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The following is a collection of teachings that I have accumulated in

my personal Bible study and quiet time with the Lord over the years.
They are the key points that He has impressed upon me as being
important to have in our root system as we walk with Him. I hope
they bless you! Mike Wilhoit, Dothan, Alabama, USA. Also, I keep
this file updated in the links section at:
http://www.soundclick.com/mikewilhoit

1. Every act of God builds on the past with a view towards the future.
Henry Blackaby
2. God reveals the truth about Himself to those who search for it.
Henry Blackaby
3. The man who walks with God always gets to his destination.
4. In your walk with God —it’s not about achieving a higher level, it’s
about developing a deeper root system.
5. The look saves, the gaze sanctifies.
6. Then said Good–will, alas poor man! Is the celestial glory of so little
esteem with him, that he counteth it not worth running the hazard of
a few difficulties to obtain it? John Bunyan (From The Pilgrim’s
Progress)
7. We must learn that Jesus always commands the impossible. The
reason is obvious. He intends to do the work Himself.
8. Open yourself up for failure so God can take control.
9. Heaven’s great refuge is all–prayer; thousands of weather–beaten
vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes
on, it is wise for us to make for it with all sail. Charles H. Spurgeon
10. Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor.
11. Jesus knew His own reason for being and His purpose for living.
His mission statement was crystal clear in His mind. His actions
consistently reflected His purpose. (May this be said of us).
12. Stop putting your trust in human rules, devotional exercises, and
acts of penance. Instead exercise a living, obedient faith in God.
Live as though He were beside you and with you all the time– as
indeed He is. Seek to do what He wants, as and when He
commands it, and make His command your joy and chief pleasure.
The person who lives like that will be fully human, completely
Christian and genuinely happy.
13. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and
nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of
God who bled thereon. Follow his example in all your personal
efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let Christ and Him
crucified be your ever recurring theme. Charles H. Spurgeon
14. He who knows Jesus shall never want. Going in and out shall be
alike helpful to him; in fellowship with God he shall grow, and in
watering others, he shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he
shall find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as
a well of water whose waters fail not. Charles H. Spurgeon
15. If John had tried to attract attention to himself, he would have
been unfaithful to his appointed task. He pointed men to Jesus and
not himself. William MacDonald.

16. But our priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified– to lift
Him up all the time. Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the cross
of Christ will lead people astray. If the worker himself believes in
Jesus Christ and is trusting in the reality of redemption, his words
will be compelling to others. What is extremely important is for the
worker’s simple relationship with Jesus Christ to be strong and
growing. His usefulness to God depends on that, and that alone.
Oswald Chambers.
17. The secret to success, as Paul knew, was pressing on —never
giving up —working always toward the goal that is set before you.
The high calling of Christ requires dedication, determination, and an
intense desire to accomplish it. Close your ears to detractors, forget
past failures, and press on to accomplish what God has given you.
Alice Thomas
18. (From The Interpreter’s Bible) The process by which Nehemiah
developed into the leader and savior of his people involved the
initiative and cooperation of others besides himself. The significant
part played in it by his kinsman Hanani —so often repeated in the
life history of leaders who themselves are guided into their high
calling by other hands that history barely remembers, or more often
forgets—was a role that doubtless seemed outwardly insignificant
but was inwardly indispensable. As L.W. Batten describes it:
“Hanani apparently had not been in Judah himself, but he heard
tidings from a company of returning pilgrims, and brought them to
the cup–bearer, because of his high position and commanding
influence, as well as his known interest in the welfare of Jerusalem.
The visit was scarcely accidental, and so Hanani deserves credit for
starting the important mission of Nehemiah”. Hanani reminds us
therefore that many of us in every generation exert our greatest
influence through other people more highly gifted or
strategically placed than ourselves, the switch of whose life
history at some critical moment we are in a position to throw
toward some main track that leads them to usefulness greater
than we ourselves can ever match, or may ever even know
about afterward. In the pages of scripture we think at once of what
Eli did for Samuel, Andrew for Peter, Phillip for Nathanael—and
John the Baptist for Jesus himself.
19. To know God’s will is life’s greatest knowledge, to do God’s will is
life’s greatest achievement!
20. When a man is sincerely humble, and never ventures to touch so
much as a grain of the praise, there is scarcely any limit to what God
will do for him. Charles H. Spurgeon
21. Our greatest achievements take place when God blesses us
beyond our own abilities and enables us, through His power, to
succeed. No challenge is too great for us when we seek to do the
will of God in the power of God for the glory of God!
22. Our talents and abilities are a gift from God. What we do with
them is our gift to God.
23. The peace our Lord gives is not dependent on circumstances but
on His presence in those circumstances. Be assured God is with
you.
24. It’s not about what you do for God —It’s about what God does
through you.
25. He who blesses others cannot fail to be blessed himself. Charles
H. Spurgeon.
26. Faith is the ear which has heard God say what He will do and the
eye which has seen Him doing it. Andrew Murray.
27. Girdle the earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere
of melody, and God Himself will hearken from Heaven and accept
your music. Charles H. Spurgeon
28. He who bids us let down our nets, will fill it with fishes. Charles H.
Spurgeon
29. Invest in people! —Invest in eternity!
30. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s
purposes, and yours may be that life. Oswald Chambers.
31. Cowardly, wayward and weak, I change with the changing sky.
Today so eager and strong, tomorrow not caring to try. But He
never gives in, and we two shall win, Jesus and I. Anonymous.

