Monthly Archives: June 2012

LOVE TRIUMPHANT OVER DEATH

LOVE TRIUMPHANT OVER DEATH
“Fear not. I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold,! am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”– Rev_1:18.

IT WAS not possible, said St. Peter, that our Lord should be holden of death (Act_2:24). It behooved Christ to suffer; but all the bitter waters of suffering could not quench his love. He was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, every man, even those who pierced Him, is included in His great love.
Christ died, not only to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, but to rob death of its terrors, and deprive it of its sting. In death our Lord Jesus destroyed both the Devil and his power; the prince of this world has been judged, and cast out of the seat of power (Heb_2:14-15; Joh_12:31; Joh_16:11).
Let us not be afraid of the mystery of death. Christ has shown us that it is the gateway into another life. There is the same spirit, but a different environment. It is a condition of existence in which the same voices are heard, the same human fellowship persists. During the forty days in which Jesus tarried on our earth after His Resurrection, He solved many of the problems of life after death, and illuminated its mystery. To die is to be with Him, and to be welcomed into the great company of loving spirits (2Pe_1:11).
Let us not fear the loneliness of death. The soul passing through the dark valley becomes aware of Another by its side—”Thou art with me.’” Death cannot separate us, even for a moment, from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus died alone; He felt forsaken; but none of us need pass through that terrible experience; for He has said: “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.”
We need not fear what comes after death. The curse and penalty of sin have been put away for ever. “Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again.” That which others call death, we dread no more than sleep. Our bodies lie down exhausted with our long working-day, to awake in the fresh energy of the Eternal Morning, while our spirit is presented before the Presence of His Glory, faultless, and with exceeding joy (Jud_1:24).

PRAYER
O God, may we so trust Thee this day, that, when the day is done, our trust shall be firmer than ever. Then, when our last day comes, and our work is done, may we trust Thee in death and forever, in the spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

SONGS OF PRAISE

SONGS OF PRAISE
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people.”– Luk_1:46, Luk_1:47, Luk_1:68.

THESE TWO songs have floated down the centuries, stirring human hearts with the ecstasy of their triumph. It is not given to all to be able to express their exultation in words so eloquent and musical, but all may become as saturated with the words of Scripture as Mary was, and all may triumph in Jesus Christ as gladly as did Zacharias, and show forth His praise, as did these two holy souls.
The most wonderful thing for us all is that God looks upon our low estate. The greater His blessing, the more unworthy we feel of it. There is no reason why He has stooped to our lowliness and obscurity except that He would. He does great things for the weakest and merciful things for the unworthiest, for His Name’s sake–”Holy is His Name.” In other words, there is no accounting for the putting forth of God’s power and love, except His own glorious character.
Princes are put down from their thrones, because they have become proud and tyrannical; whilst those of low degree are exalted by God, because in obscurity they have been educated in virtue, which cannot but rise to the level of its specific gravity. The rich are often sent empty away, because they have no taste or desire for true riches which alone can satisfy. Whether the hunger be for love, or for the power to do good, or for the best gifts that the Spirit of God can bestow, whoever fulfils the conditions of humility and faith–these are “filled with good things.” “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
The little babe, known afterwards as John the Baptist, was probably lying in his father’s arms, when he burst forth into this glorious song. Let us see to it that we use every opportunity of making known God’s wondrous salvation, of pointing men to the only source of forgiveness. Nothing so encourages faith as the proclamation of what God is prepared to do for those who trust Him, and when it dawns upon men that there are treasures in Christ which shall enrich their poverty and dissipate their hopelessness, they will yield themselves to be led into the ways of peace even by a little child!

PRAYER
We thank Thee, O God, for life and light and love; for the light of Thy mercy shining across our path, revealing to us Thy infinite love without beginning or end. May the Name of our Lord Jesus be glorified in us. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER

AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER
“Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God.”– 2Co_3:3.

THE APOSTLE Paul’s life was made weary by the incessant opposition of his enemies and critics, who sowed discord in the churches which he had formed in Europe. Amongst others, they visited Corinth and challenged him to produce letters of commendation from the leaders of the Church. With justifiable indignation he cries: “Why should I carry letters, when my converts, given me by the Lord, are circulating everywhere, with the attesting signature of Christ upon them?” Surely they are a sufficient guarantee and proof that I have been commissioned and sent forth by the Lord Himself.
St. Paul gave utterance to a true and striking description of a Christian disciple. He is an autograph letter, the Author and Writer is the Lord Himself–”an epistle of Christ.” The ink is “the Spirit of the Living God.” The pen is the teacher or preacher of the Gospel, “ministered by us.” The material is the heart and life–”not on tables of stone, but on hearts of flesh.”
We ought to be Christians in large type, so that it would not be necessary to be long in our society, or to regard us through spectacles, in order to detect our true discipleship. The message of our lives should resemble the big advertisements which can be read on the street-hoardings by all who pass by. The merit of good letter-writing is to state what the writer wants to say as clearly and concisely as possible. Sometimes we have to wade through long and weary pages before we can get at the gist of our correspondent’s meaning. Let us take care that the message of our lives is clear, concise, and unmistakable.
We are to be pens in the hand of Christ–our sufficiency is of God, who makes us ministers. Milton’s pen had only to yield itself relentlessly to the hand of the daughter or amanuensis, to whom the blind master dictated his immortal words. And the messages which we are to inscribe on the hearts and lives of men do not originate in us, but with Christ. If others are used more than we are, it is because they are more meet for His use (2Ti_2:15-21).

