《Morning By Morning》February 1
“Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.”— Psalm 138:5
The time when Christians begin to sing in the ways of the Lord is when they first lose their burden at the foot of the Cross. Not even the songs of the angels seem so sweet as the first song of rapture which gushes from the inmost soul of the forgiven child of God.
You know how John Bunyan describes it. He says when poor Pilgrim lost his burden at the Cross, he gave three great leaps, and went on his way singing—
“Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!”
Believer, do you recollect the day when your fetters fell off? Do you remember the place when Jesus met you, and said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; I have blotted out as a cloud thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud thy sins; they shall not be mentioned against thee any more forever.”
Oh! what a sweet season is that when Jesus takes away the pain of sin. When the Lord first pardoned my sin, I was so joyous that I could scarce refrain from dancing. I thought on my road home from the house where I had been set at liberty, that I must tell the stones in the street the story of my deliverance.
So full was my soul of joy, that I wanted to tell every snow-flake that was falling from heaven of the wondrous love of Jesus, who had blotted out the sins of one of the chief of rebels.
But it is not only at the commencement of the Christian life that believers have reason for song; as long as they live they discover cause to sing in the ways of the Lord, and their experience of his constant lovingkindness leads them to say, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
See to it, brother, that thou magnifiest the Lord this day.
“Long as we tread this desert land,
New mercies shall new songs demand.”
《Evening by Evening》February 1
“I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”— 2 Samuel 1:26
Come, dear readers, let each one of us speak for himself of the wonderful love, not of Jonathan, but of Jesus. We will not relate what we have been told, but the things which we have tasted and handled-of the love of Christ.
Thy love to me, O Jesus, was wonderful when I was a stranger wandering far from thee, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Thy love restrained me from committing the sin which is unto death, and withheld me from self-destruction.
Thy love held back the axe when Justice said, “Cut it down! why cumbereth it the ground?” Thy love drew me into the wilderness, stripped me there, and made me feel the guilt of my sin, and the burden of mine iniquity.
Thy love spake thus comfortably to me when, I was sore dismayed—”Come unto me, and I will give thee rest.” Oh, how matchless thy love when, in a moment, thou didst wash my sins away, and make my polluted soul, which was crimson with the blood of my nativity, and black with the grime of my transgressions, to be white as the driven snow, and pure as the finest wool.
How thou didst commend thy love when thou didst whisper in my ears, “I am thine and thou art mine.” Kind were those accents when thou saidst, “The Father himself loveth you.” And sweet the moments, passing sweet, when thou declaredst to me “the love of the Spirit.”
Never shall my soul forget those chambers of fellowship where thou has unveiled thyself to me. Had Moses his cleft in the rock, where he saw the train, the back parts of his God? We, too, have had our clefts in the rock, where we have seen the full splendours of the Godhead in the person of Christ.
Did David remember the tracks of the wild goat, the land of Jordan and the Hermonites? We, too, can remember spots to memory dear, equal to these in blessedness. Precious Lord Jesus, give us a fresh draught of thy wondrous love to begin the month with. Amen.
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 1
THE CALL OF GOD
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. — 1 Corinthians 1:17
Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel; but remember what Paul means by "the gospel," viz., the reality of Redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are apt to make sanctification the end-all of our preaching. Paul alludes to personal experience by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are nowhere commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification; we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (John 12:32). It is a travesty to say that Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to redeem the whole world, and place it unimpaired and rehabilitated before the throne of God. The fact that Redemption can be experienced by us is an illustration of the power of the reality of Redemption, but that is not the end of Redemption. If God were human, how sick to the heart and weary He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation, for our sanctification. We tax His energies from morning till night for things for ourselves – some thing for me to be delivered from! When we touch the bedrock of the reality of the Gospel of God, we shall never bother God any further with little personal plaints.
The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the Gospel of God. He welcomed heart-breaks, disillusionments, tribulation, for one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved devotion to the Gospel of God.
《Faith's check book》February 1
But for you who respect my name, the sun of vindication will rise with healing wings, and you will skip about like calves released from the stall. — Mal 4:2
Fulfilled once in the first advent of our glorious Lord, and yet to have a fuller accomplishment in His second advent, this gracious word is also for daily use. Is it dark with the reader? Does the night deepen into a denser blackness? Still let us not despair: the sun will yet rise. When the night is darkest, dawn is nearest.
The sun which will arise is of no common sort. It is the Sun — the Sun of Righteousness, whose every ray is holiness. He who comes to cheer us, comes in the way of justice as well as of mercy, comes to violate no law even to save us. Jesus as much displays the holiness of God as His love. Our deliverance, when it comes, will be safe because righteous.
Our one point of inquiry should be — “Do we fear the name of the Lord? Do we reverence the living God and walk in His ways?” Then for us the night must be short; and when the morning cometh, all the sickness and sorrow of our soul will be over forever. Light, warmth, joy, and clearness of vision will come, and healing of every disease and distress will follow after.
Has Jesus risen upon us? Let us sit in the sun. Has He hidden His face? Let us wait for His rising. He will shine forth as surely as the sun.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 1
Supreme Love to God
Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” — Luke 10:25,27
Yes, I would love thee, blessed God!
Paternal goodness marks thy name;
Thy praises, through thy high abode,
The heavenly hosts with joy proclaim.
《Streams In The Desert》February 1
This Thing is From Me
‘The Lord says this: “Do not attack and make war with your brothers, the Israelites. Each of you go home, for I have caused this to happen.”’” They obeyed the Lord and went home as the Lord had ordered them to do.—1 Kgs 12:24
“Life’s disappointments are veiled love’s appointments.” —Rev. C. A. Fox
My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread. It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head. This thing is from Me.
Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you concerns Me too? For, “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye” (Zech. 2:8). You are very precious in My sight. (Isa. 43:4) Therefore, it is My special delight to educate you.
I would have you learn when temptations assail you, and the “enemy comes in like a flood,” that this thing is from Me, that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.
Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances. Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God meant for thee.
Have you not asked to be made humble? See then, I have placed you in the very school where this lesson is taught; your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.
Are you in money difficulties? Is it hard to make both ends meet? This thing is from Me, for I am your purse-bearer and would have you draw from and depend upon Me. My supplies are limitless (Phil.4:19). I would have you prove my promises. Let it not be said of you, “In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God” (Deut. 1:32).
Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. I have let earthly comforters fail you, that by turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolation (2 Thess. 2:16, 17). Have you longed to do some great work for Me and instead have been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days and I want to teach you some of my deepest lessons. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all—prayer.
This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil. Make use of it free, my child. Let every circumstance that arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it. The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things. —Laura A. Barter Snow
“’This is from Me,’ the Saviour said,
As bending low He kissed my brow,
’For One who loves you thus has led.
Just rest in Me, be patient now,
Your Father knows you have need of this,
Tho’, why perchance you cannot see.
Grieve not for things you’ve seemed to miss.
The thing I send is best for thee.’
“Then, looking through my tears, I plead,
’Dear Lord, forgive, I did not know,
’Twill not be hard since Thou dost tread,
Each path before me here below.
And for my good this thing must be,
His grace sufficient for each test.
So still I’ll sing, ”Whatever be
God’s way for me is always best.“’”
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 1
There are four things on earth that are small, but they are exceedingly wise: ants are creatures with little strength, but they prepare their food in the summer; rock badgers are creatures with little power, but they make their homes in the crags; locusts have no king, but they all go forward by ranks; a lizard you can catch with the hand, but it gets into the palaces of the king. — Prov 30:24-28
Then came old February, sitting
In an old wagon, for he could not ride,
Drawn of two fishes for the season fitting,
Which through the flood before did softly slide
And swim away; yet he had by his side
His plow and harness fit to till the ground,
And tools to prune the trees, before the pride
Of hasting prime did make them bourgeon wide.
— Edmund Spenser.
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night—
It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measure life may perfect be.
— Ben Jonson.
Creator of all, lead me to see the light, and instruct me that I may be able to reason. Guard me against spectacular endeavors, that I may be genuine. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 2
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”— Hebrews 9:22
This is the voice of unalterable truth. In none of the Jewish ceremonies were sins, even typically, removed without blood-shedding. In no case, by no means can sin be pardoned without atonement.
It is clear, then, that there is no hope for me out of Christ; for there is no other blood-shedding which is worth a thought as an atonement for sin. Am I, then, believing in him? Is the blood of his atonement truly applied to my soul?
All men are on a level as to their need of him. If we be never so moral, generous, amiable or patriotic, the rule will not be altered to make an exception for us. Sin will yield to nothing less potent than the blood of him whom God hath set forth as a propitiation. What a blessing that there is the one way of pardon! Why should we seek another?
Persons of merely formal religion cannot understand how we can rejoice that all our sins are forgiven us for Christ’s sake. Their works, and prayers, and ceremonies, give them very poor comfort; and well may they be uneasy, for they are neglecting the one great salvation, and endeavouring to get remission without blood.
My soul, sit down, and behold the justice of God as bound to punish sin; see that punishment all executed upon thy Lord Jesus, and fall down in humble joy, and kiss the dear feet of him whose blood has made atonement for thee.
It is in vain when conscience is aroused to fly to feelings and evidences for comfort: this is a habit which we learned in the Egypt of our legal bondage. The only restorative for a guilty conscience is a sight of Jesus suffering on the cross.
“The blood is the life thereof,” says the Levitical law, and let us rest assured that it is the life of faith and joy and every other holy grace.
“Oh! how sweet to view the flowing
Of my Saviour’s precious blood;
With divine assurance knowing
He has made my peace with God.”
《Evening by Evening》February 2
“And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.”— 1 Chronicles 4:22
Yet not so ancient as those precious things which are the delight of our souls. Let us for a moment recount them, telling them over as misers count their gold. The sovereign choice of the Father, by which he elected us unto eternal life, or ever the earth was, is a matter of vast antiquity, since no date can be conceived for it by the mind of man.
We were chosen from before the foundations of the world. Everlasting love went with the choice, for it was not a bare act of divine will by which we were set apart, but the divine affections were concerned.
The Father loved us in and from the beginning. Here is a theme for daily contemplation. The eternal purpose to redeem us from our foreseen ruin, to cleanse and sanctify us, and at last to glorify us, was of infinite antiquity, and runs side by side with immutable love and absolute sovereignty.
The covenant is always described as being everlasting, and Jesus, the second party in it, had his goings forth of old; he struck hands in sacred suretyship long ere the first of the stars began to shine, and it was in him that the elect were ordained unto eternal life.
Thus in the divine purpose a most blessed covenant union was established between the Son of God and his elect people, which will remain as the foundation of their safety when time shall be no more.
Is it not well to be conversant with these ancient things? Is it not shameful that they should be so much neglected and even rejected by the bulk of professors? If they knew more of their own sin, would they not be more ready to adore distinguishing grace?
Let us both admire and adore tonight, as we sing—
“A monument of grace,
A sinner saved by blood;
The streams of love I trace
Up to the Fountain, God;
And in his sacred bosom see
Eternal thoughts of Love to me.”
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 2
THE CONSTRAINT OF THE CALL
Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! — 1 Corinthians 9:16
Beware of stopping your ears to the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact; but that is not the call to preach, it is merely an illustration in preaching. Paul is referring to the pangs produced in him by the constraint to preach the Gospel. Never apply what Paul says in this connection to souls coming in contact with God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved because it is God’s sovereign work – Come unto Me and I will save you. Our Lord never lays down the conditions of discipleship as the conditions of salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Discipleship has an option with it – “IF any man. . . “
Paul’s words have to do with being made a servant of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be "separated unto the gospel" means to hear the call of God; and when a man begins to overhear that call, then begins agony that is worthy of the name. Every ambition is nipped in the bud, every desire of life quenched, every outlook completely extinguished and blotted out, saving one thing only – "separated unto the gospel." Woe be to the soul who tries to put his foot in any other direction when once that call has come to him. This College exists for you, and you – to see whether God has a man or woman here who cares about proclaiming His Gospel; to see whether God grips you. And beware of competitors when God does grip you.
《Faith's check book》February 2
But for you who respect my name, the sun of vindication will rise with healing wings, and you will skip about like calves released from the stall. — Mal 4:2
Yes, when the sun shines, the sick quit their chambers and walk abroad to breathe the fresh air. When the sun brings spring and summer, the cattle quit their stalls and seek pasture on the higher Alps. Even thus, when we have conscious fellowship with our Lord, we leave the stall of despondency and walk abroad in the fields of holy confidence. We ascend to the mountains of joy and feed on sweet pasturage which grows nearer heaven than the provender of carnal men.
To “go forth” and to “grow up” is a double promise. O my soul, be thou eager to enjoy both blessings! Why shouldst thou be a prisoner? Arise, and walk at liberty. Jesus saith that His sheep shall go in and out and find pasture; go forth, then, and feed in the rich meadows of boundless love.
Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up. Young calves grow fast, especially if they are stall fed; and thou hast the choice care of thy Redeemer. Grow, then, in grace and in knowledge of thy Lord and Savior. Be neither straitened nor stunted. The Sun of Righteousness has risen upon thee. Answer to His beams as the buds to the natural sun. Open thine heart; expand and grow up into Him in all things.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 2
Gratitude to God
Then one of them, when he saw he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. — Luke 17:15
What thanks I owe thee, and what love,
A boundless, endless store,
Shall echo through the realms above,
When time shall be no more.
《Streams In The Desert》February 2
Lessons in the Shadow
He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the hollow of his hand; he made me like a sharpened arrow, he hid me in his quiver.—Isa 49:2
“In the shadow.” We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant; our eyes become injured, and unable to discern the delicate shades of color, or appreciate neutral tints—the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone.
But fear not! It is the shadow of God’s hand. He is leading thee. There are lessons that can be learned only there.
The photograph of His face can only be fixed in the dark chamber. But do not suppose that He has cast thee aside. Thou art still in His quiver; He has not flung thee away as a worthless thing.
