The Lily of the Valley
Use for《Evening by Evening》May 1
Jesus, Rose of Sharon
Use for《Evening by Evening》May 1
Use for《Evening by Evening》May 1
《Morning By Morning》May 1
“His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.”— Song of Solomon 5:13
Lo, the flowery month is come! March winds and April showers have done their work, and the earth is all bedecked with beauty.
Come my soul, put on thine holiday attire and go forth to gather garlands of heavenly thoughts. Thou knowest whither to betake thyself, for to thee “the beds of spices” are well known, and thou hast so often smelt the perfume of “the sweet flowers,” that thou wilt go at once to thy well-beloved and find all loveliness, all joy in him.
That cheek once so rudely smitten with a rod, oft bedewed with tears of sympathy and then defiled with spittle–that cheek as it smiles with mercy is as fragrant aromatic to my heart. Thou didst not hide thy face from shame and spitting, O Lord Jesus, and therefore I will find my dearest delight in praising thee.
Those cheeks were furrowed by the plough of grief, and crimsoned with red lines of blood from thy thorn-crowned temples; such marks of love unbounded cannot but charm my soul far more than “pillars of perfume.” If I may not see the whole of his face I would behold his cheeks, for the least glimpse of him is exceedingly refreshing to my spiritual sense and yields a variety of delights.
In Jesus I find not only fragrance, but a bed of spices; not one flower, but all manner of sweet flowers. He is to me my rose and my lily, my heartsease and my cluster of camphire.
When he is with me it is May all the year round, and my soul goes forth to wash her happy face in the morning-dew of his grace, and to solace herself with the singing of the birds of his promises. Precious Lord Jesus, let me in very deed know the blessedness which dwells in abiding, unbroken fellowship with thee.
I am a poor worthless one, whose cheek thou hast deigned to kiss! O let me kiss thee in return with the kisses of my lips.
《Evening by Evening》May 1
“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”— Song of Solomon 2:1
Whatever there may be of beauty in the material world, Jesus Christ possesses all that in the spiritual world in a tenfold degree.
Amongst flowers the rose is deemed the sweetest, but Jesus is infinitely more beautiful in the garden of the soul than the rose can be in the gardens of earth. He takes the first place as the fairest among ten thousand.
He is the sun, and all others are the stars; the heavens and the day are dark in comparison with him, for the King in his beauty transcends all.
“I am the rose of Sharon.” This was the best and rarest of roses. Jesus is not “the rose” alone, he is “the rose of Sharon,” just as he calls his righteousness “gold,” and then adds, “the gold of Ophir”–the best of the best.
He is positively lovely, and superlatively the loveliest. There is variety in his charms. The rose is delightful to the eye, and its scent is pleasant and refreshing; so each of the senses of the soul, whether it be the taste or feeling, the hearing, the sight, or the spiritual smell, finds appropriate gratification in Jesus.
Even the recollection of his love is sweet. Take the rose of Sharon, and pull it leaf from leaf, and lay by the leaves in the jar of memory, and you shall find each leaf fragrant long afterwards, filling the house with perfume.
Christ satisfies the highest taste of the most educated spirit to the very full. The greatest amateur in perfumes is quite satisfied with the rose: and when the soul has arrived at her highest pitch of true taste, she shall still be content with Christ, nay, she shall be the better able to appreciate him.
Heaven itself possesses nothing which excels the rose of Sharon. What emblem can fully set forth his beauty? Human speech and earth-born things fail to tell of him.
Earth’s choicest charms commingled, feebly picture his abounding preciousness. Blessed rose, bloom in my heart forever!
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 1
Insight Not Emotion
I have to lead my life in faith, without seeing Him. — 2 Corinthians 5:7 (MOFFATT)
For a time we are conscious of God’s attentions, then, when God begins to use us in His enterprises, we take on a pathetic look and talk of the trials and the difficulties, and all the time God is trying to make us do our duty as obscure people. None of us would be obscure spiritually if we could help it. Can we do our duty when God has shut up heaven? Some of us always want to be illuminated saints with golden babes and the flush of inspiration, and to have the saints of God dealing with us all the time. A gilt-edged saint is no good, he is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and altogether unlike God. We are here as men and women, not as half-fledged angels, to do the work of the world, and to do it with an infinitely greater power to stand the turmoil because we have been born from above.
If we try to re-introduce the rare moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are making a fetish of the moments when God did come and speak, and insisting that He must do it again; whereas what God wants us to do is to "walk by faith." How many of us have laid ourselves by, as it were, and said – "I cannot do any more until God appears to me." He never will, and without any inspiration, without any sudden touch of God, we will have to get up. Then comes the surprise – "Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!" Never live for the rare moments, they are surprises. God will give us touches of inspiration when He sees we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never make our moments of inspiration our standard; our standard is our duty.
《Faith's check book》May 1
Full of Song
Indeed you will go out with joy; you will be led along in peace; the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you, and all the trees in the field will clap their hands. — Isa 55:12
When sin is pardoned, our greatest sorrow is ended, and our truest pleasure begins. Such is the joy which the Lord bestows upon His reconciled ones, that it overflows and fills all nature with delight. The material world has latent music in it, and a renewed heart knows how to bring it out and make it vocal. Creation is the organ, and a gracious man finds out its keys, lays his hand thereon, and wakes the whole system of the universe to the harmony of praise. Mountains and hills, and other great objects, are, as it were, the bass of the chorus; while the trees of the wood, and all things that have life, take up the air of the melodious song.
When God’s Word is made to prosper among us and souls are saved, then everything seems full of song. When we hear the confessions of young believers and the testimonies of well-instructed saints, we are made so happy that we must praise the Lord, and then it seems as if rocks and hills and woods and fields echo our joy-notes and turn the world into an orchestra. Lord, on this happy May Day, lead me out into thy tuneful world as rich in praise as a lark in full song.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 1
To Show Forth the Praises of God
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. — 1 Pet 2:9
Not by your words alone,
But by your actions show,
How much from him you have received,
How much to him you owe.
《Streams In The Desert》May 1
The Prayer of Faith
in hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the ages began.—Titus 1:2
Faith is not working up by will power a sort of certainty that something is coming to pass, but it is seeing as an actual fact that God has said that this thing shall come to pass, and that it is true, and then rejoicing to know that it is true, and just resting because God has said it.
Faith turns the promise into a prophecy. While it is merely a promise it is contingent upon our cooperation. But when faith claims it, it becomes a prophecy, and we go forth feeling that it is something that must be done because God cannot lie.—Days of Heaven upon Earth
I hear men praying everywhere for more faith, but when I listen to them carefully, and get at the real heart of their prayer, very often it is not more faith at all that they are wanting, but a change from faith to sight.
Faith says not, “I see that it is good for me, so God must have sent it,” but, “God sent it, and so it must be good for me.”
Faith, walking in the dark with God, only prays Him to clasp its hand more closely. —Phillips Brooks
“The Shepherd does not ask of thee
Faith in thy faith, but only faith in Him;
And this He meant in saying, ‘Come to me.’
In light or darkness seek to do His will,
And leave the work of faith to Jesus still.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》May 1
He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts. — Ps 1:3
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in the embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May’s wildest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
— John Keats.
Such a starved bank of moss
Till that May morn,
Blue ran the flash across:
Violets were born.
— Robert Browning.
If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.
— Joseph Addison.
He who plants a tree, he plants love;
Tents of coolness spreading out above
Wayfarers, he may not live to see.
Gifts that grow are best;
Hands that bless are blest;
Plant-life does the rest!
Heaven and earth help him who plants a tree,
And his work his own reward shall be.
— Lucy Larcom.
My Creator, give me joyful eyes for joyful nature. May I be alive to the gentle influences of a May day which bring new experiences to all who may receive them: and may I serve thee by unfolding to others the love of truth, the love of good, and the love of beauty. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》May 2
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”— John 17:15
It is a sweet and blessed event which will occur to all believers in God’s own time–the going home to be with Jesus.
In a few more years the Lord’s soldiers, who are now fighting “the good fight of faith” will have done with conflict, and have entered into the joy of their Lord. But although Christ prays that his people may eventually be with him where he is, he does not ask that they may be taken at once away from this world to heaven. He wishes them to stay here.
Yet how frequently does the wearied pilgrim put up the prayer, “O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest;” but Christ does not pray like that, he leaves us in his Father’s hands, until, like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each be gathered into our Master’s garner.
Jesus does not plead for our instant removal by death, for to abide in the flesh is needful for others if not profitable for ourselves. He asks that we may be kept from evil, but he never asks for us to be admitted to the inheritance in glory till we are of full age.
Christians often want to die when they have any trouble. Ask them why, and they tell you, “Because we would be with the Lord.” We fear it is not so much because they are longing to be with the Lord, as because they desire to get rid of their troubles; else they would feel the same wish to die at other times when not under the pressure of trial.
They want to go home, not so much for the Saviour’s company, as to be at rest. Now it is quite right to desire to depart if we can do it in the same spirit that Paul did, because to be with Christ is far better, but the wish to escape from trouble is a selfish one.
Rather let your care and wish be to glorify God by your life here as long as he pleases, even though it be in the midst of toil, and conflict, and suffering, and leave him to say when “it is enough.”
《Evening by Evening》May 2
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”— Hebrews 11:13
Behold the epitaph of all those blessed saints who fell asleep before the coming of our Lord! It matters nothing how else they died, whether of old age, or by violent means; this one point, in which they all agree, is the most worthy of record, “they all died in faith.”
In faith they lived—it was their comfort, their guide, their motive and their support; and in the same spiritual grace they died, ending their life-song in the sweet strain in which they had so long continued.
They did not die resting in the flesh or upon their own attainments; they made no advance from their first way of acceptance with God, but held to the way of faith to the end. Faith is as precious to die by as to live by.
Dying in faith has distinct reference to the past. They believed the promises which had gone before, and were assured that their sins were blotted out through the mercy of God.
Dying in faith has to do with the present. These saints were confident of their acceptance with God, they enjoyed the beams of his love, and rested in his faithfulness.
Dying in faith looks into the future. They fell asleep, affirming that the Messiah would surely come, and that when he would in the last days appear upon the earth, they would rise from their graves to behold him. To them the pains of death were but the birth-pangs of a better state.
Take courage, my soul, as thou readest this epitaph. Thy course, through grace, is one of faith, and sight seldom cheers thee; this has also been the pathway of the brightest and the best.
Faith was the orbit in which these stars of the first magnitude moved all the time of their shining here; and happy art thou that it is thine.
Look anew tonight to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith, and thank Him for giving thee like precious faith with souls now in glory.
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 2
The Passion Of Patience
Though it tarry, wait for it. — Habakkuk 2:3
Patience is not indifference; patience conveys the idea of an immensely strong rock withstanding all onslaughts. The vision of God is the source of patience, because it imparts a moral inspiration. Moses endured, not because he had an ideal of right and duty, but because he had a vision of God. He "endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible." A man with the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue; he is devoted to God Himself. You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it; things come with largeness and tonic to the life because everything is energized by God. If God gives you a time spiritually, as He gave His Son actually, of temptation in the wilderness, with no word from Himself at all, endure, and the power to endure is there because you see God.
"Though it tarry, wait for it." The proof that we have the vision is that we are reaching out for more than we have grasped. It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually. "What shall I render unto the Lord?" said the Psalmist. "I will take the cup of salvation." We are apt to look for satisfaction in ourselves – "Now I have got the thing; now I am entirely sanctified; now I can endure." Instantly we are on the road to ruin. Our reach must exceed our grasp. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect." If we have only what we have experienced, we have nothing; if we have the inspiration of the vision of God, we have more than we can experience. Beware of the danger of relaxation spiritually.
《Faith's check book》May 2
because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. — Gal 6:8
Sowing looks like a losing business, for we put good corn into the ground never to see it anymore. Sowing to the Spirit seems a very fanciful, dreamy business; for we deny ourselves and apparently get nothing for it. Yet if we sow to the Spirit by studying to live unto God, seeking to obey the will of God, and laying ourselves out to promote His honor, we shall not sow in vain. Life shall be our reward, even everlasting life. This we enjoy here as we enter into the knowledge of God, communion with God, and enjoyment of God. This life flows on like an ever-deepening, ever-widening river till it bears us to the ocean of infinite felicity, where the life of God is ours forever and ever.
Let us not this day sow to our flesh, for the harvest will be corruption, since flesh always tends that way; but with holy self-conquest let us live for the highest, purest, and most spiritual ends, seeking to honor our most holy Lord by obeying His most gracious Spirit. What a harvest will that be when we reap life everlasting! What sheaves of endless bliss will be reaped! What a festival will that harvest be! Lord, make us such reapers, for thy Son’s sake.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 2
To Depart from All Iniquity
However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.” — 2 Tim 2:19
Faith must obey her Father’s will,
As well as trust his grace;
A pardoning God is jealous still
For his own holiness.
《Streams In The Desert》May 2
The Key to the Wind
The Lord has established his throne in heaven; his kingdom extends over everything.—Ps 103:19
Some time since, in the early spring, I was going out at my door when round the corner came a blast of east wind—defiant and pitiless, fierce and withering—sending a cloud of dust before it.
I was just taking the latchkey from the door as I said, half impatiently, “I wish the wind would”—I was going to say change; but the word was checked, and the sentence was never finished.
