《Morning By Morning》September 1
“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”— Psalm 73:24
The Psalmist felt his need of divine guidance. He had just been discovering the foolishness of his own heart, and lest he should be constantly led astray by it, he resolved that God’s counsel should henceforth guide him.
A sense of our own folly is a great step towards being wise, when it leads us to rely on the wisdom of the Lord. The blind man leans on his friend’s arm and reaches home in safety, and so would we give ourselves up implicitly to divine guidance, nothing doubting; assured that though we cannot see, it is always safe to trust the all-seeing God.
“Thou shalt,” is a blessed expression of confidence. He was sure that the Lord would not decline the condescending task. There is a word for thee, O believer; rest thou in it. Be assured that thy God will be thy counsellor and friend; he shall guide thee; he will direct all thy ways.
In his written Word thou hast this assurance in part fulfilled, for holy Scripture is his counsel to thee. Happy are we to have God’s Word always to guide us! What were the mariner without his compass? And what were the Christian without the Bible?
This is the unerring chart, the map in which every shoal is described, and all the channels from the quicksands of destruction to the haven of salvation mapped and marked by one who knows all the way.
Blessed be thou, O God, that we may trust thee to guide us now, and guide us even to the end! After this guidance through life, the Psalmist anticipates a divine reception at last—”and afterward receive me to glory.”
What a thought for thee, believer! God himself will receive thee to glory—thee! Wandering, erring, straying, yet he will bring thee safe at last to glory! This is thy portion; live on it this day, and if perplexities should surround thee, go in the strength of this text straight to the throne.
《Evening by Evening》September 1
“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”— Psalm 62:8
Faith is as much the rule of temporal as of spiritual life; we ought to have faith in God for our earthly affairs as well as for our heavenly business. It is only as we learn to trust in God for the supply of all our daily need that we shall live above the world.
We are not to be idle, that would show we did not trust in God, who worketh hitherto, but in the devil, who is the father of idleness. We are not to be imprudent or rash; that were to trust chance, and not the living God, who is a God of economy and order. Acting in all prudence and uprightness, we are to rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times.
Let me commend to you a life of trust in God in temporal things. Trusting in God, you will not be compelled to mourn because you have used sinful means to grow rich. Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience.
Trusting God, you will not be guilty of self-contradiction. He who trusts in craft, sails this way today, and that way the next, like a vessel tossed about by the fickle wind; but he that trusteth in the Lord is like a vessel propelled by steam, she cuts through the waves, defies the wind, and makes one bright silvery straightforward track to her destined haven.
Be you a man with living principles within; never bow to the varying customs of worldly wisdom. Walk in your path of integrity with steadfast steps, and show that you are invincibly strong in the strength which confidence in God alone can confer.
Thus you will be delivered from anxious care, you will not be troubled with evil tidings, your heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord. How pleasant to float along the stream of providence! There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God.
We have no care, for he careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 1
DESTINY OF HOLINESS
Ye shall be holy; for I am holy. — 1 Peter 1:16 (R.V.)
Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. Nowadays we have far too many affinities, we are dissipated with them; right, good, noble affinities which will yet have their fulfilment, but in the meantime God has to atrophy them. The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God Who will make him holy. At all costs a man must be rightly related to God.
Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe God can come into me and make me holy? If by your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I resent your preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it must reveal that I am unholy; but it also awakens an intense craving. God has one destined end for mankind, viz., holiness. His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men; He did not come to save men out of pity: He came to save men because He had created them to be holy. The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the Death of Jesus Christ.
Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.
《Faith's check book》September 1
Abiding in Obedience, in Love
If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. — John 15:10
These things cannot be parted — abiding in obedience and abiding in the love of Jesus. A life under the rule of Christ can alone prove that we are the objects of our Lord’s delight. We must keep our Lord’s command if we would bask in His love. If we live in sin we cannot live in the love of Christ. Without the holiness which pleases God we cannot please Jesus. He who cares nothing for holiness knows nothing of the love of Jesus.
Conscious enjoyment of our Lord’s love is a delicate thing. It is far more sensitive to sin and holiness than mercury is to cold and heat. When we are tender of heart and careful in thought, lip, and life to honor our Lord Jesus, then we receive tokens of His love without number. If we desire to perpetuate such bliss we must perpetuate holiness. The Lord Jesus will not hide His face from us unless we hide our face from Him. Sin makes the cloud which darkens our Sun: if we will be watchfully obedient and completely consecrated we may walk in the light, as God is in the light, and have as sure an abiding in the love of Jesus as Jesus has in the love of the Father. Here is a sweet promise with a solemn “if,” Lord, let me have this “if” in my hand; for as a key it opens this casket.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 1
Temptations Permitted by God
So the Lord said to Satan, “All right then, everything he has is in your power. Only do not extend your hand against the man himself!” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. — Job 1:12
Still thine integrity hold fast,
The tempter’s counsel spurn,
Hope against hope, and God at last,
Will for thy help return.
《Streams In The Desert》September 1
“O afflicted one, driven away, and unconsoled! Look, I am about to set your stones in antimony and I lay your foundation with lapis-lazuli.—Isa 54:11
The stones from the wall said, “We come from the mountains far away, from the sides of the craggy hills. Fire and water have worked on us for ages, but made us only crags. Human hands have made us into a dwelling where the children of your immortal race are born, and suffer, and rejoice, and find rest and shelter, and learn the lessons set them by our Maker and yours. But we have passed through much to fit us for this. Gunpowder has rent our very heart; pickaxes have cleaved and broken us, it seemed to us often without design or meaning, as we lay misshapen stones in the quarry; but gradually we were cut into blocks, and some of us were chiseled with finer instruments to a sharper edge. But we are complete now, and are in our places, and are of service.
You are in the quarry still, and not complete, and therefore to you, as once to us, much is inexplicable. But you are destined for a higher building, and one day you will be placed in it by hands not human, a living stone in a heavenly temple.
“In the still air the music lies unheard;
In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;
To make the music and the beauty needs
The master’s touch, the sculptor’s chisel keen.
“Great Master, touch us with Thy skillful hands;
Let not the music that is in us die!
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,
Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie!”
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 1
Remember continually his covenantal decree, the promise he made to a thousand generations – — 1 Chr 16:15
Go forth at eventide,
The eventide of summer, when the trees
Yield their frail honors to the passing breeze,
And woodland paths with autumn tints are dyed;
When the mild sun his paling luster shrouds
In gorgeous draperies of golden clouds,
Then wander forth, mid beauty and decay,
To meditate alone—alone to watch and pray.
— Emma C. Embury.
O ye, who proudly boast,
In your veins, the blood of sires like these,
Look to their lineaments. Dread lest ye lose
Their likeness in your sons. Should mammon cling
Too close around your heart, or wealth beget
That bloated luxury which eats the core
From manly virtue, or the tempting world
Make faint the Christian purpose in your soul,
Turn ye to Plymouth Rock, and where they knelt
Kneel, and renew the vow they breathed to God.
