《Morning By Morning》October 1
“The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.”— Song of Solomon 7:13
The spouse desires to give to Jesus all that she produces. Our heart has “all manner of pleasant fruits,” both “old and new,” and they are laid up for our Beloved. At this rich autumnal season of fruit, let us survey our stores.
We have new fruits. We desire to feel new life, new joy, new gratitude; we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours; our heart blossoms with new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts.
But we have some old fruits too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Jesus delights in it. There is our first faith: that simple faith by which, having nothing, we became possessors of all things.
There is our joy when first we knew the Lord: let us revive it. We have our old remembrances of the promises. How faithful has God been! In sickness, how softly did he make our bed! In deep waters, how placidly did he buoy us up! In the flaming furnace, how graciously did he deliver us.
Old fruits, indeed! We have many of them, for his mercies have been more than the hairs of our head. Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which he has given us, by which we have wept our way to the cross, and learned the merit of his blood.
We have fruits, this morning, both new and old; but here is the point—they are all laid up for Jesus. Truly, those are the best and most acceptable services in which Jesus is the solitary aim of the soul, and his glory, without any admixture whatever, the end of all our efforts.
Let our many fruits be laid up only for our Beloved; let us display them when he is with us, and not hold them up before the gaze of men. Jesus, we will turn the key in our garden door, and none shall enter to rob thee of one good fruit from the soil which thou hast watered with thy bloody sweat.
Our all shall be thine, thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved!
《Evening by Evening》October 1
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”— Psalm 84:11
Bounteous is Jehovah in his nature; to give is his delight.
His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to his elect because he wills it, to his redeemed because of his covenant, to the called because of his promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it.
He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal. Grace in all its forms he freely renders to his people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace, he generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and he always will do so, whatever may occur.
Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, “The Lord will give grace.”
The little conjunction “and” in this verse is a diamond rivet binding the present with the future: grace and glory always go together. God has married them, and none can divorce them. The Lord will never deny a soul glory to whom he has freely given to live upon his grace; indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in its Sabbath dress, grace in full bloom, grace like autumn fruit, mellow and perfected.
How soon we may have glory none can tell! It may be before this month of October has run out we shall see the Holy City; but be the interval longer or shorter, we shall be glorified ere long. Glory, the glory of heaven, the glory of eternity, the glory of Jesus, the glory of the Father, the Lord will surely give to his chosen. Oh, rare promise of a faithful God!
Two golden links of one celestial chain:
Who owneth grace shall surely glory gain.
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 1
THE SPHERE OF EXALTATION
Jesus leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves. — Mark 9:2
We have all had times on the mount, when we have seen things from God’s standpoint and have wanted to stay there; but God will never allow us to stay there. The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. We feel we could talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay on the mount. The times of exaltation are exceptional, they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware lest our spiritual selfishness wants to make them the only time.
We are apt to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching, it is to be turned into something better than teaching, viz., into character. The mount is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a great snare in asking – What is the use of it? In spiritual matters we can never calculate on that line. The moments on the mountain tops are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.
《Faith's check book》October 1
A Covenant He Remembers
He gives food to his faithful followers; he always remembers his covenant. — Ps 111:5
Those who fear God need not fear want. Through all these long years the Lord has always found meat for His own children, whether they have been in the wilderness, or by the brook Cherith, or in captivity, or in the midst of famine. Hitherto the Lord has given us day by day our daily bread, and we doubt not that He will continue to feed us till we want no more.
As to the higher and greater blessings of the covenant of grace, He will never cease to supply them as our case demands. He is mindful that He made the covenant and never acts as if He regretted it. He is mindful of it when we provoke Him to destroy us. He is mindful to love us, keep us, and comfort us, even as He engaged to do. He is mindful of every jot and tittle of His engagements, never suffering one of His words to fall to the ground.
We are sadly unmindful of our God, but He is graciously mindful of us. He cannot forget His Son who is the surety of the covenant, nor His Holy Spirit who actively carries out the covenant, nor His own honor, which is bound up with the covenant. Hence the foundation of God standeth sure, and no believer shall lose his divine inheritance, which is his by a covenant of salt.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 1
Duty of Retrospection
Remember the whole way by which he has brought you these forty years through the desert so that he might, by humbling you, test you to see if you have it within you to keep his commandments or not. — Deut 8:2
Thus far the Lord has led me on,
And made his truth and mercy known;
And while I tread this desert land,
New mercies shall new songs demand.
《Streams In The Desert》October 1
The Brightest Colors
It was good for me to suffer, so that I might learn your statutes.—Ps 119:71
It is a remarkable circumstance that the most brilliant colors of plants are to be seen on the highest mountains, in spots that are most exposed to the wildest weather. The brightest lichens and mosses, the loveliest gems of wild flowers, abound far up on the bleak, storm-scalped peak.
One of the richest displays of organic coloring I ever beheld was near the summit of Mount Chenebettaz, a hill about 10,000 feet high, immediately above the great St. Bernard Hospice. The whole face of an extensive rock was covered with a most vivid yellow lichen which shone in the sunshine like the golden battlement of an enchanted castle.
There, in that lofty region, amid the most frowning desolation, exposed to the fiercest tempest of the sky, this lichen exhibited a glory of color such as it never showed in the sheltered valley. I have two specimens of the same lichen before me while I write these lines, one from the great St. Bernard, and the other from the wall of a Scottish castle, deeply embossed among sycamore trees; and the difference in point of form and coloring between them is most striking.
The specimen nurtured amid the wild storms of the mountain peak is of a lovely primrose hue, and is smooth in texture and complete in outline, while the specimen nurtured amid the soft airs and the delicate showers of the lowland valley is of a dim rusty hue, and is scurfy in texture, and broken in outline.
And is it not so with the Christian who is afflicted, tempest-tossed, and not comforted? Till the storms and vicissitudes of God’s providence beat upon him again and again, his character appears marred and clouded; but trials clear away the obscurity, perfect the outlines of his disposition, and give brightness and blessing to his life.
Amidst my list of blessings infinite
Stands this the foremost, that my heart has bled;
For all I bless Thee, most for the severe.
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 1
When Daniel realized that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously. — Dan 6:10
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown;
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
— Emily Dickinson.
He speaks not well who doth his time deplore,
Naming it new and a little obscure,
Ignoble and unfit for lofty deeds.
All times were modern in the time of them,
And this no more than others. Do thy part
Here in the living day, as did the great
Who made old days immortal.
— Richard Watson Gilder.