PRAYER
Live in us, blessed Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit, that our lives may be living epistles of helpfulness and blessedness. May the Name of the Lord Jesus be glorified in us. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

THE GREAT SHEPHERD

THE GREAT SHEPHERD
“Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will.”– Heb_13:20-21.

IT IS most comforting that our Heavenly Father is “the God of Peace.’” He is the God of the gentle zephyr, of the evening glow, of the mother’s brooding care; and may be trusted by His gentleness and patience to make us great. Bruised reeds are not trampled beneath His feet, and the smoking flax is fanned into a flame. Do not be afraid of God–He is the God of Peace!
He brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep. As our Lord descended into the Valley of Death, He breathed His departing spirit into the Father’s hands. He knew that the path of life would unfold before Him. He knew that the Father’s welcome awaited Him. And God did not fail Him! However low He went, when He descended into Hades, the Everlasting Arms were always beneath Him; and Him did God raise up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.
And will God do less for the Flock! There are many of the sheep that have been scattered in the cloudy and dark days. Will every sheep and lamb be recovered, and led to the green pastures and beside the quiet waters of Paradise? Yes, every one! The great Shepherd would not be content if one were missing of those whom the Father has given Him (Joh_10:28-29). Remember His own parable of the Shepherd who left the ninety and nine to recover the one. If you have come to Him by your will and choice, you are included in the Father’s gift.
We are secure in the position which His grace has given us. It is secured not only by the promise of God, but sealed by the Blood of the Cross. That is the meaning of the words: “The Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant.” Note that word eternal, which carries us back to the timeless past, when this compact was made. We may therefore humbly believe that our names are written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world (Rev_13:8; Rev_21:27). But we are saved to save others! It is thus that we make our calling and election sure (2Pe_1:10).

PRAYER
We thank Thee, O blessed Master, not only that Thou hast cleansed us from our sins, but that Thou hast entered into, and ratified by Thy precious blood, the eternal covenant which has made us Thine for ever. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY

PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is. dead also.”– Jam_2:26.

JAMES IS described as “the Lord’s brother” in Gal_1:19. He was surnamed “the Just,” and was much respected beyond the limits of the Christian Church for his saintly life. While St. Paul deals specially with doctrine, James is concerned with practice; Paul expounds the wonderful significance of Christ’s death and resurrection; James expounds the teaching of our Lord, especially in the Sermon on the Mount. Paul insists on faith as the means of justification before God; James lays stress on the works to which faith must lead.
It seems likely that James had seen Paul’s Epistles, for he uses so many of the same phrases and examples, and probably set himself to combat those who abused the teaching of the great Apostle. There were plenty in his time who believed about Christ, and prided themselves in the orthodoxy and accuracy of their creed; and James maintains that this is not sufficient to save the soul.
As far as orthodoxy goes, no creed can be more absolutely orthodox than that held by evil spirits. Repeatedly, during our Lord’s life, they acknowledged that He was the Holy One of God, but their belief had no effect on their character; it only filled them with fear and dread Jam_2:19).
“Faith without works is dead.” It is good to test ourselves. We must see to it that our heart is pure and our way absolutely transparent. In our dealings with those around us, we must always seek to realize our highest conceptions of love and duty. Even when our efforts of goodwill and affection are not reciprocated, we must never lower the high standard of our action, but always keep before us the conception of our Saviour’s life in the Home at Nazareth. Be merciless to yourself, but always merciful to others, always bearing the burdens of those around you, always moderating your pace to the weak and weary, as Greatheart did for the pilgrims. Even Rahab was justified by a faith which wrought itself out in beautiful and unselfish action (Jam_2:25; Heb_11:31). Remember our Lord’s words in Mat_7:20-21.