— Lydia Sigourney.
Educate children without religion, and you make a race of clever devils.
— Duke of Wellington.
O Lord of wisdom, kindle me with a love for true knowledge, that I may strive, in the moments I have now, to culture my life. Not by might, not by power, but by thy spirit, O Lord, may I learn and teach thy children. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》September 2
“But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.”— Mark 1:30
Very interesting is this little peep into the house of the Apostolic Fisherman. We see at once that household joys and cares are no hindrance to the full exercise of ministry, nay, that since they furnish an opportunity for personally witnessing the Lord’s gracious work upon one’s own flesh and blood, they may even instruct the teacher better than any other earthly discipline.
Papists and other sectaries may decry marriage, but true Christianity and household life agree well together. Peter’s house was probably a poor fisherman’s hut, but the Lord of Glory entered it, lodged in it, and wrought a miracle in it.
Should our little book be read this morning in some very humble cottage, let this fact encourage the inmates to seek the company of King Jesus. God is oftener in little huts than in rich palaces. Jesus is looking round your room now, and is waiting to be gracious to you.
Into Simon’s house sickness had entered, fever in a deadly form had prostrated his mother-in-law, and as soon as Jesus came they told him of the sad affliction, and he hastened to the patient’s bed.
Have you any sickness in the house this morning? You will find Jesus by far the best physician, go to him at once and tell him all about the matter. Immediately lay the case before him. It concerns one of his people, and therefore will not be trivial to him.
Observe, that at once the Saviour restored the sick woman; none can heal as he does. We may not make sure that the Lord will at once remove all disease from those we love, but we may know that believing prayer for the sick is far more likely to be followed by restoration than anything else in the world; and where this avails not, we must meekly bow to his will by whom life and death are determined.
The tender heart of Jesus waits to hear our griefs, let us pour them into his patient ear.
《Evening by Evening》September 2
“Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”— John 4:48
A craving after marvels was a symptom of the sickly state of men’s minds in our Lord’s day; they refused solid nourishment, and pined after mere wonder. The gospel which they so greatly needed they would not have; the miracles which Jesus did not always choose to give they eagerly demanded.
Many nowadays must see signs and wonders, or they will not believe. Some have said in their heart, “I must feel deep horror of soul, or I never will believe in Jesus.” But what if you never should feel it, as probably you never may?
Will you go to hell out of spite against God, because he will not treat you like another? One has said to himself, “If I had a dream, or if I could feel a sudden shock of I know not what, then I would believe.”
Thus you undeserving mortals dream that my Lord is to be dictated to by you! You are beggars at his gate, asking for mercy, and you must needs draw up rules and regulations as to how he shall give that mercy.
Think you that he will submit to this? My Master is of a generous spirit, but he has a right royal heart, he spurns all dictation, and maintains his sovereignty of action. Why, dear reader, if such be your case, do you crave for signs and wonders? Is not the gospel its own sign and wonder?
Is not this a miracle of miracles, that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish”? Surely that precious word, “Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely” and that solemn promise, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out,” are better than signs and wonders!
A truthful Saviour ought to be believed. He is truth itself. Why will you ask proof of the veracity of One who cannot lie? The devils themselves declared him to be the Son of God; will you mistrust him?
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 2
THE SACRAMENT OF SACRIFICE
He that believeth in Me . . out of him shall flow. . . . — John 7:38
Jesus did not say – "he that believeth in Me shall realize the blessing of the fulness of God," but – "he that believeth in Me out of him shall escape everything he receives." Our Lord’s teaching is always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a man; His purpose is to make a man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.
When Mary of Bethany broke the box of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus’ head, it was an act for which no one else saw any occasion; the disciples said it was a waste. But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said that wherever His gospel was preached "this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Our Lord is carried beyond Himself with joy when He sees any of us doing what Mary did, not being set on this or that economy, but being abandoned to Him. God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved; are we prepared to spill out our lives for Him?
"He that believeth in Me out of him shall flow rivers of living water" – hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. It is time now to break the life, to cease craving for satisfaction, and to spill the thing out. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?
《Faith's check book》September 2
Follow to Know
So let us acknowledge him! Let us seek to acknowledge the Lord! He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn, as certainly as the winter rain comes, as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.” — Hos 6:3
Not all at once, but by degrees shall we attain to holy knowledge, and our business is to persevere and learn by little and little. We need not despair, though our progress may be slow, for we shall yet know. The Lord, who has become our Teacher, will not give us up, however slow of understanding we may be; for it is not for His honor that any degree of human folly should baffle His skill. The Lord delights to make the simple wise.
Our duty is to keep to our main topic and follow on to know, not this peculiar doctrine nor that, but Jehovah Himself. To know Father, Son, and Spirit, the Triune God, this is life eternal. Let us keep to this, for in this way we shall gain complete instruction. By following on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, binding up after smiting, and life after death. Experience has its perfect work when the heart follows the trackway of the almighty Lord.
My soul, keep thou close to Jesus, follow on to know God in Jesus, and so shalt thou come to the knowledge of Christ, which is the most excellent of all the sciences. The Holy Ghost will lead thee into all truth. Is not this His gracious promise? Rely upon Him to fulfill it.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 2
God Does Not Tempt to Sin
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. — Jas 1:13-14
My crimes, though great, do not surpass
The power and glory of thy grace;
Oh! wash my soul from every sin,
And make my guilty conscience clean.
《Streams In The Desert》September 2
Fashioned In The Fire
For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him,—Phil 1:29
God keeps a costly school. Many of its lessons are spelled out through tears. Richard Baxter said, “O God, I thank Thee for a bodily discipline of eight and fifty years”; and he is not the only man who has turned a trouble into triumph.
This school of our Heavenly Father will soon close for us; the term time is shortening every day. Let us not shrink from a hard lesson or wince under any rod of chastisement. The richer will be the crown, and the sweeter will be Heaven, if we endure cheerfully to the end and graduate in glory.—Theodore L. Cuyler
The finest china in the world is burned at least three times, some of it more than three times. Dresden china is always burned three times. Why does it go through that intense fire? Once ought to be enough; twice ought to be enough. No, three times are necessary to burn that china so that the gold and the crimson are brought out more beautiful and then fastened there to stay.
We are fashioned after the same principle in human life. Our trials are burned into us once, twice, thrice; and by God’s grace these beautiful colors are there and they are there to stay forever.—Cortland Myers
Earth’s fairest flowers grow not on sunny plain,
But where some vast upheaval rent in twain The smiling land … .
After the whirlwinds devastating blast,
After the molten fire and ashen pall,
God’s still small voice breathes healing over all.
From riven rocks and fern-clad chasms deep,
Flow living waters as from hearts that weep,
There in the afterglow soft dews distill
And angels tend God’s plants when night falls still,
And the Beloved passing by that way
Will gather lilies at the break of day.—J.H.D.
