《Morning By Morning》January 1
“And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”— Joshua 5:12
Israel’s weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained. No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekites, and howling wildernesses: they came to the land which flowed with milk and honey, and they ate the old corn of the land.
Perhaps this year, beloved Christian reader, this may be thy case or mine. Joyful is the prospect, and if faith be in active exercise, it will yield unalloyed delight. To be with Jesus in the rest which remaineth for the people of God, is a cheering hope indeed, and to expect this glory so soon is a double bliss.
Unbelief shudders at the Jordan which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us. Let us banish every fearful thought, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, in the prospect that this year we shall begin to be “forever with the Lord.”
A part of the host will this year tarry on earth, to do service for their Lord. If this should fall to our lot, there is no reason why the New Year’s text should not still be true. “We who have believed do enter into rest.”
The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; he gives us “glory begun below.” In heaven they are secure, and so are we preserved in Christ Jesus; there they triumph over their enemies, and we have victories too.
Celestial spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they rest in his love, and we have perfect peace in him: they hymn his praise, and it is our privilege to bless him too. We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord.
Man did eat angels’ food of old, and why not now? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!
《Evening by Evening》January 1
“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.”— Song of Solomon 1:4
We will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation.”
We, the called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah’s bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord.
Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we who are the temples in which thou dwellest, will never cease from adoring and blessing the name of Jesus. We will, we are resolved about it, Jesus must have the crown of our heart’s delight; we will not dishonour our Bridegroom by mourning in his presence.
We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies, let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem. We will be glad and rejoice: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness.
Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself?
We will be glad and rejoice in Thee. That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye, and every drop of their fulness in him!
Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, thou art the present portion of thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus.
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 1
LET US KEEP TO THE POINT
My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage. — Philippians 1:20 (MOFFATT)
My Utmost for His Highest. "My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed." We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says – "My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest." To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An overweening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only – My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.
My Undeterredness for His Holiness. "Whether that means life or death, no matter!" (v.21.) Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God’s order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide – for or against, and from that point the "Great Divide" begins.
If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably.
《Faith's check book》January 1
The Bible's First Promise
And I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; her offspring will attack your head, and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” — Gen 3:15
This is the first promise to fallen man. It contains the whole gospel and the essence of the covenant of grace. It has been in great measure fulfilled. The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in His heel, and a terrible bruising it was. How terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin, vanquished death, and broke the power of Satan; but it awaits a still fuller accomplishment at our Lord’s second advent and in the Day of Judgment. To us the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our lower nature, and thus bruised in our heel; but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets His foot on the old serpent’s head. Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil and the unkindness of the ungodly, who are his seed. They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us grasp the second part of the text, and we shall not be dismayed. By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the woman’s seed.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 1
The Believer the Object of Divine Love
By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. — 1 John 4:9
Pause, my soul, adore and wonder,
Ask, Oh, why such love to me?
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Saviour’s family:
Thanks, eternal thanks to thee.
《Streams In The Desert》January 1
Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, a land the Lord your God looks after. He is constantly attentive to it from the beginning to the end of the year.—Deut 11:11-12
Today dear friends, we stand upon the verge of the unknown. There lies before us the new year and we are going forth to possess it. Who can tell what we shall find? What new experiences, what changes shall come, what new needs shall arise? But here is the cheering, comforting, gladdening message from our Heavenly Father, “The Lord thy God careth for it.” “His eyes are upon it away to the ending of the year.”
All our supply is to come from the Lord. Here are springs that shall never dry; here are fountains and streams that shall never be cut off. Here, anxious one, is the gracious pledge of the Heavenly Father. If He be the Source of our mercies they can never fail us. No heat, no drought can parch that river, “the streams whereof make glad the city of God.”
The land is a land of hills and valleys. It is not all smooth nor all down hill. If life were all one dead level the dull sameness would oppress us; we want the hills and the valleys. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is with us! It is the hill difficulty that drives us to the throne of grace and brings down the shower of blessing; the hills, the bleak hills of life that we wonder at and perhaps grumble at, bring down the showers. How many have perished in the wilderness, buried under its golden sands, who would have lived and thriven in the hill-country; how many would have been killed by the frost, blighted with winds, swept desolate of tree and fruit but for the hill-stern, hard, rugged, so steep to climb. God’s hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!
We cannot tell what loss and sorrow and trial are doing. Trust only. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It shall be a good, a blessed new year!
He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o’erclouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 1
Reveal your light and your faithfulness! They will lead me, they will escort me back to your holy hill, and to the place where you live. — Ps 43:3
Janus am I; oldest of potentates;
Forward I look, and backward, and below
I count, as god of avenues and gates,
The years that through my portals come and go.
I block the roads, and drift the fields with snow;
I chase the wild fowl from the frozen fen;
My frosts congeal the rivers in their flow,
My fires light up the hearths and hearts of men.
— Henry W. Longfellow.
Old things need not be therefore true,
O brother men, nor yet the new;
Ah! still awhile the old thought retain,
And yet consider it again
We! what do we see? each a space
Of some few yards before his face;
Does that the whole wide plan explain?
Ah, yet consider it again!
Alas! the great world goes its way,
And takes its truth from each new day;
They do not quit, nor can retain,
Far less consider it again.
— Arthur Hugh Clough.
There are two sorts of content; one is connected with exertion, the other habits of indolence. The first is a virtue; the other a vice.
— Maria Edgeworth.
Almighty God, lead me in the search for life. Teach me what is important and what is unimportant; what is false, and what is true. Remove the hindrances that keep me from the worthiest deeds, and grant that I may have the peace that comes with surrender of self to thy will. Amen.
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 2
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 2
《Morning By Morning》January 2
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”— Colossians 4:2
It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts or pronouncing promises.
We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;” and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful.
Here we find a wrestling Jacob—there a Daniel who prayed three times a day—and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises.