He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten the cause.
— Henry Ward Beecher.
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And master the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency.
— William Shakespeare.
Heavenly Father, help me to get away from doubt that leads to despair. Give me a vision of hope that is stayed on faith. May I be conscious and appreciative of my privileges while they come to me and make them immortal. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》October 2
“For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;”— Colossians 1:5
Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there.
Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be forever banished. To those who are weary and spent, the word “rest” is full of heaven.
We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves are unknown things. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we shall be perfectly holy, for there shall by no means enter into that kingdom anything which defileth.
Hemlock springs not up in the furrows of celestial fields. Oh! is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment forever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit Canaan?
Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future and forgetting the present, let the future sanctify the present to highest uses.
Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the corner stone of cheerful holiness.
The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigour, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardour, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary.
He can labour without present reward, for he looks for a reward in the world to come.
《Evening by Evening》October 2
“And he said unto me, O Daniel a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.”— Daniel 10:11
Child of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Ah! has your unbelief made you forget that you are greatly beloved too? Must you not have been greatly beloved, to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot?
When God smote his only begotten Son for you, what was this but being greatly beloved? You lived in sin, and rioted in it, must you not have been greatly beloved for God to have borne so patiently with you?
You were called by grace and led to a Saviour, and made a child of God and an heir of heaven. All this proves, does it not, a very great and superabounding love? Since that time, whether your path has been rough with troubles, or smooth with mercies, it has been full of proofs that you are a man greatly beloved.
If the Lord has chastened you, yet not in anger; if he has made you poor, yet in grace you have been rich. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be, the more evidence have you that nothing but unspeakable love could have led the Lord Jesus to save such a soul as yours.
The more demerit you feel, the clearer is the display of the abounding love of God in having chosen you, and called you, and made you an heir of bliss. Now, if there be such love between God and us let us live in the influence and sweetness of it, and use the privilege of our position.
Do not let us approach our Lord as though we were strangers, or as though he were unwilling to hear us—for we are greatly beloved by our loving Father. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Come boldly, O believer, for despite the whisperings of Satan and the doubtings of thine own heart, thou art greatly beloved. Meditate on the exceeding greatness and faithfulness of divine love this evening, and so go to thy bed in peace.
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 2
THE SPHERE OF HUMILIATION
If Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. — Mark 9:22
After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are where it is neither beautiful nor poetic nor thrilling. The height of the mountain top is measured by the drab drudgery of the valley; but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mount, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God, that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic pitch because of the natural selfishness of our hearts, but God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship to Him. Peter thought it would be a fine thing for them to remain on the mount, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mount into the valley, the place where the meaning of the vision is explained.
"If Thou canst do any thing . . ." It takes the valley of humiliation to root the scepticism out of us. Look back at your own experience, and you will find that until you learned Who Jesus was, you were a cunning sceptic about His power. When you were on the mount, you could believe anything, but what about the time when you were up against facts in the valley? You may be able to give a testimony to sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you just now? The last time you were on the mount with God, you saw that all power in heaven and in earth belonged to Jesus – will you be sceptical now in the valley of humiliation?
《Faith's check book》October 2
Comfort En Route Home
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to you and lead you up from this land to the land he swore on oath to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” — Gen 50:24
Joseph had been an incarnate providence to his brethren. All our Josephs die, and a thousand comforts die with them. Egypt was never the same to Israel after Joseph was dead, nor can the world again be to some of us what it was when our beloved ones were alive.
But see how the pain of that sad death was alleviated! They had a promise that the living God would visit them. A visit from Jehovah! What a favor! What a consolation! What a heaven below! O Lord, visit us this day; though indeed we are not worthy that Thou shouldest come under our roof.
But more was promised: the Lord would bring them out. They would find in Egypt a cold welcome when Joseph was dead; nay, it would become to them a house of bondage. But it was not to be so forever; they would come out of it by a divine deliverance and march to the land of promise. We shall not weep here forever. We shall be called home to the gloryland to join our dear ones. Wherefore, “comfort one another with these words.”
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 2
Of the Divine Help
Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” — 1 Sam 7:12
Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither, by thy help, I’m come:
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
《Streams In The Desert》October 2
Alone In The Desert
When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew privately to a town called Bethsaida.—Luke 9:10
In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone. It is not in society that the soul grows most vigorously. In one single quiet hour of prayer it will often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest and the air is purest.—Andrew Bonar
“Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile,
Weary, I know it, of the press and throng,
Wipe from your brow the sweat and dust of toil,
And in My quiet strength again be strong.
“Come ye aside from all the world holds dear,
For converse which the world has never known,
Alone with Me, and with My Father here,
With Me and with My Father not alone.
“Come, tell Me all that ye have said and done,
Your victories and failures, hopes and fears.
I know how hardly souls are wooed and won:
My choicest wreaths are always wet with tears.
“Come ye and rest; the journey is too great,
And ye will faint beside the way and sink;
The bread of life is here for you to eat,
And here for you the wine of love to drink.
“Then fresh from converse with your Lord return,
And work till, daylight softens into even:
The brief hours are not lost in which ye learn
More of your Master and His rest in Heaven.”
Daily Prayer Guide》October 2
For you are the one who gives and sustains life. — Ps 36:9
I am not earth-born, though I here delay;
Hope’s child, I summon infiniter powers,
And laugh to see the mild sunny day
Smile on the shrunk and thin autumnal hours;
I laugh, for hope hath a happy place for me—
If my bark sinks, ’tis to another sea.
— William E. Channing.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years;
But thou shall flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter and the crush of worlds.
— Thomas Addison.
My Father, I would pray that my sense of gloom may not be more than thy grace. May the glorious light of thy love break through my disheartened soul, and reveal the sincerity of thy promises, that I may be happy in thy care. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》October 3
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”— Hebrews 1:14
Angels are the unseen attendants of the saints of God; they bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone. Loyalty to their Lord leads them to take a deep interest in the children of his love; they rejoice over the return of the prodigal to his father’s house below, and they welcome the advent of the believer to the King’s palace above.
In olden times the sons of God were favoured with their visible appearance, and at this day, although unseen by us, heaven is still opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of man, that they may visit the heirs of salvation.
Seraphim still fly with live coals from off the altar to touch the lips of men greatly beloved. If our eyes could be opened, we should see horses of fire and chariots of fire about the servants of the Lord; for we have come to an innumerable company of angels, who are all watchers and protectors of the seed-royal. Spenser’s line is no poetic fiction, where he sings—
“How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant
Against foul fiends to aid us militant!”