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 2
The Lord is near all who cry out to him, all who cry out to him sincerely. — Ps 145:18
And thus we sat in darkness,
Each one busy in his prayer;
“We are lost!” the captain shouted,
As he staggered down the stair.
But the little daughter whispered,
As she took his icy hand,
“Isn’t God upon the ocean,
Just the same as on the land?”
— Eugene Field.
Happiness is through helpfulness. Every morning let us build a booth to shelter some one from life’s fierce heat. Every noon let us dig some life-spring for thirsty lips.
— Newell Dwight Hillis.
Heavenly Father, may I live that my spirit may never feel lost from thee; and when I am in great need of thee, even unto death, may I know that thou art very near. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》September 3
“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?”— Song of Solomon 1:7
It is well to be able, without any “if” or “but,” to say of the Lord Jesus—”Thou whom my soul loveth.” Many can only say of Jesus that they hope they love him; they trust they love him; but only a poor and shallow experience will be content to stay here.
No one ought to give any rest to his spirit till he feels quite sure about a matter of such vital importance. We ought not to be satisfied with a superficial hope that Jesus loves us, and with a bare trust that we love him.
The old saints did not generally speak with “buts,” and “ifs,” and “hopes,” and “trusts,” but they spoke positively and plainly. “I know whom I have believed,” saith Paul. “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” saith Job.
Get positive knowledge of your love of Jesus, and be not satisfied till you can speak of your interest in him as a reality, which you have made sure by having received the witness of the Holy Spirit, and his seal upon your soul by faith.
True love to Christ is in every case the Holy Spirit’s work, and must be wrought in the heart by him. He is the efficient cause of it; but the logical reason why we love Jesus lies in himself. Why do we love Jesus? Because he first loved us.
Why do we love Jesus? Because he “gave himself for us.” We have life through his death; we have peace through his blood. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.
Why do we love Jesus? Because of the excellency of his person. We are filled with a sense of his beauty! an admiration of his charms! a consciousness of his infinite perfection! His greatness, goodness, and loveliness, in one resplendent ray, combine to enchant the soul till it is so ravished that it exclaims, “Yea, he is altogether lovely.”
Blessed love this—a love which binds the heart with chains more soft than silk, and yet more firm than adamant!
《Evening by Evening》September 3
“The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”— Psalm 11:5
All events are under the control of Providence; consequently all the trials of our outward life are traceable at once to the great First Cause. Out of the golden gate of God’s ordinance the armies of trial march forth in array, clad in their iron armour, and armed with weapons of war.
All providences are doors to trial. Even our mercies, like roses, have their thorns. Men may be drowned in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction. Our mountains are not too high, and our valleys are not too low for temptations: trials lurk on all roads.
Everywhere, above and beneath, we are beset and surrounded with dangers. Yet no shower falls unpermitted from the threatening cloud; every drop has its order ere it hastens to the earth. The trials which come from God are sent to prove and strengthen our graces, and so at once to illustrate the power of divine grace, to test the genuineness of our virtues, and to add to their energy.
Our Lord in his infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets so high a value upon his people’s faith that he will not screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened. You would never have possessed the precious faith which now supports you if the trial of your faith had not been like unto fire.
You are a tree that never would have rooted so well if the wind had not rocked you to and fro, and made you take firm hold upon the precious truths of the covenant grace. Worldly ease is a great foe to faith; it loosens the joints of holy valour, and snaps the sinews of sacred courage.
The balloon never rises until the cords are cut; affliction doth this sharp service for believing souls. While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husk it is useless to man, it must be threshed out of its resting place before its value can be known.
Thus it is well that Jehovah trieth the righteous, for it causeth them to grow rich towards God.
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 3
THE WATERS OF SATISFACTION SCATTERED
Nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. — 2 Samuel 23:16
What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently – love, friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul, you take it to satisfy yourself. If you do, you cannot pour it out before the Lord. You can never sanctify to God that with which you long to satisfy yourself. If you satisfy yourself with a blessing from God, it will corrupt you; you must sacrifice it, pour it out, do with it what common sense says is an absurd waste.
How am I to pour out unto the Lord natural love or spiritual blessing? In one way only – in the determination of my mind. There are certain acts of other people which one could never accept if one did not know God, because it is not within human power to repay them. But immediately I say – This is too great and worthy for me, it is not meant for a human being at all, I must pour it out unto the Lord, then these things pour out in rivers of living water all around. Until I do pour these things out before the Lord, they endanger those I love as well as myself because they will turn to lust. We can be lustful in things which are not sordid and vile. Love has to get to its transfiguration point of being poured out unto the Lord.
If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you clutched it for yourself; whereas if you had poured it out unto the Lord, you would have been the sweetest person out of heaven. If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you.
《Faith's check book》September 3
Out of Spiritual Death
Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. — Ezek 37:13
Indeed it must be so: those who receive life from the dead are sure to recognize the hand of the Lord in such a resurrection. This is the greatest and most remarkable of all changes that a man can undergo — to be brought out of the grave of spiritual death and made to rejoice in the light and liberty of spiritual life. None could work this but the living God, the Lord and giver of life.
Ah, me! How well do I remember when I was lying in the valley full of dry bones, as dry as any of them! Blessed was the day when free and sovereign grace sent the man of God to prophesy upon me! Glory be to God for the stirring which that word of faith caused among the dry bones. More blessed still was that heavenly breath from the four winds which made me live! Now know I the quickening Spirit of the ever-living Jehovah, Truly Jehovah is the living God, for He made me live. My new life even in its pinings and sorrowings is clear proof to me that the Lord can kill and make alive. He is the only God. He is all that is great, gracious, and glorious, and my quickened soul adores Him as the great I AM. All glory be unto His sacred name! As long as I live I will praise Him.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 3
Temptations -- From Satan
so that we may not be exploited by Satan (for we are not ignorant of his schemes). — 2 Cor 2:11
Fear not Satan’s strong temptations
Though they tease thee day by day,
And thy evil inclinations
Overwhelm thee with dismay!
Thou shalt conquer,
Through the Lamb’s redeeming blood.
《Streams In The Desert》September 3
Walk Without Strain
He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. As the night was ending, he came to them walking on the sea, for he wanted to pass by them.—Mark 6:48
Straining, driving effort does not accomplish the work God gives man to do. Only God Himself, who always works without strain, and who never overworks, can do the work that He assigns to His children. When they restfully trust Him to do it, it will be well done and completely done. The way to let Him do His work through us is to partake of Christ so fully, by faith, that He more than fills our life.
A man who had learned this secret once said: “I came to Jesus and I drank, and I do not think that I shall ever be thirsty again. I have taken for my motto, ’Not overwork, but overflow’; and already it has made all the difference in my life.”