As I went on my way, the incident became a parable to me. There came an angel holding out a key; and he said:
“My Master sends thee His love, and bids me give you this.”
“What is it?” I asked, wondering. “The key of the winds,” said the angel, and disappeared.
Now indeed should I be happy. I hurried away up into the heights whence the winds came, and stood amongst the caves. “I will have done with the east wind at any rate—and that shall plague us no more,” I cried; and calling in that friendless wind, I closed the door, and heard the echoes ringing in the hollow places. I turned the key triumphantly. “There,” I said, now we have done with that.
“What shall I choose in its place?” I asked myself, looking about me. “The south wind is pleasant”; and I thought of the lambs, and the young life on every hand, and the flowers that had begun to deck the hedgerows. But as I set the key within the door, it began to burn my hand.
“What am I doing?” I cried; “who knows what mischief I may bring about? How do I know what the fields want! Ten thousand things of ill may come of this foolish wish of mine.”
Bewildered and ashamed, I looked up and prayed that the Lord would send His angel yet again to take the key; and for my part I promised that I would never want to have it any more.
But lo, the Lord Himself stood by me. He reached His hand to take the key; and as I laid it down, I saw that it rested against the sacred wound-print.
It hurt me indeed that I could ever have murmured against anything wrought by Him who bare such sacred tokens of His love. Then He took the key and hung it on His girdle.
“Dost THOU keep the key of the winds?” I asked.
“I do, my child,” He answered graciously.
And lo, I looked again and there hung all the keys of all my life. He saw my look of amazement, and asked, “Didst thou not know, my child, that my kingdom ruleth over all?”
“Over all, my Lord!” I answered; “then it is not safe for me to murmur at anything?” Then did He lay His hand upon me tenderly. “My child,” He said, “thy only safety is, in everything, to love and trust and praise.”—Mark Guy Pearse
Daily Prayer Guide》May 2
For then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be securely established and will not fear. — Job 11:15
Without a false humility;
For this is love’s nobility,—
Not to scatter bread and gold,
Goods and raiment bought and sold;
But to hold fast his simple sense,
And speak the speech of innocence,
And with hand and body and blood,
To make his bosom-counsel good.
He that feeds man serveth few;
He serves all who dares be true.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Small service is true service while it lasts:
Of humblest friends scorn not one:
The daisy, by the shadow it casts,
Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun.
— William Wordsworth.
Heavenly Father, I would be thankful for the blessings I am inclined to forget. Give me a heart of gratitude, and forbid that I should hold my friends for material gain or selfish ends. May I through the truthfulness of my lips, and the honor of my acts, be a necessary friend. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》May 3
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”— John 16:33
Art thou asking the reason of this, believer? Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold him pure and holy.
Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like him? Wilt thou easily be conformed to his image? Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect?
Next, Christian, turn thine eye downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects.
Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone? No, he will be always at thee, for he “goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee. Then look around thee.
Where art thou? Thou art in an enemy’s country, a stranger and a sojourner. The world is not thy friend. If it be, then thou art not God’s friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Be assured that thou shalt find foe-men everywhere. When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so will the trials of earth be sharpest to you.
Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within.
Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself evil enough to be a sore trouble to thee, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee. He hath said, “I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee.”
《Evening by Evening》May 3
“To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”— Psalm 46:1
Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use.
Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell him all thy grief?
Has he not a sympathizing heart, and can he not comfort and relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord.
Art thou burdened with this day’s sins? Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it.
Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again. Come to him at once for cleansing.
Dost thou deplore thy weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon him?
Dost thou feel naked? Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Stand not looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear.
Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.”
What! wilt thou not go to him, and ask him to give thee of his abundance, when he has given thee this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with him, and has made over all that he is and all that he has to be thine?
There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him. He loves to be employed by us.
The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.
“Let us be simple with him, then,
Not backward, stiff, or cold,
As though our Bethlehem could be
What Sinai was of old.”
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 3
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. — Ephesians 6:18
As we go on in intercession we may find that our obedience to God is going to cost other people more than we thought. The danger then is to begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting to a totally different sphere in answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from identification with God’s interest in others into sympathy with them, the vital connection with God has gone, we have put our sympathy, our consideration for them in the way, and this is a deliberate rebuke to God.
It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipator of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice. Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will, sympathy with ourselves or with others which makes us say – "I will not allow that thing to happen." Instantly we are out of vital connection with God.
Intercession leaves you neither time nor inclination to pray for your own "sad sweet self." The thought of yourself is not kept out, because it is not there to keep out; you are completely and entirely identified with God’s interests in other lives.
Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to fault finding
《Faith's check book》May 3
Listen for the Signal
When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, act decisively. For at that moment the Lord is going before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” — 2 Sam 5:24
There are signs of the Lord’s moving which should move us. The Spirit of God blows where He listeth, and we hear the sound thereof. Then is the time for us to be more than ever astir. We must seize the golden opportunity and make the most we can of it. It is ours to fight the Philistines at all times; but when the Lord Himself goes out before us, then we should be specially valiant in the war.
The breeze stirred the tops of the trees, and David and his men took this for the signal for an onslaught, and at their advance the Lord Himself smote the Philistines. Oh, that this day the Lord may give us an opening to speak for Him with many of our friends! Let us be on the watch to avail ourselves of the hopeful opening when it comes. Who knows but this may be a day of good tidings; a season of soul-winning. Let us keep our ear open to hear the rustle of the wind and our minds ready to obey the signal. Is not this promise, “Then shall the Lord go out before thee,” a sufficient encouragement to play the man? Since the Lord goes before us, we dare not hold back.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 3
Stedfastness in the Faith
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. — Gal 5:1
From Egypt lately freed
By the Redeemer’s grace,
A rough and thorny path we tread
In hopes to see his face.
The flesh dislikes the way,
But faith approves it well;
This only leads to endless day,
All others lead to hell.
《Streams In The Desert》May 3
Call Upon the Lord
It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the Lord has promised; the remnant will be those whom the Lord will call.—Joel 2:32
Why do not I call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans? Why not at once roll myself and my burden upon the Lord?
Straightforward is the best runner—why do not I run at once to the living God? In vain shall I look for "deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have His royal shall to make it sure.
I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word “Whosoever” is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text, and at once call upon the glorious Lord who has made so large a promise.
《Daily Prayer Guide》May 3
No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules. — 2 Tim 2:4-5
The longing for ignoble things;
The strife for triumph more than truth;
The hardening of the heart that brings
Irreverence for the dreams of youth;
All these must first be trampled down
Beneath our feet, if we would gain
In the bright fields of fair renown
The right of eminent domain.
— John Keble.
One lesson, and only one, history may be said to repeat with distinctness; that the world is built somehow on moral foundations; that in the long run, it is well with the good; in the long run it is ill with the wicked.