To what dignity are the chosen elevated when the brilliant courtiers of heaven become their willing servitors! Into what communion are we raised since we have intercourse with spotless celestials! How well are we defended since all the twenty- thousand chariots of God are armed for our deliverance!
To whom do we owe all this? Let the Lord Jesus Christ be forever endeared to us, for through him we are made to sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers. He it is whose camp is round about them that fear him; he is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon.
All hail, Jesus! thou Angel of Jehovah’s presence, to thee this family offers its morning vows.
《Evening by Evening》October 3
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”— Hebrews 2:18
It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart—Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall.
Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy.
Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned.
Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation.
Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory.
Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love!
Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 3
THE SPHERE OF MINISTRATION
This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. — Mark 9:29
"Why could not we cast him out?" The answer lies in a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. This kind can come forth by nothing but by concentration and redoubled concentration on Him. We can ever remain powerless, as were the disciples, by trying to do God’s work not in concentration on His power, but by ideas drawn from our own temperament. We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him.
You are brought face to face with a difficult case and nothing happens externally, and yet you know that emancipation will be given because you are concentrated on Jesus Christ. This is your line of service – to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it in irritation, or by mounting up, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ, then that very thing, and all you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way you will never know till you see Him face to face.
We must be able to mount up with wings as eagles; but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and the living down. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," said Paul, and the things he referred to were mostly humiliating things. It is in our power to refuse to be humiliated and to say – "No, thank you, I much prefer to be on the mountain top with God." Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they are efface altogether my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?
《Faith's check book》October 3
Reflections of the Lord's Beauty
As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face; when I awake you will reveal yourself to me. — Ps 17:15
The portion of other men fills their bodies and enriches their children, but the portion of the believer is of another sort. Men of the world have their treasure in this world, but men of the world to come look higher and further.
Our possession is twofold. We have God’s presence here and His like-ness hereafter. Here we behold the face of the Lord in righteousness, for we are justified in Christ Jesus. Oh, the joy of beholding the face of a reconciled God! The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ yields us heaven below, and it will be to us the heaven of heaven above.
But seeing does not end it: we are to be changed into that which we gaze upon. We shall sleep a while and then wake up to find ourselves as mirrors which reflect the beauties of our Lord. Faith sees God with a transforming look. The heart receives the image of Jesus into its own depths, till the character of Jesus is imprinted on the soul. This is satisfaction. To see God and to be like Him-what more can I desire? David’s assured confidence is here by the Holy Ghost made to be the Lord’s promise. I believe it. I expect it. Lord, vouchsafe it. Amen.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 3
Of the Divine Guidance
King David went in, sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? And you didn’t stop there, O Lord God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O Lord God? — 2 Sam 7:18-19
Render’d safe by his protection,
I shall pass the watery waste;
Trusting to his wise direction,
I shall gain the port at last;
And with wonder,
Think on toils and dangers past.
《Streams In The Desert》October 3
Mind The Checks
After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper.—1 Kgs 19:12
A soul, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement. She replied tersely, “Mind the checks.” And the reason that many of us do not know and better understand Him is, we do not give heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His is a still, small voice. A still voice can hardly be heard. It must be felt. A steady, gentle pressure upon the heart and mind like the touch of a morning zephyr to your face. A small voice, quietly, almost timidly spoken in your heart, but if heeded growing noiselessly clearer to your inner ear. His voice is for the ear of love, and love is intent upon hearing even faintest whispers. There comes a time also when love ceases to speak if not responded to, or believed in. He is love, and if you would know Him and His voice, give constant ear to His gentle touches. In conversation, when about to utter some word, give heed to that gentle voice, mind the check and refrain from speech. When about to pursue some course that seems all clear and right and there comes quietly to your spirit a suggestion that has in it the force almost of a conviction, give heed, even if changed plans seem highest folly from standpoint of human wisdom. Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will. Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will in the end make “all things work together,” but so many times in the first appearance of the outworking of His plans,
“In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.”
So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. He Himself will be gloriously light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together, even in severest testings and under most terrible pressures.—Way of Faith
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 3
For just as the ground produces its crops and a garden yields its produce, so the sovereign Lord will cause deliverance to grow, and give his people reason to praise him in the sight of all the nations. — Isa 61:11
Come hither, lads, and harken,
For a tale there is to tell
Of the wonderful days a-coming,
When all shall be better than well.
Come, then, let us cast off fooling,
And put by ease and rest,
For the cause alone is worthy
Till the good days bring the best.
— William Morris.
Man’s life is but a working day
Whose tasks are set aright;
A time to work, a time to pray,
And then a quiet night.
And then, please God, a quiet night
Where palms are green and robes are white;
A long-drawn breath, a balm for sorrow,
And all things lovely on the morrow.
— Christina G. Rossetti.
Heavenly Father, help me to see that before the night thou hadst planned the morning, and that thou hast never sent the night without the hope of the morning. Before I rest in the night may I be ready for the morning. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》October 4
“But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.”— Zechariah 14:7
Oftentimes we look forward with forebodings to the time of old age, forgetful that at eventide it shall be light. To many saints, old age is the choicest season in their lives. A balmier air fans the mariner’s cheek as he nears the shore of immortality, fewer waves ruffle his sea, quiet reigns, deep, still and solemn.
From the altar of age the flashes of the fire of youth are gone, but the more real flame of earnest feeling remains. The pilgrims have reached the land Beulah, that happy country, whose days are as the days of heaven upon earth.
Angels visit it, celestial gales blow over it, flowers of paradise grow in it, and the air is filled with seraphic music. Some dwell here for years, and others come to it but a few hours before their departure, but it is an Eden on earth.
We may well long for the time when we shall recline in its shady groves and be satisfied with hope until the time of fruition comes. The setting sun seems larger than when aloft in the sky, and a splendour of glory tinges all the clouds which surround his going down.
Pain breaks not the calm of the sweet twilight of age, for strength made perfect in weakness bears up with patience under it all. Ripe fruits of choice experience are gathered as the rare repast of life’s evening, and the soul prepares itself for rest.
The Lord’s people shall also enjoy light in the hour of death. Unbelief laments; the shadows fall, the night is coming, existence is ending. Ah no, crieth faith, the night is far spent, the true day is at hand. Light is come, the light of immortality, the light of a Father’s countenance.
Gather up thy feet in the bed, see the waiting bands of spirits! Angels waft thee away. Farewell, beloved one, thou art gone, thou wavest thine hand. Ah, now it is light. The pearly gates are open, the golden streets shine in the jasper light.