There is no effort in overflow. It is quietly irresistible. It is the normal life of omnipotent and ceaseless accomplishment into which Christ invites us today and always.—Sunday School Times
Be all at rest, my soul, O blessed secret,
Of the true life that glorifies thy Lord:
Not always doth the busiest soul best serve Him,
But he that resteth on His faithful Word.
Be all at rest, let not your heart be rippled,
For tiny wavelets mar the image fair,
Which the still pool reflects of heaven’s glory—
And thus the image He would have thee bear.
Be all at rest, my soul, for rest is service,
To the still heart God doth His secrets tell;
Thus shalt thou learn to wait, and watch, and labor,
Strengthened to bear, since Christ in thee doth dwell.
For what is service but the life of Jesus,
Lived through a vessel of earth’s fragile clay,
Loving and giving and poured forth for others,
A living sacrifice from day to day.
Be all at rest, so shalt thou be an answer
To those who question, “Who is God and where?”
For God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness,
And they who dwell in Him, His rest shalt share.
And what shall meet the deep unrest around thee,
But the calm peace of God that filled His breast?
For still a living Voice calls to the weary,
From Him who said, “Come unto Me and rest.”
—Freda Hanbury Allen
“In resurrection stillness there is resurrection power.”
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 3
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, — Eph 4:2
Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee: Corruption wins not more than honesty. Still in thy right hand carry peace, To silence envious tongues. Be just and fear not: Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s, Thy God’s and truth’s; then if thou fallest, O Cromwell, Thou fallest a blessed martyr.
— William Shakespeare.
Surely, the only true knowledge of our fellow man is that which enables us to feel with him, which gives us a fine ear for the heart-pulses that are beating under the mere clothes of circumstance and opinion.
— George Eliot.
Lord, give thy people consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual love; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of the reformation; and make the name of Christ glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on thy instruments to depend more upon thyself. Pardon the folly of this short prayer: Even for Christ's sake. And give us a good night, if it be thy pleasure. Amen. —Prayer by Oliver Cromwell, just before death.
《Morning By Morning》September 4
“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”— Mark 1:41
Primeval darkness heard the Almighty fiat, “light be,” and straightway light was, and the word of the Lord Jesus is equal in majesty to that ancient word of power. Redemption like Creation has its word of might. Jesus speaks and it is done.
Leprosy yielded to no human remedies, but it fled at once at the Lord’s “I will.” The disease exhibited no hopeful signs or tokens of recovery, nature contributed nothing to its own healing, but the unaided word effected the entire work on the spot and forever.
The sinner is in a plight more miserable than the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus, “beseeching him and kneeling down to him.” Let him exercise what little faith he has, even though it should go no further than “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;” and there need be no doubt as to the result of the application.
Jesus heals all who come, and casts out none. In reading the narrative in which our morning’s text occurs, it is worthy of devout notice that Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the house, but Jesus so far from chiding him broke through the law himself in order to meet him.
He made an interchange with the leper, for while he cleansed him, he contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement. Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in himself he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
O that poor sinners would go to Jesus, believing in the power of his blessed substitutionary work, and they would soon learn the power of his gracious touch. That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean.
The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, he looks, he touches us, we live.
《Evening by Evening》September 4
“Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.”— Leviticus 19:36
Weights, and scales, and measures were to be all according to the standard of justice. Surely no Christian man will need to be reminded of this in his business, for if righteousness were banished from all the world beside, it should find a shelter in believing hearts.
There are, however, other balances which weigh moral and spiritual things, and these often need examining. We will call in the officer tonight.
The balances in which we weigh our own and other men’s characters, are they quite accurate? Do we not turn our own ounces of goodness into pounds, and other persons’ bushels of excellence into pecks?
See to weights and measures here, Christian. The scales in which we measure our trials and troubles, are they according to standard? Paul, who had more to suffer than we have, called his afflictions light, and yet we often consider ours to be heavy—surely something must be amiss with the weights!
We must see to this matter, lest we get reported to the court above for unjust dealing. Those weights with which we measure our doctrinal belief, are they quite fair? The doctrines of grace should have the same weight with us as the precepts of the word, no more and no less; but it is to be feared that with many one scale or the other is unfairly weighted.
It is a grand matter to give just measure in truth. Christian, be careful here. Those measures in which we estimate our obligations and responsibilities look rather small. When a rich man gives no more to the cause of God than the poor contribute, is that a just ephah and a just hin?
When ministers are half starved, is that honest dealing? When the poor are despised, while ungodly rich men are held in admiration, is that a just balance? Reader, we might lengthen the list, but we prefer to leave it as your evening’s work to find out and destroy all unrighteous balances, weights, and measures.
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 4
Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me. — John 17:6
The missionary is one in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought this realization – "Ye are not your own." To say, "I am not my own" is to have reached a great point in spiritual nobility. The true nature of the life in the actual whirl is the deliberate giving up of myself to another in sovereign preference, and that other is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit expounds the nature of Jesus to me in order to make me one with my Lord, not that I might go off as a showroom exhibit. Our Lord never sent any of the disciples out on the ground of what He had done for them. It was not until after the Resurrection, when the disciples had perceived by the power of the Holy Spirit Whom He was, that Jesus said "Go."
"If any man come to me and hate not . . . , he cannot be My disciple," not, he cannot be good and upright, but, he cannot be one over whom Jesus writes the word "Mine." Any one of the relationships Our Lord mentions may be a competitive relationship. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself; then, says Jesus, you cannot be My disciple. This does not mean I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be "His."
Our Lord makes a disciple His own possession, He becomes responsible for him. "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." The spirit that comes in is not that of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him. The secret of the missionary is – I am His, and He is carrying out His enterprises through me.
Be entirely His.
《Faith's check book》September 4
Victory Without Battle
But I will have pity on the nation of Judah. I will deliver them by the Lord their God; I will not deliver them by the warrior’s bow, by sword, by military victory, by chariot horses, or by chariots.” — Hos 1:7
Precious word. Jehovah Himself will deliver His people in the greatness of His mercy, but He will not do it by the ordinary means. Men are slow to render to God the glory due unto His name. If they go to battle with sword and bow and win the victory, they ought to praise their God; yet they do not, but begin to magnify their own right arm and glory in their horses and horsemen. For this reason our Jehovah often determines to save His people without second means, that all the honor may be to Himself alone.
Look, then, my heart, to the Lord alone and not to man. Expect to see God all the more clearly when there is no one else to look to. If I have no friend, no adviser, no one at my back, let me be none the less confident if I can feel that the Lord Himself is on my side; yea, let me be glad if He gives victory without battle, as the text seems to imply. Why do I ask for horses and horsemen if Jehovah Himself has mercy upon me and lifts up His arm for my defense! Why need I bow or sword if God will save? Let me trust and not be afraid from this day forth and for evermore. Amen.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 4
Temptations -- From a Depraved Nature
So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. — Rom 7:21
Oh! who can free my troubled mind
From sin’s oppressive load?
O wretched man! how shall I find
Acceptance with my God.
My soul with transport turns to thee,
To thee my Saviour turns;
Cleansed by thy blood, and saved by grace,
My soul no longer mourns.
《Streams In The Desert》September 4
Shout of Faith
When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn, have the whole army give a loud battle cry. Then the city wall will collapse and the warriors should charge straight ahead.”—Josh 6:5
The shout of steadfast faith is in direct contrast to the moans of wavering faith, and to the wails of discouraged hearts. Among the many “secrets of the Lord,” I do not know of any that is more valuable than the secret of this shout of faith. The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” He had not said, “I will give,” but “I have given.” It belonged to them already; and now they were called to take possession of it. But the great question was, How? It looked impossible, but the Lord declared His plan.
Now, no one can suppose for a moment that this shout caused the walls to fall. And yet the secret of their victory lay in just this shout, for it was the shout of a faith which dared, on the authority of God’s Word alone, to claim a promised victory, while as yet there were no signs of this victory being accomplished. And according to their faith God did unto them; so that, when they shouted, He made the walls to fall.
God had declared that He had given them the city, and faith reckoned this to be true. And long centuries afterwards the Holy Ghost recorded this triumph of faith in Hebrews:
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.”—Hannah Whitall Smith.
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 4
Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately. — 2 Tim 2:15
I ask not wealth, but power to take
And use the things I have, aright;
Not years, but wisdom that shall make
My life a profit and delight.
— Phcebe Gary.
Another day may bring another mind,
A mind to learn when there is none to teach;
To follow when no leader we can find;
To enjoy when good is now beyond our reach.
A better mind, but not a better time,
A mind to will, but not a time to do
What had been done, if we in life’s bright prime,
When God was ready, had been ready too.
— Thomas T. Lynch.
My Father, help me to have lofty thoughts, and may I not be content until they are carried into purpose. Help me to conquer that which will keep me from an act of happiness, and grant that by thinking of that which is pure, and doing that which is good, I may be made helpful and true. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》September 5
“Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!”— Psalm 120:5
As a Christian you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry “Woe is me.” Jesus did not pray that you should be taken out of the world, and what he did not pray for, you need not desire.
Better far in the Lord’s strength to meet the difficulty, and glorify him in it. The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; be therefore very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you, and that more is expected from you than from other men.
Strive to give no occasion for blame. Let your goodness be the only fault they can discover in you. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, “If I were in a more favourable position I might serve the Lord’s cause, but I cannot do any good where I am”; but the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth.
Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial.
They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, “stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
《Evening by Evening》September 5
“Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?”— Job 38:16
Some things in nature must remain a mystery to the most intelligent and enterprising investigators. Human knowledge has bounds beyond which it cannot pass. Universal knowledge is for God alone.
If this be so in the things which are seen and temporal, I may rest assured that it is even more so in matters spiritual and eternal. Why, then, have I been torturing my brain with speculations as to destiny and will, fixed fate and human responsibility?
These deep and dark truths I am no more able to comprehend than to find out the depth which coucheth beneath, from which old ocean draws her watery stores. Why am I so curious to know the reason of my Lord’s providences, the motive of his actions, the design of his visitations?
Shall I ever be able to clasp the sun in my fist, and hold the universe in my palm? yet these are as a drop of a bucket compared with the Lord my God. Let me not strive to understand the infinite, but spend my strength in love.
What I cannot gain by intellect I can possess by affection, and let that suffice me. I cannot penetrate the heart of the sea, but I can enjoy the healthful breezes which sweep over its bosom, and I can sail over its blue waves with propitious winds.
If I could enter the springs of the sea, the feat would serve no useful purpose either to myself or to others, it would not save the sinking bark, or give back the drowned mariner to his weeping wife and children; neither would my solving deep mysteries avail me a single whit, for the least love to God, and the simplest act of obedience to him, are better than the profoundest knowledge.
My Lord, I leave the infinite to thee, and pray thee to put far from me such a love for the tree of knowledge as might keep me from the tree of life.
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 5
THE MISSIONARY WATCHING
Watch with Me. — Matthew 26:40
"Watch with Me" – with no private point of view of your own at all, but watch entirely with Me. In the early stages we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revelation of the Bible; in the circumstances of our lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to identification with Himself in a particular Gethsemane, and we will not go; we say – "No, Lord, I cannot see the meaning of this, it is bitter." How can we possibly watch with Someone Who is inscrutable? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we do not know even what His suffering is for? We do not know how to watch with Him; we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.
The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not understand what He was after. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept for their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest intimacy they "all forsook Him and fled."
"They were all filled with the Holy Ghost" – the same "they," but something wonderful has happened in between – Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection and Ascension; and the disciples have been invaded by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord had said – "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you," and this meant that they learned to watch with Him all the rest of their lives.
《Faith's check book》September 5
With Me Wherever I Am
You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’” — 2 Chr 20:17
This was a great mercy for Jehoshaphat, for a great multitude had come out against him; and it will be a great mercy for me, for I have great need, and I have no might or wisdom. If the Lord be with me, it matters little who may desert me. If the Lord be with me, I shall conquer in the battle of life, and the greater my trials the more glorious will be my victory. How can I be sure that the Lord is with me?
For certain He is with me if I am with Him. If I trust in His faithfulness, believe His words, and obey His commands, He is assuredly with me. If I am on Satan’s side, God is against me and cannot be otherwise; but if I live to honor God, I may be sure that He will honor me.
I am quite sure that God is with me if Jesus is my sole and only Savior. If I have placed my soul in the hands of God’s only-begotten Son, then I may be sure that the Father will put forth all His power to preserve me, that His Son may not be dishonored.
Oh, for faith to take hold upon the short but sweet text for today! O Lord, fulfill this word to Thy servant! Be with me in the house, in the street, in the field, in the shop, in company, and alone. Be Thou also with all Thy people.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 5
Temptations -- From the Love of Riches
Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. — 1 Tim 6:9
Oh lay not up upon this earth
Your hopes, your joys, your treasure,
Here sorrow clouds the pilgrim’s path,
And blights each opening pleasure.
All, all below must fade and die,
The dearest hopes we cherish,
Scenes touch’d with brightest radiancy,
Are all decreed to perish.
《Streams In The Desert》September 5
When We Are Ready
For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy; he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. Indeed, the Lord is a just God; all who wait for him in faith will be blessed.—Isa 30:18
We hear a great deal about waiting on God. There is, however, another side. When we wait on God, He is waiting till we are ready; when we wait for God, we are waiting till He is ready.
There are some people who say, and many more who believe, that as soon as we meet all the conditions, God will answer our prayers. They say that God lives in an eternal now; with Him there is no past nor future; and that if we could fulfill all that He requires in the way of obedience to His will, immediately our needs would be supplied, our desires fulfilled, our prayers answered.