32. My Gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to


spread thro’ all the earth abroad the honors of Thy Name. Charles
Wesley (O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing)
33. There is never a day so dreary, there is never a night so long, but
the soul that is trusting Jesus will somewhere find a song.
Wonderful, wonderful Jesus, in the heart He implanteth a song: A
song of deliv’rance, of courage, of strength; in the heart He
implanteth a song. Anna B. Russell
34. If you have never been amazed by the fact that you exist, then
you are squandering the greatest fact of all.
35. “I felt as if I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had
been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial”. Winston
Churchill. Proper preparation is the key to success- God prepares
well!
36. Jesus Christ was a Minister that lived up to His doctrine: His life
and doctrine harmonized in all things. He pressed to Holiness in His
doctrine, and was the Great Pattern of Holiness in His Life, Matthew
11:28 “Learn of Me, I am meek and lowly”, and such His ministers
desire to approve themselves, Phillipians 4:9 “What ye have heard
and seen in Me, that do”. He preached to their eyes, as well as
ears, His life was a comment on His doctrine. They might see
holiness acted in His life, as well as sounded by His lips. He
preached the doctrine and lived the application. John Flavel
37. So true life begins with knowing God. It begins when a man,
oppressed by doubt and uncertainty, hears His voice saying, “Reach
hither thy hand and thrust it into My side!” It begins when, standing
under the cross, he realizes, as Luther did, “He died for me, for me!”
Then the day breaks and the shadows flee away. Love conquers
doubt, and the soul, beholding the unveiling of the Infinite in the
passion of Christ, cries out, “My Lord and my God!” David James
Burrell
38. “David the king is the great figure of this Book; and, when walking
in the Light, presents a rich type of Messiah the King. The first part
of the Book records the victories which accompanied his life of faith
and conflict; the second part relates the defeats he suffered when
prosperity had seduced him from the path of faith and had opened
the door to self-will.” George Williams on Second Samuel
39. It is only he who prays that can truly preach. Many a sermon that
has shown no intellectual genius and has violated all homiletic rules
and standards has had dynamic spiritual force. Somehow it has
moved men, melted them, molded them. The man whose lips are
touched by God’s living coal from off the altar may even stammer,
but his hearers soon find out that he is on fire with one consuming
passion to save souls. Arthur T. Pierson
40. God’s great corrective for this disastrous inversion and perversion
of the true relation of things is prayer. “Enter into thy closet.” There
all is silence, secrecy, solitude, seclusion. Within that holy of holies
the disciple is left alone —all others shut out, that the suppliant may
be shut in —with God. The silence is in order to the hearing of the
still, small voice that is drowned in worldly clamor, and which even a
human voice may cause to be unheard or indistinct. The secrecy is
in order to a meeting with Him who seeth in secret and is best seen
in secret. The solitude is for the purpose of being alone with the
One who can fully impress with His presence only when there is no
other presence to divert thought. The place of seclusion with God is
the one school where we learn that He is, and is the rewarder of
those that diligently seek Him. The closet is “not only the oratory, it
is the observatory,” not for prayer only, but for prospect —the wide
reaching, clear-seeing, outlook upon the eternal! The decline of
prayer is therefore the decay of piety; and, for prayer to cease
altogether, would be spiritual death, for it is to every child of God the
breath of life. Arthur T. Pierson