He is only keeping thee close till the moment comes when He can send thee most swiftly and surely on some errand in which He will be glorified. Oh, shadowed, solitary ones, remember how closely the quiver is bound to the warrior, within easy reach of the hand, and guarded jealously. —Christ in Isaiah, Meyer
In some spheres the shadow condition is the condition of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the shadow of a warm summer night. The sun curls the leaves in the sultry noon light, but they quickly unfold, if a cloud slips over the sky. There is a service in the shadow that is not in the shine. The world of stellar beauty is never seen at its best till the shadows of night slip over the sky. There are beauties that bloom in the shade that will not bloom in the sun. There is much greenery in lands of fog and clouds and shadow. The florist has “evening glories” now, as well as “morning glories.” The “evening glory” will not shine in the noon’s splendor, but comes to its best as the shadows of evening deepen.
If all of life were sunshine,
Our faces would be fain
To feel once more upon them
The cooling plash of rain.
—Henry Van Dyke
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 2
And about five o’clock that afternoon he went out and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why are you standing here all day without work?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go and work in the vineyard too.’ — Matt 20:6-7
’Twas doing nothing was his curse—
Is there a vice can plague us worse?
The wretch who digs the mine for bread,
Or plows, that others may be fed,
Feels less fatigue than that decreed
To him who cannot think, or read.
Not all the peril of temptations,
Not all the conflict of the passions,
Can quench the spark of Glory’s flame,
Or quite extinguish Virtue’s name.
— Hannah More.
Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.
— Sir Walter Scott.
Eternal God, who hath weighed the mountains and measured the seas, I pray that I may not be satisfied to wait in idleness, and let thy wisdom pass away from me as the days. Steady me in my weakness, and reveal to me my strength as I draw near and ask of thee. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 3
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.”— Romans 8:12
As God’s creatures, we are all debtors to him: to obey him with all our body, and soul, and strength. Having broken his commandments, as we all have, we are debtors to his justice, and we owe to him a vast amount which we are not able to pay.
But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God’s justice anything, for Christ has paid the debt his people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God’s grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to his justice, for he will never accuse me of a debt already paid.
Christ said, “It is finished!” and by that he meant, that whatever his people owed was wiped away forever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God’s justice no longer.
But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise. Christian, pause and ponder for a moment. What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! How much thou owest to his disinterested love, for he gave his own Son that he might die for thee.
Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to his power; how he has raised you from your death in sin; how he has preserved your spiritual life; how he has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way.
Consider what you owe to his immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, he has not changed once. Thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast—yield thyself as a living sacrifice, it is but thy reasonable service.
《Evening by Evening》February 3
“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?”— Song of Solomon 1:7
These words express the desire of the believer after Christ, and his longing for present communion with him.
Where doest thou feed thy flock? In thy house? I will go, if I may find thee there.
In private prayer? Then I will pray without ceasing.
In the Word? Then I will read it diligently.
In thine ordinances? Then I will walk in them with all my heart.
Tell me where thou feedest, for wherever thou standest as the Shepherd, there will I lie down as a sheep; for none but thyself can supply my need. I cannot be satisfied to be apart from thee. My soul hungers and thirsts for the refreshment of thy presence.
“Where dost thou make thy flock to rest at noon?” for whether at dawn or at noon, my only rest must be where thou art and thy beloved flock. My soul’s rest must be a grace-given rest, and can only be found in thee.
Where is the shadow of that rock? Why should I not repose beneath it? “Why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” Thou hast companions—why should I not be one?
Satan tells me I am unworthy; but I always was unworthy, and yet thou hast long loved me; and therefore my unworthiness cannot be a bar to my having fellowship with thee now.
It is true I am weak in faith, and prone to fall, but my very feebleness is the reason why I should always be where thou feedest thy flock, that I may be strengthened, and preserved in safety beside the still waters.
Why should I turn aside? There is no reason why I should, but there are a thousand reasons why I should not, for Jesus beckons me to come. If he withdrew himself a little, it is but to make me prize his presence more.
Now that I am grieved and distressed at being away from him, he will lead me yet again to that sheltered nook where the lambs of his fold are sheltered from the burning sun.
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 3
THE RECOGNIZED BAN OF RELATIONSHIP
We are made as the filth of the world. — 1 Corinthians 4:9-13
These words are not an exaggeration. The reason they are not true of us who call ourselves ministers of the gospel is not that Paul forgot the exact truth in using them, but that we have too many discreet affinities to allow ourselves to be made refuse. "Filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ" is not an evidence of sanctification, but of being "separated unto the gospel."
"Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you," says Peter. If we do think it strange concerning the things we meet with, it is because we are craven-hearted. We have discreet affinities that keep us out of the mire – I won’t stoop, I won’t bend. You do not need to, you can be saved by the skin of your teeth if you like; you can refuse to let God count you as one separated unto the gospel. Or you may say – "I do not care if I am treated as the offscouring of the earth as long as the Gospel is proclaimed." A servant of Jesus Christ is one who is willing to go to martyrdom for the reality of the gospel of God. When a merely moral man or woman comes in contact with baseness and immorality and treachery, the recoil is so desperately offensive to human goodness that the heart shuts up in despair. The marvel of the Redemptive Reality of God is that the worst and the vilest can never get to the bottom of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but "to reveal His Son in me."
《Faith's check book》February 3
He Freely Gives
Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? — Rom 8:32
If this is not a promise in form, it is in fact. Indeed, it is more than one promise, it is a conglomerate of promises. It is a mass of rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds, with a nugget of gold for their setting. It is a question which can never be answered so as to cause us any anxiety of heart. What can the Lord deny us after giving us Jesus? If we need all things in heaven and earth, He will grant them to us: for if there had been a limit anywhere, He would have kept back His own Son.
What do I want today? I have only to ask for it. I may seek earnestly, but not as if I had to use pressure and extort an unwilling gift from the Lord’s hand; for He will give freely. Of His own He gave us His own Son. Certainly no one would have proposed such a gift to Him. No one would have ventured to ask for it. It would have been too presumptuous. He freely gave His Only-begotten, and, O my soul, canst thou not trust thy heavenly Father to give thee anything, to give thee everything? Thy poor prayer would have no force with Omnipotence if force were needed; but His love, like a spring, rises of itself and overflows for the supply of all thy needs.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 3
Obedience to God
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. — Rom 6:17-18
Love is the fountain whence
All true obedience flows;
The Christian serves the God he loves,
And loves the God he knows.
《Streams In The Desert》February 3
Suddenness of Change
The Spirit immediately drove him into the wilderness.—Mark 1:12
It seemed a strange proof of Divine favor. “Immediately.” Immediately after what? After the opened heavens and the dove-like peace and the voice of the Father’s blessing, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It is no abnormal experience. Thou, too, hast passed through it, O my soul. Are not the times of thy deepest depression just the moments that follow thy loftiest flight? Yesterday thou wert soaring far in the firmament, and singing in the radiance of the morn; today thy wings are folded and thy song silent. At noon thou wert basking in the sunshine of a Father’s smile; at eve thou art saying in the wilderness, “My way is hid from the Lord.”
Nay, but, my soul, the very suddenness of the change is a proof that it is not revolutionary.