— James Anthony Froude.
Gracious Father, may my heart be mindful of thee, that I may discover the truth and possess it. Steady me in my affections and save me from wandering impulses; and may I help to put wrong down and uplift humanity. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》May 4
“Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?”— Jeremiah 16:20
One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the spiritual Israel are vexed with a tendency to the same folly. Remphan’s star shines no longer, and the women weep no more for Tammuz, but Mammon still intrudes his golden calf, and the shrines of pride are not forsaken.
Self in various forms struggles to subdue the chosen ones under its dominion, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favourite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when he sees us doting upon them above measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate.
If Christians desire to grow thorns to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their dear ones.
It is truly said that “they are no gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace which they yield us now is dangerous, and the help which they can give us in the hour of trouble is little indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities?
We pity the poor heathen who adore a god of stone, and yet worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood?
The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case, only that in ours the crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it.
The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn unto idols.
May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!
“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.”
《Evening by Evening》May 4
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”— 1 Peter 1:23
Peter most earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other “with a pure heart fervently” and he wisely fetched his argument, not from the law, from nature, or from philosophy, but from that high and divine nature which God hath implanted in his people.
Just as some judicious tutor of princes might labour to beget and foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behaviour, finding arguments in their position and descent, so, looking upon God’s people as heirs of glory, princes of the blood royal, descendants of the King of kings, earth’s truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter saith to them, “See that ye love one another, because of your noble birth, being born of incorruptible seed; because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things; and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade, and even its existence shall cease.”
It would be well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature, and lived up to it. What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity.
The king’s royalty often lieth only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth, as a man is above the beast that perisheth.
Surely he ought to carry himself, in all his dealings, as one who is not of the multitude, but chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, written among “the peculiar people” and who therefore cannot grovel in the dust as others, nor live after the manner of the world’s citizens.
Let the dignity of your nature, and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to cleave unto holiness, and to avoid the very appearance of evil.
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 4
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. — Hebrews 10:19
Beware of imagining that intercession means bringing our personal sympathies into the presence of God and demanding that He does what we ask. Our approach to God is due entirely to the vicarious identification of our Lord with sin. We have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus."
Spiritual stubbornness is the most effectual hindrance to intercession, because it is based on sympathy with that in ourselves and in others that we do not think needs atoning for. We have the notion that there are certain right and virtuous things in us which do not need to be based on the Atonement, and just in the domain of "stodge" that is produced by this idea we cannot intercede. We do not identify ourselves with God’s interests in others, we get petulant with God; we are always ready with our own ideas, and intercession becomes the glorification of our own natural sympathies. We have to realize that the identification of Jesus with sin means the radical alteration of all our sympathies. Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them.
Am I stubborn or substituted? Petted or perfect in my relationship to God? Sulky or spiritual? Determined to have my own way or determined to be identified with Him?
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》May 4
Use for《My Utmost for His Highest》May 4
《Faith's check book》May 4
Victory in Reverses
My enemies, do not gloat over me! Though I have fallen, I will get up. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. — Mic 7:8
This may express the feelings of a man or woman downtrodden and oppressed. Our enemy may put out our light for a season. There is sure hope for us in the Lord; and if we are trusting in Him and holding fast our integrity, our season of downcasting and darkness will soon be over. The insults of the foe are only for a moment. The Lord will soon turn their laughter into lamentation and our sighing into singing.
What if the great enemy of souls should for a while triumph over us, as he has triumphed over better men than we are; yet let us take heart, for we shall overcome him before long. We shall rise from our fall, for our God has not fallen, and He will lift us up. We shall not abide in darkness, although for the moment we sit in it; for our Lord is the fountain of light, and He will soon bring us a joyful day. Let us not despair or even doubt. One turn of the wheel, and the lowest will be at the top. Woe unto those who laugh now, for they shall mourn and weep when their boasting is turned into everlasting contempt. But blessed are all holy mourners, for they shall be divinely comforted.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 4
Zeal in Defence of the Gospel
Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. — Jude 1:3
In conquests of thy might,
May I loyally delight;
In thy ever-spreading reign,
Triumph as my greatest gain:
Make me conscious by this sign,
Gracious Saviour, I am thine.
《Streams In The Desert》May 4
The Mountain After the Quake
For he wounds, but he also bandages; he strikes, but his hands also heal.—Job 5:18
The ministry of a great sorrow.
As we pass beneath the hills which have been shaken by the earthquake and torn by convulsion, we find that periods of perfect repose succeed those of destruction. The pools of calm water lie clear beneath their fallen rocks, the water lilies gleam, and the reeds whisper among the shadows; the village rises again over the forgotten graves, and its church tower, white through the storm twilight, proclaims a renewed appeal to His protection “in whose hand are all the corners of the earth, and the strength of the hills is his also.” —Ruskin
God ploughed one day with an earthquake,
And drove His furrows deep!
The huddling plains upstarted,
The hills were all aleap!
But that is the mountains’ secret,
Age-hidden in their breast;
“God’s peace is everlasting,”
Are the dream-words of their rest.
He made them the haunts of beauty,
The home elect of His grace;
He spreadeth His mornings upon them,
His sunsets light their face.
His winds bring messages to them
Wild storm-news from the main;
They sing it down the valleys
In the love-song of the rain.
They are nurseries for young rivers,
Nests for His flying cloud,
Homesteads for new-born races,
Masterful, free, and proud.
The people of tired cities
Come up to their shrines and pray;
God freshens again within them,
As He passes by all day.
And lo, I have caught their secret!
The beauty deeper than all!
This faith—that life’s hard moments,
When the jarring sorrows befall,
Are but God ploughing His mountains;
And those mountains yet shall be
The source of His grace and freshness,
And His peace everlasting to me.
—William C. Gannett
《Daily Prayer Guide》May 4
He gives food to his faithful followers; he always remembers his covenant. His acts are characterized by faithfulness and justice; all his precepts are reliable. — Ps 111:5,7
The chess board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game we call the laws of nature. My metaphor will remind some of you of the famous picture in which Retzsch has depicted Satan playing chess with man for his soul. Substitute for the mocking fiend in that picture a calm, strong angel, who is playing “for love,” as we say, and would rather lose than win, and I should accept it as an image of human life.
— Thomas Henry Huxley.
Riches and nobility fade together. O, my God! be thou praised for having made love for all time, and immortal as thyself.
— George Sand.
Father of life, I know I cannot hold youth. I may have prosperity or poverty. I thank thee that thou hast taught me that love may be kept changeless through all. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》May 5
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”— 2 Corinthians 6:16
What a sweet title: “My people!” What a cheering revelation: “Their God!” How much of meaning is couched in those two words, “My people!”
Here is speciality. The whole world is God’s; the heaven, even the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, and he reigneth among the children of men; but of those whom he hath chosen, whom he hath purchased to himself, he saith what he saith not of others–“My people.”
In this word there is the idea of proprietorship. In a special manner the “Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”
All the nations upon earth are his; the whole world is in his power; yet are his people, his chosen, more especially his possession; for he has done more for them than others; he has bought them with his blood; he has brought them nigh to himself; he has set his great heart upon them; he has loved them with an everlasting love, a love which many waters cannot quench, and which the revolutions of time shall never suffice in the least degree to diminish.
Dear friends, can you, by faith, see yourselves in that number? Can you look up to heaven and say, “My Lord and my God: mine by that sweet relationship which entitles me to call thee Father; mine by that hallowed fellowship which I delight to hold with thee when thou art pleased to manifest thyself unto me as thou dost not unto the world?”
Canst thou read the Book of Inspiration, and find there the indentures of thy salvation? Canst thou read thy title writ in precious blood? Canst thou, by humble faith, lay hold of Jesus’ garments, and say, “My Christ”?
If thou canst, then God saith of thee, and of others like thee, “My people;” for, if God be your God, and Christ your Christ, the Lord has a special, peculiar favour to you; you are the object of his choice, accepted in his beloved Son.
《Evening by Evening》May 5
“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.”— Proverbs 16:20
Wisdom is man’s true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being.
Wisely handling the matter of life gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass’s colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed.
Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves. A man must be prudent in such a world as this, or he will find no good, but be betrayed into unnumbered ills.
The pilgrim will sorely wound his feet among the briers of the wood of life if he do not pick his steps with the utmost caution. He who is in a wilderness infested with robber bands must handle matters wisely if he would journey safely.
If, trained by the Great Teacher, we follow where he leads, we shall find good, even while in this dark abode; there are celestial fruits to be gathered this side of Eden’s bowers, and songs of paradise to be sung amid the groves of earth.
But where shall this wisdom be found? Many have dreamed of it, but have not possessed it.
Where shall we learn it? Let us listen to the voice of the Lord, for he hath declared the secret; he hath revealed to the sons of men wherein true wisdom lieth, and we have it in the text, “Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.”
The true way to handle a matter wisely is to trust in the Lord. This is the sure clue to the most intricate labyrinths of life; follow it and find eternal bliss.
He who trusts in the Lord has a diploma for wisdom granted by inspiration: happy is he now, and happier shall he be above. Lord, in this sweet eventide walk with me in the garden, and teach me the wisdom of faith.
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 5
Judgment On The Abyss Of Love
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God. — 1 Peter 4:17
The Christian worker must never forget that salvation is God’s thought, not man’s; therefore it is an unfathomable abyss. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is only a gateway by which salvation comes into our conscious life. Never preach the experience; preach the great thought of God behind. When we preach we are not proclaiming how man can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.
In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out, it is the sign of God’s love. Never sympathize with a soul who finds it difficult to get to God, God is not to blame. It is not for us to find out the reason why it is difficult, but so to present the truth of God that the Spirit of God will show what is wrong. The great sterling test in preaching is that it brings everyone to judgment. The Spirit of God locates each one to himself.
If Jesus ever gave us a command He could not enable us to fulfil, He would be a liar; and if we make our inability a barrier to obedience, it means we are telling God there is something He has not taken into account. Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God. Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power.
《Faith's check book》May 5
Why Remain Captive
the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he has scattered you. — Deut 30:3
God’s own people may sell themselves into captivity by sin. A very bitter fruit is this, of an exceeding bitter root. What a bondage it is when the child of God is sold under sin, held in chains by Satan, deprived of his liberty, robbed of his power in prayer and his delight in the Lord! Let us watch that we come not into such bondage; but if this has already happened to us, let us by no means despair.
But we cannot be held in slavery forever. The Lord Jesus has paid too high a price for our redemption to leave us in the enemy’s hand. The way to freedom is, “Return unto the Lord thy God.” Where we first found salvation we shall find it again. At the foot of Christ’s cross, confessing sin, we shall find pardon and deliverance. Moreover, the Lord will have us obey His voice according to all that He has commanded us, and we must do this with all our heart and all our soul, and then our captivity shall end.
Often depression of spirit and great misery of soul are removed as soon as we quit our idols and bow ourselves in obedience before the living God. We need not be captives. We may return to Zion’s citizenship, and that speedily. Lord, turn our captivity!
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 5
Zeal for Good Works
And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, — Heb 10:24
Awake, my soul, awake, my love,
And serve my Saviour here below,
In works which all the saints above
And holy angels cannot do.
《Streams In The Desert》May 5
Sing Praise to the Lord!
When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.—2 Chr 20:22
Oh, that we could reason less about our troubles, and sing and praise more! There are thousands of things that we wear as shackles which we might use as instruments with music in them, if we only knew how.
Those men that ponder, and meditate, and weigh the affairs of life, and study the mysterious developments of God’s providence, and wonder why they should be burdened and thwarted and hampered—how different and how much more joyful would be their lives, if, instead of forever indulging in self-revolving and inward thinking, they would take their experiences, day by day, and lift them up, and praise God for them.
We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away. Sing in the morning. The birds are the earliest to sing, and birds are more without care than anything else that I know of.
Sing at evening. Singing is the last thing that robins do. When they have done their daily work; when they have flown their last flight, and picked up their last morsel of food, then on a topmost twig, they sing one song of praise.
Oh, that we might sing morning and evening, and let song touch song all the way through. —Selected
“Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tone you know.
“What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.
“Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.
“Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》March 5
Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. — Ps 23:4
As I stand by the cross, on the lone mountain’s crest,
Looking over the ultimate sea,
In the gloom of the mountain a ship lies at rest,
And one sails away from the lea;
One spreads its white wings on the far-reaching track,
With pennant and sheet flowing free;
One hides in the shadow with sails laid aback—
The ship that is waiting for me.
But lo! in the distance the clouds break away,
The gate’s glowing portals I see,
And I hear from the outgoing ship in the bay
The song of the sailors in glee.
So I think of the luminous footprints that bore
The comfort o’er dark Galilee,
And wait for the signal to go to the shore
To the ship that is waiting for me.
— Bret Harte.
Eternal God, I praise thee, that "thy love is broader than the measure of man's mind," and that through all my years I may hide myself in thee, trusting thee to the end. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》May 6
“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”— 1 John 4:13
Do you want a house for your soul? Do you ask, “What is the purchase?” It is something less than proud human nature will like to give. It is without money and without price.
Ah! you would like to pay a respectable rent! You would love to do something to win Christ? Then you cannot have the house, for it is “without price.”
Will you take my Master’s house on a lease for all eternity, with nothing to pay for it, nothing but the ground-rent of loving and serving him forever? Will you take Jesus and “dwell in him?”
See, this house is furnished with all you want, it is filled with riches more than you will spend as long as you live. Here you can have intimate communion with Christ and feast on his love; here are tables well-stored with food for you to live on forever; in it, when weary, you can find rest with Jesus; and from it you can look out and see heaven itself.
Will you have the house? Ah! if you are houseless, you will say, “I should like to have the house; but may I have it?” Yes; there is the key–the key is, “Come to Jesus.”
“But,” you say, “I am too shabby for such a house.” Never mind; there are garments inside. If you feel guilty and condemned, come; and though the house is too good for you, Christ will make you good enough for the house by-and-by.
He will wash you and cleanse you, and you will yet be able to sing, “We dwell in him.” Believer: thrice happy art thou to have such a dwelling-place! Greatly privileged thou art, for thou hast a “strong habitation” in which thou art ever safe.
And “dwelling in him,” thou hast not only a perfect and secure house, but an everlasting one. When this world shall have melted like a dream, our house shall live, and stand more imperishable than marble, more solid than granite, self-existent as God, for it is God himself–“We dwell in him.”
《Evening by Evening》May 6
“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”— Job 14:14
A little stay on earth will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so sweet as toil; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to alarms.
The bitter quassia cups of earth will give a relish to the new wine which sparkles in the golden bowls of glory. Our battered armour and scarred countenances will render more illustrious our victory above, when we are welcomed to the seats of those who have overcome the world.
We should not have full fellowship with Christ if we did not for awhile sojourn below, for he was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share his kingdom. Fellowship with Christ is so honourable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it.
Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we are yet ordained to minister light to souls benighted in the wilderness of sin.
Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God’s glory. A tried saint, like a well-cut diamond, glitters much in the King’s crown. Nothing reflects so much honour on a workman as a protracted and severe trial of his work, and its triumphant endurance of the ordeal without giving way in any part.
We are God’s workmanship, in whom he will be glorified by our afflictions. It is for the honour of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy. Let each man surrender his own longings to the glory of Jesus, and feel, “If my lying in the dust would elevate my Lord by so much as an inch, let me still lie among the pots of earth.
If to live on earth forever would make my Lord more glorious, it should be my heaven to be shut out of heaven.” Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it, but wait with patience till the gates of pearl shall open.
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 6
Liberty On The Abyss Of The Gospel
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. — Galatians 5:1
A spiritually minded man will never come to you with the demand – "Believe this and that;" but with the demand that you square your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One Whom the Bible reveals (cf. John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty of conscience, not liberty of view. If we are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty – the liberty of realizing the dominance of Jesus Christ.
Always keep your life measured by the standards of Jesus. Bow your neck to His yoke alone, and to no other yoke whatever; and be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.
Don’t get impatient, remember how God dealt with you – with patience and with gentleness; but never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples," not "make converts to your opinions."
《Faith's check book》May 6
Cure for Envy
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but rather be zealous in fearing the Lord all the time. For surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. — Prov 23:17-18
When we see the wicked prosper we are apt to envy them. When we hear the noise of their mirth and our own spirit is heavy, we half think that they have the best of it. This is foolish and sinful. If we knew them better, and specially if we remembered their end, we should pity them.
The cure for envy lies in living under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshiping God and communing with Him all the day long, however long the day may seem. True religion lifts the soul into a higher region, where the judgment becomes more clear and the desires are more elevated. The more of heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet. The fear of God casts out envy of men.
The deathblow of envy is a calm consideration of the future. The wealth and glory of the ungodly are a vain show. This pompous appearance flashes out for an hour and then is extinguished. What is the prosperous sinner the better for his prosperity when judgment overtakes him? As for the godly man, his end is peace and blessedness, and none can rob him of his joy; wherefore, let him forgo envy and be filled with sweet content.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 6
Zeal for Divine Worship
not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near. — Heb 10:25
Oh let me always find a place,
Within the temples of thy grace;
Till God command my last remove,
To dwell in temples made above!
《Streams In The Desert》May 6
The Secrets of Providence
The Lord’s loyal followers receive his guidance, and he reveals his covenantal demands to them.—Ps 25:14
There are secrets of Providence which God’s dear children may learn. His dealings with them often seem, to the outward eye, dark and terrible. Faith looks deeper and says, “This is God’s secret. You look only on the outside; I can look deeper and see the hidden meaning.”
Sometimes diamonds are done up in rough packages, so that their value cannot be seen. When the Tabernacle was built in the wilderness there was nothing rich in its outside appearance. The costly things were all within, and its outward covering of rough badger skin gave no hint of the valuable things which it contained.
God may send you, dear friends, some costly packages. Do not worry if they are done up in rough wrappings. You may be sure there are treasures of love, and kindness, and wisdom hidden within. If we take what He sends, and trust Him for the goodness in it, even in the dark, we shall learn the meaning of the secrets of Providence.—A. B. Simpson
“Not until each loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the pattern
And explain the reason why
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
For the pattern which He planned.”
He that is mastered by Christ is the master of every circumstance. Does the circumstance press hard against you? Do not push it away. It is the Potter’s hand. Your mastery will come, not by arresting its progress, but by enduring its discipline, for it is not only shaping you into a vessel of beauty and honor, but it is making your resources available.
《Daily Prayer Guide》May 6
A faithful person will have an abundance of blessings, but the one who hastens to gain riches will not go unpunished. — Prov 28:20
Hard ye may be in the tumult,
Red to your battle hilts;
Blow give blow in the foray,
Cunningly ride in the tilts.
But tenderly, unbeguiled—
Turn to a woman a woman’s
Heart, and a child’s to a child.
Test of the man if his worth be
In accord with the ultimate plan
That he be not, to his marring,
Always and utterly man.
That he may bring out of the tumult,
Fetter and undefiled,
To woman the heart of a woman—
To children the heart of a child.
— O. Henry.
A man’s concern is only whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong—acting the part of a good man or a bad.
Almighty God, I pray that I may seek sincerely those whom I approach with sympathy, and by my honor may they feel the same sincerity for me. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》May 7
“But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;”— Matthew 12:15
What a mass of hideous sickness must have thrust itself under the eye of Jesus! Yet we read not that he was disgusted, but patiently waited on every case.
What a singular variety of evils must have met at his feet! What sickening ulcers and putrefying sores! Yet he was ready for every new shape of the monster evil, and was victor over it in every form.
Let the arrow fly from what quarter it might, he quenched its fiery power. The heat of fever, or the cold of dropsy; the lethargy of palsy, or the rage of madness; the filth of leprosy, or the darkness of ophthalmia–all knew the power of his word, and fled at his command.
In every corner of the field he was triumphant over evil, and received the homage of delivered captives. He came, he saw, he conquered everywhere.
It is even so this morning. Whatever my own case may be, the beloved Physician can heal me; and whatever may be the state of others whom I may remember at this moment in prayer, I may have hope in Jesus that he will be able to heal them of their sins.
My child, my friend, my dearest one, I can have hope for each, for all, when I remember the healing power of my Lord; and on my own account, however severe my struggle with sins and infirmities, I may yet be of good cheer.
He who on earth walked the hospitals, still dispenses his grace, and works wonders among the sons of men: let me go to him at once in right earnest.
Let me praise him, this morning, as I remember how he wrought his spiritual cures, which bring him most renown. It was by taking upon himself our sicknesses. “By his stripes we are healed.”
The Church on earth is full of souls healed by our beloved Physician; and the inhabitants of heaven itself confess that “He healed them all.” Come, then, my soul, publish abroad the virtue of his grace, and let it be “to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off.”
《Evening by Evening》May 7
“Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”— John 5:8
Like many others, the impotent man had been waiting for a wonder to be wrought, and a sign to be given. Wearily did he watch the pool, but no angel came, or came not for him; yet, thinking it to be his only chance, he waited still, and knew not that there was One near him whose word could heal him in a moment.
Many are in the same plight: they are waiting for some singular emotion, remarkable impression, or celestial vision; they wait in vain and watch for nought.
Even supposing that, in a few cases, remarkable signs are seen, yet these are rare, and no man has a right to look for them in his own case; no man especially who feels his impotency to avail himself of the moving of the water even if it came.
It is a very sad reflection that tens of thousands are now waiting in the use of means, and ordinances, and vows, and resolutions, and have so waited time out of mind, in vain, utterly in vain. Meanwhile these poor souls forget the present Saviour, who bids them look unto him and be saved. He could heal them at once, but they prefer to wait for an angel and a wonder.
To trust him is the sure way to every blessing, and he is worthy of the most implicit confidence; but unbelief makes them prefer the cold porches of Bethesda to the warm bosom of his love.
O that the Lord may turn his eye upon the multitudes who are in this case tonight; may he forgive the slights which they put upon his divine power, and call them by that sweet constraining voice, to rise from the bed of despair, and in the energy of faith take up their bed and walk.
O Lord, hear our prayer for all such at this calm hour of sunset, and ere the day breaketh may they look and live.
Courteous reader, is there anything in this portion for you?
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 7
Building For Eternity
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? — Luke 14:28
Our Lord refers not to a cost we have to count, but to a cost which He has counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal and hatred, the deep unfathomable agony in Gethsemane, and the onslaught at Calvary – the pivot upon which the whole of Time and Eternity turns. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. Men are not going to laugh at Him at last and say – "This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
The conditions of discipleship laid down by Our Lord in vv. 26, 27 and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. "If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . he cannot be My disciple." Our Lord implies that the only men and women He will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The conditions are stern, but they are glorious.
All that we build is going to be inspected by God. Is God going to detect in His searching fire that we have built on the foundation of Jesus some enterprise of our own? These are days of tremendous enterprises, days when we are trying to work for God, and therein is the snare. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus takes us over for His enterprises, His building schemes entirely, and no soul has any right to claim where he shall be put.
《Faith's check book》May 7
Let No Evil Remain
You must not take for yourself anything that has been placed under judgment. Then the Lord will relent from his intense anger, show you compassion, have mercy on you, and multiply you as he promised your ancestors. — Deut 13:17
Israel must conquer idolatrous cities and destroy all the spoil, regarding all that had been polluted by idolatry as an accursed thing to be burned with fire. Now, sin of all sorts must be treated by Christians in the same manner. We must not allow a single evil habit to remain. It is now war to the knife with sins of all sorts and sizes, whether of the body, the mind, or the spirit. We do not look upon this giving up of evil as deserving mercy, but we regard it as a fruit of the grace of God, which we would on no account miss.
When God causes us to have no mercy on our sins, then He has great mercy on us. When we are angry with evil, God is no more angry with us. When we multiply our efforts against iniquity, the Lord multiplies our blessings. The way of peace, of growth, of safety, of joy in Christ Jesus will be found by following out these words: “There shall nought of the cursed thing cleave to thine hand.” Lord, purify me this day. Compassion, prosperity, increase, and joy will surely be given to those who put away sin with solemn resolution.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 7
Concern for the Peace of the Church
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. — 2 Cor 13:11
Make us of one heart and mind,
Courteous, pitiful, and kind;
Lowly, meek in thought and word,
Altogether like our Lord.
《Streams In The Desert》May 7
Beginning Without Finishing
Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart.—Luke 18:1
No temptation in the life of intercession is more common than this of failure to persevere. We begin to pray for a certain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a week, a month; and then, receiving as yet no definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease altogether from prayer concerning it.
This is a deadly fault. It is simply the snare of many beginnings with no completions. It is ruinous in all spheres of life.
The man who forms the habit of beginning without finishing has simply formed the habit of failure. The man who begins to pray about a thing and does not pray it through to a successful issue of answer has formed the same habit in prayer.
To faint is to fail; then defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaith in the reality of prayer, which is fatal to all success.
But someone says, “How long shall we pray? Do we not come to a place where we may cease from our petitions and rest the matter in God’s hands?”
There is but one answer. Pray until the thing you pray for has actually been granted, or until you have the assurance in your heart that it will be.
Only at one of these two places dare we stay our importunity, for prayer is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict with Satan. And inasmuch as God is using our intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when we dare cease from our petitioning. So we dare not stay our prayer until the answer itself has come, or until we receive the assurance that it will come.
In the first case we stop because we see. In the other, we stop because we believe, and the faith of our heart is just as sure as the sight of our eyes; for it is faith from, yes, the faith of God, within us.
More and more, as we live the prayer life, shall we come to experience and recognize this God-given assurance, and know when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our petitioning until we receive it. —The Practice of Prayer
Tarry at the promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises. —Selected
《Daily Prayer Guide》May 7
So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. — Matt 5:48
So, take and use thy work: amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o’ the stuff, what warpings past the aim!
My times be in Thy hand! perfect the cup as planned!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!
— Robert Browning.
No matter how often defeated, you are born to victory. The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When I hear a young man spoken of as giving promise of high genius, the first question I ask about him is always—Does he work?
— John Ruskin.
O God, I pray that thou wilt search me, and in the silent moments show me myself without obstruction. Breathe upon me thy awakening breath, that I may be revived to nobler activities. Amen.
Since Jesus Came into My Heart
Use for《Morning By Morning》May 8
Use for《Morning By Morning》May 8
Father of heaven, whose love profound
Use for《Evening by Evening》May 8
Use for《Evening by Evening》May 8
《Morning By Morning》May 8
“And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.”— John 5:13
Years are short to the happy and healthy; but thirty-eight years of disease must have dragged a very weary length along the life of the poor impotent man. When Jesus, therefore, healed him by a word, while he lay at the pool of Bethesda, he was delightfully sensible of a change.
Even so the sinner who has for weeks and months been paralysed with despair, and has wearily sighed for salvation, is very conscious of the change when the Lord Jesus speaks the word of power, and gives joy and peace in believing.
The evil removed is too great to be removed without our discerning it; the life imparted is too remarkable to be possessed and remain inoperative; and the change wrought is too marvellous not to be perceived. Yet the poor man was ignorant of the author of his cure; he knew not the sacredness of his person, the offices which he sustained, or the errand which brought him among men.
Much ignorance of Jesus may remain in hearts which yet feel the power of his blood. We must not hastily condemn men for lack of knowledge; but where we can see the faith which saves the soul, we must believe that salvation has been bestowed.
The Holy Spirit makes men penitents long before he makes them divines; and he who believes what he knows, shall soon know more clearly what he believes. Ignorance is, however, an evil; for this poor man was much tantalized by the Pharisees, and was quite unable to cope with them.
It is good to be able to answer gainsayers; but we cannot do so if we know not the Lord Jesus clearly and with understanding. The cure of his ignorance, however, soon followed the cure of his infirmity, for he was visited by the Lord in the temple; and after that gracious manifestation, he was found testifying that “it was Jesus who had made him whole.”
Lord, if thou hast saved me, show me thyself, that I may declare thee to the sons of men.
《Evening by Evening》May 8
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.”— Job 22:21
If we would rightly “acquaint ourselves with God, and be at peace,” we must know him as he has revealed himself, not only in the unity of his essence and subsistence, but also in the plurality of his persons.
God said, “Let us make man in our own image”–let not man be content until he knows something of the “us” from whom his being was derived. Endeavour to know the Father; bury your head in his bosom in deep repentance, and confess that you are not worthy to be called his son; receive the kiss of his love; let the ring which is the token of his eternal faithfulness be on your finger; sit at his table and let your heart make merry in his grace.
Then press forward and seek to know much of the Son of God who is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and yet in unspeakable condescension of grace became man for our sakes; know him in the singular complexity of his nature: eternal God, and yet suffering, finite man; follow him as he walks the waters with the tread of deity, and as he sits upon the well in the weariness of humanity.
Be not satisfied unless you know much of Jesus Christ as your Friend, your Brother, your Husband, your all. Forget not the Holy Spirit; endeavour to obtain a clear view of his nature and character, his attributes, and his works.
Behold that Spirit of the Lord, who first of all moved upon chaos, and brought forth order; who now visits the chaos of your soul, and creates the order of holiness. Behold him as the Lord and giver of spiritual life, the Illuminator, the Instructor, the Comforter, and the Sanctifier.
Behold him as, like holy unction, he descends upon the head of Jesus, and then afterwards rests upon you who are as the skirts of his garments. Such an intelligent, scriptural, and experimental belief in the Trinity in Unity is yours if you truly know God; and such knowledge brings peace indeed.
《My Utmost for His Highest》May 8
The Patience Of Faith
Because thou hast kept the word of My patience. — Revelation 3:10
Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says – "I cannot stand any more." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. "Though He slay me, yet will I wait for Him."
Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot understand what He is doing, but you know Him. Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless confidence on God.
God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee." The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvellous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.
《Faith's check book》May 8
They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go and work in the vineyard too.’ — Matt 20:7
Yes, there is work in Christ’s vineyard for old bodies. It is the eleventh hour, and yet He will let us work. What grace is this! Surely every old man ought to jump at this invitation! After men are advanced in years nobody wants them as servants; they go from shop to shop, and employers look at their gray hairs and shake their heads. But Jesus will engage old people and give them good wages, too! This is mercy indeed. Lord, help the aged to enlist in Thy service without an hour’s delay.
But will the Lord pay wages to worn-out old men? Do not doubt it. He says He will give you what is right if you will work in His field. He will surely give you grace here and glory hereafter. He will grant present comfort and future rest; strength equal to your day and a vision of glory when the night of death comes on. All these the Lord Jesus will as freely give to the aged convert as to one who enters His service in his youth.
Let me tell this to some unsaved old man or old woman and pray the Lord to bless it for Jesus’ sake, Where can I find such persons? I will be on the lookout for them and kindly tell them the news.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》May 8
Concern for the Prosperity of the Church
May there be peace inside your defenses, and prosperity inside your fortresses! — Ps 122:7
For our dear brethren’s sake,
Zion, we wish thee peace;
Prosper, oh! prosper long,
And may thy sons increase:
We seek thy good, we love the road
Which leads us to God’s bless’d abode.
《Streams In The Desert》May 8
The Road Uphill
He answered, “But I see four men, untied and walking around in the midst of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!”—Dan 3:25
The fire did not arrest their motion; they walked in the midst of it. It was one of the streets through which they moved to their destiny. The comfort of Christ’s revelation is not that it teaches emancipation from sorrow, but emancipation through sorrow.
O my God, teach me, when the shadows have gathered, that I am only in a tunnel. It is enough for me to know that it will be all right some day.
They tell me that I shall stand upon the peaks of Olivet, the heights of resurrection glory. But I want more, O my Father; I want Calvary to lead up to it. I want to know that the shadows of this world are the shades of an avenue the avenue to the house of my Father. Tell me I am only forced to climb because Thy house is on the hill! I shall receive no hurt from sorrow if I shall walk in the midst of the fire. —George Matheson
“’The road is too rough,’ I said;
’It is uphill all the way;
No flowers, but thorns instead;
And the skies over head are grey.’
But One took my hand at the entrance dim,
And sweet is the road that I walk with Him.
“The cross is too great,’ I cried—
’More than the back can bear,
So rough and heavy and wide,
And nobody by to care.’
And One stooped softly and touched my hand:
’I know. I care. And I understand.’
“Then why do we fret and sigh;
Cross-bearers all we go:
But the road ends by-and-by
In the dearest place we know,
And every step in the journey we
May take in the Lord’s own company.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》May 8
“The Lord bless you and protect you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”’ — Num 6:24-26
A profound conviction raises a man above the feeling of ridicule.
— John Stuart Mill.
A garden is a lonesome thing, God wot!
The veriest school
Of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not—
Not God! in the gardens! when the eve is cool?
Nay but I have a sign;
’Tis very sure God walks in mine.
— Thomas E. Brown.
My Father, may this be a day of usefulness. Make me sure of myself, that I may not spend my days in questioning, but accept with gratefulness thy love and tender care. Make me worthy to be called thy child. Amen.