” O my Unsetting Sun, it cannot be darkness or loneliness or sadness — where You are. There can be no night to the soul which has been cheered with Your glorious radiance!

“Surely, I am with you always!” How precious, blessed Jesus, is this, Your legacy of parting love! Present with each of Your people until the end of time — ever present, omnipresent. The true “Pillar of cloud” by day — and “Pillar of fire” by night, preceding and encamping by us in every step of our wilderness journey. My soul! think of Him at this moment — as present with every member of the family that He has redeemed with His blood! Yes, and as much present with every individual soul, as if He had none other to care for — but as if that one engrossed all His affection and love!

The Great Builder — surveying every stone and pillar of His spiritual temple;

the Great Shepherd — with His eye on every sheep of His fold;

the Great High Priest — marking every tear-drop; noting every sorrow; listening to every prayer; knowing the peculiarities of every case: no number perplexing Him — no variety bewildering Him; able to attend to all, and satisfy all, and answer all — myriads drawing hourly from His Treasury — and yet no diminution of that Treasury — ever emptying, and yet ever filling, and always full!

Jesus! Your perpetual and all-pervading presence turns darkness into day! I am not left un-befriended to weather the storms of life — Your hand is from hour to hour piloting my frail vessel. The omnipresence of God — gracious antidote to every earthly sorrow!

“I have set the Lord always before me!” Even now, as night is drawing its curtains around me, be this my closing prayer, ‘Blessed Savior! abide with me, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent!’ Under the shadowing wings of Your presence and love, “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me live in safety!” Psalm 4:8

God’s most hated attribute!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases!” Psalm 115:3

“The LORD does whatever pleases Him, throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths!” Psalm 135:6

“All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.” Daniel 4:35

On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, as the great, stupendous — but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah!

Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne!

They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars.

They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties.

They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of Heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean.

But when God ascends His throne — then His creatures then gnash their teeth! And when we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter — then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us — for God on His throne, is not the God they love!

No doctrine in the whole Word of God has more excited the hatred of mankind, than the truth of the absolute sovereignty of God!

Opposition to divine sovereignty is essentially atheism — and were it not for sovereign grace, none of us would ever have followed the path to Heaven. I am daily more and more convinced that the difference between one man and another is, not the difference between his use of his will — but the difference of grace that has been bestowed upon him.

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!” Revelation 19:6

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