There is much truth in this belief, and yet it expresses only one side of the truth. While God lives in an eternal now, yet He works out His purposes in time. A petition presented before God is like a seed dropped in the ground. Forces above and beyond our control must work upon it, till the true fruition of the answer is given.—The Still Small Voice
I longed to walk along an easy road,
And leave behind the dull routine of home,
Thinking in other fields to serve my God;
But Jesus said, “My time has not yet come.”
I longed to sow the seed in other soil,
To be unfettered in the work, and free,
To join with other laborers in their toil;
But Jesus said, “’Tis not My choice for thee.”
I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To work where souls were sunk in sin and shame,
That I might win them; but the Master said,
“I have not called thee, publish here My name.”
I longed to fight the battles of my King,
Lift high His standards in the thickest strife;
But my great Captain bade me wait and sing
Songs of His conquests in my quiet life.
I longed to leave the uncongenial sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near,
But Jesus bade me guard one lonely gate.
I longed to leave the round of daily toil,
Where no one seemed to understand or care;
But Jesus said, “I choose for thee this soil,
That thou might’st raise for Me some blossoms rare.”
And now I have no longing but to do
At home, or else afar, His blessed will,
To work amid the many or the few;
Thus, “choosing not to choose,” my heart is still.
“And Patience was willing to wait.”—Pilgrim’s Progress
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 5
And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. — Jas 1:4
Be patient! O, be patient! Put your ear against the earth; Listen there how noiselessly the germ o’ the seed has birth— How noiselessly and gently it upheaves its little way, Till it parts the scarcely broken ground, and the blade stands up in day. Be patient! O, be patient!—though yet our hopes are green, The harvest fields of freedom shall be crowned with sunny sheen. Be ripening! be ripening—mature your silent way, Till the whole broad land is tongued with fire on freedom’s harvest day.
— Richard C. Trench.
Gracious Father, help me to see the truth as thou hast made it, and may I not be indifferent to the beauty and patience of the earth's revelations. May I not mistake indolence for patient ambition, which I would have for anxious hours, and which I need for my heart's desires. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》September 6
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”— Philippians 2:15
We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions.
Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place.
Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness.
Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed.
The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world.
Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.
Gracious Spirit dwell with me;
I myself would gracious be,
And with words that help and heal
Would thy life in mine reveal,
And with actions bold and meek
Would for Christ my Saviour speak.
《Evening by Evening》September 6
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”— Galatians 5:18
He who looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view, will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning; for if we are to be judged on the footing of the law, there shall no flesh living be justified.
How blessed to know that we dwell in the domains of grace and not of law! When thinking of my state before God the question is not, “Am I perfect in myself before the law?” but, “Am I perfect in Christ Jesus?”
That is a very different matter. We need not enquire, “Am I without sin naturally?” but, “Have I been washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness?” It is not “Am I in myself well pleasing to God?” but it is “Am I accepted in the Beloved?”
The Christian views his evidences from the top of Sinai, and grows alarmed concerning his salvation; it were better far if he read his title by the light of Calvary. “Why,” saith he, “my faith has unbelief in it, it is not able to save me.”
Suppose he had considered the object of his faith instead of his faith, then he would have said, “There is no failure in him, and therefore I am safe.” He sighs over his hope: “Ah! my hope is marred and dimmed by an anxious carefulness about present things; how can I be accepted?”
Had he regarded the ground of his hope, he would have seen that the promise of God standeth sure, and that whatever our doubts may be, the oath and promise never fail. Ah! believer, it is safer always for you to be led of the Spirit into gospel liberty than to wear legal fetters.
Judge yourself at what Christ is rather than at what you are. Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections: you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 6
DIFFUSIVENESS OF LIFE
Rivers of living water. — John 7:38
A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fulness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow – "This is the work of God that ye believe. . . ." God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.
A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river which will flow steadily through you if you remember to keep right at the Source. Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.
Think of the healing and far-flung rivers nursing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up marvellous truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is an indication of the wider power of the river He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.
《Faith's check book》September 6
A Strong Heart
Rely on the Lord! Be strong and confident! Rely on the Lord! — Ps 27:14
Wait! Wait! Let your waiting be on the Lord! He is worth waiting for. He never disappoints the waiting soul.
While waiting keep up your spirits. Expect a great deliverance, and be ready to praise God for it.
The promise which should cheer you is in the middle of the verse — “He shall strengthen thine heart.” This goes at once to the place where you need help. If the heart be sound, all the rest of the system will work well. The heart wants calming and cheering, and both of these will come if it be strengthened. A forceful heart rests and rejoices and throbs force into the whole man.
No one else can get at that secret urn of life, the heart, so as to pour strength into it. He alone who made it can make it strong. God is full of strength, and, therefore, He can impart it to those who need it. Oh, be brave; for the Lord will impart His strength to you, and you shall be calm in tempest and glad in sorrow.
He who penned these lines can write as David did — “Wait, I say, on the Lord.” I do, indeed, say it. I know by long and deep experience that it is good for me to wait upon the Lord.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 6
Temptations -- From the Fear of Man
The fear of people becomes a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be set on high. — Prov 29:25
The taunts and frowns of men of earth,
What are they all to me!
Oh they are things of little worth,
Weigh’d with one smile from Thee,
Who bore a sorrow deeper far,
Than all these stingless trifles are.
《Streams In The Desert》September 6
They will perish, but you continue. And they will all grow old like a garment,—Heb 1:11
There are always lone hearth-fires; so many! And those who sit beside them, with the empty chair, cannot restrain the tears that will come. One sits alone so much. There is some One unseen, just here within reach. But somehow we don’t realize His presence. Realizing is blessed, but—rare. It belongs to the mood, to the feelings. It is dependent on weather conditions and bodily conditions. The rain, the heavy fog outside, the poor sleep, the twinging pain, these make one’s mood so much, they seem to blur out the realizing. But there is something a little higher up than realizing. It is yet more blessed. It is independent of these outer conditions, it is something that abides. It is this: recognizing that Presence unseen, so wondrous and quieting, so soothing and calming and warming. Recognize His presence—the Master’s own. He is here, close by; His presence is real. Recognizing will help realizing, too, but it never depends on it. Aye, more, immensely more, the Truth is a Presence, not a thing, a fact, a statement. Some One is present, a warm-hearted Friend, an all-powerful Lord. And this is the joyful truth for weeping hearts everywhere, whatever be the hand that has drawn the tears; by whatever stream it be that your weeping willow is planted.
—S. D. Gordon
When from my life the old-time joys have vanished,
Treasures once mine, I may no longer claim,
This truth may feed my hungry heart, and famished:
Lord, THOU REMAINEST THOU art still the same!
When streams have dried, those streams of glad refreshing—
Friendships so blest, so rich, so free;
When sun-kissed skies give place to clouds depressing,
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Still my heart hath THEE.