41. When a man’s chief business is to serve and please the Lord, all
his circumstances become his servants. Robert C. Chapman
42. Let God work out all that He intends, but have patience till He has
put the last Hand to His works and then find fault with it, if you can . .
. .I reckon that business as good as done, to which we have got
Christ’s leave, and engaged His presence to accompany us. John
Flavel
43. I must needs go home by the way of the cross, there’s no other
way but this; I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light, if the way of
the cross I miss. Jessie Brown Pounds from “The Way of the Cross
Leads Home”
44. If you know God’s thoughts and seek to be guided by the Holy
Spirit, He will say out of your mouth the right word at the right time,
both to ward off an assault and to strike a telling blow for the truth.
And amidst all this warfare, the light and love and gentleness of
Jesus Christ will so shine out in your bearing and manner that they
will be convinced of your sincerity, and God will give you the victory.
George F. Pentecost
45. I think of my blessed redeemer, I think of Him all the day long; I
sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song. I know
I shall see in His beauty the King in whose law I delight; who lovingly
guardeth my footsteps and giveth me songs in the night. Fanny J.
Crosby from “Redeemed, How I Love To Proclaim It”
46. Prayer prepares us for the proper use of the answer. Warren
Wiersbe
47. What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God
and to enjoy Him forever. Westminster Shorter Catechism
48. If I am to be a true branch, if I am to bear fruit, if I am to be what
Christ as Vine wants me to be, my whole existence must be as
exclusively devoted to abiding in Him, as that of the natural branch
is to abiding in its vine. Andrew Murray on John 15:4
49. The solemn work with which the Christian ministry concerns itself
demands a man’s all, and that all at it’s best. To engage in it half-
heartedly is an insult to God and man. Charles H. Spurgeon
50. The camp is, superficially at least, an attractive place, full of
gaiety and revelry, with every possible device to delight the eye and
gratify the mind of the flesh. By keeping the bright things as much
as possible in evidence, and pushing the wretchedness, suffering
and misery into the background, the camp manages to keep up
appearances, particularly as its occupants are quite willing to be
deceived, and are pretty well agreed that it is the duty of every
dweller therein to be an “optimist”. Having led the Christ of God
outside the gate, and put Him to death, the leaders of this “present
evil age” have devoted their great talents and energies, under the
superb direction and management of the “god of this age,” to the
one object of making such “progress,” and developing such a
glorious “civilization,” as will demonstrate that the world has no need
of Christ. In carrying out this great undertaking the “leaders of this
age” are sufficiently astute to provide a place inside the camp even
for those “who profess and call themselves Christians,” making them
welcome in the world, and even giving them positions of prominence
therein, upon the single easy condition that they will accept the
age’s gospel of progress, and subscribe heartily to the doctrine that
“the world is getting better every day.” This condition the aforesaid
“Christians” are for the greater part quite ready, not only to accept,
but even to make it an article of religion, changing the Scriptures so
far as necessary to that end. Philip Mauro from “The Fundamentals”
originally published in 1917.
51. No man preaches his sermon well to others if he doth not first
preach it to his own heart. John Owen