We cover our eyes, but thou beholdest the unseen; adieu, brother, thou hast light at even-tide, such as we have not yet.
《Evening by Evening》October 4
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”— 1 John 2:1
“If any man sin, we have an advocate.”
Yes, though we sin, we have him still. John does not say, “If any man sin he has forfeited his advocate,” but “we have an advocate,” sinners though we are. All the sin that a believer ever did, or can be allowed to commit, cannot destroy his interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, as his advocate.
The name here given to our Lord is suggestive. “Jesus.” Ah! then he is an advocate such as we need, for Jesus is the name of one whose business and delight it is to save. “They shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”
His sweetest name implies his success. Next, it is “Jesus Christ”—Christos, the anointed. This shows his authority to plead. The Christ has a right to plead, for he is the Father’s own appointed advocate and elected priest.
If he were of our choosing he might fail, but if God hath laid help upon one that is mighty, we may safely lay our trouble where God has laid his help. He is Christ, and therefore authorized; he is Christ, and therefore qualified, for the anointing has fully fitted him for his work.
He can plead so as to move the heart of God and prevail. What words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion will the anointed use when he stands up to plead for me! One more letter of his name remains, “Jesus Christ the righteous.”
This is not only his character but his plea. It is his character, and if the Righteous One be my advocate, then my cause is good, or he would not have espoused it. It is his plea, for he meets the charge of unrighteousness against me by the plea that he is righteous.
He declares himself my substitute and puts his obedience to my account. My soul, thou hast a friend well fitted to be thine advocate, he cannot but succeed; leave thyself entirely in his hands
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 4
THE VISION AND THE VERITY
Called to be saints. — 1 Corinthians 1:2
Thank God for the sight of all you have never yet been. You have had the vision, but you are not there yet by any means. It is when we are in the valley, where we prove whether we will be the choice ones, that most of us turn back. We are not quite prepared for the blows which must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision. We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to have the vision "batter’d to shape and use" by God? The batterings always come in commonplace ways and through commonplace people.
There are times when we do know what God’s purpose is; whether we will let the vision be turned into actual character depends upon us, not upon God. If we prefer to loll on the mount and live in the memory of the vision, we will be of no use actually in the ordinary stuff of which human life is made up. We have to learn to live in reliance on what we saw in the vision, not in ecstasies and conscious contemplation of God, but to live in actualities in the light of the vision until we get to the veritable reality. Every bit of our training is in that direction. Learn to thank God for making known His demands.
The little "I am" always sulks when God says do. Let the little "I am" be shrivelled up in God’s indignation – "I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee." He must dominate. Is it not penetrating to realize that God knows where we live, and the kennels we crawl into! He will hunt us up like a lightning flash. No human being knows human beings as God does.
《Faith's check book》October 4
The Mighty Magnet
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” — John 12:32
Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Savior; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw other? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn and see if it does not draw them.
No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and leaned, depraved or amiable—all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord’s own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 4
Of the Divine Faithfulness
You are good to your servant, O Lord, just as you promised. — Ps 119:65
Since first the maze of life I trod,
Hast thou not hedged about my way,
My worldly vain designs withstood,
And robb’d my passions of their prey?
Thrice happy loss, which makes me see
My happiness alone in thee!
《Streams In The Desert》October 4
Through the Fire
So the Lord blessed the second part of Job’s life more than the first. He had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.—Job 42:12
Through his griefs Job came to his heritage. He was tried that his godliness might be confirmed. Are not my troubles intended to deepen my character and to robe me in graces I had little of before? I come to my glory through eclipses, tears, death. My ripest fruit grows against the roughest wall. Job’s afflictions left him with higher conceptions of God and lowlier thoughts of himself. “Now,” he cried, “mine eye seeth thee.”
And if, through pain and loss, I feel God so near in His majesty that I bend low before Him and pray, “Thy will be done,” I gain very much. God gave Job glimpses of the future glory. In those wearisome days and nights, he penetrated within the veil, and could say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Surely the latter end of Job was more blessed than the beginning.—In the Hour of Silence
“Trouble never comes to a man unless she brings a nugget of gold in her hand.”
Apparent adversity will finally turn out to be the advantage of the right if we are only willing to keep on working and to wait patiently. How steadfastly the great victor souls have kept at their work, dauntless and unafraid! There are blessings which we cannot obtain if we cannot accept and endure suffering. There are joys that can come to us only through sorrow. There are revealings of Divine truth which we can get only when earth’s lights have gone out. There are harvests which can grow only after the plowshare has done its work.—Selected
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire, and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gates of Heaven. —Chapin
I shall know by the gleam and glitter
Of the golden chain you wear,
By your heart’s calm strength in loving,
Of the fire you have had to bear.
Beat on, true heart, forever;
Shine bright, strong golden chain;
And bless the cleansing fire
And the furnace of living pain!
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 4
But it is a spirit in people, the breath of the Almighty, that makes them understand. — Job 32:8
We ought to rise day by day with a certain zest, a clear intention, a design to make the most of every hour; not to let the busy hours shoulder each other or tread on each other’s heels, but to force every action to give up its strength and sweetness. There is work to be done, and there are empty hours to be filled as well…. But, most of all, there must be something to quicken, enliven, practice the soul.
— Arthur C. Benson.
Men’s souls ought to be left to see clearly; not jaundiced, blinded, twisted all awry, by revenge, moral abhorrence, and the like.
— Thomas Carlyle.
Spirit of life, I pray that thou wilt continually live within me. May my days be spent neither in waste nor idleness, but planned to use, with the best that is given me. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》October 5
“And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.”— 1 Kings 19:8
All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, not for wantonness or boasting.
When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on the coals, and the cruse of water placed at his head, as he lay under the juniper tree, he was no gentleman to be gratified with dainty fare that he might stretch himself at his ease; far otherwise, he was commissioned to go forty days and forty nights in the strength of it, journeying towards Horeb, the mount of God.
When the Master invited the disciples to “Come and dine” with him, after the feast was concluded he said to Peter, “Feed my sheep”; further adding, “Follow me.” Even thus it is with us; we eat the bread of heaven, that we may expend our strength in the Master’s service.
We come to the passover, and eat of the paschal lamb with loins girt, and staff in hand, so as to start off at once when we have satisfied our hunger. Some Christians are for living on Christ, but are not so anxious to live for Christ.
Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place where saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and they serve him day and night in his temple. They eat of heavenly food and render perfect service.
Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ labour for him. Some of us have yet to learn much concerning the design of our Lord in giving us his grace.
We are not to retain the precious grains of truth as the Egyptian mummy held the wheat for ages, without giving it an opportunity to grow: we must sow it and water it.
Why does the Lord send down the rain upon the thirsty earth, and give the genial sunshine? Is it not that these may all help the fruits of the earth to yield food for man? Even so the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls that we may afterwards use our renewed strength in the promotion of his glory.
《Evening by Evening》October 5
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”— Mark 16:16
Mr. MacDonald asked the inhabitants of the island of St. Kilda how a man must be saved. An old man replied, “We shall be saved if we repent, and forsake our sins, and turn to God.”
“Yes,” said a middle-aged female, “and with a true heart too.”
“Aye,” rejoined a third, “and with prayer”; and, added a fourth, “It must be the prayer of the heart.”
“And we must be diligent too,” said a fifth, “in keeping the commandments.”
Thus, each having contributed his mite, feeling that a very decent creed had been made up, they all looked and listened for the preacher’s approbation, but they had aroused his deepest pity. The carnal mind always maps out for itself a way in which self can work and become great, but the Lord’s way is quite the reverse.
Believing and being baptized are no matters of merit to be gloried in—they are so simple that boasting is excluded, and free grace bears the palm. It may be that the reader is unsaved—what is the reason?
Do you think the way of salvation as laid down in the text to be dubious? How can that be when God has pledged his own word for its certainty? Do you think it too easy? Why, then, do you not attend to it?
Its ease leaves those without excuse who neglect it. To believe is simply to trust, to depend, to rely upon Christ Jesus. To be baptized is to submit to the ordinance which our Lord fulfilled at Jordan, to which the converted ones submitted at Pentecost, to which the jailer yielded obedience the very night of his conversion.
The outward sign saves not, but it sets forth to us our death, burial, and resurrection with Jesus, and, like the Lord’s Supper, is not to be neglected. Reader, do you believe in Jesus? Then, dear friend, dismiss your fears, you shall be saved.
Are you still an unbeliever, then remember there is but one door, and if you will not enter by it you will perish in your sins
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 5
THE BIAS OF DEGENERATION
Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. — Romans 5:12
The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man’s sin; but that the disposition of sin, viz., my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race by one man, and that another Man took on Him the sin of the human race and put it away (Heb. 9:26) – an infinitely profounder revelation. The disposition of sin is not immorality and wrong-doing, but the disposition of self-realization – I am my own god. This disposition may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has the one basis, my claim to my right to myself. When Our Lord faced men with all the forces of evil in them, and men who were clean living and moral and up right, He did not pay any attention to the moral degradation of the one or to the moral attainment of the other; He looked at something we do not see, viz., the disposition.
Sin is a thing I am born with and I cannot touch it; God touches sin in Redemption. In the Cross of Jesus Christ God redeemed the whole human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a man responsible for having the heredity of sin. The condemnation is not that I am born with a heredity of sin, but if when I realize Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it, I refuse to let Him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. "And this is the judgment" (the critical moment), "that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light."
《Faith's check book》October 5
At God's Bidding
Those survivors from Jacob will live in the midst of many nations. They will be like the dew the Lord sends, like the rain on the grass, that does not hope for men to come or wait around for humans to arrive. — Mic 5:7
If this be true of the literal Israel, much more is it true of the spiritual Israel, the believing people of God. When saints are what they should be, they are an incalculable blessing to those among whom they are scattered.
They are as the dew; for in a quiet, unobtrusive manner they refresh those around them. Silently but effectually they minister to the life, growth, and joy of those who dwell with them. Coming fresh from heaven, glistening like diamonds in the sun, gracious men and women attend to the feeble and insignificant till each blade of grass has its own drop of dew. Little as individuals, they are, when united, all-sufficient for the purposes of love which the Lord fulfills through them. Dew drops accomplish the refreshing of broad acres. Lord, make us like the dew!
Godly people are as showers which come at God’s bidding without man’s leave and license. They work for God whether men desire it or not; they no more ask human permission than the rain does. Lord, make us thus boldly prompt and free in Thy service wherever our lot is cast.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 5
Of the Divine Forbearance
The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant! — Lam 3:22-23
Lift up to God the voice of praise,
Whose goodness, passing thought,
Loads every minute as it flies
With benefits unsought.
《Streams In The Desert》October 5
Providence of Loss
After a while, the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land.—1 Kgs 17:7
The education of our faith is incomplete if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss, a ministry of failing and of fading things, a gift of emptiness. The material insecurities of life make for its spiritual establishment. The dwindling stream by which Elijah sat and mused is a true picture of the life of each of us. “It came to pass … that the brook dried up”—that is the history of our yesterday, and a prophecy of our morrows.
In some way or other we will have to learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the Giver. The gift may be good for a while, but the Giver is the Eternal Love.
Cherith was a difficult problem to Elijah until he got to Zarephath, and then it was all as clear as daylight. God’s hard words are never His last words. The woe and the waste and the tears of life belong to the interlude and not to the finale.
Had Elijah been led straight to Zarephath he would have missed something that helped to make him a wiser prophet and a better man. He lived by faith at Cherith. And whensoever in your life and mine some spring of earthly and outward resource has dried up, it has been that we might learn that our hope and help are in God who made Heaven and earth. —F. B. Meyer
Perchance thou, too, hast camped by such sweet waters,
And quenched with joy thy weary, parched soul’s thirst;
To find, as time goes on, thy streamlet alters
From what it was at first.
Hearts that have cheered, or soothed, or blest, or strengthened;
Loves that have lavished so unstintedly;
Joys, treasured joys—have passed, as time hath lengthened,
If thus, ah soul, the brook thy heart hath cherished
Doth fail thee now—no more thy thirst assuage—
If its once glad refreshing streams have perished,
Let HIM thy heart engage.
He will not fail, nor mock, nor disappoint thee;
His consolations change not with the years;
With oil of joy He surely will anoint thee,
And wipe away thy tears.
—J. D. Smith
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 5
For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom 6:23
Earth gets its price for what earth gives us;
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
The priest has his fee who comes and shrives us,
We bargain for the graves we lie in;
At the devil’s booth are all things sold,
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay,
Bubbles we buy with a whole soul’s tasking;
’Tis heaven alone that is given away,
’Tis only God may be had for the asking.
— James Russell Lowell.