PRAYER
Help us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to add to our faith, brotherly kindness, and pardon the unkind word or impatient gesture; the hard and selfish deed, the failure to give kindly help where we had the opportunity. Enable us so to live that we may daily do something to lessen the tide of human sorrow and need, and add to the sum of human happiness. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

THE RECEPTIVITY OF FAITH

THE RECEPTIVITY OF FAITH
“‘Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.”– Heb_10:22.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”– Eph_3:17.

FAITH IS our power of appropriation. The pity is that we are so slow to make use of our Lord s resources! He does not force Himself upon us. Though He brings with Him gold tried in the fire that we may be enriched, and white raiment for our clothing, and eye-salve for our blindness; and though He knows how urgently we need these things, He will not force them on our acceptance. Rather, He stands and knocks, as a travelling merchant knocks at the door, who has wares to dispose of, and we need to open the door and receive the gifts which are offered, without money and without price (Rev_3:18-20; Isa_55:1-2).
Faith is our reception of the spiritual to make good the lack of the physical. It is a drawing on the Eternal for the deficiencies of our earthly pilgrimage. Probably when we look back on our present life, we shall find that our deficiencies were permitted, and even assigned, that we might be driven to avail ourselves of the fullness of the Lord Jesus (Joh_1:16; Eph_3:19). We were allowed to wander in the sultry heat, that we might know Him as the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land; we were exposed to wild tempests and storms, that we might make for alcoves and harbours in Him that we should otherwise have missed.
It has been truly observed that Job’s rebellious moods arose when he thought that God was afar off, but there was a difference when he realised that God was suffering with him. Remember that you are not divided from God by a deep chasm. He knows your sorrows. In all your afflictions He is afflicted. We have not a High Priest, who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. When Jesus saw the sisters weeping, He not only succoured them, but entered into their distress, and wept with them.
Are you weary with burdens that are crushing you? Is your lot cast with them that hate peace? Is your heart oppressed with loneliness? Take Jesus into account. Don’t face your difficulties alone, but meet them in the fellowship of your Saviour. Have faith, i.e., reckon on God. Let the Lord Christ dwell in your heart, and He will be responsible for all, as you reckon on Him for all.

PRAYER
O Lord, I open my nature, and since my capacity is small, I pray that by love and faith, by patience and suffering, Thou wilt enlarge my heart, that it may be filled with all the fullness of God. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

THE BASIS OF PEACE

THE BASIS OF PEACE
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”– Rom_5:1.
“Having made peace through the blood of His Cross.”– Col_1:20.

THE BASIS of redemption and peace was laid on Calvary, when our Lord died for the sins of the world. In Lev_17:11, we learn that “the life, or soul, of the flesh is in the blood’ (R.V. marg.); from which we infer that the forth-flowing of the blood of Christ was the forth-pouring of His soul as a sacrifice for sin.
It may be asked: Granted that the blood of Christ represents His soul which was poured out for sinful men, how did this marvellous act of self-sacrifice constitute a basis for peace? The full answer to that question is impossible in our present limited knowledge. It is one of the secret things which belong to the Lord our God, hidden from us now, to be revealed when we are full-grown.
But never suppose that the shedding of Christ’s blood was necessary to make God love us, to appease His wrath or wring from His unwilling hand an edict of redemption. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.’” The Father does not love us because Jesus died, but He went to the Cross because of God’s love for us who chose us to be joint-heirs with His Son.
But there is one condition to be fulfilled. The access into Peace is open only to those who believe. We are justified by faith; we have peace through believing. The Apostle says that “through our Lord Jesus Christ we have now received the Atonement” (Col_1:11). The redemption is accomplished; we have but to receive it. The atonement of peace is made, it is only for us to take it. “For as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” As we receive eternal life, and the Holy Spirit with open and thankful hearts, relying on the Divine assurance by faith, we enter into the great inheritance of Peace, and the gifts of God in Grace and Nature become our own.

PRAYER
O Most Merciful Lord, Grant to me, above all things that can be desired, to rest in Thee, and in Thee to have my heart at peace. Thou art the true peace of the heart, Thou its only rest; out of Thee all things are hard and restless. In this very peace that is in Thee, the one Eternal God, I will sleep and rest. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

THE ONE-TALENTED MAN

THE ONE-TALENTED MAN
“He also that had received the one talent came.” Mat_25:24.

