In His Presence
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From the classic writings of giants of the church, including Charles Spurgeon, Joseph Parker, George Muller, Hudson Taylor, George MacDonald, and John Wesley, Lance Wubbels has compiled and edited "the very best of the best" of their inspirational insights on the Gospel of Matthew. Following the biblical text through the entire life of Christ, here are 366 devotional readings packed with profound biblical commentary, brilliant wisdom, and practical application to a Christian's daily walk with God.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1834 - 1892) served for thirty years as preacher and pastor of London's six-thousand-seat Metropolitan Tabernacle. Converted in 1850 at the age of fifteen, he began to help the poor and to hand out tracts; he was known as "The Boy Preacher." He preached his first sermon at the age of sixteen. At age eighteen, he became the pastor of Waterbeach Baptist Chapel, preaching in a barn. In 1856, Spurgeon married Susannah Thompson; they had twin sons, both of whom later entered the ministry. Spurgeon's compelling sermons and lively preaching style drew multitudes of people, and many came to Christ. Soon, the crowds had grown so large that they blocked the narrow streets near the church. Services eventually had to be held in rented halls, and Spurgeon often preached to congregations of more than ten thousand. The Metropolitan Tabernacle was built in 1861 to accommodate the large numbers of people. The prime minister of England, members of the royal family, and Florence Nightingale, among others, went to hear him preach. Spurgeon preached to an estimated ten million people throughout his life. Not surprisingly, he is called the "Prince of Preachers". In addition to his powerful preaching, Spurgeon founded and supported charitable outreaches, including educational institutions. He also founded the famous Stockwell Orphanage. His writings, including thousands of sermons, are still popular with pastors and devotional readers who, like him, treasure the gospel of God's grace.
John Wesley, 1703 - 1791 English theologian John Wesley was born the 15th child, in the rectory at Epworth, Lincolnshire on June 17, 1703, to clergyman Samuel Wesley. He was also an evangelist and the founder of Methodism. He was educated at Charter House School and Christ Church, University of Oxford. He was ordained deacon in 1725 and admitted to the priesthood of the Church of England in 1728. In 1729, he went into residency at Oxford as a fellow of Lincoln College. While at Lincoln College, Wesley joined a group called the Holy Club, which included his brother Charles and George Whitefield, who later founded Calvinistic Methodism. It was a group of students that adhered strictly and methodically to religious precepts and practices by visiting prisons and comforting the sick, and their schoolmates called them "Methodists." In 1735, he went to Georgia as an Anglican missionary and met some German Moravians on the ship. He associated with them while in Savannah, Georgia and translated some of their hymns into English. While attending one of the Moravian's meetings on the return trip to England, he experienced a religious awakening. In 1739, Wesley joined George Whitefield in his evangelical endeavors. He preached an open-air sermon outside the church and received an enthusiastic reaction, which convinced him that this form of preaching was the most effective way to reach the masses. The Anglican Church frowned on revivalism. He attracted immense crowds because of his assurance that each person was accepted as a child of God, which was something the Anglican Church was unable to offer. On May 1, 1739, Wesley and a group of his followers formed the first Methodist society. Two similar societies were established in Bristol, and in late 1739, the London society began meeting in a building called the Foundry, which served as the headquarters of Methodism for many years. In 1740, Wesley parted with the Moravians and Whitefield because of doctrinal disagreements and the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. He also discarded many of the tenets of the Church of England, which made separation inevitable. In an effort for tighter organization of a growing Methodist movement, the societies were divided into classes, in 1742, with a leader for each class. Wesley called the first conference of the Methodist leaders in 1744 and the conferences were held annually thereafter. In 1751, he married Mary Vazeille who was a widow with four children. Their marriage eventually failed. In 1784, he issued the deed of declaration, which provided rules and regulations for the guidance of the Methodist societies, and appointed his aide Thomas Coke, an Anglican clergyman, superintendent of the Methodist organization in the United States. This empowered him to administer the sacraments with other ordinations following. The ordination was the largest step in breaking with the Anglican Church, but separation did not happen until after Wesley's death. Wesley compiled 23 collections of hymns, edited a monthly magazine, and translated Greek, Latin, and Hebrew works. He edited, under the title "The Christian Pattern," the medieval devotional work "De Imitatione Christi," generally ascribed to Thomas a` Kempis. In the latter part of Wesley's life, the hostility between the Anglican Church and Methodism had all but disappeared, and he was greatly admired. On March 2, 1791, Wesley died and was buried in the graveyard of City Road Chapel, London. In Westminster Abbey is a memorial plaque inscribed with his name.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), was born into a committed Puritan family and followed his father's footsteps into full-time ministry, being ordained as a Presbyterian pastor in 1687. Despite ill health, deep bereavement, and the demands of his pastoral duties, Henry produced many devotional and scholarly works. They remain popular three centuries after his death, especially his classic commentary on the whole Bible.
Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) has been known for gen erations as the prince of preachers. He was born in Scotland and lived much of his life in England. His abilities to dissect a passage and to use analogies from nature and life have long been imitated. His sermons reveal his passion, spiritual insight, and intellectual power.
George MacDonald (1824-1905), Scottish poet, preacher, and novelist was one of the most original and influential writers of Victorian Britain. He wrote over 50 books with millions of copies sold, and he was one of the most popular authors of the day on both sides of the Atlantic. Drawn to the pulpit early, MacDonald eventually left to pursue his writing. Numbered among Dickens, Trollope, and other giants of the age as a novelist, MacDonald ended his career with over 50 books ranging from fantastical literature, to children's stories, to critical essays, and numerous novels. In addition to writing, MacDonald lectured extensively. MacDonald's fiction combined the man's immense spiritual understanding with his innate storytelling ability. His works have influenced writers like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and many others.- Publisher.
ALEXANDER WHYTE, Scottish divine, was born iný 1837, and educated at the University of Aberdeený and at New College, Edinburgh. He entered theý ministry of the Free Church of Scotland in 1866,ý and later served as colleague and successor to Dr.ý R. S. Candlish at Free St. George's. In 1909 he wasý appointed principal and professor of New Testamentý literature at New College, Edinburgh. Hisý other works include Bunyan Characters (1894) andý Lancelot Andrewes and his Private Devotions (1895).
Lance Wubbels is presently the Vice President of Literary Development at Koechel Peterson and Associates. For the previous eighteen years, he worked as the Managing Editor of Bethany House Publishers as well as a teacher at Bethany College of Missions. A naturally gifted storyteller, Wubbels is the author of seven fiction books with Bethany House Publishers. His daily devotional, In His Presence, won the 1999 Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He and his family make their home in Bloomington, Minnesota.