Gracious Father, may the world speak to me of thy gifts, and of the peace and power which it freely offers. May I not pass by thy great appeals, and prefer to purchase at a great cost my indolence and dissipation. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》October 6
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”— John 4:14
He who is a believer in Jesus finds enough in his Lord to satisfy him now, and to content him for evermore.
The believer is not the man whose days are weary for want of comfort, and whose nights are long from absence of heart-cheering thought, for he finds in religion such a spring of joy, such a fountain of consolation, that he is content and happy.
Put him in a dungeon and he will find good company; place him in a barren wilderness, he will eat the bread of heaven; drive him away from friendship, he will meet the “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Blast all his gourds, and he will find shadow beneath the Rock of Ages; sap the foundation of his earthly hopes, but his heart will still be fixed, trusting in the Lord. The heart is as insatiable as the grave till Jesus enters it, and then it is a cup full to overflowing.
There is such a fulness in Christ that he alone is the believer’s all. The true saint is so completely satisfied with the all-sufficiency of Jesus that he thirsts no more—except it be for deeper draughts of the living fountain.
In that sweet manner, believer, shalt thou thirst; it shall not be a thirst of pain, but of loving desire; thou wilt find it a sweet thing to be panting after a fuller enjoyment of Jesus’ love. One in days of yore said, “I have been sinking my bucket down into the well full often, but now my thirst after Jesus has become so insatiable, that I long to put the well itself to my lips, and drink right on.”
Is this the feeling of thine heart now, believer? Dost thou feel that all thy desires are satisfied in Jesus, and that thou hast no want now, but to know more of him, and to have closer fellowship with him?
Then come continually to the fountain, and take of the water of life freely. Jesus will never think you take too much, but will ever welcome you, saying, “Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
《Evening by Evening》October 6
“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.”— Numbers 12:1
Strange choice of Moses, but how much more strange the choice of him who is a prophet like unto Moses, and greater than he! Our Lord, who is fair as the lily, has entered into marriage union with one who confesses herself to be black, because the sun has looked upon her.
It is the wonder of angels that the love of Jesus should be set upon poor, lost, guilty men. Each believer must, when filled with a sense of Jesus’ love, be also overwhelmed with astonishment that such love should be lavished on an object so utterly unworthy of it.
Knowing as we do our secret guiltiness, unfaithfulness, and black-heartedness, we are dissolved in grateful admiration of the matchless freeness and sovereignty of grace. Jesus must have found the cause of his love in his own heart, he could not have found it in us, for it is not there.
Even since our conversion we have been black, though grace has made us comely. Holy Rutherford said of himself what we must each subscribe to—”His relation to me is, that I am sick, and he is the Physician of whom I stand in need. Alas! how often I play fast and loose with Christ! He bindeth, I loose; he buildeth, I cast down; I quarrel with Christ, and he agreeth with me twenty times a day!”
Most tender and faithful Husband of our souls, pursue thy gracious work of conforming us to thine image, till thou shalt present even us poor Ethiopians unto thyself, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
Moses met with opposition because of his marriage, and both himself and his spouse were the subjects of an evil eye. Can we wonder if this vain world opposes Jesus and his spouse, and especially when great sinners are converted? for this is ever the Pharisee’s ground of objection, “This man receiveth sinners.”
Still is the old cause of quarrel revived, “Because he had married an Ethiopian woman.”
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 6
THE BENT OF REGENERATION
When it pleased God . . to reveal His Son in me. — Galatians 1:15,16
If Jesus Christ is to regenerate me, what is the problem He is up against? I have a heredity I had no say in; I am not holy, nor likely to be; and if all Jesus Christ can do is to tell me I must be holy, His teaching plants despair. But if Jesus Christ is a Regenerator, One Who can put into me His own heredity of holiness, then I begin to see what He is driving at when He says that I have to be holy. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the hereditary disposition that was in Himself, and all the standards He gives are based on that disposition: His teaching is for the life He puts in. The moral transaction on my part is agreement with God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a man is struck by a sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God, "until Christ be formed in you." The moral miracle of Redemption is that God can put into me a new disposition whereby I can live a totally new life. When I reach the frontier of need and know my limitations, Jesus says – "Blessed are you." But I have to get there. God cannot put into me, a responsible moral being, the disposition that was in Jesus Christ unless I am conscious I need it.
Just as the disposition of sin entered into the human race by one man, so the Holy Spirit entered the human race by another Man; and Redemption means that I can be delivered from the heredity of sin and through Jesus Christ can receive an unsullied heredity, viz., the Holy Spirit.
《Faith's check book》October 6
The Leadership of Our Guide
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. — John 16:13
Truth is like a vast cavern into which we desire to enter, but we are not able to traverse it alone. At the entrance it is clear and bright; but if we would go further and explore its innermost recesses, we must have a guide, or we shall lose ourselves. The Holy Spirit, who knows all truth perfectly, is the appointed guide of all true believers, and He conducts them as they are able to bear it, from one inner chamber to another, so that they behold the deep things of God, and His secret is made plain to them.
What a promise is this for the humbly inquiring mind! We desire to know the truth and to enter into it. We are conscious of our own aptness to err, and we feel the urgent need of a guide. We rejoice that the Holy Spirit is come and abides among us. He condescends to act as a guide to us, and we gladly accept His leadership. “All truth” we wish to learn, that we may not be one-sided and out of balance. We would not be willingly ignorant of any part of revelation lest thereby we should miss blessing or incur sin. The Spirit of God has come that He may guide us into all truth: let us with obedient hearts hearken to His words and follow His lead.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 6
Of the Divine Mercy
He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. — Ps 103:10
He hath with a piteous eye
Look’d upon our misery:
Let us, then, with gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for he is kind:
For his mercies shall endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
《Streams In The Desert》October 6
Bearing the Sting
He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth.—Isa 53:7
How much grace it requires to bear a misunderstanding rightly, and to receive an unkind judgment in holy sweetness! Nothing tests the Christian character more than to have some evil thing said about him. This is the file that soon proves whether we are electro-plate or solid gold. If we could only know the blessings that lie hidden in our trials we would say like David, when Shimei cursed him, “Let him curse; … it may be … that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.”
Some people get easily turned aside from the grandeur of their life-work by pursuing their own grievances and enemies, until their life gets turned into one little petty whirl of warfare. It is like a nest of hornets. You may disperse the hornets, but you will probably get terribly stung, and get nothing for your pains, for even their honey is not worth a search.
God give us more of His Spirit, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again”; but “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” “Consider him that endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself.”—A. B. Simpson
“Before you” He trod all the path of woe,
He took the sharp thrusts with His head bent low.
He knew deepest sorrow and pain and grief,
He knew long endurance without relief,
He took all the bitter from death’s deep cup,
He kept not a blood-drop but gave all up.
“Before you” and for you, He won the fight
To bring you to glory and realms of light.
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 6
Do not fret because of evil people or be envious of wicked people, — Prov 24:19
The heart which boldly faces death
Upon the battlefield, and dares
Cannon and bayonet, faints beneath
The needle-points of frets and cares.
The stoutest spirits they dismay—
The tiny stings of every day.
Ah! more than martyr’s aureole
And more than hero’s heart of fire,
We need the humble strength of soul
Which daily toils and ills require.
Sweet patience, grant us, if you may
An added grace for every day.
— Adelaide A. Procter.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
— Alfred Tennyson.
My Father, I pray that I may not be dismayed over life, and its trifles. Help me to master difficulties great and small, and give me patience through all until I reach the untroubled way. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》October 7
“And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?”— Numbers 11:11
Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test.
It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden.
A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts his servants to glorify himself, for he is greatly glorified in the graces of his people, which are his own handiwork.
When “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope,” the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues.
We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed.
The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which his vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights.
Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified?
There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation, let us muse upon it all day long.
《Evening by Evening》October 7
“I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?”— Isaiah 36:5
Reader, this is an important question. Listen to the Christian’s answer, and see if it is yours. “On whom dost thou trust?”
“I trust,” says the Christian, “in a triune God. I trust the Father, believing that he has chosen me from before the foundations of the world; I trust him to provide for me in providence, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me if need be, and to bring me home to his own house where the many mansions are.
“I trust the Son. Very God of very God is he—the man Christ Jesus. I trust in him to take away all my sins by his own sacrifice, and to adorn me with his perfect righteousness. I trust him to be my Intercessor, to present my prayers and desires before his Father’s throne, and I trust him to be my Advocate at the last great day, to plead my cause, and to justify me.
“I trust him for what he is, for what he has done, and for what he has promised yet to do. And I trust the Holy Spirit—he has begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust him to drive them all out; I trust him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness; I trust him to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul and body, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light forever.”
Oh, blessed trust! To trust him whose power will never be exhausted, whose love will never wane, whose kindness will never change, whose faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom will never be nonplussed, and whose perfect goodness can never know a diminution!
Happy art thou, reader, if this trust is thine! So trusting, thou shalt enjoy sweet peace now, and glory hereafter, and the foundation of thy trust shall never be removed.
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 7
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. — 2 Corinthians 5:21
Sin is a fundamental relationship; it is not wrong doing, it is wrong being, deliberate and emphatic independence of God. The Christian religion bases everything on the positive, radical nature of sin. Other religions deal with sins; the Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ faced in men was the heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored this in our presentation of the Gospel that the message of the Gospel has lost its sting and its blasting power.
The revelation of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took upon Himself our fleshly sins, but that He took upon Himself the heredity of sin which no man can touch. God made His own Son to be sin that He might make the sinner a saint. All through the Bible it is revealed that Our Lord bore the sin of the world by identification, not by sympathy. He deliberately took upon His own shoulders, and bore in His own Person, the whole massed sin of the human race – "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin," and by so doing He put the whole human race on the basis of Redemption. Jesus Christ rehabilitated the human race; He put it back to where God designed it to be, and anyone can enter into union with God on the ground of what Our Lord has done on the Cross.
A man cannot redeem himself; Redemption is God’s "bit," it is absolutely finished and complete; its reference to individual men is a question of their individual action. A distinction must always be made between the revelation of Redemption and the conscious experience of salvation in a man’s life.
《Faith's check book》October 7
Always First in Fellowship
But go, tell his disciples, even Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” — Mark 16:7
Where He appointed to meet His disciples, there He would be in due time. Jesus keeps His trust. If He promises to meet us at the mercy seat, or in public worship, or in the ordinances, we may depend upon it that He will be there. We may wickedly stay away from the appointed meeting place, but He never does. He says, “Where two or three are met together in my name, there am I”; He says not, “There will I be,” but, “I am there already.”
Jesus is always first in fellowship: “He goeth before you.” His heart is with His people, His delight is in them, He is never slow to meet them. In all fellowship He goeth before us.
But He reveals Himself to those who come after Him: “There shall ye see him.” Joyful sight! We care not to see the greatest of mere men, but to see Him is to be filled with joy and peace. And we shall see Him, for He promises Himself to them. Rest assured that it will be so, for He does everything according to His word of promise: “As he said unto you. Catch at those last words, and be assured that to the end He will do for you ”as he said unto you."
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 7
Of the Divine Counsel and Instruction
I will praise the Lord who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn. — Ps 16:7
Sure the Lord thus far has brought me,
By his watchful tender care;
Sure, ’tis he himself has taught me
How to seek his face by prayer:
After so much mercy past,
Will he give me up at last?
《Streams In The Desert》October 7
Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys his servant? Whoever walks in deep darkness, without light, should trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.—Isa 50:10
What shall the believer do in times of darkness—the darkness of perplexity and confusion, not of heart but of mind? Times of darkness come to the faithful and believing disciple who is walking obediently in the will of God; seasons when he does not know what to do, nor which way to turn. The sky is overcast with clouds. The clear light of Heaven does not shine upon his pathway. One feels as if he were groping his way in darkness.
Beloved, is this you? What shall the believer do in times of darkness? Listen! “Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and rely upon his God.”
The first thing to do is do nothing. This is hard for poor human nature to do. In the West there is a saying that runs thus, “When you’re rattled, don’t rush”; in other words, “When you don’t know what to do, don’t do it.”
When you run into a spiritual fog bank, don’t tear ahead; slow down the machinery of your life. If necessary, anchor your bark or let it swing at its moorings. We are to simply trust God. While we trust, God can work. Worry prevents Him from doing anything for us. If our minds are distracted and our hearts distressed; if the darkness that overshadows us strikes terror to us; if we run hither and yon in a vain effort to find some way of escape out of a dark place of trial, where Divine providence has put us, the Lord can do nothing for us.
The peace of God must quiet our minds and rest our hearts. We must put our hand in the hand of God like a little child, and let Him lead us out into the bright sunshine of His love.
He knows the way out of the woods. Let us climb up into His arms, and trust Him to take us out by the shortest and surest road.—Dr. Pardington
Remember we are never without a pilot when we know not how to steer.
“Hold on, my heart, in thy believing—
The steadfast only wins the crown;
He who, when stormy winds are heaving,
Parts with its anchor, shall go down;
But he who Jesus holds through all,
Shall stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.