Hast thou weighed the comfort of that word “immediately”? Why does it come so soon after the blessing? Just to show that it is the sequel to the blessing. God shines on thee to make thee fit for life’s desert-places—for its Gethsemanes, for its Calvaries. He lifts thee up that He may give thee strength to go further down; He illuminates thee that He may send thee into the night, that He may make thee a help to the helpless.
Not at all times art thou worthy of the wilderness; thou art only worthy of the wilderness after the splendors of Jordan. Nothing but the Son’s vision can fit thee for the Spirit’s burden; only the glory of the baptism can support the hunger of the desert. —George Matheson
After benediction comes battle.
The time of testing that marks and mightily enriches a soul’s spiritual career is no ordinary one, but a period when all hell seems let loose, a period when we realize our souls are brought into a net, when we know that God is permitting us to be in the devil’s hand. But it is a period which always ends in certain triumph for those who have committed the keeping of their souls to Him, a period of marvelous “nevertheless afterward” of abundant usefulness, the sixty-fold that surely follows. —Aphra White
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 3
We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, — 2 Cor 4:8-9
My soul is sailing through the sea,
But the past is heavy and hindereth me.
The past hath crusted cumbrous shells
That hold the flesh of cold sea-mells
About my soul.
The huge waves wash, the high waves roll,
Each barnacle clingeth and worketh dole
And hindereth me from sailing.
— Sidney Lanier.
To stand with a smile upon your face, against a stake from which you cannot get away—that no doubt is heroic. True glory is resignation to the inevitable. But to stand unchained, with perfect liberty to go away held only by the higher chains of duty, and let the fire creep up to the heart—that is heroism.
— F.W. Robertson.
Gracious Father, thou knowest what I am and the condition of my life. May I seek thy will for me. Grant that I may never struggle for consolation through indulgence and indolence, but in my sorrow and failure may I reach out for thy enduring comfort. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 4
“Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.”— Hosea 3:1
Believer, look back through all thine experience, and think of the way whereby the Lord thy God has led thee in the wilderness, and how he hath fed and clothed thee every day—how he hath borne with thine ill manners—how he hath put up with all thy murmurings, and all thy longings after the flesh-pots of Egypt—how he has opened the rock to supply thee, and fed thee with manna that came down from heaven.
Think of how his grace has been sufficient for thee in all thy troubles—how his blood has been a pardon to thee in all thy sins—how his rod and his staff have comforted thee. When thou hast thus looked back upon the love of the Lord, then let faith survey his love in the future, for remember that Christ’s covenant and blood have something more in them than the past.
He who has loved thee and pardoned thee, shall never cease to love and pardon. He is Alpha, and he shall be Omega also: he is first, and he shall be last. Therefore, bethink thee, when thou shalt pass through the valley of the shadow of death, thou needest fear no evil, for he is with thee.
When thou shalt stand in the cold floods of Jordan, thou needest not fear, for death cannot separate thee from his love; and when thou shalt come into the mysteries of eternity thou needest not tremble, “For I am persuaded, that neither death; nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now, soul, is not thy love refreshed? Does not this make thee love Jesus? Doth not a flight through illimitable plains of the ether of love inflame thy heart and compel thee to delight thyself in the Lord thy God?
Surely as we meditate on “the love of the Lord,” our hearts burn within us, and we long to love him more.
《Evening by Evening》February 4
“That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.”— Joshua 20:3
It is said that in the land of Canaan, cities of refuge were so arranged, that any man might reach one of them within half a day at the utmost.
Even so the word of our salvation is near to us; Jesus is a present Saviour, and the way to him is short; it is but a simple renunciation of our own merit, and a laying hold of Jesus, to be our all in all.
With regard to the roads to the city of refuge, we are told that they were strictly preserved, every river was bridged, and every obstruction removed, so that the man who fled might find an easy passage to the city.
Once a year the elders went along the roads and saw to their order, so that nothing might impede the flight of any one, and cause him, through delay, to be overtaken and slain. How graciously do the promises of the gospel remove stumbling blocks from the way!
Wherever there were by-roads and turnings, there were fixed up hand-posts, with the inscription upon them—”To the city of refuge!” This is a picture of the road to Christ Jesus. It is no roundabout road of the law; it is no obeying this, that, and the other; it is a straight road: “Believe, and live.”
It is a road so hard, that no self-righteous man can ever tread it, but so easy, that every sinner, who knows himself to be a sinner may by it find his way to heaven. No sooner did the man-slayer reach the outworks of the city than he was safe; it was not necessary for him to pass far within the walls, but the suburbs themselves were sufficient protection.
Learn hence, that if you do but touch the hem of Christ’s garment, you shall be made whole; if you do but lay hold upon him with “faith as a grain of mustard seed,” you are safe.
“A little genuine grace ensures
The death of all our sins.”
Only waste no time, loiter not by the way, for the avenger of blood is swift of foot; and it may be he is at your heels at this still hour of eventide.
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 4
THE OVERMASTERING MAJESTY OF PERSONAL POWER
For the love of Christ constraineth us. — 2 Corinthians 5:14
Paul says he is overruled, overmastered, held as in a vice, by the love of Christ. Very few of us know what it means to be held in a grip by the love of God; we are held by the constraint of our experience only. The one thing that held Paul, until there was nothing else on his horizon, was the love of God. "The love of Christ constraineth us" – when you hear that note in a man or woman, you can never mistake it. You know that the Spirit of God is getting unhindered way in that life.
When we are born again of the Spirit of God, the note of testimony is on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But the baptism of the Holy Ghost obliterates that for ever, and we begin to realize what Jesus meant when He said – "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." Not witnesses to what Jesus can do – that is an elementary witness – but "witnesses unto Me." We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether it be praise or blame, persecution or commendation. No one can stand like that for Jesus Christ who is not constrained by the majesty of His personal power. It is the only thing that matters, and the strange thing is that it is the last thing realized by the Christian worker. Paul says he is gripped by the love of God, that is why he acts as he does. Men may call him mad or sober, but he does not care; there is only one thing he is living for, and that is to persuade men of the judgment seat of God, and of the love of Christ. This abandon to the love of Christ is the one thing that bears fruit in the life, and it will always leave the impression of the holiness and of the power of God, never of our personal holiness.
《Faith's check book》February 4
He Will Return
“I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. — John 14:18
He left us, and yet we are not left orphans. He is our comfort, and He is gone; but we are not comfortless. Our comfort is that He will come to us, and this is consolation enough to sustain us through His prolonged absence. Jesus is already on His way: He says, “I come quickly”: He rides posthaste toward us. He says, “I will come”: and none can prevent His coming, or put it back for a quarter of an hour. He specially says, “I will come to you”; and so He will. His coming is specially to and for His own people. This is meant to be their present comfort while they mourn that the Bridegroom doth not yet appear.
When we lose the joyful sense of His presence we mourn, but we may not sorrow as if there were no hope. Our Lord in a little wrath has hid Himself from us for a moment, but He will return in full favor. He leaves us in a sense, but only in a sense. When He withdraws, He leaves a pledge behind that He will return. O Lord, come quickly! There is no life in this earthly existence if Thou be gone. We sigh for the return of Thy sweet smile. When wilt Thou come unto us? We are sure Thou wilt appear; but be Thou like a roe, or a young hart. Make no tarrying, O our God!
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 4
Submission to God
Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? — Heb 12:9
Oh let my trembling soul be still,
While darkness veils this mortal eye,
And wait thy wise, thy holy will
Wrapp’d yet in tears and mystery:
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see,
Yet all is well — since ruled by thee.
《Streams In The Desert》February 4
Then you will find joy in your relationship to the Lord, and I will give you great prosperity, and cause crops to grow on the land I gave to your ancestor Jacob.” Know for certain that the Lord has spoken.—Isa 58:14
Those who fly through the air in airships tell us that one of the first rules they learn is to turn their ship toward the wind, and fly against it. The wind lifts the ship up to higher heights. Where did they learn that? They learned it from the birds. If a bird is flying for pleasure, it goes with the wind. But if the bird meets danger, it turns right around and faces the wind, in order that it may rise higher; and it flies away towards the very sun.
Sufferings are God’s winds, His contrary winds, sometimes His strong winds. They are God’s hurricanes, but, they take human life and lift it to higher levels and toward God’s heavens.
You have seen in the summer time a day when the atmosphere was so oppressive that you could hardly breathe? But a cloud appeared on the western horizon and that cloud grew larger and threw out rich blessing for the world. The storm rose, lightning flashed and thunder pealed. The storm covered the world, and the atmosphere was cleansed; new life was in the air, and the world was changed.
Human life is worked out according to exactly the same principle. When the storm breaks the atmosphere is changed, clarified, filled with new life; and a part of heaven is brought down to earth. —Selected
Obstacles ought to set us singing. The wind finds voice, not when rushing across the open sea, but when hindered by the outstretched arms of the pine trees, or broken by the fine strings of an Aeolian harp. Then it has songs of power and beauty. Set your freed soul sweeping across the obstacles of life, through grim forests of pain, against even the tiny hindrances and frets that love uses, and it, too, will find its singing voice. —Selected
“Be like a bird that, halting in its flight,
Rests on a bough too slight.
And feeling it give way beneath him sings,
Knowing he hath wings.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 4
The bars of your gates will be made of iron and bronze, and may you have lifelong strength. — Deut 33:25
Life is not a May-game, but a battle and a march, a warfare with principalities and powers. No idle promenade through fragrant orange groves and green flowery spaces, waited on by coral muses, and the rosy hours; it is a stern pilgrimage through the rough, burning, sandy solitudes, through regions of thick-ribbed ice.
— Thomas Carlyle.
For all sweet and pleasant passages in the great story of life men may well thank God; for leisure and ease and health and friendship may God make us truly and humbly grateful; but our chief song of thanksgiving must be always for our kinship with him, with all that such divinity of greatness brings of peril, hardship, toil, and sacrifice.
— Hamilton Mabie.
My Father, help me to choose the road that leads to my work, and may I not fail to reach it, by wandering away from it. Keep me in touch with the human side of life, holding in mind that "Truth and honesty are the noblest works of God." Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 5
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”— 1 John 4:14
It is a sweet thought that Jesus Christ did not come forth without his Father’s permission, authority, consent and assistance. He was sent of the Father, that he might be the Saviour of men. We are too apt to forget that, while there are distinctions as to the persons in the Trinity, there are no distinctions of honour.
We too frequently ascribe the honour of our salvation, or at least the depths of its benevolence, more to Jesus Christ than we do the Father. This is a very great mistake. What if Jesus came? Did not his Father send him?
If he spake wondrously, did not his Father pour grace into his lips, that he might be an able minister of the new covenant? He who knoweth the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost as he should know them, never setteth one before another in his love; he sees them at Bethlehem, at Gethsemane and on Calvary, all equally engaged in the work of salvation.
O Christian, hast thou put thy confidence in the Man Christ Jesus? Hast thou placed thy reliance solely on him? And art thou united with him? Then believe that thou art united unto the God of heaven.
Since to the Man Christ Jesus thou art brother, and holdest closest fellowship, thou art linked thereby with God the Eternal, and “the Ancient of days” is thy Father and thy friend. Didst thou ever consider the depth of love in the heart of Jehovah, when God the Father equipped his Son for the great enterprise of mercy?
If not, be this thy day’s meditation. The Father sent him! Contemplate that subject. Think how Jesus works what the Father wills. In the wounds of the dying Saviour see the love of the great I AM. Let every thought of Jesus be also connected with the Eternal, ever-blessed God, for “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”
《Evening by Evening》February 5
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”— Matthew 11:25
This is a singular way in which to commence a verse—”At that time Jesus answered.” If you will look at the context you will not perceive that any person had asked him a question, or that he was in conversation with any human being.
Yet it is written, “Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father.” When a man answers, he answers a person who has been speaking to him. Who, then, had spoken to Christ? his Father. Yet there is no record of it; and this should teach us that Jesus had constant fellowship with his Father, and that God spake into his heart so often, so continually, that it was not a circumstance singular enough to be recorded.
It was the habit and life of Jesus to talk with God. Even as Jesus was, in this world, so are we; let us therefore learn the lesson which this simple statement concerning him teaches us. May we likewise have silent fellowship with the Father, so that often we may answer him, and though the world wotteth not to whom we speak, may we be responding to that secret voice unheard of any other ear, which our own ear, opened by the Spirit of God, recognizes with joy.
God has spoken to us, let us speak to God—either to set our seal that God is true and faithful to his promise, or to confess the sin of which the Spirit of God has convinced us, or to acknowledge the mercy which God’s providence has given, or to express assent to the great truths which God the Holy Ghost has opened to our understanding.
What a privilege is intimate communion with the Father of our spirits! It is a secret hidden from the world, a joy with which even the nearest friend intermeddleth not. If we would hear the whispers of God’s love, our ear must be purged and fitted to listen to his voice.
This very evening may our hearts be in such a state, that when God speaks to us, we, like Jesus, may be prepared at once to answer him.
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 5
ARE YOU READY TO BE OFFERED?
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. — Philippians 2:17
Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful – to pour out your life blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say – "I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, ‘Well done.’
It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people’s feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased" – are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket – to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》Feb 5
《Faith's check book》February 5
The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, so that when I see the blood I will pass over you, and this plague will not fall on you to destroy you when I attack the land of Egypt. — Exod 12:13
My own sight of the precious blood is for my comfort; but it is the Lord’s sight of it which secures my safety. Even when I am unable to behold it, the Lord looks at it and passes over me because of it. If I am not so much at ease as I ought to be, because my faith is dim, yet I am equally safe because the Lord’s eye is not dim, and He sees the blood of the great Sacrifice with steady gaze. What a joy is this!
The Lord sees the deep inner meaning, the infinite fullness of all that is meant by the death of His dear Son. He sees it with restful memory of justice satisfied and all His matchless attributes glorified. He beheld creation in its progress and said, “It is very good”; but what does He say of redemption in its completeness? What does He say of the obedience even unto death of His well-beloved Son? None can tell His delight in Jesus, His rest in the sweet savor which Jesus presented when He offered Himself without spot unto God.
Now rest we in calm security. We have God’s sacrifice and God’s Word to create in us a sense of perfect security. He will, He must, pass over us, because He spared not our glorious Substitute. Justice joins hands with love to provide everlasting salvation for all the blood-besprinkled
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 5
Faith in Christ
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God, and everyone who loves the father loves the child fathered by him. — 1 John 5:1
Lord, I believe thy heavenly word;
Fain would I have my soul renew’d;
I mourn for sin, and trust the Lord
To have it pardon’d and subdued.
O may thy grace its power display,
Let guilt and death no longer reign;
Save me in thine appointed way,
Nor let my humble faith be vain.
《Streams In The Desert》February 5
Yet do not depart quickly or leave in a panic. For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard.—Isa 52:12
I do not believe that we have begun to understand the marvelous power there is in stillness. We are in such a hurry—we must be doing—so that we are in danger of not giving God a chance to work. You may depend upon it, God never says to us, “Stand still,” or “Sit still,” or “Be still,” unless He is going to do something.
This is our trouble in regard to our Christian life; we want to do something to be Christians when we need to let Him work in us. Do you know how still you have to be when your likeness is being taken?
Now God has one eternal purpose concerning us, and that is that we should be like His Son; and in order that this may be so, we must be passive. We hear so much about activity, may be we need to know what it is to be quiet. —Crumbs
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days—these waiting days—as ill!
The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, ’tis sure He waits to prove
To thee, His tender child, His heart’s deep love.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord’s will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!
How glad thy heart, and then how swift thy feet
Thy inner being then, ah then, how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could’st thou for Him fill?
’Tis hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all how much is lost!
’Tis hard, ’tis true! But then—He giveth grace
To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.
—J. D. Smith
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 5
But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. — Acts 20:24
When a great man dies, then has the time come for putting us in mind that he was alive!
— Thomas Carlyle.
If I practice one day, I can see the result. If I practice two days, my friends can see it. If I practice three days, the great public can see it.
— Ole Bull.
Those who say they will forgive but can’t forget an injury simply bury the hatchet while they leave the handle out, ready for immediate use.
— Dwight L. Moody.
Almighty God, if I am uncertain, and tremble at the crossroads in doubt of the right way, may I wait and be led by thee, and follow on, even if the way be dark and rough. May I be faithful and have thy presence as thou promised at the end. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 6
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”— Ephesians 6:18
What multitudes of prayers we have put up from the first moment when we learned to pray. Our first prayer was a prayer for ourselves; we asked that God would have mercy upon us, and blot out our sin. He heard us.
But when he had blotted out our sins like a cloud, then we had more prayers for ourselves. We have had to pray for sanctifying grace, for constraining and restraining grace; we have been led to crave for a fresh assurance of faith, for the comfortable application of the promise, for deliverance in the hour of temptation, for help in the time of duty and for succour in the day of trial.
We have been compelled to go to God for our souls, as constant beggars asking for everything. Bear witness, children of God, you have never been able to get anything for your souls elsewhere. All the bread your soul has eaten has come down from heaven, and all the water of which it has drank has flowed from the living rock—Christ Jesus the Lord.
Your soul has never grown rich in itself; it has always been a pensioner upon the daily bounty of God; and hence your prayers have ascended to heaven for a range of spiritual mercies all but infinite. Your wants were innumerable, and therefore the supplies have been infinitely great, and your prayers have been as varied as the mercies have been countless.
Then have you not cause to say, “I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication”? For as your prayers have been many, so also have been God’s answers to them. He has heard you in the day of trouble, has strengthened you, and helped you, even when you dishonoured him by trembling and doubting at the mercy-seat.
Remember this, and let it fill your heart with gratitude to God, who has thus graciously heard your poor weak prayers. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
《Evening by Evening》February 6
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”— James 5:16
As an encouragement cheerfully to offer intercessory prayer, remember that such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears, for the prayer of Christ is of this character. In all the incense which our Great High Priest now puts into the golden censer, there is not a single grain for himself.
His intercession must be the most acceptable of all supplications—and the more like our prayer is to Christ’s, the sweeter it will be; thus while petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit, more love, more faith, more brotherly kindness, will be, through the precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest oblation that we can offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice.
Remember, again, that intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its marvellous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren.
When thou hast the King’s ear, speak to him for the suffering members of his body. When thou art favoured to draw very near to his throne, and the King saith to thee, “Ask, and I will give thee what thou wilt,” let thy petitions be, not for thyself alone, but for the many who need his aid.
If thou hast grace at all, and art not an intercessor, that grace must be small as a grain of mustard seed. Thou hast just enough grace to float thy soul clear from the quicksand, but thou hast no deep floods of grace, or else thou wouldst carry in thy joyous bark a weighty cargo of the wants of others, and thou wouldst bring back from thy Lord, for them, rich blessings which but for thee they might not have obtained:—
“Oh, let my hands forget their skill,
My tongue be silent, cold, and still,
This bounding heart forget to beat,
If I forget the mercy-seat!”
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 6
ARE YOU READY TO BE OFFERED?
I am already being poured out as a drink offering. — 2 Timothy 4:6 (R. V. Marg.)
"I am ready to be offered." It is a transaction of will, not of sentiment. Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be what they may, there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private, no one person can help an other. Externally the life may be the same; the difference is in will. Go through the crisis in will, then when it comes externally there will be no thought of the cost. If you do not transact in will with God along this line, you will end in awakening sympathy for yourself.
"Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar." The altar means fire – burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this way of fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your way of fire?
Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.
《Faith's check book》February 6
Blessing in the City
All these blessings will come to you in abundance if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the field. — Deut 28:2-3
The city is full of care, and he who has to go there from day to day finds it to be a place of great wear and tear. It is full of noise, and stir, and bustle, and sore travail; many are its temptations, losses, and worries. But to go there with the divine blessing takes off the edge of its difficulty; to remain there with that blessing is to find pleasure in its duties and strength equal to its demands.
A blessing in the city may not make us great, but it will keep us good; it may not make us rich, but it will preserve us honest. Whether we are porters, or clerks, or managers, or merchants, or magistrates, the city will afford us opportunities for usefulness. It is good fishing where there are shoals of fish, and it is hopeful to work for our Lord amid the thronging crowds. We might prefer the quiet of a country life; but if called to town, we may certainly prefer it because there is room for our energies.
Today let us expect good things because of this promise, and let our care be to have an open ear to the voice of the Lord and a ready hand to execute His bidding. Obedience brings the blessing. “In keeping his commandments there is great reward.”
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 6
Love to Christ
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. — Matt 10:37
Whom have I on earth below?
Thee, and only thee, I know:
Whom have I in heaven but thee?
Thou art all in all to me.
《Streams In The Desert》February 6
Rejoice in the Flood
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. Let us rejoice in him there!—Ps 66:6
It is a striking assertion, “through the floods” (the place where we might have expected nothing but trembling and terror, anguish and dismay) “there,” says the Psalmist, “did we rejoice in him!”
How many there are who can endorse this as their experience: that “there,” in their very seasons of distress and sadness, they have been enabled, as they never did before, to triumph and rejoice.
How near their God in covenant is brought! How brightly shine His promises! In the day of our prosperity we cannot see the brilliancy of these. Like the sun at noon, hiding out the stars from sight, they are indiscernible; but when night overtakes, the deep, dark night of sorrow, out come these clustering stars—blessed constellations of Bible hope and promise of consolation.
Like Jacob at Jabbok, it is when our earthly sun goes down that the Divine Angel comes forth, and we wrestle with Him and prevail.
It was at night, “in the evening,” Aaron lit the sanctuary lamps. It is in the night of trouble the brightest lamps of the believer are often kindled.
It was in his loneliness and exile John had the glorious vision of his Redeemer. There is many a Patmos still in the world, whose brightest remembrances are those of God’s presence and upholding grace and love in solitude and sadness.
How many pilgrims, still passing through these Red Seas and Jordans of earthly affliction, will be enabled in the retrospect of eternity to say—full of the memories of God’s great goodness—“We went through the flood on foot, there—there, in these dark experiences, with the surging waves on every side, deep calling to deep, Jordan, as when Israel crossed it, in ’the time of the overflowing’ (flood), yet, ’there did we rejoice in Him!’” —Dr. Macduff
“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the door of trouble for a door of hope: and she shall sing THERE” (Hosea 2:15).
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 6
Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. — 1 Cor 16:13
Nothing earthly will make me give up my work in despair. I encourage myself in the Lord my God and go forward.
— David Livingstone.
To expect defeat is nine tenths of defeat itself.
— Marion Crawford.
I do not see how any man can afford, for the sake of his nerves and his nap, to spare any action in which he can partake.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Art is a jealous mistress, she requires the whole man.
— Michael Angelo.
Almighty God, help me to have true conceptions, that my life may not be secured to needless purposes. May my soul be influenced by high ideals, and my work be the production of truth and not of selfishness. Protect me from evil that I may be kept pure and strong for my work. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 7
“Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.”— Micah 2:10
The hour is approaching when the message will come to us, as it comes to all—”Arise, and go forth from the home in which thou hast dwelt, from the city in which thou hast done thy business, from thy family, from thy friends. Arise, and take thy last journey.”
And what know we of the journey? And what know we of the country to which we are bound? A little we have read thereof, and somewhat has been revealed to us by the Spirit; but how little do we know of the realms of the future!
We know that there is a black and stormy river called “Death.” God bids us cross it, promising to be with us. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight?
What scene of glory will be unfolded to our view? No traveller has ever returned to tell. But we know enough of the heavenly land to make us welcome our summons thither with joy and gladness. The journey of death may be dark, but we may go forth on it fearlessly, knowing that God is with us as we walk through the gloomy valley, and therefore we need fear no evil.
We shall be departing from all we have known and loved here, but we shall be going to our Father’s house—to our Father’s home, where Jesus is—to that royal “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
This shall be our last removal, to dwell forever with him we love, in the midst of his people, in the presence of God. Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way.
This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss.
“Prepare us, Lord, by grace divine,
For thy bright courts on high;
Then bid our spirits rise, and join
The chorus of the sky.”
《Evening by Evening》February 7
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”— Revelation 11:12
Without considering these words in their prophetical connection, let us regard them as the invitation of our great Forerunner to his sanctified people. In due time there shall be heard “a great voice from heaven” to every believer, saying, “Come up hither.”
This should be to the saints the subject of joyful anticipation. Instead of dreading the time when we shall leave this world to go unto the Father, we should be panting for the hour of our emancipation. Our song should be—
“My heart is with him on his throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
Rise up and come away.'”
We are not called down to the grave, but up to the skies. Our heaven-born spirits should long for their native air. Yet should the celestial summons be the object of patient waiting. Our God knows best when to bid us “Come up hither.” We must not wish to antedate the period of our departure. I know that strong love will make us cry,
“O Lord of Hosts, the waves divide,
And land us all in heaven;”
but patience must have her perfect work. God ordains with accurate wisdom the most fitting time for the redeemed to abide below. Surely, if there could be regrets in heaven, the saints might mourn that they did not live longer here to do more good.
Oh, for more sheaves for my Lord’s garner! more jewels for his crown! But how, unless there be more work? True, there is the other side of it, that, living so briefly, our sins are the fewer; but oh! when we are fully serving God, and he is giving us to scatter precious seed, and reap a hundredfold, we would even say it is well for us to abide where we are.
Whether our Master shall say “go,” or “stay,” let us be equally well pleased so long as he indulges us with his presence.
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 7
THE DISCIPLINE OF DEJECTION
But we trusted . . . and beside all this, to-day is the third day . . . — Luke 24:21
Every fact that the disciples stated was right; but the inferences they drew from those facts were wrong. Anything that savours of dejection spiritually is always wrong. If depression and oppression visit me, I am to blame; God is not, nor is anyone else. Dejection springs from one of two sources – I have either satisfied a lust or I have not. Lust means – I must have it at once. Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Who gives the answer.
What have I been trusting God would do? And to-day – the immediate present – is the third day, and He has not done it; therefore I imagine I am justified in being dejected and in blaming God. Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer. It is impossible to be well physically and to be dejected. Dejection is a sign of sickness, and the same thing is true spiritually. Dejection spiritually is wrong, and we are always to blame for it.
We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power (the fact that we are dejected proves that we do), and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.
《Faith's check book》February 7
Return from Backsliding
If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; if you remove wicked behavior far from your tent, — Job 22:23
Eliphaz, in this utterance, spoke a great truth, which is the summary of many an inspired Scripture. Reader, has sin pulled you down? Have you become like a ruin? Has the hand of the Lord gone out against you so that in estate you are impoverished and in spirit you are broken down? Was it your own folly which brought upon you all this dilapidation? Then the first thing to be done is to return to the Lord. With deep repentance and sincere faith find your way back from your backsliding. It is your duty, for you have turned away from Him whom you professed to serve. It is your wisdom, for you cannot strive against Him and prosper. It is your immediate necessity, for what He has done is nothing compared to what He may do in the way of chastisement, since He is Almighty to punish.
See what a promise invites you! You shall be “built up.” None but the Almighty can set up the fallen pillars and restore the tottering walls of your condition; but He can and He will do it if you return to Him. Do not delay. Your crushed mind may quite fail you if you go on to rebel; but hearty confession will ease you, and humble faith will console you. Do this, and all will be well.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 7
Self-Denial for Christ
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. — Luke 9:23
Take up thy cross, let not its weight
Fill thy weak spirit with alarm,
My strength shall bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart, and nerve thy arm.
Take up thy cross, and follow me,
Nor think till death to lay it down;
For only he who bears the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.
《Streams In The Desert》February 7
Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.—Ps 43:5
Is there ever any ground to be cast down? There are two reasons, but only two. If we are as yet unconverted, we have ground to be cast down; or if we have been converted and live in sin, then we are rightly cast down.
But except for these two things there is no ground to be cast down, for all else may be brought before God in prayer with supplication and thanksgiving. And regarding all our necessities, all our difficulties, all our trials, we may exercise faith in the power of God, and in the love of God.
“Hope thou in God.” Oh, remember this: There is never a time when we may not hope in God. Whatever our necessities, however great our difficulties, and though to all appearance help is impossible, yet our business is to hope in God, and it will be found that it is not in vain. In the Lord’s own time help will come.
Oh, the hundreds, yea, the thousands of times that I have found it thus within the past seventy years and four months!
When it seemed impossible that help could come, help did come; for God has His own resources. He is not confined. In ten thousand different ways, and at ten thousand different times God may help us.
Our business is to spread our cases before the Lord, in childlike simplicity to pour out all our heart before God, saying,
“I do not deserve that Thou shouldst hear me and answer my requests, but for the sake of my precious Lord Jesus; for His sake answer my prayer, and give me grace quietly to wait till it please Thee to answer my prayer. For I believe Thou wilt do it in Thine own time and way.”
“For I shall yet praise him.” More prayer, more exercise of faith, more patient waiting, and the result will be blessing, abundant blessing. Thus I have found it many hundreds of times, and therefore I continually say to myself, “Hope thou in God.” —George Mueller
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 7
O Lord, teach me how you want me to live! Then I will obey your commands. Make me wholeheartedly committed to you! — Ps 86:11
Let no man turn aside ever so slightly, from the broad path of honor, on the plausible pretense that he is justified by the goodness of his end. All good ends can be worked out by good means.
— Charles Dickens.
If evils come not, then our fears are vain;
And if they do, fear but augments the pain.
— Sir Thomas More.
A human heart knows aught of littleness,
Suspects no man, compares with no one’s ways,
Hath in one hour most glorious length of days,
A recompense, a joy, a loveliness;
Like eaglet keen, shoots into azure far,
And always dwelling nigh is the remotest star.
— William Ellery Channing.
Gracious Father, I pray that thou wilt control my impulses, and protect me from false interpretations. May I have wisdom, and search for the high and holy ways. Help me to be patient for thy purposes, and may my relations to life be triumphant in thy standards. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》February 8
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”— Matthew 1:21
When a person is dear, everything connected with him becomes dear for his sake. Thus, so precious is the person of the Lord Jesus in the estimation of all true believers, that everything about him they consider to be inestimable beyond all price.
“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia,” said David, as if the very vestments of the Saviour were so sweetened by his person that he could not but love them. Certain it is, that there is not a spot where that hallowed foot hath trodden—there is not a word which those blessed lips have uttered—nor a thought which his loving Word has revealed—which is not to us precious beyond all price.
And this is true of the names of Christ—they are all sweet in the believer’s ear. Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether he be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world—the King, the Prophet, or the Priest—every title of our Master—Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor—every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distil from it.
But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name.
It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.
“Jesus, I love thy charming name,
‘Tis music to mine ear.”
《Evening by Evening》February 8
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”— Matthew 1:21
Many persons, if they are asked what they understand by salvation, will reply, “Being saved from hell and taken to heaven.” This is one result of salvation, but it is not one tithe of what is contained in that boon.
It is true our Lord Jesus Christ does redeem all his people from the wrath to come; he saves them from the fearful condemnation which their sins had brought upon them; but his triumph is far more complete than this.
He saves his people “from their sins.” Oh! sweet deliverance from our worst foes. Where Christ works a saving work, he casts Satan from his throne, and will not let him be master any longer. No man is a true Christian if sin reigns in his mortal body.
Sin will be in us—it will never be utterly expelled till the spirit enters glory; but it will never have dominion. There will be a striving for dominion—a lusting against the new law and the new spirit which God has implanted—but sin will never get the upper hand so as to be absolute monarch of our nature.
Christ will be Master of the heart, and sin must be mortified. The Lion of the tribe of Judah shall prevail, and the dragon shall be cast out. Professor! is sin subdued in you? If your life is unholy your heart is unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person.
If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, he has done nothing in you of a saving character. The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit.
Christ saves his people, not in their sins, but from them. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” If not saved from sin, how shall we hope to be counted among his people.
Lord, save me now from all evil, and enable me to honour my Saviour.
《My Utmost for His Highest》February 8
INSTANTANEOUS AND INSISTENT SANCTIFICATION
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly. — 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.
Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul’s? Are we prepared to say – "Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace"? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us?
《Faith's check book》February 8
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
Fear of falling is wholesome. To be venturesome is no sign of wisdom. Times come to us when we feel that we must go down unless we have a very special support. Here we have it. God’s right hand is a grand thing to lean upon. Mind, it is not only His hand, though it keepeth heaven and earth in their places, but His right hand: His power united with skill, His power where it is most dexterous. Nay, this is not all; it is written, “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” That hand which He uses to maintain His holiness and to execute His royal sentences — this shall be stretched out to hold up His trusting ones. Fearful is our danger, but joyful is our security. The man whom God upholds, devils cannot throw down.
Weak may be our feet, but almighty is God’s right hand. Rough may be the road, but Omnipotence is our upholding. We may boldly go forward. We shall not fall. Let us lean continually where all things lean. God will not withdraw His strength, for His righteousness is there as well. He will be faithful to His promise, and faithful to His Son, and therefore faithful to us. How happy we ought to be! Are we not so?
《Believer's Daily Treasure》February 8
Confession of Christ
If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. — 1 John 4:15
I’ll tell to all poor sinners round,
How great a Saviour I have found;
I’ll point to his redeeming blood,
And say, “Behold the way to God.”
《Streams In The Desert》February 8
Hope vs. Fear
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”—Matt 28:20
Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear. Rather look at them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto; do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms.
Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. —Frances do Sales
“The Lord is my shepherd.”
Not was, not may be, nor will be. “The Lord is my shepherd,” is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and, is in war; in abundance, and in penury. —J. Hudson Taylor
HE will silently plan for thee,
Object thou of omniscient care;
God Himself undertakes to be
Thy Pilot through each subtle snare.
He WILL silently plan for thee,
So certainly, He cannot fail!
Rest on the faithfulness of God,
In Him thou surely shalt prevail.
He will SILENTLY plan for thee
Some wonderful surprise of love.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,
But it is kept for thee above.
He will silently PLAN for thee,
His purposes shall all unfold;
The tangled skein shall shine at last,
A masterpiece of skill untold.
He will silently plan FOR THEE,
Happy child of a Father’s care,
As though no other claimed His love,
But thou alone to Him wert dear.
—E. Mary Grimes
Whatever our faith says God is, He will be
《Daily Prayer Guide》February 8
We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. — John 9:4
If you want knowledge, you must toil for it; and if pleasure, you must toil for it. Toil is the law. Pleasure comes through toil, and not by self-indulgence and indolence. When one gets to love work his life is a happy one.
— John Ruskin.
Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For every why he had a wherefore.
— Samuel Butler.
Through love to light! O wonderful the way,
That leads from darkness to the perfect day!
From darkness and from sorrow of the night
To morning that comes singing o’er the sea.
Through love to light! through light O God to Thee!
Who art the love, the eternal light of light!
— Richard Watson Gilder.
My Father, I pray that I may not weight my life with worthless efforts. May I be guided to the right work, and through the love of it find strength for my soul. Amen.