THE FIVE-TALENTED men, are the geniuses of the world, successful in everything they touch. The two-talented men, on the one hand, are not exposed to the temptations of genius, but are not quite at the minimum. But why did the man with the one talent make such ill use of his gift? Surely, this is a true touch of life! One-talented people can do so little, that they do nothing. They are crushed and enfeebled by a sense of their own insignificance and inferiority. Many start life with high and pure aims, but presently they find their opportunities so meagre, their influence so limited, their power so scanty, that after a few struggles they give up in despair.
But the world will never be saved and helped unless the one-talented people, who are the great majority, can be aroused to a sense of their responsibility. Five men can put the whole energy of their manhood behind their single talents, whilst the one man with five talents has only the driving power of one. It is probably a greater thing in God’s sight to use one talent faithfully than many. No one notices the man with his humble one talent. There is no outburst of praise or cheering. It is a greater test of the quality of the soul to go on doing one small thing well, than to be able to turn with brilliant versatility from one talent to another. The monotony of life presses hard on those who have only one string to their bow, one tune to play, one act to perform in the great factory where labour is carefully subdivided.
But the one thing that our Lord demands of each of us is to be faithful–faithful in a very little. He is watching each of us with great eagerness as we live our daily life, because He knows, as we cannot realise, how much our position in the other world depends on our fidelity in this. It is for our sake that He is so anxious that we should make good use of our one talent.
Have you only one talent? Are you doing anything with it? Remember it is the ounce-weight that may turn the scales where hundred-weights are balanced; it is the tiny tug that can move the great liner. Be thou faithful in thy very little, and thou shalt receive the “Well done” of thy Lord.

PRAYER
O Lord, at the end of every day, may we stand before Thee to hear Thy verdict, and when all the toil and labour of our life is ended, may we hear Thee say: “Well done, good and faithful servant! thou hast been faithful in a few things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A CURE FOR ANXIETY

A CURE FOR ANXIETY
“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”– Psa_37:5.

THIS PSALM from which our text is taken breathes the spirit of optimism. The Psalmist says: “Do not fret. Evil is transient, evil-doers shall be cut off in a little, while the wicked shall not be.” You will not remove the evils of the world by all your anxiety, or by wrath. It is not worth while to lose your peace of mind. Be quiet in your heart, full of prayer, looking up to God that He would interpose to deliver.
In this Psalm there are excellent preservatives of the inward tranquillity of the soul when face to face with anxiety, or with high-handed wrong.
Trust in the Lord (Psa_37:3). Reckon on Him. Expect great things from your Almighty Guide and Friend. He cannot fail you.
Delight in the Lord (Psa_37:4). If your life twines about earthly things, of course you will be at the mercy of externals. Familiarise yourself with God’s way of thinking and looking at things. If this is the bent of your life, you will lose your taste for things of the earth, while you will have great desires for the things of eternity, and God will give you perfect satisfaction in these, because He will give you Himself! The petitions of the heart (R.V. margin) are very sacred to God, and He never, never forgets them. “He shall give thee the petitions of thine heart.”
Commit thy way unto the Lord (Psa_37:5). The margin suggests “Roll thy way upon the Lord.” It is not enough to roll the responsibility of selecting our way on God in the great crises of our life. We must do so in the small decisions of every hour. Our lives are made up of trifles. To neglect these is to leave it to drift at haphazard. We need perpetually to look up to our Heavenly Friend, saying, “I cannot see over the hedge, I must leave with Thee the decision whether I should go this way or that.”
Rest in the Lord (Psa_37:7). “Be silent to the Lord” (R.V. margin). There is so much clamour in the world, and often our heart becomes filled with its noise, so much so that we cannot hear His still small voice. But when every sound has died down into silence, we shall hear the voice of God telling us of things which will answer our questionings and still our doubts. Let your requests be made known unto God, and His peace shall sentinel your heart against all intruders.

PRAYER
My God and Father, enable me to roll my way upon Thee, to trust Thee, and to believe that when I stand with Thee in the perfect daylight I shall understand what now I take on trust. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

HOW TO MEET DISCOURAGEMENTS

HOW TO MEET DISCOURAGEMENTS
“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.’– 2Co_4:17-18.

NOTICE THE marvellous antithesis of this chapter: light and darkness; life and death; pressure, perplexity, pursuit, and persecution; but side by side, victory, elastic hope, and the brightness of Christian faith. The decay of the outward man and the renewal of the inward; the light affliction and the weight of glory; the brief moment of earth’s pilgrimage contrasted with the eternity of reality and bliss.
It is very important that we should not miss the mighty blessing which is within the reach of every troubled soul. Of course it is quite possible to sit down before troubles and afflictions, hopeless and despairing, confessing that we are over-powered and defeated; it is also possible to be hard and stoical, bearing adversity because we cannot help or avoid it, bur the highest Christian way is to be thankful that the earthen vessel is breaking if only the torch will shine out; to be content that the dying of Jesus should be borne about in our mortal body, if only His life will thereby become manifest.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go, The rivers of grief shall not thee overflow; For I will be with thee in trouble to bless; And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

PRAYER
Fix my heart, O Lord, on Thyself, that amid the changes and chances of this mortal life I may be kept steadfast and unmoveable and ever abounding in Thy work. AMEN.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized