《Morning By Morning》March 1
“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.”(Song of Solomon 4:16)
Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that alone can be sanctified to the drawing forth of the perfume of our graces. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace. Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved; only entreating him to send forth his grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation which would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort, too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer's presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both; so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we. How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. Well may we court trial or even death itself if we shall thereby be aided to make glad Immanuel's heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our sweet Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes slumbering in the cups of the flowers: the wisdom of the great Husbandman overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result, and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth the grateful odours of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience, what this means.
《Evening by Evening》March 1
“He is precious.”(1 Peter 2:7)
As all the rivers run into the sea, so all delights centre in our Beloved. The glances of his eyes outshine the sun: the beauties of his face are fairer than the choicest flowers: no fragrance is like the breath of his mouth. Gems of the mine, and pearls from the sea, are worthless things when measured by his preciousness. Peter tells us that Jesus is precious, but he did not and could not tell us how precious, nor could any of us compute the value of God's unspeakable gift. Words cannot set forth the preciousness of the Lord Jesus to his people, nor fully tell how essential he is to their satisfaction and happiness. Believer, have you not found in the midst of plenty a sore famine if your Lord has been absent? The sun was shining, but Christ had hidden himself, and all the world was black to you; or it was night, and since the bright and morning star was gone, no other star could yield you so much as a ray of light. What a howling wilderness is this world without our Lord! If once he hideth himself from us, withered are the flowers of our garden; our pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their songs, and a tempest overturns our hopes. All earth's candles cannot make daylight if the Sun of Righteousness be eclipsed. He is the soul of our soul, the light of our light, the life of our life. Dear reader, what wouldst thou do in the world without him, when thou wakest up and lookest forward to the day's battle? What wouldst thou do at night, when thou comest home jaded and weary, if there were no door of fellowship between thee and Christ? Blessed be his name, he will not suffer us to try our lot without him, for Jesus never forsakes his own. Yet, let the thought of what life would be without him enhance his preciousness.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 1
THE UNDEVIATING QUESTION
Lovest thou Me? — John 21:17
Peter declares nothing now (cf. Matthew 26:33-35). Natural individuality professes and declares; the love of the personality is only discovered by the hurt of the question of Jesus Christ. Peter loved Jesus in the way in which any natural man loves a good man. That is temperamental love; it may go deep into the individuality, but it does not touch the centre of the person. True love never professes anything. Jesus said – "Whosoever shall confess Me before men," i.e., confess his love not merely by his words, but by everything he does.
Unless we get hurt right out of every deception about ourselves, the word of God is not having its way with us. The word of God hurts as no sin can ever hurt, because sin blunts feeling. The question of the Lord intensifies feeling, until to be hurt by Jesus is the most exquisite hurt conceivable. It hurts not only in the natural way but in the profound personal way. The word of the Lord pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, there is no deception left. There is no possibility of being sentimental with the Lord’s question; you cannot say nice things when the Lord speaks directly to you, the hurt is too terrific. It is such a hurt that it stings every other concern out of account. There never can be any mistake about the hurt of the Lord’s word when it comes to His child; but the point of the hurt is the great point of revelation.
《Faith's check book》March 1
Joy for the Cast-Out
Hear the word of the Lord, you who respect what he has to say! Your countrymen, who hate you and exclude you, supposedly for the sake of my name, say, “May the Lord be glorified, then we will witness your joy.” But they will be put to shame. — Isa 66:5
Possibly this text may not apply to one in a thousand of the readers of this little book of promises; but the Lord cheers that one in such words as these. Let us pray for all such as are cast out wrongfully from the society which they love. May the Lord appear to their joy!
The text applies to truly gracious men who tremble at the word of the Lord. These were hated of their brethren and at length cast out because of their fidelity and their holiness. This must have been very bitter to them; and all the more so because their casting out was done in the name of religion, and professedly with the view of glorifying God. How much is done for the devil in the name of God! The use of the name of Jehovah to add venom to the bite of the old serpent is an instance of his subtlety.
The appearing of the Lord for them is the hope of His persecuted people. He appears as the advocate and defender of His elect; and when He does so it means a clear deliverance for the God-fearing and shame for their oppressors. O Lord, fulfill this word to those whom men are deriding!
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 1
God the Believer's Sun and Shield
For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. The Lord bestows favor and honor; he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. — Ps 84:11
If thou art my shield and my sun,
The night is no darkness to me;
And fast as my moments roll on,
They bring me but nearer to thee.
《Streams In The Desert》March 1
Making Straight the Crooked
Consider the work of God: For who can make straight what he has bent?—Eccl 7:13
Often God seems to place His children in positions of profound difficulty, leading them into a wedge from which there is no escape; contriving a situation which no human judgment would have permitted, had it been previously consulted. The very cloud conducts them thither. You may be thus involved at this very hour.
It does seem perplexing and very serious to the last degree, but it is perfectly right. The issue will more than justify Him who has brought you hither. It is a platform for the display of His almighty grace and power.
He will not only deliver you; but in doing so, He will give you a lesson that you will never forget, and to which, in many a psalm and song, in after days, you will revert. You will never be able to thank God enough for having done just as He has. —Selected
“We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns.”
It puzzles me; but, Lord, Thou understandest,
And wilt one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Thy best—
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.
Thou hast fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand’ring eyes fixed on Thee;
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to Thee.
So I will thank and praise Thee for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing Thou dost hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Thy guiding hand.
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 1
Rest once more, my soul, for the Lord has vindicated you. Yes,Lord, you rescued my life from death, and kept my feet from stumbling. — Ps 116:7-8
Spring still makes spring in the mind,
When sixty years are told;
Love makes anew this throbbing heart,
And we are never old.
Over the winter glaciers,
I see the summer glow,
And through the wild-piled snowdrift
The warm rosebuds below.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Thy soul shall enter on its heritage
Of God’s unuttered wisdom. Thou shalt sweep
With hand assured the ringing lyre of life,
Till the fierce anguish of its bitter strife,
Its pain, death, discord, sorrow, and despair,
Break into rhythmic music. Thou shalt share
The prophet-joy that kept forever glad
God’s poet-souls when all a world was sad.