What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in his Word, he intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If he has said much about prayer, it is because he knows we have much need of it.
So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing? Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord’s mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul.
Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian.
If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love. Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter oftener into the banqueting-house of his love.
Pray that thou mayst be an example and a blessing unto others, and that thou mayst live more to the glory of thy Master. The motto for this year must be, “Continue in prayer.”
《Evening by Evening》January 2
“Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.”— Isaiah 41:1
All things on earth need to be renewed. No created thing continueth by itself. “Thou renewest the face of the year,” was the Psalmist’s utterance.
Even the trees, which wear not themselves with care, nor shorten their lives with labour, must drink of the rain of heaven and suck from the hidden treasures of the soil. The cedars of Lebanon, which God has planted, only live because day by day they are full of sap fresh drawn from the earth.
Neither can man’s life be sustained without renewal from God. As it is necessary to repair the waste of the body by the frequent meal, so we must repair the waste of the soul by feeding upon the Book of God, or by listening to the preached Word, or by the soul-fattening table of the ordinances.
How depressed are our graces when means are neglected! What poor starvelings some saints are who live without the diligent use of the Word of God and secret prayer! If our piety can live without God it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon him as the flowers wait upon the dew.
Without constant restoration we are not ready for the perpetual assaults of hell, or the stern afflictions of heaven, or even for the strifes within. When the whirlwind shall be loosed, woe to the tree that hath not sucked up fresh sap, and grasped the rock with many intertwisted roots.
When tempests arise, woe to the mariners that have not strengthened their mast, nor cast their anchor, nor sought the haven. If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and so, perhaps, a painful desolation, and a lamentable disgrace may follow.
Let us draw near to the footstool of divine mercy in humble entreaty, and we shall realize the fulfilment of the promise, “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 2
WILL YOU GO OUT WITHOUT KNOWING?
He went out, not knowing whither he went. — Hebrews 11:8
Have you been "out" in this way? If so, there is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question – "What do you expect to do?" You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder – you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building in confidence on God. "Take no thought for your life, . . . nor yet for your body" – take no thought for the things for which you did take thought before you "went out."
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?
Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him – what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 2
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 2
《Faith's check book》January 2
Conquest to Victory
The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. — Rom 16:20
This promise follows well upon that of yesterday. We are evidently to be conformed to our covenant Head, not only in His being bruised in His heel but in His conquest of the evil one. Even under our feet is the old dragon to be bruised. The Roman believers were grieved with strife in the church; but their God was “the God of peace” and gave them rest of soul. The archenemy tripped up the feet of the unwary and deceived the hearts of the simple; but he was to get the worst of it and to be trodden down by those whom he had troubled. This victory would not come to the people of God through their own skill or power; but God Himself would bruise Satan. Though it would be under their feet, yet the bruising would be of the Lord alone.
Let us bravely tread upon the tempter! Not only inferior spirits but the prince of darkness himself must go down before us. In unquestioning confidence in God let us look for speedy victory. “Shortly.” Happy word! Shortly we shall set our foot on the old serpent! What a joy to crush evil! What dishonor to Satan to have his head bruised by human feet! Let us by faith in Jesus tread the tempter down.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 2
Redeemed by the Blood of Christ
You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. — 1 Pet 1:18-19
Our sins and griefs on him were laid;
He meekly bore the mighty load:
Our ransom price he fully paid,
By offering up himself to God.
《Streams In The Desert》January 2
The side chambers surrounding the temple were wider at each successive story; for the structure surrounding the temple went up story by story all around the temple. For this reason the width of the temple increased as it went up, and one went up from the lowest story to the highest by the way of the middle story.—Ezek 41:7
“Still upward be thine onward course:
For this I pray today;
Still upward as the years go by,
And seasons pass away.
“Still upward in this coming year,
Thy path is all untried;
Still upward may’st thou journey on,
Close by thy Savior’s side.
“Still upward e’en though sorrow come,
And trials crush thine heart;
Still upward may they draw thy soul,
With Christ to walk apart.
“Still upward till the day shall break,
And shadows all have flown;
Still upward till in Heaven you wake,
And stand before the throne.”
We ought not to rest content in the mists of the valley when the summit of Tabor awaits us. How pure are the dews of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the fare of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem!
Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines, who see not the sun. Tears mar their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. Satisfied I am that many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof, and view the goodly land and Lebanon. Rouse thee, O believer, from thy low condition! Cast away thy sloth, thy lethargy, thy coldness, or whatever interferes with thy chaste and pure love to Christ. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of all thy soul’s range of delight. Rest no longer satisfied with thy dwarfish attainments. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life. Upward to heaven!
Nearer to God! —Spurgeon
“I want to scale the utmost height,
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray, till heaven I’ve found,
Lord, lead me on to higher ground!”
Not many of us are living at our best. We linger in the lowlands because we are afraid to climb the mountains. The steepness and ruggedness dismay us, and so we stay in the misty valleys and do not learn the mystery of the hills. We do not know what we lose in our self-indulgence, what glory awaits us if only we had courage for the mountain climb, what blessing we should find if only we would move to the uplands of God. —J. R. M
“Too low they build who build beneath the stars.”
Daily Prayer Guide》January 2
Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go. — Eccl 9:10
To what profit we could use the time for our present task that we spend in impatient waiting and wondering over the future! So often the future is just one step up from the present, but some of us miss it by preferring to wait for an elevator.
— M. B. S.
Prepare to live by all means, but for heaven’s sake do not forget to live. You will never have a better chance than you have at present. You may think you will have, but you are mistaken.
— Arnold Bennett.
He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him. He that lives on hope will die fasting.
— Benjamin Franklin.
Gracious Father, my heart burns with shame when I think how much I claim, and how little I am. I pray that my body may not cast a shadow to-day, and cloud the light of my life to-morrow. Cleanse the windows of my soul that I may take in thy glory. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》January 3
“Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;”— Isaiah 49:8
Jesus Christ is himself the sum and substance of the covenant, and as one of its gifts. He is the property of every believer.