“Hold out! There comes an end to sorrow;
Hope from the dust shall conquering rise;
The storm foretells a summer’s morrow;
The Cross points on to Paradise;
The Father reigneth! cease all doubt;
Hold on, my heart, hold on, hold out.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 7
The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. — Exod 14:15
Yet in opinions look not always back;
Your wake is nothing, mind the coming track;
Leave what you’ve done for what you have to do;
Don’t be “consistent,” but be simply true.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has nothing to do.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may not be so consistent in the small things of life that I will lose the great inspirations that come to the soul. Broaden my life, that I may have the freedom of heart and mind to pass over the failures and interruptions, and with vigorous energy continue in the progress of life. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》 October 8
“Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”— Luke 5:4
We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes.
So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless he is glorified; but he hath himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which he is most magnified in the earth.
Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work.
Had they gone about the toil unskilfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled.
Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night.
Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals.
What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success.
Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and his will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in his Church, his presence is the Church’s power—the shout of a king is in the midst of her. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.”
Let us go out this morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for he who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.
《Evening by Evening》October 8
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”— Jude 20
Mark the grand characteristic of true prayer—–“In the Holy Ghost.” The seed of acceptable devotion must come from heaven’s storehouse.
Only the prayer which comes from God can go to God. We must shoot the Lord’s arrows back to him. That desire which he writes upon our heart will move his heart and bring down a blessing, but the desires of the flesh have no power with him.
Praying in the Holy Ghost is praying in fervency. Cold prayers ask the Lord not to hear them. Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all. As well speak of lukewarm fire as of lukewarm prayer—it is essential that it be red hot.
It is praying perseveringly. The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent when God delays to answer. The longer the gate is closed, the more vehemently does he use the knocker, and the longer the angel lingers the more resolved is he that he will never let him go without the blessing.
Beautiful in God’s sight is tearful, agonizing, unconquerable importunity.
It means praying humbly, for the Holy Spirit never puffs us up with pride. It is his office to convince of sin, and so to bow us down in contrition and brokenness of spirit. We shall never sing Gloria in excelsis except we pray to God De profundis: out of the depths must we cry, or we shall never behold glory in the highest.
It is loving prayer. Prayer should be perfumed with love, saturated with love—love to our fellow saints, and love to Christ.
Moreover, it must be a prayer full of faith. A man prevails only as he believes. The Holy Spirit is the author of faith, and strengthens it, so that we pray believing God’s promise.
O that this blessed combination of excellent graces, priceless and sweet as the spices of the merchant, might be fragrant within us because the Holy Ghost is in our hearts! Most blessed Comforter, exert thy mighty power within us, helping our infirmities in prayer
《My Utmost for His Highest》October 8
THE EXCLUSIVENESS OF CHRIST
Come unto Me. — Matthew 11:28
Is it not humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words – "Come unto Me." In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come, you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness – "Just as I am." As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to "come."
"Come unto Me." When you hear those words you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, anything at all that will put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from getting through. You will never get further until you are willing to do that one thing. The Holy Spirit will locate the one impregnable thing in you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him.
How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling – Oh, well, I have done it this time! And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus – "Come unto Me."
《Faith's check book》October 8
You will no longer be called, “Abandoned,” and your land will no longer be called “Desolate.” Indeed, you will be called “My Delight is in Her,” and your land “Married.” For the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married to him. — Isa 62:4
“Forsaken” is a dreary word. It sounds like a knell. It is the record of sharpest sorrows and the prophecy of direst ills. An abyss of misery yawns in that word forsaken. Forsaken by one who pledges his honor! Forsaken by a friend so long tried and trusted! Forsaken by a dear relative! Forsaken by father and mother! Forsaken by all! This is woe indeed, and yet it may be patiently born if the Lord will take us up.
But what must it be to feel forsaken of God? Think of that bitterest of cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Have we ever in any degree tasted the wormwood and the gall of “forsaken” in that sense? If so, let us beseech our Lord to save us from any repetition of so unspeakable a sorrow. Oh, that such darkness may never return! Men in malice said of a saint, “God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him.” But it was always false. The Lord’s loving favor shall compel our cruel foes to eat their own words or, at least, to hold their tongues.
The reverse of all this is that superlative word Hephzibah “the Lord delighteth in thee.” This turns weeping into dancing. Let those who dreamed that they were forsaken hear the Lord say, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
《Believer's Daily Treasure》October 8
Of Divine Promises Fulfilled
“Look, today I am about to die. You know with all your heart and being that not even one of all the faithful promises the Lord your God made to you is left unfulfilled; every one was realized – not one promise is unfulfilled! — Josh 23:14
In all my ways thy hand I own,
Thy ruling providence I see;
Assist me still my course to run,
And still direct my paths to thee.
《Streams In The Desert》October 8
Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.—Phil 4:6
Not a few Christians live in a state of unbroken anxiety, and others fret and fume terribly. To be perfectly at peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life is a secret worth knowing. What is the use of worrying? It never made anybody strong; never helped anybody to do God’s will; never made a way of escape for anyone out of perplexity. Worry spoils lives which would otherwise be useful and beautiful. Restlessness, anxiety, and care are absolutely forbidden by our Lord, who said: “Take no thought,” that is, no anxious thought, “saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?” He does not mean that we are not to take forethought and that our life is to be without plan or method; but that we are not to worry about these things. People know you live in the realm of anxious care by the lines on your face, the tones of your voice, the minor key in your life, and the lack of joy in your spirit. Scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, then you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet. —Rev. Darlow Sargeant
It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting. Can we gain anything by it? Do we not unfit ourselves for action, and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.
Oh, for grace to be quiet! Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God! The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. We may be sure that every word of His will stand, though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in. Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus. —Selected
“Peace thy inmost soul shall fill
《Daily Prayer Guide》October 8
The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. — Luke 18:11
He weren’t no saint; them engineers
Is pretty much alike—
One wife in Natchez-under-the-Hill,
Another one here in Pike;
A keerless man in his talk was Jim,
And an awkward hand in a row,
But he never flunked, and he never lied—
I reckon he never knowed how.
— John Hay.
He is brave whose tongue is silent
Of the trophies of his word.
He is great whose quiet bearing
Marks his greatness well assured.
— Edwin Arnold.
Lord God, thou knowest what I am and where I belong. Have mercy upon me and strengthen me, that I may not through weakness stay in the darkness. Lead me out into the light; and may I find my way and be contented with it. Amen.