When strength hath failed, and feet, now worn and weary,
On gladsome errands may no longer go,
Why should I sigh, or let the days be dreary?
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Could’st Thou more bestow?
Thus through life’s days—whoe’er or what may fail me,
Friends, friendships, joys, in small or great degree,
Songs may be mine, no sadness need assail me,
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Still my heart hath THEE. —J. D. Smith
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 6
Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. — Rom 12:11
God will not seek thy race,
Nor will he ask thy birth;
Alone he will demand of thee,
What hast thou done on earth?
One dreams of the time when the interest and capacity of each person shall be studied with reference to the industry about to be undertaken.
— Jane Addams.
Honor is purchased by deeds we do, honor is not won, until some honorable deed is done.
— Sir Christopher Marlowe.
Gracious Father, wilt thou bring to my mind and heart the important things which are needed in preparing life. Help me to use the strength that is given to me for to-day, that I may not have to give to-morrow to learning what I should have known. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》September 7
“And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.”— Mark 2:4
Faith is full of inventions. The house was full, a crowd blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the Lord and placing the palsied man before him.
If we cannot get sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods we must use extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luke 5:19, that a tiling had to be removed, which would make dust and cause a measure of danger to those below, but where the case is very urgent we must not mind running some risks and shocking some proprieties.
Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what might, faith ventured all so that her poor paralysed charge might have his sins forgiven. O that we had more daring faith among us!
Cannot we, dear reader, seek it this morning for ourselves and for our fellow-workers, and will we not try today to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory of the Lord.
The world is constantly inventing; genius serves all the purposes of human desire: cannot faith invent too, and reach by some new means the outcasts who lie perishing around us? It was the presence of Jesus which excited victorious courage in the four bearers of the palsied man: is not the Lord among us now?
Have we seen his face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt his healing power in our own souls? If so, then through door, through window or through roof, let us, breaking through all impediments, labour to bring poor souls to Jesus.
All means are good and decorous when faith and love are truly set on winning souls. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts.
O Lord, make us quick to suggest methods of reaching thy poor sin-sick ones, and bold to carry them out at all hazards.
《Evening by Evening》September 7
“Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.”— Jeremiah 49:23
Little know we what sorrow may be upon the sea at this moment. We are safe in our quiet chamber, but far away on the salt sea the hurricane may be cruelly seeking for the lives of men.
Hear how the death fiends howl among the cordage; how every timber starts as the waves beat like battering rams upon the vessel! God help you, poor drenched and wearied ones! My prayer goes up to the great Lord of sea and land, that he will make the storm a calm, and bring you to your desired haven!
Nor ought I to offer prayer alone, I should try to benefit those hardy men who risk their lives so constantly. Have I ever done anything for them? What can I do? How often does the boisterous sea swallow up the mariner!
Thousands of corpses lie where pearls lie deep. There is death-sorrow on the sea, which is echoed in the long wail of widows and orphans. The salt of the sea is in many eyes of mothers and wives.
Remorseless billows, ye have devoured the love of women, and the stay of households. What a resurrection shall there be from the caverns of the deep when the sea gives up her dead! Till then there will be sorrow on the sea.
As if in sympathy with the woes of earth, the sea is forever fretting along a thousand shores, wailing with a sorrowful cry like her own birds, booming with a hollow crash of unrest, raving with uproarious discontent, chafing with hoarse wrath or jangling with the voices of ten thousand murmuring pebbles.
The roar of the sea may be joyous to a rejoicing spirit, but to the son of sorrow the wide, wide ocean is even more forlorn than the wide, wide world. This is not our rest, and the restless billows tell us so. There is a land where there is no more sea—our faces are steadfastly set towards it; we are going to the place of which the Lord hath spoken.
Till then, we cast our sorrows on the Lord who trod the sea of old, and who maketh a way for his people through the depths thereof.
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 7
SPRINGS OF BENIGNITY
The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water. — John 4:14
The picture Our Lord gives is not that of a channel but a fountain. "Be being filled," and the sweetness of vital relationship to Jesus will flow out of the saint as lavishly as it is imparted to him. If you find your life is not flowing out as it should, you are to blame; something has obstructed the flow. Keep right at the Source, and – you will be blessed personally? No, out of you will flow rivers of living water, irrepressible life.
We are to be centres through which Jesus can flow as rivers of living water in blessing to every one. Some of us are like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out, because we are not rightly related to the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive from Him, He will pour out through us, and in the measure He is not pouring out, there is a defect in our relationship to Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything that hinders your belief in Him? If not, Jesus says, out of you will flow rivers of living water. It is not a blessing passed on, not an experience stated, but a river continually flowing. Keep at the Source, guard well your belief in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow for other lives, no dryness and no deadness.
Is it not too extravagant to say that out of an individual believer rivers are going to flow? "I do not see the rivers," you say. Never look at yourself from the standpoint of – Who am I? In the history of God’s work you will nearly always find that it has started from the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but the steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.
《Faith's check book》September 7
The Reach of Almighty Grace
However, in the future the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are children of the living God!” — Hos 1:10
Sovereign grace can make strangers into sons, and the Lord here declares His purpose to deal thus with rebels and make them know what He has done. Beloved reader, the Lord has done this in my case; has He done the like for you? Then let us join hands and hearts in praising His adorable name.
Some of us were so decidedly ungodly that the Lord’s Word most truly said to our conscience and heart, “Ye are not my people.” In the house of God and in our own homes, when we read the Bible, this was the voice of God’s Spirit in our soul, “Ye are not my people.” Truly a sad, condemning voice it was. But now, in the same places, from the same ministry and Scripture, we hear a voice, which saith, “Ye are the sons of the living God.” Can we be grateful enough for this? Is it not wonderful? Does it not give us hope for others? Who is beyond the reach of almighty grace? How can we despair of any, since the Lord has wrought so marvelous a change in us?
He who has kept this one great promise will keep every other; wherefore, let us go forward with songs of adoration and confidence.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 7
Temptation to Neglect Good Works
You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? — Gal 5:7
Better that we had never known
The way to heaven through saving grace,
Than basely in our lives disown,
And slight and mock thee to thy face.
《Streams In The Desert》September 7
God is our strong refuge; he is truly our helper in times of trouble.—Ps 46:1
The question often comes, “Why didn’t He help me sooner?” It is not His order. He must first adjust you to the trouble and cause you to learn your lesson from it. His promise is, “I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” He must be with you in the trouble first all day and all night. Then He will take you out of it. This will not come till you have stopped being restless and fretful about it and become calm and quiet. Then He will say, “It is enough.”
God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. They are intended to educate us. When their good work is done, a glorious recompense will come to us through them. There is a sweet joy and a real value in them. He does not regard them as difficulties but as opportunities.—Selected.
Not always OUT of our troublous times,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN—deeper IN—to our one sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
—Annie Johnson Flint
We once heard a simple old colored man say something that we have never forgotten: “When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary.”