Enter and live! Thou hast not lived before.
— S. Weir Mitchell.
Almighty God, grant that I may never be so discouraged that I feel my life has been spent. Help me to so live, that I may not follow into hopeless days, but look for the bright and beautiful in to-morrow. Forgive me for all that I have asked for and accepted through willful judgment, and make me more careful in selecting my needs. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 2
“But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his ax, and his mattock.”— 1 Samuel 13:20
We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving, all must be brought into action, and talents which have been thought too mean for service, must now be employed.
Coulter, and axe, and mattock, may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favourable or unfavourable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.
Most of our tools want sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness, in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises.
We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit. See the energy of the Papists, how they compass sea and land to make one proselyte, are they to monopolize all the earnestness?
Mark the heathen devotees, what tortures they endure in the service of their idols! are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavours, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all!
The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!
《Evening by Evening》March 2
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”— Ephesians 3:8
The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to preach the gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Yet while Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it greatly humbled him.
The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus.
If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are.
Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, he was never perplexed as to the subject of his ministry. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of God who bled thereon.
Follow his example in all your personal efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let “Christ and him crucified” be your ever recurring theme. The Christian should be like those lovely spring flowers which, when the sun is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, “Fill us with thy beams!” but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they close their cups and droop their heads.
So should the Christian feel the sweet influence of Jesus; Jesus must be his sun, and he must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness. Oh! to speak of Christ alone, this is the subject which is both “seed for the sower, and bread for the eater.”
This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the master-key to the heart of the hearer.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 2
HAVE YOU FELT THE HURT OF THE LORD?
Jesus said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? — John 21:17
Have you felt the hurt of the Lord to the uncovered quick, the place where the real sensitiveness of your life is lodged? The devil never hurts there, neither sin nor human affection hurts there, nothing goes through to that place but the word of God. "Peter was grieved because Jesus said unto him the third time. . . ." He was awakening to the fact that in the real true centre of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus, and he began to see what the patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest strand of delusion left in Peter’s mind, he never could be deluded again. There was no room for passionate utterance, no room for exhilaration or sentiment. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he said – "Lord, Thou knowest all things." Peter began to see how much he did love Jesus; but he did not say – "Look at this or that to confirm it." Peter was beginning to discover to himself how much he did love the Lord, that there was no one in heaven above or upon earth beneath beside Jesus Christ; but he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord came. The Lord’s questions always reveal me to myself.
The patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the right time. Rarely, but probably once, He will get us into a corner where He will hurt us with His undeviating questions, and we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than any profession can ever show.
《Faith's check book》March 2
Giving Without a Whisper
But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. — Matt 6:3-4
No promise is made to those who give to the poor to be seen of men. They have their reward at once and cannot expect to be paid twice.
Let us hide away our charity — yes, hide it even from ourselves. Give so often and so much as a matter of course that you no more take note that you have helped the poor than that you have eaten your regular meals. Do your alms without even whispering to yourself, How generous I am! Do not thus attempt to reward yourself. Leave the matter with God, who never fails to see, to record, and to reward. Blessed is the man who is busy in secret with his kindness: he finds a special joy in his unknown benevolences. This is the bread, which eaten by stealth, is sweeter than the banquets of kings. How can I indulge myself today with this delightful luxury? Let me have a real feast of tenderness and flow of soul.
Here and hereafter the Lord Himself will personally see to the rewarding of the secret giver of alms. This will be in His own way and time; and He will choose the very best. How much this promise means it will need eternity to reveal.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 2
God the Portion of the Believer
My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. — Ps 73:26
His boundless grace shall all my need supply,
When streams of creature-comfort cease to flow:
And should he some inferior good deny,
’Tis but a greater blessing to bestow.
《Streams In The Desert》March 2
Meet Him in the Morning
Be prepared in the morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and station yourself for me there on the top of the mountain. No one is to come up with you; do not let anyone be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks or the herds may graze in front of that mountain.”—Exod 34:2-3
The morning watch is essential. You must not face the day until you have faced God, nor look into the face of others until you have looked into His.
You cannot expect to be victorious, if the day begins only in your own strength. Face the work of every day with the influence of a few thoughtful, quiet moments with your heart and God. Do not meet other people, even those of your own home, until you have first met the great Guest and honored Companion of your life—Jesus Christ.
Meet Him alone. Meet Him regularly. Meet Him with His open Book of counsel before you; and face the regular and the irregular duties of each day with the influence of His personality definitely controlling your every act.
Begin the day with God!
He is thy Sun and Day!
His is the radiance of thy dawn;
To Him address thy lay.
Sing a new song at morn!
Join the glad woods and hills;
Join the fresh winds and seas and plains,
Join the bright flowers and rills.
Sing thy first song to God!
Not to thy fellow men;
Not to the creatures of His hand,
But to the glorious One.
Take thy first walk with God!
Let Him go forth with thee;
By stream, or sea, or mountain path,
Seek still His company.
Thy first transaction be
With God Himself above;
So shall thy business prosper well,
And all the day be love.
The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early upon their knees.
Matthew Henry used to be in his study at four, and remain there till eight; then, after breakfast and family prayer, he used to be there again till noon; after dinner, he resumed his book or pen till four, and spent the rest of the day in visiting his friends.
Doddridge himself alludes to his “Family Expositor” as an example of the difference of rising between five and seven, which, in forty years, is nearly equivalent to ten years more of life.
Dr. Adam Clark’s “Commentary” was chiefly prepared very early in the morning.
Barnes’ popular and useful “Commentary” has been also the fruit of “early morning hours.”
Simeon’s “Sketches” were chiefly worked out between four and eight.
Daily Prayer Guide》March 2
But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. — Matt 6:6
Nature never says one thing, Wisdom another.
By all means, use some times to be alone;
Salute thyself—see what thy soul doth wear;
Dare to look in thy chest, for ’tis thine own,
And tumble up and down what thou findest there.
— William Wordsworth.
Lonesomeness is part of the cost of power. The higher you climb, the less can you hope for companionship. The heavier and the more immediate the responsibility, the less can a man delegate his tasks or escape his own mistakes.
— Shailer Mathews.
My Father, I pray that thou wilt take care of my thoughts when I am alone and tired, and keep them strong and clean. Grant that while I commune with thee I may yield to my needs and be restored with keener energy for worthier deeds. May I ask of thy wisdom every day. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 3
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”— Isaiah 48:10
Comfort thyself, tried believer, with this thought: God saith, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Does not the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame?
Yea, is it not an asbestos armour, against which the heat hath no power? Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayst stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and he has chosen me.
Sickness, thou mayst intrude, but I have a balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that he has “chosen” me. If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace.
In that silent chamber of yours, there sitteth by your side One whom thou hast not seen, but whom thou lovest; and ofttimes when thou knowest it not, he makes all thy bed in thy affliction, and smooths thy pillow for thee.
Thou art in poverty; but in that lovely house of thine the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that he may visit thee. Thy friend sticks closely to thee. Thou canst not see him, but thou mayst feel the pressure of his hands. Dost thou not hear his voice?
Even in the valley of the shadow of death he says, “Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee.
In all thy fiery trials, his presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom he has chosen for his own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is his sure word of promise to his chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.”
Wilt thou not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say—
“Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I’ll follow where he goes.”
《Evening by Evening》March 3
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:”— Matthew 3:16
As the Spirit of God descended upon the Lord Jesus, the head, so he also, in measure, descends upon the members of the mystical body. His descent is to us after the same fashion as that in which it fell upon our Lord.
There is often a singular rapidity about it; or ever we are aware, we are impelled onward and heavenward beyond all expectation. Yet is there none of the hurry of earthly haste, for the wings of the dove are as soft as they are swift.
Quietness seems essential to many spiritual operations; the Lord is in the still small voice, and like the dew, his grace is distilled in silence. The dove has ever been the chosen type of purity, and the Holy Spirit is holiness itself.
Where he cometh, everything that is pure and lovely, and of good report, is made to abound, and sin and uncleanness depart. Peace reigns also where the Holy Dove comes with power; he bears the olive branch which shows that the waters of divine wrath are assuaged.
Gentleness is a sure result of the Sacred Dove’s transforming power: hearts touched by his benign influence are meek and lowly henceforth and forever. Harmlessness follows, as a matter of course; eagles and ravens may hunt their prey—the turtledove can endure wrong, but cannot inflict it.
We must be harmless as doves. The dove is an apt picture of love, the voice of the turtle is full of affection; and so, the soul visited by the blessed Spirit, abounds in love to God, in love to the brethren, and in love to sinners; and above all, in love to Jesus.
The brooding of the Spirit of God upon the face of the deep, first produced order and life, and in our hearts, he causes and fosters new life and light. Blessed Spirit, as thou didst rest upon our dear Redeemer, even so rest upon us from this time forward and forever.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 3
THE UNRELIEVED QUEST
Feed My sheep. — John 21:17
This is love in the making. The love of God is un-made, it is God’s nature. When we receive the Holy Spirit He unites us with God so that His love is manifested in us. When the soul is united to God by the indwelling Holy Spirit, that is not the end; the end is that we may be one with the Father as Jesus was. What kind of oneness had Jesus Christ with the Father? Such a oneness that the Father sent Him down here to be spent for us, and He says – "As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you."
Peter realizes now with the revelation of the Lord’s hurting question that he does love Him; then comes the point – "Spend it out." Don’t testify how much you love Me, don’t profess about the marvellous revelation you have had, but – "Feed My sheep." And Jesus has some extraordinarily funny sheep, some bedraggled, dirty sheep, some awkward, butting sheep, some sheep that have gone astray! It is impossible to weary God’s love, and it is impossible to weary that love in me if it springs from the one centre. The love of God pays no attention to the distinctions made by natural individuality. If I love my Lord I have no business to be guided by natural temperament; I have to feed His sheep. There is no relief and no release from this commission. Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by working along the line of natural human sympathy, because that will end in blaspheming the love of God.
《Faith's check book》March 3
Not Left to Perish
You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit. — Ps 16:10
This word has its proper fulfillment in the Lord Jesus; but it applies also, with a variation, to all who are in Him. Our soul shall not be left in the separate state, and our body, though it see corruption, shall rise again. The general meaning, rather than the specific application, is that to which we would call our readers’ thoughts at this particular time.
We may descend in spirit very low till we seem to be plunged in the abyss of hell; but we shall not be left there. We may appear to be at death’s door in heart, and soul, and consciousness; but we cannot remain there. Our inward death as to joy and hope may proceed very far; but it cannot run on to its full consequences, so as to reach the utter corruption of black despair. We may go very low, but not lower than the Lord permits; we may stay in the lowest dungeon of doubt for a while, but we shall not perish there. The star of hope is still in the sky when the night is blackest. The Lord will not forget us and hand us over to the enemy. Let us rest in hope. We have to deal with One whose mercy endureth forever. Surely, out of death, and darkness, and despair we shall yet arise to life, light, and liberty.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 3
God the Refuge of the Believer
God is our strong refuge; he is truly our helper in times of trouble. For this reason we do not fear when the earth shakes, and the mountains tumble into the depths of the sea, — Ps 46:1-2
God is our refuge in distress,
A present help when dangers press;
In him undaunted I’ll confide,
Though earth were from her centre toss’d,
And mountains in the ocean lost,
Torn piece-meal by the roaring tide.
《Streams In The Desert》March 3
The Price of Freedom
It shrieked, threw him into terrible convulsions, and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He is dead!”—Mark 9:26
Evil never surrenders its hold without a sore fight. We never pass into any spiritual inheritance through the delightful exercises of a picnic, but always through the grim contentions of the battle field. It is so in the secret realm of the soul. Every faculty which wins its spiritual freedom does so at the price of blood. Apollyon is not put to flight by a courteous request; he straddles across the full breadth of the way, and our progress has to be registered in blood and tears. This we must remember or we shall add to all the other burdens of life the gall of misinterpretation. We are not “born again” into soft and protected nurseries, but in the open country where we suck strength from the very terror of the tempest. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Dr. J. H. Jowett
“Faith of our Fathers! living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword:
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word.
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!
“Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them, could die for Thee!”
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 3
because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. — 2 Cor 4:18
Pitch thy behaviour low, thy projects high,
So shalt thou humble and magnanimous be;
Sink not in spirit: who aimeth at the sky,
Shoots higher than he that means a tree.
— George Herbert.
We and God have business with each other; and in opening ourselves to his influence our deepest destiny is fulfilled.
— William James.
Almighty God, help me to remember that "the power of character is the highest point of success," and that thou hast put within reach of all the choice ideals of life. May I have the desire to cultivate strong purposes, and strive for high endeavors, that I may not aim for the low. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 4
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”— 2 Corinthians 12:9
If none of God’s saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace.
When we find the wanderer who has not where to lay his head, who yet can say, “Still will I trust in the Lord;” when we see the pauper starving on bread and water, who still glories in Jesus; when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction, and yet having faith in Christ, oh! what honour it reflects on the gospel.
God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring—that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily, or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as he is pleased to keep them in it.
This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace. There is a lighthouse out at sea: it is a calm night—I cannot tell whether the edifice is firm; the tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know whether it will stand.
So with the Spirit’s work: if it were not on many occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we should not know that it was true and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we should not know how firm and secure it was.
The master-works of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties, stedfast, unmoveable,—
“Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory.”
He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God.
As for his failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.
《Evening by Evening》March 4
“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.”— Psalm 36:8
Sheba’s queen was amazed at the sumptuousness of Solomon’s table. She lost all heart when she saw the provision of a single day; and she marvelled equally at the company of servants who were feasted at the royal board. But what is this to the hospitalities of the God of grace?
Ten thousand thousand of his people are daily fed; hungry and thirsty, they bring large appetites with them to the banquet, but not one of them returns unsatisfied; there is enough for each, enough for all, enough for evermore.
Though the host that feed at Jehovah’s table is countless as the stars of heaven, yet each one has his portion of meat. Think how much grace one saint requires, so much that nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day; and yet the Lord spreads his table, not for one, but many saints, not for one day, but for many years; not for many years only, but for generation after generation.
Observe the full feasting spoken of in the text, the guests at mercy’s banquet are satisfied, nay, more “abundantly satisfied;” and that not with ordinary fare, but with fatness, the peculiar fatness of God’s own house; and such feasting is guaranteed by a faithful promise to all those children of men who put their trust under the shadow of Jehovah’s wings.
I once thought if I might but get the broken meat at God’s back door of grace I should be satisfied; like the woman who said, “The dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the master’s table;” but no child of God is ever served with scraps and leavings; like Mephibosheth, they all eat from the king’s own table.
In matters of grace, we all have Benjamin’s mess—we all have ten times more than we could have expected, and though our necessities are great, yet are we often amazed at the marvellous plenty of grace which God gives us experimentally to enjoy.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 4
COULD THIS BE TRUE OF ME?
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself. — Acts 20:24
It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common-sense basis.
What do I really count dear? If I have not been gripped by Jesus Christ, I will count service dear, time given to God dear, my life dear unto myself. Paul says he counted his life dear only in order that he might fulfil the ministry he had received; he refused to use his energy for any other thing. Acts 20:24 states Paul’s almost sublime annoyance at being asked to consider himself; he was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God, because practical work is based on this argument – Remember how ‘useful you are here, or – Think how much value you would be in that particular type of work." That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the Guide as to where we should go, but our judgment as to where we are of most use. Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His.
《Faith's check book》March 4
Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I really did say that your house and your ancestor’s house would serve me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘May it never be! For I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed! — 1 Sam 2:30
Do I make the honor of God the great object of my life and the rule of my conduct? If so, He will honor me. I may for a while receive no honor from man, but God will Himself put honor upon me in the most effectual manner. In the end it will be found the surest way to honor to be willing to be put to shame for conscience’ sake.
Eli had not honored the Lord by ruling his household well, and his sons had not honored the Lord by behavior worthy of their sacred office, and therefore the Lord did not honor them but took the high priesthood out of their family and made young Samuel to be ruler in the land instead of any of their line. If I would have my family ennobled, I must honor the Lord in all things. God may allow the wicked to win worldly honors; but the dignity which He Himself gives, even glory, honor, and immortality, He reserves for those who by holy obedience take care to honor Him.
What can I do this day to honor the Lord? I will promote His glory by my spoken testimony and by my practical obedience, I will also honor Him with my substance and by offering to Him some special service. Let me sit down and think how I can honor Him, since He will honor me.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 4
God the Guide of the Believer
For God, our God, is our defender forever! He guides us! — Ps 48:14
Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Arm’d by faith, and wing’d by prayer;
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide thee there.
《Streams In The Desert》March 4
Tempered and Tried
so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.—Heb 6:12
They (heroes of faith) are calling to us from the heights that they have won, and telling us that what man once did man can do again. Not only do they remind us of the necessity of faith, but also of that patience by which faith has its perfect work. Let us fear to take ourselves out of the hands of our heavenly Guide or to miss a single lesson of His loving discipline by discouragement or doubt.
“There is only one thing,” said a village blacksmith, "that I fear, and that is to be thrown on the scrap heap.
“When I am tempering a piece of steel, I first beat it, hammer it, and then suddenly plunge it into this bucket of cold water. I very soon find whether it will take temper or go to pieces in the process. When I discover after one or two tests that it is not going to allow itself to be tempered, I throw it on the scrap heap and sell it for a cent a pound when the junk man comes around.
“So I find the Lord tests me, too, by fire and water and heavy blows of His heavy hammer, and if I am not willing to stand the test, or am not going to prove a fit subject for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me on the scrap heap.”
When the fire is hottest, hold still, for there will be a blessed “afterward”; and with Job we may be able to say, “When he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” —Selected
Sainthood springs out of suffering. It takes eleven tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. God will tune you to harmonize with Heaven’s key-note if you can stand the strain.
“Things that hurt and things that mar
Shape the man for perfect praise;
Shock and strain and ruin are
Friendlier than the smiling days.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 4
David reached his hand into the bag and took out a stone. He slung it, striking the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank deeply into his forehead, and he fell down with his face to the ground. — 1 Sam 17:49
It is perfectly obvious that men do necessarily absorb, out of the influences in which they grow up, something which gives a complexion to their whole after-character.
— Anthony Froude.
All common things, each day’s events
That with the hour begin and end,
Our pleasures and our discontents
Are rounds by which we may ascend.
— Henry W. Longfellow.
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. I
My Father, I would remember that my life may decline from the neglect of small things; for as thou dost nourish the wheat from flakes of snow, and supply the springs from drops of rain, so thou wilt strengthen my soul from every little blessing. I pray that I may not forget to watch my habits, and keep track of the hours that culture and sustain my life. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 5
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”— 1 Thessalonians 5:6
There are many ways of promoting Christian wakefulness. Among the rest, let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord.
Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed towards the Celestial City, said to themselves, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” Christian enquired, “Brother, where shall we begin?” And Hopeful answered, “Where God began with us.” Then Christian sang this song—
“When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb’ring eyes.
Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.”
Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. Hold Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress in the road to heaven.
But as you thus take “sweet counsel” with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your converse is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto him; let your heart be full of him; let your lips speak of his worth.
Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. Labour to impress thyself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which thou art going. If thou rememberest that thou art going to heaven, thou wilt not sleep on the road.
If thou thinkest that hell is behind thee, and the devil pursuing thee, thou wilt not loiter. Would the manslayer sleep with the avenger of blood behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, wilt thou sleep whilst the pearly gates are open—the songs of angels waiting for thee to join them—a crown of gold ready for thy brow?
Ah! no; in holy fellowship continue to watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.
《Evening by Evening》March 5
“Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.”— Psalm 35:3
What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my evening’s petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation.
The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation,” if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith.
If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts. The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold.
I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when his love is not shed abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast.
I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, “Say unto my soul I am thy salvation.” I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus’ love.
Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source.
“Say unto my soul.” Lord, do thou say it! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it.
“Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Lord, if thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless thou shouldst say it to me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.”
Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am thine, and that thou art mine.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 5
IS HE REALLY LORD?
. . . so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 20:24
Joy means the perfect fulfilment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. The joy Our Lord had lay in doing what the Father sent Him to do, and He says – "As My Father hath sent Me, even so am I sending you." Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of that ministry. Think of the satisfaction it will be to hear Jesus say – "Well done, good and faithful servant"; to know that you have done what He sent you to do. We have all to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord. In order to do this we must have companied with Jesus; we must know Him as more than a personal Saviour. "I will show him how great things he must suffer for My sake."
"Lovest thou Me?" Then – "Feed My sheep." There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s commission; loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it does mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines.
《Faith's check book》March 5
The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. — Prov 3:33
He fears the Lord, and therefore he comes under the divine protection even as to the roof which covers himself and his family. His home is an abode of love, a school of holy training, and a place of heavenly light. In it there is a family altar where the name of the Lord is daily had in reverence. Therefore the Lord blesses his habitation. It may be a humble cottage or a lordly mansion; but the Lord’s blessing comes because of the character of the inhabitant and not because of the size of the dwelling.
That house is most blest in which the master and mistress are God-fearing people; but a son or daughter or even a servant may bring a blessing on a whole household. The Lord often preserves, prospers, and provides for a family for the sake of one or two in it, who are “just” persons in His esteem, because His grace has made them so. Beloved, let us have Jesus for our constant guest even as the sisters of Bethany had, and then we shall be blessed indeed.
Let us look to it that in all things we are just — in our trade, in our judgment of others, in our treatment of neighbors, and in our own personal character. A just God cannot bless unjust transactions.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 5
God the Glory of the Believer
But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me. — Ps 3:3
Lord, let thy grace surround me still,
And like a bulwark prove,
To guard my soul from every ill,
Secured by sovereign love.
《Streams In The Desert》March 5
Hold on Until the End
For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end.—Heb 3:14
It is the last step that wins; and there is no place in the pilgrim’s progress where so many dangers lurk as the region that lies hard by the portals of the Celestial City. It was there that Doubting Castle stood. It was there that the enchanted ground lured the tired traveler to fatal slumber. It is when Heaven’s heights are full in view that hell’s gate is most persistent and full of deadly peril. “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” “So run, that ye may obtain.”
In the bitter waves of woe
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.
And fierce though the fiends may fight,
And long though the angels hide,
I know that truth and right
Have the universe on their side;
And that somewhere beyond the stars
Is a love that is better than fate.
When the night unlocks her bars
I shall see Him—and I will wait.
The problem of getting great things from God is being able to hold on for the last half hour. —Selected
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 5
For he says, “I heard you at the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation! — 2 Cor 6:2
When I have the time so many things I’ll do,
To make life happier and more fair
For those whose lives are crowded now with care,
I’ll help to lift them from their low despair
When I have time.
When I have time the friend I love so well
Shall know no more the weary, toiling days;
I’ll lead his feet in pleasant paths always,
And cheer his heart with words of sweetest praise,
When I have time.
Now is the time! Speed, friend; no longer wait
To scatter loving smiles and words of cheer
To those around whose lives are drear;
They may not need you in the far-off year:
Now is the time.
Lord God, teach me this day to know that the veriest trifle often keeps happiness alive, and that the smallest trifle often may kill it. I pray that now thou wilt put within my heart that touch of love, which brings consideration for others, and the care that brings the greatest happiness. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 6
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”— John 3:7
Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are “born again,” for there are many who fancy they are, who are not.
Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian; and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it—the being “born again,” is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Nevertheless, it is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness, and felt by a gracious experience.
This great work is supernatural. It is not an operation which a man performs for himself: a new principle is infused, which works in the heart, renews the soul, and affects the entire man. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus.
To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. If you have then, been “born again,” your acknowledgment will be, “O Lord Jesus, the everlasting Father, thou art my spiritual Parent; unless thy Spirit had breathed into me the breath of a new, holy and spiritual life, I had been to this day dead in trespasses and sins. My heavenly life is wholly derived from thee, to thee I ascribe it. My life is hid with Christ in God. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who liveth in me.”
May the Lord enable us to be well assured on this vital point, for to be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, without God, and without hope.
《Evening by Evening》March 6
“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.”— Proverbs 18:12
It is an old and common saying, that “coming events cast their shadows before them;” the wise man teaches us that a haughty heart is the prophetic prelude of evil. Pride is as safely the sign of destruction as the change of mercury in the weather-glass is the sign of rain; and far more infallibly so than that.
When men have ridden the high horse, destruction has always overtaken them. Let David’s aching heart show that there is an eclipse of a man’s glory when he dotes upon his own greatness. 2 Sam. 24:10.
See Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty builder of Babylon, creeping on the earth, devouring grass like oxen, until his nails had grown like bird’s claws, and his hair like eagle’s feathers. Dan. 4:33. Pride made the boaster a beast, as once before it made an angel a devil.
God hates high looks, and never fails to bring them down. All the arrows of God are aimed at proud hearts. O Christian, is thine heart haughty this evening? For pride can get into the Christian’s heart as well as into the sinner’s; it can delude him into dreaming that he is “rich and increased in goods, and hath need of nothing.”
Art thou glorying in thy graces or thy talents? Art thou proud of thyself, that thou hast had holy frames and sweet experiences? Mark thee, reader, there is a destruction coming to thee also. Thy flaunting poppies of self-conceit will be pulled up by the roots, thy mushroom graces will wither in the burning heat, and thy self-sufficiency shall become as straw for the dunghill.
If we forget to live at the foot of the cross in deepest lowliness of spirit, God will not forget to make us smart under his rod. A destruction will come to thee, O unduly exalted believer, the destruction of thy joys and of thy comforts, though there can be no destruction of thy soul.
Wherefore, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 6
AMID A CROWD OF PALTRY THINGS
. . . in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses. — 2 Corinthians 6:4
It takes Almighty grace to take the next step when there is no vision and no spectator – the next step in devotion, the next step in your study, in your reading, in your kitchen; the next step in your duty, when there is no vision from God, no enthusiasm and no spectator. It takes far more of the grace of God, far more conscious drawing upon God to take that step, than it does to preach the Gospel.
Every Christian has to partake of what was the essence of the Incarnation, he must bring the thing down into flesh and blood actualities and work it out through the finger tips. We flag when there is no vision, no uplift, but just the common round, the trivial task. The thing that tells in the long run for God and for men is the steady persevering work in the unseen, and the only way to keep the life uncrushed is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the Risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to damp you. Continually get away from pettiness and paltriness of mind and thought out into the thirteenth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.
《Faith's check book》March 6
Guardian of the Fatherless
Assyria cannot save us; we will not ride warhorses. We will never again say, ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made. For only you will show compassion to Orphan Israel!” — Hos 14:3
This is an excellent reason for casting away all other confidences and relying upon the Lord alone. When a child is left without its natural protector, our God steps in and becomes his guardian: so also when a man has lost every object of dependence, he may cast himself upon the living God and find in Him all that he needs. Orphans are cast upon the fatherhood of God, and He provides for them. The writer of these pages knows what it is to hang on the bare arm of God, and he bears his willing witness that no trust is so well warranted by facts, or so sure to be rewarded by results, as trust in the invisible but ever-living God.
Some children who have fathers are not much the better off because of them, but the fatherless with God are rich. Better have God and no other friend than all the patrons on the earth and no God. To be bereaved of the creature is painful, but so long as the Lord remains the fountain of mercy to us, we are not truly orphaned. Let fatherless children plead the gracious word for this morning, and let all who have been bereaved of visible support do the same, Lord, let me find mercy in Thee! The more needy and helpless I am, the more confidently do I appeal to Thy loving heart.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 6
All Blessings Through Christ
So then, no more boasting about mere mortals! For everything belongs to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. — 1 Cor 3:21-23
Let Christ assure me he is mine,
I nothing want beside;
My soul shall at the fountain live,
When all the streams are dried.
《Streams In The Desert》March 6
But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. Not only this, but it is now the third day since these things happened.—Luke 24:21
I have always felt so sorry that in that walk to Emmaus the disciples had not said to Jesus, “We still trust”; instead of “We trusted.” That is so sad—something that is all over.
If they had only said, “Everything is against our hope; it looks as if our trust was vain, but we do not give up; we believe we shall see Him again.” But no, they walked by His side declaring their lost faith, and He had to say to them “O fools, and slow of heart to believe!”
Are we not in the same danger of having these words said to us? We can afford to lose anything and everything if we do not lose our faith in the God of truth and love.
Let us never put our faith, as these disciples did, in a past tense—“We trusted.” But let us ever say, “I am trusting.” —Crumbs
The soft, sweet summer was warm and glowing,
Bright were the blossoms on every bough:
I trusted Him when the roses were blooming;
I trust Him now…
Small were my faith should it weakly falter
Now that the roses have ceased to blow;
Frail were the trust that now should alter,
Doubting His love when storm clouds grow.
—The Song of a Bird in a Winter Storm
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 6
If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. — 1 Cor 13:3
Beloved, let us love so well
Our work shall still be better for our love,
And still our love be sweeter for our work:
And both commended for the sake of each
By all true workers and true lovers born.
— Elizabeth B. Browning.
Earth saddens, never shall remove,
Affections purely given;
And e’en that mortal grief shall prove
The immortality of love,
And heighten it with heaven.
— Elizabeth B. Browning.
Loving Father, I pray that I may not try to change the standard of love by grafting on my own selfishness and infirmities. May I remember that it is mostly for gratification that love is held to the base in life; may I follow it to the summits, where it is divine. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 7
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”— Mark 11:22
Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but faith is the foot which carries the soul.
Faith is the oil enabling the wheels of holy devotion and of earnest piety to move well; and without faith the wheels are taken from the chariot, and we drag heavily. With faith I can do all things; without faith I shall neither have the inclination nor the power to do anything in the service of God.
If you would find the men who serve God the best, you must look for the men of the most faith. Little faith will save a man, but little faith cannot do great things for God. Poor Little-faith could not have fought “Apollyon;” it needed “Christian” to do that.
Poor Little-faith could not have slain “Giant Despair;” it required “Great-heart’s” arm to knock that monster down. Little faith will go to heaven most certainly, but it often has to hide itself in a nut-shell, and it frequently loses all but its jewels.
Little-faith says, “It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;” but Great-faith remembers the promise, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; as thy days, so shall thy strength be:” and so she boldly ventures.
Little-faith stands desponding, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:” and she fords the stream at once.
Would you be comfortable and happy? Would you enjoy religion? Would you have the religion of cheerfulness and not that of gloom? Then “have faith in God.” If you love darkness, and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine, and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, “great faith.”
《Evening by Evening》March 7
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”— Psalm 118:8
Doubtless the reader has been tried with the temptation to rely upon the things which are seen, instead of resting alone upon the invisible God. Christians often look to man for help and counsel, and mar the noble simplicity of their reliance upon their God.
Does this evening’s portion meet the eye of a child of God anxious about temporals, then would we reason with him awhile. You trust in Jesus, and only in Jesus, for your salvation, then why are you troubled? “Because of my great care.”
Is it not written, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord”? “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make known your wants unto God.” Cannot you trust God for temporals? “Ah! I wish I could.”
If you cannot trust God for temporals, how dare you trust him for spirituals? Can you trust him for your soul’s redemption, and not rely upon him for a few lesser mercies? Is not God enough for thy need, or is his all-sufficiency too narrow for thy wants?
Dost thou want another eye beside that of him who sees every secret thing? Is his heart faint? Is his arm weary? If so, seek another God; but if he be infinite, omnipotent, faithful, true and all-wise, why gaddest thou abroad so much to seek another confidence?
Why dost thou rake the earth to find another foundation, when this is strong enough to bear all the weight which thou canst ever build thereon? Christian, mix not only thy wine with water, do not alloy thy gold of faith with the dross of human confidence.
Wait thou only upon God, and let thine expectation be from him. Covet not Jonah’s gourd, but rest in Jonah’s God. Let the sandy foundations of terrestrial trust be the choice of fools, but do thou, like one who foresees the storm, build for thyself an abiding place upon the Rock of Ages.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 7
Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. — Romans 8:37
Paul is speaking of the things that might seem likely to separate or wedge in between the saint and the love of God; but the remarkable thing is that nothing can wedge in between the love of God and the saint. These things can and do come in between the devotional exercises of the soul and God and separate individual life from God; but none of them is able to wedge in between the love of God and the soul of the saint. The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can and never shall merit. Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.
The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things – tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it – "I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation," says Paul.
Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter. The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》Mar 7
Use for《Faith's check book》Mar 7
《Faith's check book》March 7
From Fetters Free
vindicates the oppressed, and gives food to the hungry. The Lord releases the imprisoned. — Ps 146:7
He has done it. Remember Joseph, Israel in Egypt, Manasseh, Jeremiah, Peter, and many others. He can do it still. He breaks the bars of brass with a word and snaps the fetters of iron with a look. He is doing it. In a thousand places troubled ones are coming forth to light and enlargement. Jesus still proclaims the opening of the prison to them that are bound. At this moment doors are flying back and fetters are dropping to the ground.
He will delight to set you free, dear friend, if at this time you are mourning because of sorrow, doubt, and fear. It will be joy to Jesus to give you liberty. It will give Him as great a pleasure to loose you as it will be a pleasure to you to be loosed. No, you have not to snap the iron hand: the Lord Himself will do it. Only trust Him, and He will be your Emancipator. Believe in Him in spite of the stone walls or the manacles of iron. Satan cannot hold you, sin cannot enchain you, even despair cannot bind you if you will now believe in the Lord Jesus, in the freeness of His grace, and the fullness of His power to save.
Defy the enemy, and let the word now before you be your song of deliverance; “Jehovah looseth the prisoners.”
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 7
All Blessings in Christ
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. — Eph 1:3
Oh the rich depths of love divine!
Of bliss a boundless store!
Dear Savior, let me call thee mine,
I cannot wish for more.
《Streams In The Desert》March 7
Our Dependency on Christ
For even when we came into Macedonia, our body had no rest at all, but we were troubled in every way – struggles from the outside, fears from within.—2 Cor 7:5
Why should God have to lead us thus, and allow the pressure to be so hard and constant? Well, in the first place, it shows His all-sufficient strength and grace much better than if we were exempt from pressure and trial. “The treasure is in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
It makes us more conscious of our dependence upon Him. God is constantly trying to teach us our dependence, and to hold us absolutely in His hand and hanging upon His care.
This was the place where Jesus Himself stood and where He wants us to stand, not with self-constituted strength, but with a hand ever leaning upon His, and a trust that dare not take one step alone. It teaches us trust.
There is no way of learning faith except by trial. It is God’s school of faith, and it is far better for us to learn to trust God than to enjoy life.
The lesson of faith once learned, is an everlasting acquisition and an eternal fortune made; and without trust even riches will leave us poor. —Days of Heaven upon Earth
“Why must I weep when others sing?
’To test the deeps of suffering.’
Why must I work while others rest?
’To spend my strength at God’s request.’
Why must I lose while others gain?
’To understand defeat’s sharp pain.’
Why must this lot of life be mine
When that which fairer seems is thine?
’Because God knows what plans for me
Shall blossom in eternity.’”
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 7
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 it 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.
We are our own fates. Our own deeds
Are our doomsmen. Man’s life was made
Not for men’s creeds,
But men’s actions.