Believer, canst thou estimate what thou hast gotten in Christ?
“In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Consider that word “God” and its infinity, and then meditate upon “perfect man” and all his beauty; for all that Christ, as God and man, ever had, or can have, is thine—out of pure free favour, passed over to thee to be thine entailed property forever.
Our blessed Jesus, as God, is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Will it not console you to know that all these great and glorious attributes are altogether yours?
Has he power? That power is yours to support and strengthen you, to overcome your enemies, and to preserve you even to the end.
Has he love? Well, there is not a drop of love in his heart which is not yours; you may dive into the immense ocean of his love, and you may say of it all, “It is mine.”
Hath he justice? It may seem a stern attribute, but even that is yours, for he will by his justice see to it that all which is promised to you in the covenant of grace shall be most certainly secured to you. And all that he has as perfect man is yours. As a perfect man the Father’s delight was upon him.
He stood accepted by the Most High. O believer, God’s acceptance of Christ is thine acceptance; for knowest thou not that the love which the Father set on a perfect Christ, he sets on thee now? For all that Christ did is thine.
That perfect righteousness which Jesus wrought out, when through his stainless life he kept the law and made it honourable, is thine, and is imputed to thee. Christ is in the covenant.
“My God, I am thine—what a comfort divine!
What a blessing to know that the Saviour is mine!
In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am,
And my heart it doth dance at the sound of his name.”
《Evening by Evening》January 3
“As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”— Luke 3:4
The voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord, a way prepared, and a way prepared in the wilderness. I would be attentive to the Master’s proclamation, and give him a road into my heart, cast up by gracious operations, through the desert of my nature. The four directions in the text must have my serious attention.
Every valley must be exalted. Low and grovelling thoughts of God must be given up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken. Across these deep valleys a glorious causeway of grace must be raised.
Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud creature-sufficiency, and boastful self-righteousness, must be levelled, to make a highway for the King of kings. Divine fellowship is never vouchsafed to haughty, highminded sinners. The Lord hath respect unto the lowly, and visits the contrite in heart, but the lofty are an abomination unto him. My soul, beseech the Holy Spirit to set thee right in this respect.
The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have a straight path of decision for God and holiness marked out for it. Double-minded men are strangers to the God of truth. My soul, take heed that thou be in all things honest and true, as in the sight of the heart-searching God.
The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling-blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when he comes to honour his favoured ones with his company. Oh that this evening the Lord may find in my heart a highway made ready by his grace, that he may make a triumphal progress through the utmost bounds of my soul, from the beginning of this year even to the end of it.
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 3
CLOUDS AND DARKNESS
Clouds and darkness are round about Him. — Psalm 97:2
A man who has not been born of the Spirit of God will tell you that the teachings of Jesus are simple. But when you are baptized with the Holy Ghost, you find "clouds and darkness are round about Him." When we come into close contact with the teachings of Jesus Christ we have our first insight into this aspect of things. The only possibility of understanding the teaching of Jesus is by the light of the Spirit of God on the inside. If we have never had the experience of taking our commonplace religious shoes off our commonplace religious feet, and getting rid of all the undue familiarity with which we approach God, it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence. The people who are flippant and familiar are those who have never yet been introduced to Jesus Christ. After the amazing delight and liberty of realizing what Jesus Christ does, comes the impenetrable darkness of realizing Who He is.
Jesus said: "The words that I speak unto you," not the words I have spoken, "they are spirit, and they are life." The Bible has been so many words to us – clouds and darkness – then all of a sudden the words become spirit and life because Jesus re-speaks them to us in a particular condition. That is the way God speaks to us, not by visions and dreams, but by words. When a man gets to God it is by the most simple way of words.
《Faith's check book》January 3
Rest on a Promise
and the Lord stood at its top. He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the ground you are lying on. — Gen 28:13
No promise is of private interpretation: it belongs not to one saint but to all believers. If, my brother, thou canst in faith lie down upon a promise and take thy rest thereon, it is thine. Where Jacob “lighted” and tarried and rested, there he took possession. Stretching his weary length upon the ground, with the stones of that place for his pillows, he little fancied that he was thus entering into ownership of the land; yet so it was. He saw in his dream that wondrous ladder which for all true believers unites earth and heaven, and surely where the foot of the ladder stood he must have a right to the soil, for otherwise he could not reach the divine stairway. All the promises of God are “Yea” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus, and as He is ours, every promise is ours if we will but lie down upon it in restful faith.
Come, weary one, use thy Lord’s words as thy pillows. Lie down in peace. Dream only of Him. Jesus is thy ladder of light. See the angels coming and going upon Him between thy soul and thy God, and be sure that the promise is thine own God-given portion and that it will not be robbery for thee to take it to thyself, as spoken specially to thee.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 3
Renewed by the Holy Ghost
he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, — Titus 3:5
Vain is every outward rite,
Unless thy grace be given:
Nothing but thy life and light,
Can form a soul for heaven.
《Streams In The Desert》January 3
Let my lord go on ahead of his servant. I will travel more slowly, at the pace of the herds and the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.”—Gen 33:14
What a beautiful picture of Jacob’s thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, “I will lead on softly.” “For ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Josh.3:4.).
We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through—Jesus has gone through it all before us. “He was wearied with his journey.” Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. “He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all. —Frances Ridley Havergal
In “pastures green”? Not always; sometimes He
Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 3
“The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. — Luke 16:10
To be continually advancing in the paths of knowledge is one of the most pleasing satisfactions of the human mind. These are pleasures perfect consistent with every degree of advanced years.
Fidelity in small things is at the base of every great achievement. We too often forget this and yet no truth needs more to be kept in mind particularly in the troubled eras of history and in the crises of individual life. In shipwreck a splintered beam, an oar, any scrap of wreckage saves us. To despise the remnants is demoralization.
— Charles Wagner.
Almighty God, may I understand that thou art in everything and that I cannot hide from thee, for thou boldest me though I know it not. Give me the desire, and help me to learn of thy laws, that I may know that even in the least of things, I have the liberty to obtain happiness by obeying them. Amen.
Use for《Morning By Morning》Jan 4
Use for《Evening by Evening》Jan 4
《Morning By Morning》January 4
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”— 2 Peter 3:18
“Grow in grace”—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity.
Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed.
Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward—having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.
May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of him is to increase in happiness.
He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction, that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted.
If you know the love of Jesus—as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of his love. If you do not desire to know him better, then you love him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.”
Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of him in his divine nature, in his human relationship, in his finished work, in his death, in his resurrection, in his present glorious intercession, and in his future royal advent.
Abide hard by the Cross, and search the mystery of his wounds. An increase of love to Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of his love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.
《Evening by Evening》January 4
“And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.”— Genesis 42:8
This morning our desires went forth for growth in our acquaintance with the Lord Jesus; it may be well tonight to consider a kindred topic, namely, our heavenly Joseph’s knowledge of us. This was most blessedly perfect long before we had the slightest knowledge of him.
“His eyes beheld our substance, yet being imperfect, and in his book all our members were written, when as yet there was none of them.” Before we had a being in the world we had a being in his heart.
When we were enemies to him, he knew us, our misery, our madness and our wickedness. When we wept bitterly in despairing repentance, and viewed him only as a judge and a ruler, he viewed us as his brethren well beloved, and his bowels yearned towards us.
He never mistook his chosen, but always beheld them as objects of his infinite affection. “The Lord knoweth them that are his,” is as true of the prodigals who are feeding swine as of the children who sit at the table.
But, alas! we knew not our royal Brother, and out of this ignorance grew a host of sins. We withheld our hearts from him, and allowed him no entrance to our love. We mistrusted him, and gave no credit to his words.
We rebelled against him, and paid him no loving homage. The Sun of Righteousness shone forth, and we could not see him. Heaven came down to earth, and earth perceived it not. Let God be praised, those days are over with us; yet even now it is but little that we know of Jesus compared with what he knows of us.
We have but begun to study him, but he knoweth us altogether. It is a blessed circumstance that the ignorance is not on his side, for then it would be a hopeless case for us. He will not say to us, “I never knew you,” but he will confess our names in the day of his appearing, and meanwhile will manifest himself to us as he doth not unto the world.
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 4
WHY CANNOT I FOLLOW THEE NOW?
Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? — John 13:37
There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means, or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God’s guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt – don’t.
In the beginning you may see clearly what God’s will is – the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, something you feel distinctly before God is His will for you to do, never do it on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will end in making difficulties that will take years of time to put right. Wait for God’s time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait on God, he forecast in his mind where the test would come, and the test came where he did not expect it. "I will lay down my life for Thy sake." Peter’s declaration was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered him …The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice." This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself, of what he was capable. Natural devotion may be all very well to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His fascination, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will always deny Jesus somewhere or other.
《Faith's check book》January 4
In Calm Repose
“At that time I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creatures that crawl on the ground. I will abolish the warrior’s bow and sword – that is, every weapon of warfare – from the land, and I will allow them to live securely.” — Hos 2:18
Yes, the saints are to have peace. The passage from which this gracious word is taken speaks of peace “with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground.” This is peace with earthly enemies, with mysterious evils, and with little annoyances! Any of these might keep us from lying down, but none of them shall do so. The Lord will quite destroy those things which threaten His people: “I will break the bow and the sword, and the battle out of the earth.” Peace will be profound indeed when all the instruments of disquiet are broken to pieces.
With this peace will come rest, “So he giveth his beloved sleep.” Fully supplied and divinely quieted, believers lie down in calm repose. This rest will be a safe one. It is one thing to lie down but quite another “to lie down safely.” We are brought to the land of promise, the house of the Father, the chamber of love, and the bosom of Christ: surely we may now “lie down safely.” It is safer for a believer to lie down in peace than to sit up and worry.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,” We never rest till the Comforter makes us lie down.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 4
Partaker of the Divine Nature
Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. — 2 Pet 1:4
Blessed are the sons of God;
They are bought with Christ’s own blood;
They produce the fruits of grace
In the works of righteousness:
Born of God, they hate all sin;
God’s pure word remains within.
《Streams In The Desert》January 4
Jesus told him, “Go home; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and set off for home.—John 4:50
For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.—Mark 11:24
When there is a matter that requires definite prayer, pray till you believe God, until with unfeigned lips you can thank Him for the answer. If the answer still tarries outwardly, do not pray for it in such a way that it is evident that you are not definitely believing for it. Such a prayer in place of being a help will be a hindrance; and when you are finished praying, you will find that your faith has weakened or has entirely gone. The urgency that you felt to offer this kind of prayer is clearly from self and Satan. It may not be wrong to mention the matter in question to the Lord again, if He is keeping you waiting, but be sure you do so in such a way that it implies faith. Do not pray yourself out of faith. You may tell Him that you are waiting and that you are still believing Him and therefore praise Him for the answer. There is nothing that so fully clinches faith as to be so sure of the answer that you can thank God for it. Prayers that pray us out of faith deny both God’s promise in His Word and also His whisper “Yes,” that He gave us in our hearts. Such prayers are but the expression of the unrest of one’s heart, and unrest implies unbelief in reference to the answer to prayer. “For we which have believed do enter into rest” (Heb. 4:3). This prayer that prays ourselves out of faith frequently arises from centering our thoughts on the difficulty rather than on God’s promise. Abraham “considered not his own body,” “he staggered not at the promise of God” (Rom. 4:19, 20). May we watch and pray that we enter not into temptation of praying ourselves out of faith. —C. H. P.
Faith is not a sense, nor sight, nor reason, but a taking God at His Word. —Evans
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. —George Mueller
You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings. God gives us the promises in a quiet hour; God seals our covenants with great and gracious words, then He steps back and waits to see how much we believe; then He lets the tempter come, and the test seems to contradict all that He has spoken. It is then that faith wins its crown. That is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened seamen cry, “I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.”
“Believe and trust; through stars and suns,
Through life and death, through soul and sense,
His wise, paternal purpose runs;
The darkness of His Providence
Is starlit with Divine intents.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 4
I said to myself, ‘Age should speak, and length of years should make wisdom known.’ It is not the aged who are wise, nor old men who understand what is right. — Job 32:7,9
Years rush by us like the wind, we see not whence the eddy comes, nor whitherward it is tending, and we seem ourselves to witness their flight without a sense that we are changed: and yet time is beguiling man of his strength, as the winds rob the trees of their foliage.
— Sir Walter Scott.
The bell strikes one. We take no note of Time
But from its loss. To give it, then a tongue
Is wise in man; as if an angel spoke
I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright
It is the knell of my departed hours:
Where are they?
— Edward Young.
Lord God, help me to see my mistakes, and bring me to the realization of my life. Grant that I may no longer use the time that thou gavest me to learn in, heedlessly, but to give it my best thought and care. Amen.
Use for《Morning By Morning》Jan 5
Use for《Evening by Evening》Jan 5
《Morning By Morning》January 5
“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”— Genesis 1:4
Light might well be good since it sprang from that fiat of goodness, “Let there be light.”
We who enjoy it should be more grateful for it than we are, and see more of God in it and by it. Light physical is said by Solomon to be sweet, but gospel light is infinitely more precious, for it reveals eternal things, and ministers to our immortal natures.
When the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual light, and opens our eyes to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we behold sin in its true colours, and ourselves in our real position; we see the Most Holy God as he reveals himself, the plan of mercy as he propounds it, and the world to come as the Word describes it.
Spiritual light has many beams and prismatic colours, but whether they be knowledge, joy, holiness or life, all are divinely good. If the light received be thus good, what must the essential light be, and how glorious must be the place where he reveals himself. O Lord, since light is so good, give us more of it, and more of thyself, the true light.
No sooner is there a good thing in the world, than a division is necessary. Light and darkness have no communion; God has divided them, let us not confound them. Sons of light must not have fellowship with deeds, doctrines or deceits of darkness.
The children of the day must be sober, honest and bold in their Lord’s work, leaving the works of darkness to those who shall dwell in it forever. Our Churches should by discipline divide the light from the darkness, and we should by our distinct separation from the world do the same.
In judgment, in action, in hearing, in teaching, in association, we must discern between the precious and the vile, and maintain the great distinction which the Lord made upon the world’s first day. O Lord Jesus, be thou our light throughout the whole of this day, for thy light is the light of men.
《Evening by Evening》January 5
“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”— Genesis 1:4
This morning we noticed the goodness of the light, and the Lord’s dividing it from the darkness, we now note the special eye which the Lord had for the light. “God saw the light”—he looked at it with complacency, gazed upon it with pleasure, saw that it “was good.”
If the Lord has given you light, dear reader, he looks on that light with peculiar interest; for not only is it dear to him as his own handiwork, but because it is like himself, for “He is light.” Pleasant it is to the believer to know that God’s eye is thus tenderly observant of that work of grace which he has begun.
He never loses sight of the treasure which he has placed in our earthen vessels. Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it. Better for the judge to see my innocence than for me to think I see it.
It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people—but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe. This is the foundation, “The Lord knoweth them that are his.”
You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness, yet the Lord sees “light” in your heart, for he has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from his gracious eye.
You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing towards Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in his finished work, God sees the “light.” He not only sees it, but he also preserves it in you.
“I, the Lord, do keep it.” This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so. The light thus preserved by his grace, he will one day develop into the splendour of noonday, and the fulness of glory.
The light within is the dawn of the eternal day.
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 5
THE AFTERWARDS OF THE LIFE OF POWER
Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards. — John 13:36
"And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me." Three years before, Jesus had said – "Follow Me," and Peter had followed easily, the fascination of Jesus was upon him, he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him to do it. Then he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit, and now Jesus says again – "Follow Me." There is no figure in front now saving the Lord Jesus Christ. The first "Follow Me" had nothing mystical in it, it was an external following; now it is a following in internal martyrdom (cf. John 21:18).
Between these times Peter had denied Jesus with oaths and curses, he had come to the end of himself and all his self-sufficiency, there was not one strand of himself he would ever rely upon again, and in his destitution he was in a fit condition to receive an impartation from the risen Lord. "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." No matter what changes God has wrought in you, never rely upon them, build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.
All our vows and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to carry them out. When we have come to the end of ourselves, not in imagination but really, we are able to receive the Holy Spirit. "Receive ye the Holy Ghost" – the idea is that of invasion. There is only one lodestar in the life now, the Lord Jesus Christ.
《Faith's check book》January 5
A Wonderful Guarantee
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! — Isa 41:10
When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us. We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the self-same hour what they shall speak. My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me “according to thy word.”
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 5
Justified Before God Through Christ
and by this one everyone who believes is justified from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify you. — Acts 13:39
Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, and glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these array’d,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
《Streams In The Desert》January 5
None to Help But God
Asa prayed to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army. O Lord our God, don’t let men prevail against you!”—2 Chr 14:11
Remind God of His entire responsibility. “There is none beside thee to help.” The odds against Asa were enormous. There was a million of men in arms against him, besides three hundred chariots. It seemed impossible to hold his own against that vast multitude. There were no allies who would come to his help; his only hope, therefore, was in God. It may be that your difficulties have been allowed to come to so alarming a pitch that you may be compelled to renounce all creature aid, to which in lesser trials you have had recourse, and cast yourself back on your Almighty Friend.
Put God between yourself and the foe. To Asa’s faith, Jehovah seemed to stand between the might of Zerah and himself, as one who had no strength. Nor was he mistaken. We are told that the Ethiopians were destroyed before the Lord and before His host, as though celestial combatants flung themselves against the foe in Israel’s behalf, and put the large host to rout, so that Israel had only to follow up and gather the spoil. Our God is Jehovah of hosts, who can summon unexpected reinforcements at any moment to aid His people. Believe that He is there between you and your difficulty, and what baffles you will flee before Him, as clouds before the gale. —F. B. Meyer
“When nothing whereon to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust;
When nothing is sure but that God still reigns,
That is just the time to trust.
“’Tis better to walk by faith than sight,
In this path of yours and mine;
And the pitch-black night, when there’s no outer light
Is the time for faith to shine.”
Abraham believed God, and said to sight, “Stand back!” and to the laws of nature, “Hold your peace!” and to a misgiving heart, “Silence, thou lying tempter!” He believed God. —Joseph Parker
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 5
The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork. — Ps 19:1
Let me go where’er I will,
I hear a sky-born music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that’s fair, from all that’s foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.
’Tis not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast’s mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Almighty God, grant that my life may no longer be a noise, but be kept in tune with the sublimest melodies, that wherever I am, there may be no discords in the songs of my soul. Through thy loving-kindness may my songs resound. Amen.
Use for《Morning By Morning》January 6
Use for《Morning By Morning》January 6
《Morning By Morning》January 6
Morning, January 6th
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”— 1 Peter 5:7
It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel—”HE careth for me.” Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to
“Lie passive in God’s hands,
And know no will but his.”
O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever.
Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help.
The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness.
What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same.
If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.
《Evening by Evening》January 6
“Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.”— Ezekiel 33:22
In the way of judgment this may be the case, and, if so, be it mine to consider the reason of such a visitation, and bear the rod and him that hath appointed it. I am not the only one who is chastened in the night season; let me cheerfully submit to the affliction, and carefully endeavour to be profited thereby.
But the hand of the Lord may also be felt in another manner, strengthening the soul and lifting the spirit upward towards eternal things. O that I may in this sense feel the Lord dealing with me! A sense of the divine presence and indwelling bears the soul towards heaven as upon the wings of eagles.
At such times we are full to the brim with spiritual joy, and forget the cares and sorrows of earth; the invisible is near, and the visible loses its power over us; servant-body waits at the foot of the hill, and the master-spirit worships upon the summit in the presence of the Lord.
O that a hallowed season of divine communion may be vouchsafed to me this evening! The Lord knows that I need it very greatly. My graces languish, my corruptions rage, my faith is weak, my devotion is cold; all these are reasons why his healing hand should be laid upon me.
His hand can cool the heat of my burning brow, and stay the tumult of my palpitating heart. That glorious right hand which moulded the world can new-create my mind; the unwearied hand which bears the earth’s huge pillars up can sustain my spirit; the loving hand which incloses all the saints can cherish me; and the mighty hand which breaketh in pieces the enemy can subdue my sins.
Why should I not feel that hand touching me this evening? Come, my soul, address thy God with the potent plea, that Jesus’ hands were pierced for thy redemption, and thou shalt surely feel that same hand upon thee which once touched Daniel and set him upon his knees that he might see visions of God.
Use for《Evening by Evening》Jan 6
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》Jan 6
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 6
And he pitched his tent having Bethel on the west and Ai on the east: and there he builded an altar. — Genesis 12:8
Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded. God will never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself, it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others.
Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two. The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him. Rush is wrong every time, there is always plenty of time to worship God. Quiet days with God may be a snare. We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be. There are not three stages in spiritual life – worship, waiting and work. Some of us go in jumps like spiritual frogs, we jump from worship to waiting, and from waiting to work. God’s idea is that the three should go together. They were always together in the life of Our Lord. He was unhasting and unresting. It is a discipline, we cannot get into it all at once.
《Faith's check book》January 6
Help from Without
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! — Isa 41:10
Yesterday’s promise secured us strength for what we have to do, but this guarantees us aid in cases where we cannot act alone. The Lord says, “I will help thee.” Strength within is supplemented by help from without. God can raise us up allies in our warfare if so it seems good in His sight; and even if He does not send us human assistance, He Himself will be at our side, and this is better still. “Our August Ally” is better than legions of mortal helpers.
His help is timely: He is a very present help in time of trouble. His help is very wise: He knows how to give each man help meet and fit for him. His help is most effectual, though vain is the help of man. His help is more than help, for He bears all the burden and supplies all the need. “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me.”
Because He has already been our help, we feel confidence in Him for the present and the future. Our prayer is, “Lord, be thou my helper”; our experience is, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities”; our expectation is, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help”; and our song soon will be, “Thou, Lord, hast holden me.”
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 6
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 6
United to Christ
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. — John 15:5
Lord of the vineyard, we adore
That power and grace divine,
Which plants our wild, our barren souls,
In Christ the living Vine.
For ever there may I abide,
And from that vital root,
Be influence spread through every branch,
To form and feed the fruit.
《Streams In The Desert》January 6
When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you.—Isa 43:2
God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out.
Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the waters and into their floods before you can claim the promise. Many people dread death, and lament that they have not “dying grace.” Of course, they will not have dying grace when they are in good health, in the midst of life’s duties, with death far in advance. Why should they have it then? Grace for duty is what they need then, living grace; then dying grace when they come to die. —J. R. M.
“When thou passest through the waters”
Deep the waves may be and cold,
But Jehovah is our refuge,
And His promise is our hold;
For the Lord Himself hath said it,
He, the faithful God and true:
“When thou comest to the waters
Thou shalt not go down, BUT THROUGH.”
Seas of sorrow, seas of trial,
Bitterest anguish, fiercest pain,
Rolling surges of temptation
Sweeping over heart and brain
They shall never overflow us
For we know His word is true;
All His waves and all His billows
He will lead us safely through.
Threatening breakers of destruction,
Doubt’s insidious undertow,
Shall not sink us, shall not drag us
Out to ocean depths of woe;
For His promise shall sustain us,
Praise the Lord, whose Word is true!
We shall not go down, or under,
For He saith, “Thou passest THROUGH.”
—Annie Johnson Flint
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 6
Now Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She would sit under the Date Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites would come up to her to have their disputes settled. — Judg 4:4-5
’Twas even so! and thou the shepherd’s child,
Joanne, the lowly dreamer of the wild!
Never before and never since that hour
Hath woman, mantled with victorious power,
Stood forth as thou beside the shrine didst stand,
Holy amidst the knighthood of the land.
— Mrs. Felicia Hemans.
Every one must recognize the splendid work which has been done by women in social and educational fields. And it will, I believe, come more and more to be recognized that in some respects women are specially fitted for government and for official-municipal life.
— Sir Oliver Lodge.
My Father, help me to be thoughtful and just. May I consider the great truths and broader visions that may not be seen from where I stand. May I be willing to accept a better view. Grant that I may realize that the battle of life is not a sham battle, but a struggle for the advancement of life. Amen.
Use for《Morning By Morning》Jan 7
Use for《Evening by Evening》Jan 7
《Morning By Morning》January 7
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”— Philippians 1:21
The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt.
From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have.
He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character.
Paul’s words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ–nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life.
Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ?
Your business—are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self-aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, “Is that a mean reason?” For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery?
Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian—its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word—Christ Jesus.
Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, “Ready for either.”
《Evening by Evening》January 7
“A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”— Song of Solomon 4:12
Observe the sweet titles with which the heavenly Solomon with intense affection addresses his bride the church. “My sister, one near to me by ties of nature, partaker of the same sympathies. My spouse, nearest and dearest, united to me by the tenderest bands of love; my sweet companion, part of my own self.
My sister, by my Incarnation, which makes me bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh; my spouse, by heavenly betrothal, in which I have espoused thee unto myself in righteousness. My sister, whom I knew of old, and over whom I watched from her earliest infancy; my spouse, taken from among the daughters, embraced by arms of love, and affianced unto me forever.
See how true it is that our royal Kinsman is not ashamed of us, for he dwells with manifest delight upon this two-fold relationship. We have the word “my” twice in our version; as if Christ dwelt with rapture on his possession of his Church.
“His delights were with the sons of men,” because those sons of men were his own chosen ones. He, the Shepherd, sought the sheep, because they were his sheep; he has gone about “to seek and to save that which was lost,” because that which was lost was his long before it was lost to itself or lost to him.
The church is the exclusive portion of her Lord; none else may claim a partnership, or pretend to share her love. Jesus, thy church delights to have it so! Let every believing soul drink solace out of these wells.
Soul! Christ is near to thee in ties of relationship; Christ is dear to thee in bonds of marriage union, and thou art dear to him; behold he grasps both of thy hands with both his own, saying, “My sister, my spouse.”
Mark the two sacred holdfasts by which thy Lord gets such a double hold of thee that he neither can nor will ever let thee go. Be not, O beloved, slow to return the hallowed flame of his love.
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 7
INTIMATE WITH JESUS
Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known Me? — John 14:9
These words are not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus is leading Philip on. The last One with whom we get intimate is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One Who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come – "I have called you friends."
Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?
Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away" – in that relationship, so that He might lead them on. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ (John 15:1-4).
When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》Jan 7
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 7
《Faith's check book》January 7
Jesus said to him, “Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” — John 1:50
This is spoken to a childlike believer, who was ready to accept Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel, upon one convincing piece of argument. Those who are willing to see shall see; it is because we shut our eyes that we become so sadly blind.
We have seen much already. Great things and unsearchable has the Lord showed unto us, for which we praise His name; but there are greater truths in His Word, greater depths of experience, greater heights of fellowship, greater works of usefulness, greater discoveries of power, and love, and wisdom. These we are yet to see if we are willing to believe our Lord. The faculty of inventing false doctrine is ruinous, but power to see the truth is a blessing. Heaven shall be opened to us, the way thither shall be made clear to us in the Son of Man, and the angelic commerce which goes on between the upper and the lower kingdoms shall be made more manifest to us. Let us keep our eyes open toward spiritual objects and expect to see more and more. Let us believe that our lives will not drivel down into nothing but that we shall be always on the growing hand, seeing greater and still greater things, till we behold the great God Himself and never again lose the sight of Him.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 7
Joint-Heir with Christ
And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. — Rom 8:17
Pronounce me, gracious God, thy son;
Own me an heir divine;
I’ll pity princes on the throne,
When I can call thee mine:
Sceptres and crowns unenvied rise,
And lose their lustre in mine eyes
《Streams In The Desert》January 7
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance.—Phil 4:11
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”
“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.”
They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 7
But you are the ones who will be forced to leave! For this land is not secure! Sin will thoroughly destroy it! — Mic 2:10
Opportunities fly in a straight line, touch us but once and never return, but the wrongs we do others fly in a circle; they come back from the place they started.
— T. DeWitt Talmage.
Our share of night to bear,
Our share of morning,
Our blank is bliss to fill,
Our blank is scorning.
Here a star, and there a star,
Some lose their way,
Here a mist, and there a mist,
— Emily Dickinson.
Lord God, give me the desire to be persistent in service, while I have health and strength. May I experience the sweetness that comes in doing the thing that I ought to have done, as well as that in which I took the most pleasure. Help me to so live that my days may be useful, and be recalled with bright and happy recollections. Amen.
Use for《Morning By Morning》Jan 8
Use for《Evening by Evening》Jan 8
《Morning By Morning》January 8
“And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.”— Exodus 28:38
What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight.
The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there!
Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight.
Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence.
“I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride.
“Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity.
“Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.”
So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them.
How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “Holiness to the Lord:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness.
O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!
《Evening by Evening》January 8
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”— Song of Solomon 1:2
Nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. He has enjoyment as others have in the common mercies of life, he can be glad both in God’s gifts and God’s works; but in all these separately, yea, and in all of them added together, he doth not find such substantial delight as in the matchless person of his Lord Jesus.
He has wine which no vineyard on earth ever yielded; he has bread which all the corn-fields of Egypt could never bring forth. Where can such sweetness be found as we have tasted in communion with our Beloved?
In our esteem, the joys of earth are little better than husks for swine compared with Jesus, the heavenly manna. We would rather have one mouthful of Christ’s love, and a sip of his fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights.
What is the chaff to the wheat? What is the sparkling paste to the true diamond? What is a dream to the glorious reality? What is time’s mirth, in its best trim, compared to our Lord Jesus in his most despised estate?
If you know anything of the inner life, you will confess that our highest, purest and most enduring joys must be the fruit of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. No spring yields such sweet water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier’s spear.
All earthly bliss is of the earth earthy, but the comforts of Christ’s presence are like himself, heavenly. We can review our communion with Jesus, and find no regrets of emptiness therein; there are no dregs in this wine, no dead flies in this ointment.
The joy of the Lord is solid and enduring. Vanity hath not looked upon it, but discretion and prudence testify that it abideth the test of years, and is in time and in eternity worthy to be called “the only true delight.”
For nourishment, consolation, exhilaration and refreshment, no wine can rival the love of Jesus. Let us drink to the full this evening.
《My Utmost for His Highest》January 8
DOES MY SACRIFICE LIVE?
And Abraham built an altar . . and bound Isaac his son. — Genesis 22:9
This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives. Not – I am willing to go to death with Thee, but – I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God. We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having – viz., life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to Him.
It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a "living sacrifice," to let Him have all your powers that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus. This is the thing that is acceptable to God.
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》Jan 8
Use for《Faith's check book》Jan 8
《Faith's check book》January 8
Purity of Heart and Life
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. — Matt 5:8
Purity, even purity of heart, is the main thing to be aimed at. We need to be made clean within through the Spirit and the Word, and then we shall be clean without by consecration and obedience. There is a close connection between the affections and the understanding: if we love evil we cannot understand that which is good. If the heart is foul, the eye will be dim. How can those men see a holy God who love unholy things?
What a privilege it is to see God here! A glimpse of Him is heaven below! In Christ Jesus the pure in heart behold the Father. We see Him, His truth, His love, His purpose, His sovereignty, His covenant character, yea, we see Himself in Christ. But this is only apprehended as sin is kept out of the heart. Only those who aim at godliness can cry, “Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord.” The desire of Moses, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” can only be fulfilled in us as we purify ourselves from all iniquity. We shall “see him as he is,” and “every one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.” The enjoyment of present fellowship and the hope of the beatific vision are urgent motives for purity of heart and life. Lord, make us pure in heart that we may see Thee!
《Believer's Daily Treasure》January 8
Complete in Christ
For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. — Col 2:9-10
Thy saints on earth, and those above,
Here join in sweet accord:
One body all in mutual love,
And thou their common Lord.
Yes, thou that body wilt present
Before thy Father’s face,
Nor shall a wrinkle or a spot
Its beauteous form disgrace.
《Streams In The Desert》January 8
Showers and Sunshine
I will turn them and the regions around my hill into a blessing. I will make showers come down in their season; they will be showers that bring blessing.—Ezek 34:26
What is thy season this morning? Is it a season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy day so shall thy strength be.” “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessings.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering. —Spurgeon
“Let but thy heart become a valley low,
And God will rain on it till it will overflow.”
Thou, O Lord, canst transform my thorn into a flower. And I want my thorn transformed into a flower. Job got the sunshine after the rain, but has the rain been all waste? Job wants to know, I want to know, if the shower had nothing to do with the shining. And Thou canst tell me Thy Cross can tell me. Thou hast crowned Thy sorrow. Be this my crown, O Lord. I only triumph in Thee when I have learned the radiance of the rain. —George Matheson
The fruitful life seeks showers as well as sunshine.
“The landscape, brown and sere beneath the sun,
Needs but the cloud to lift it into life;
The dews may damp the leaves of tree and flower,
But it requires the cloud-distilled shower
To bring rich verdure to the lifeless life.
“Ah, how like this, the landscape of a life:
Dews of trial fall like incense, rich and sweet;
But bearing little in the crystal tray
Like nymphs of night, dews lift at break of day
And transient impress leave, like lips that meet.
“But clouds of trials, bearing burdens rare,
Leave in the soul, a moisture settled deep:
Life kindles by the magic law of God;
And where before the thirsty camel trod,
There richest beauties to life’s landscape leap.
“Then read thou in each cloud that comes to thee
The words of Paul, in letters large and clear:
So shall those clouds thy soul with blessing feed,
And with a constant trust as thou dost read,
All things together work for good. Fret not, nor fear!”
《Daily Prayer Guide》January 8
“Surely, God does not reject a blameless man, nor does he grasp the hand of the evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with gladness. — Job 8:20-21
A blue bird built his nest
Here in my breast.
“O bird of Light! Whence comest thou?”
Said he, “From God above:
My name is Love.”
A mate he brought one day,
Of plumage gray.
“O bird of Night! Why comest thou?”
Said she: “Seek no relief!
My name is Grief.”
— Laurence Alma-Tadema.
It is not so much resolution as renunciation, not so much courage as resignation, that we need. He that has once yielded thoroughly to God will yield to nothing but God.
— John Ruskin.
Almighty God, help me to understand that peace does not come in rebellion or grieving, but is obtained through the calm of the soul. Grant that if I may be perplexed or worried to-day, I may have the power to control myself and wait in thy strength. Amen.