There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of Divine grace. Thus even the adversary becomes an auxiliary, and the things that seem to be against us turn out to be for the furtherance of our way. Surely, this is to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us.—A. B. Simpson
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 7
Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. — Gal 6:2
Side by side
In the low sunshine by the turban stone
They knelt; each made his brother’s woe his own,
Forgetting, in the agony and stress
Of pitying love, his claim of selfishness;
Peace, for his friend besought, his own became;
His prayers were answered in another’s name;
And when at last they rose up to embrace,
Each saw God’s pardon in his brother’s face.
— John G. Whittier.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it;
Stands and lies by me, does what I have done,
This too familiar care does make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be suppressed.
— Queen Elizabeth.
Lord God, help me to look for those who are in need of help. Forgive me for my failures, and may I gather up my broken promises and try to redeem them. I ask for thy forgiveness, as I ask that thou wilt help me to forgive them who may have trespassed against me. Amen.
《Morning By Morning》September 8
“Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.”— Hosea 14:8
Our fruit is found from our God as to union. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit.
Every bunch of grapes has been first in the root, it has passed through the stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth in us.
O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst be a barren bough indeed.
Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon may whisper to the tree and say, “From me is thy fruit found.”
The fruit owes much to the root—that is essential to fruitfulness—but it owes very much also to external influences. How much we owe to God’s grace-providence! in which he provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness or virtue.
Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener’s sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which the Lord gives to thee.
“My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Since our God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to him all the glory of our salvation.
《Evening by Evening》September 8
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”— Ephesians 1:19, 20
In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth nothing short of a divine power. What shall we say of those who think that conversion is wrought by the free will of man, and is due to his own betterness of disposition?
When we shall see the dead rise from the grave by their own power, then may we expect to see ungodly sinners of their own free will turning to Christ. It is not the word preached, nor the word read in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Ghost.
This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds: even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life.
No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth, can stay the hand of God’s grace when it intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, “Thou shalt,” man shall not say, “I will not.” Observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honour upon God and wrought dismay in the hosts of evil.
So there is great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner. It was everlasting power. “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” So we, being raised from the dead, go not back to our dead works nor to our old corruptions, but we live unto God.
“Because he lives we live also.”
“For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God.”“Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Lastly, in the text mark the union of the new life to Jesus. The same power which raised the Head works life in the members. What a blessing to be quickened together with Christ!
《My Utmost for His Highest》September 8
DO IT YOURSELF
Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. — 2 Corinthians 10:5
Determinedly Demolish Some Things. Deliverance from sin is not deliverance from human nature. There are things in human nature, such as prejudices, which the saint has to destroy by neglect; and other things which have to be destroyed by violence, i.e., by the Divine strength imparted by God’s Spirit. There are some things over which we are not to fight, but to stand still in and see the salvation of God; but every theory or conception which erects itself as a rampart against the knowledge of God is to be determinedly demolished by drawing on God’s power, not by fleshly endeavour or compromise (v. 4).
It is only when God has altered our disposition and we have entered into the experience of sanctification that the fight begins. The warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin: Jesus Christ deals with sin in Redemption. The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily. It is done only by a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices. These choices are continually in antagonism to the entrenchments of our natural life, the things which erect themselves as ramparts against the knowledge of God. We can either go back and make ourselves of no account in the Kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things and let Jesus bring another son to glory.
《Faith's check book》September 8
Broken and Smoking
A crushed reed he will not break, a dim wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully make just decrees. — Isa 42:3
Then I may reckon upon tender treatment from my Lord. Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, as pliant, as worthless as a reed. Someone said, “I don’t care a rush for you”; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue. Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised — sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if He will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate Lord, I nestle down beneath Thy protection and forget my bruises!
Truly I am also fit to be likened to “the smoking flax,” whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains. I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit. My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my Lord will soon put an extinguisher upon one. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers, and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. Lord, kindle me anew and cause me to shine forth to Thy glory and to the extolling of Thy tenderness.
《Believer's Daily Treasure》September 8
Temptation to Legal Dependance
Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort? — Gal 3:3
Go, you that rest upon the law,
And toil and seek salvation there;
Look to the flame that Moses saw,
And shrink, and tremble, and despair.
But I’ll retire beneath thy cross—
Saviour, at thy dear feet I’ll lie;
And the keen sword that justice draws,
Flaming and red, shall pass me by.
《Streams In The Desert》September 8
Free Through Suffering
When I call out, answer me, O God who vindicates me! Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place. Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer!—Ps 4:1
This is one of the grandest testimonies ever given by man to the moral government of God. It is not a man’s thanksgiving that he has been set free from suffering. It is a thanksgiving that he has been set free through suffering: “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” He declares the sorrows of life to have been themselves the source of life’s enlargement.
And have not you and I a thousand times felt this to be true? It is written of Joseph in the dungeon that “the iron entered into his soul.” We all feel that what Joseph needed for his soul was just the iron. He had seen only the glitter of the gold. He had been rejoicing in youthful dreams; and dreaming hardens the heart. He who sheds tears over a romance will not be most apt to help reality; real sorrow will be too unpoetic for him. We need the iron to enlarge our nature. The gold is but a vision; the iron is an experience. The chain which unites me to humanity must be an iron chain. That touch of nature which makes the world akin is not joy, but sorrow; gold is partial, but iron is universal.
My soul, if thou wouldst be enlarged into human sympathy, thou must be narrowed into limits of human suffering. Joseph’s dungeon is the road to Joseph’s throne. Thou canst not lift the iron load of thy brother if the iron hath not entered into thee. It is thy limit that is thine enlargement. It is the shadows of thy life that are the real fulfillment of thy dreams of glory. Murmur not at the shadows; they are better revelations than thy dreams. Say not that the shades of the prison-house have fettered thee; thy fetters are wings—wings of flight into the bosom of humanity. The door of thy prison-house is a door into the heart of the universe. God has enlarged thee by the binding of sorrow’s chain.—George Matheson
If Joseph had not been Egypt’s prisoner, he had never been Egypt’s governor. The iron chain about his feet ushered in the golden chain about his neck.—Selected
《Daily Prayer Guide》September 8
The one who obeys commandments guards his life; the one who despises his ways will die. — Prov 19:16
All service ranks the same with God,—
With God, whose puppets, best and worst,
Are we: there is no last nor first.
— Robert Browning.
Thou needest not man’s little life of years,
Save that he gather wisdom from them all;
That in thy fear he lose all other fears,
And in thy calling heed no other call.
Then shall he be thy child to know thy care,
And in thy Self the eternal Sabbath share.
— Jones Very.
My Lord, forbid that I should want to live to be known only for power and pride. Help me to strive for that which is helpful and lovely. May I never be restrained from thee, but delight to follow in thy way. Help me to be obedient to thy laws, that I may learn thy truths. Amen.