— Owen Meredith.
Gracious Father, may the world speak to me of thy love, and of thy gifts of peace and power, which it freely offers. May I not pass by its great values, and prefer to purchase at a great cost my indolence and dissipation. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》March 8
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”— Acts 14:22
God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy.
Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs.
Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us.
Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.”
Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction.
It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished.
But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have his presence and sympathy to cheer them, his grace to support them, and his example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.
《Evening by Evening》March 8
“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”— Genesis 35:18
To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side. Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death; Jacob, though weeping the mother’s loss, could see the mercy of the child’s birth.
It is well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in divine faithfulness. Samson’s lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities, if rightly considered. The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the wild wood blooms with beauteous flowerets; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the biting frost loosens the soil.
Dark clouds distil bright drops, and black earth grows gay flowers. A vein of good is to be found in every mine of evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial; if there were only one slough in the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it, and if there were only one lion in the desert they would hear it roar.
About us all there is a tinge of this wretched folly, and we are apt, at times, like Jacob, to cry, “All these things are against me.” Faith’s way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities.
Like Gideon’s men, she does not fret over the broken pitcher, but rejoices that the lamp blazes forth the more. Out of the rough oyster-shell of difficulty she extracts the rare pearl of honour, and from the deep ocean-caves of distress she uplifts the priceless coral of experience.
When her flood of prosperity ebbs, she finds treasures hid in the sands; and when her sun of delight goes down, she turns her telescope of hope to the starry promises of heaven. When death itself appears, faith points to the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our dying Ben-oni to be our living Benjamin.
《My Utmost for His Highest》March 8
THE RELINQUISHED LIFE
I am crucified with Christ. — Galatians 2:20
No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.
Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.
If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.
《Faith's check book》March 8
Our Substance Blessed
Your basket and your mixing bowl will be blessed. — Deut 28:5
Obedience brings a blessing on all the provisions which our industry earns for us. That which comes in and goes out at once, like fruit in the basket which is for immediate use, shall be blest; and that which is laid by with us for a longer season shall equally receive a blessing. Perhaps ours is a hand-basket portion. We have a little for breakfast and a scanty bite for dinner in a basket when we go out to do our work in the morning. This is well, for the blessing of God is promised to the basket. If we live from hand to mouth, getting each day’s supply in the day, we are as well off as Israel; for when the Lord entertained His favored people He only gave them a day’s manna at a time. What more did they need? What more do we need?
But if we have a store, how much we need the Lord to bless it! For there is the care of getting, the care of keeping, the care of managing, the care of using; and, unless the Lord bless it, these cares will eat into our hearts till our goods become our gods and our cares prove cankers.
O Lord, bless our substance. Enable us to use it for Thy glory, Help us to keep worldly things in their proper places, and never may our savings endanger the saving of our souls.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》March 8
Pardon Through Christ
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. — Col 1:14
O Lamb of God, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransom’d church of God
Is saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
《Streams In The Desert》March 8
Be Sure of His Promises
So now, O Lord, may the promise you made about your servant and his family become a permanent reality! Do as you promised, so it may become a reality and you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The Lord who commands armies is the God of Israel.’ David’s dynasty will be established before you,—1 Chr 17:23-24
This is a most blessed phase of true prayer. Many a time we ask for things which are not absolutely promised. We are not sure therefore until we have persevered for some time whether our petitions are in the line of God’s purpose or no. There are other occasions, and in the life of David this was one, when we are fully persuaded that what we ask is according to God’s will. We feel led to take up and plead some promise from the page of Scripture, under the special impression that it contains a message for us. At such times, in confident faith, we say, “Do as Thou hast said.” There is hardly any position more utterly beautiful, strong, or safe, than to put the finger upon some promise of the Divine word, and claim it. There need be no anguish, or struggle, or wrestling; we simply present the check and ask for cash, produce the promise, and claim its fulfillment; nor can there be any doubt as to the issue. It would give much interest to prayer, if we were more definite. It is far better to claim a few things specifically than a score vaguely. —F. B. Meyer
Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request: “Do as Thou hast said.” The Creator will not cheat His creature who depends upon His truth; and far more, the Heavenly Father will not break His word to His own child.
“Remember the word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope,” is most prevalent pleading. It is a double argument: it is Thy Word. Wilt Thou not keep it? Why hast thou spoken of it, if Thou wilt not make it good. Thou hast caused me to hope in it, wilt Thou disappoint the hope which Thou has Thyself begotten in me? —C. H. Spurgeon
“Being absolutely certain that whatever promise he is bound by, he is able also to make good” (Rom. 4:21, Weymouth’s Translation).
It is the everlasting faithfulness of God that makes a Bible promise “exceeding great and precious.” Human promises are often worthless. Many a broken promise has left a broken heart. But since the world was made, God has never broken a single promise made to one of His trusting children.
Oh, it is sad for a poor Christian to stand at the door of the promise, in the dark night of affliction, afraid to draw the latch, whereas he should then come boldly for shelter as a child into his father’s house. —Gurnal
Every promise is built upon four pillars: God’s justice and holiness, which will not suffer Him to deceive; His grace or goodness, which will not suffer Him to forget; His truth, which will not suffer Him to change, which makes Him able to accomplish. —Selected
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 8
even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. — 1 Tim 2:2
O boundless self-contentment voiced
In flying air-born bubbles!
O joy that mocks our sad unrest,
And frowns our earth-born troubles!
The life that floods the happy fields
With song and light and color,
Will shape our lives to richer states
And heap our measures fuller.
— C.P. Cranch.
One may secure and preserve that repose in the turbulence of a great city—as Shakespeare surely found and preserved it in the London of the sixteenth century. For repose does not depend on external conditions; it depends on sound adjustment to tasks, opportunities, pleasures, and the general order of life.
— Hamilton Mabie.
Gracious Father, help me to understand that peace cannot abide in misery, nor can it stay with every mood. May I be able to overcome the depression that may keep me in sadness and isolation, and have delight in the gladness of friends, and live in the peace of strong resolutions. Amen.