52. Talent is God-given, so be thankful. Praise is man-given so be


humble. Conceit is self-given, so be careful.
53. Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach
CHRIST, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His
person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-encompassing
theme. The world needs still to be told of its Savior, and of the way
to reach Him. Justification by faith should be far more than it is the
daily testimony of Protestant pulpits; and if with this master truth
there should be more generally associated the other great doctrines
of grace, the better for our churches and our age. If with the zeal of
Methodists we preach the doctrine of Puritans a great future is
before us. The fire of Wesley, and the fuel of Whitfield, will cause a
burning which shall set the forests of error on fire, and warm the
very soul of this cold earth. We are not called to proclaim
philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his
need of a new birth, forgiveness through an atonement, and
salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons
of war. We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths,
and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission,
or that wilful ignorance which shall cripple us in its pursuit. More
and more am I jealous lest any views of prophecy, church
government, politics, or even systematic theology, should
withdraw one of us from glorying in the cross of Christ.
Salvation is a theme for which I would fain enlist every holy
tongue. I am greedy after witnesses for the glorious gospel of
the blessed God. Oh that Christ crucified were the universal
burden of men of God. Charles H. Spurgeon from “Lectures To
My Students”
54. Did Christ finish His work with His own hand? How dangerous
and dishonorable a thing is it to join any thing of our own to the
righteousness of Christ, in point of justification before God. Jesus
Christ will never endure this; it reflects upon His work dishonorably;
He does not (in this case) affect social glory: not I, and my God; I,
and my Christ, did this; He will be all, or none, in your justification. If
He has finished the work, what need of our additions? And if not, to
what purpose are they? Can we finish that which Christ Himself
could not? But we would fain be sharing with Him in this honor,
which He will never endure. Did He finish the work by Himself, and
will He ever divide the glory and praise of it with us? No, no, Christ
is no half Savior. O it is an hard thing to bring these shroud hearts
to live upon Christ for righteousness: we would fain add our penny to
make up Christ’s sum. But if you would have it so, or have nothing
to do with Christ, you and your penny must perish together. John
Flavel on John 19:30
55. Why do some person’s “find” God in a way that others do not?
Why does God manifest His presence to some and let multitudes of
others struggle along in the half-light of imperfect Christian
experience? Of course, the will of God is the same for all. He has
no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of
His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not
with God but with us.
Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and
testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well-
known Christians of post-biblical times. You will be struck instantly
with the fact that the saints were not alike. Sometimes the
unlikenesses were so great as to be positively glaring. How
different, for example, was Moses from Isaiah; how different was
Elijah from David; how unlike each other were John and Paul, St.
Francis and Luther, Finney and Thomas a’ Kempis. The differences
are as wide as human life itself—differences of race, nationality,
education, temperament, habit and personal qualities. Yet they all
walked, each in his day, upon a high road of spiritual living far above
the common way.
Their differences must have been incidental and in the eyes
of God of no significance. In some vital quality they must have been
alike. What was it?

I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had
in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to
Heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting
anything like a profound analysis, I shall simply say that they had
spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it
became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the
average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did
something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual
response. They were not disobedient to the Heavenly vision. As
David put it neatly, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My Face; my heart
said unto Thee, Thy Face, Lord, will I seek”. A. W. Tozer From
“The Pursuit of God”
56. The greatest service that we can render to the world is to keep
our hearts open to God. The great and distinctive contribution that
we as Christians are called to make to the life of mankind is to be
sure of God and by the contagion of our faith to help others to
believe in Him; never to doubt that His love and power are sufficient
for our own need and for the need of the world; to be full of hope,
because our expectation is measured not by what we are in
ourselves, nor by former failure, but by what God can be in us and
accomplish through us.
For every human life God has a plan; our supreme task
is to find that plan and to yield ourselves to its fulfillment.
What our work is to be cannot be left to chance or to the drift of
circumstances. It must be a solemn and a sacred choice, in
which our whole being, quickened and inspired by God’s Spirit,
finds its fullest expression.
One of our greatest needs, if we are to meet the demands of
the time, is a renewed sense of the reality of God’s call to each
individual. “It is almost impossible,” said one writer, “to conceive the
effect on any community, large or small, of such a genuine belief in
vocation. It would revolutionize education. It would uplift the
standard of service in every department of human labor. It would
bring God into the very heart of life, where indeed He should ever
be. There would cease to be higher and lower, secular and sacred
callings, save in a limited sense. For the highest and most sacred
sphere of service for anyone must be that he should find himself
within the holy will of God.”
For the secular life is also God’s, and if He is to be
acknowledged and honored in it, as He should be, His servants
must be in the heart of it—meeting its difficulties, battling its evils,
bearing witness to His truth, proving that this earthly life is not
sufficient in itself but has its meaning in that which lies beyond and
above it.
For all, whatever the particular calling, there is the same
supreme calling—to live as the children of God, to be disciples and
servants of Jesus Christ. One supreme ambition: to be well-
pleasing in His eyes, to fight the good fight, to hear at the end from
the lips of Him whom above all others we love and worship, the
words, “Well done.”
This complete surrender, this perfect devotion, is something
too high for our mortal nature. In ourselves we cannot attain to it.
But it may become ours because it too is included in the gift of the
Gospel.
The prize of constancy and faithful service is within reach of
all of us, because it is the gift of God, freely given to those who seek
it in a child like spirit. From “To Be A Child Of God” By J.H. Oldham
(Decision Jan, 1996) taken from “The World and the Gospel.”
57. Satisfaction is the grave of progress.

58. Excel also in one power, which is both mental and moral,
namely, the power of concentrating all your forces upon the
work to which you are called. Collect your thoughts, rally all
your faculties, mass your energies, focus your capacities. Turn
all the springs of your soul into one channel, causing it to flow
onward in an undivided stream. Some men lack this quality.
They scatter themselves and fail. Mass your battalions, and
hurl them upon the enemy. Do not try to be great at this and
great at that, to be “everything by turns, and nothing long;” but
suffer your entire nature to be led in captivity by Jesus Christ,
and lay everything at His dear feet who bled and died for you.
Charles H. Spurgeon
59. Christianity is a missionary faith. The very nature of God
demands this, for God is love and God is not willing that any should
perish (2 Peter 3:9). Our Lord’s death on the cross was for the
whole world. If we are the children of God and share His nature,
then we will want to tell the good news to the lost world. Warren
Wiersbe
60. Then, brethren, you will see that worship does not begin when
you go to church. This is a very valuable part of worship, but it is
secondary worship, symbolic worship. This is the day in which we
cease the worship that perfectly glorifies Him in order that in song
and praise and prayer we may remind ourselves of the perpetual
and unending truth that life lived within His will, and according to His
law, the life of holiness is the beauty that glorifies God. This service
is but a pause in which in word and attitude we give expression to
life’s inner song. And if there be no such inner song, there is no
worship here. Worship is the perpetual poetry of Divine power and
Divine love expressed in human life.
Angels worship not merely when veiling their faces they sing
of His holiness, but when ceasing their singing at His bidding, they
fly to catch the live coal from the altar, and touch the lips of a
penitent soul who sighs. It is true “they also serve who only stand
and wait.” But it is equally true that they also worship who serve, and
serve perpetually. And it is in the service of a life, not specific acts
done as apart from the life, not because I teach in Sunday school, or
preach here, that I worship. I may preach here today, and never
worship. But because my life is found in His law, is answering His
call, responsive to His provision and arrangement, so almost,
without knowing it, my life has become a song, a praise, an anthem.
So I worship! I join the angels, and all nature, in worship when I
become what God intends I should be. G. Campbell Morgan
61. We must by some means secure uninterrupted meditation, or we
shall lose power. Charles H. Spurgeon
62. There is something in the very tone of the man who has been with
Jesus which has more power to touch the heart than the most
perfect oratory: remember this and maintain an unbroken walk with
God. You will need much night-work in secret if you are to gather
many of your Lord’s lost sheep. Only by prayer and fasting can you
gain power to cast out the worst of devils. Let men say what they
will about sovereignty, God connects special success with special
states of heart, and if these are lacking He will not do many mighty
works. Charles H. Spurgeon
63. Brethren, we must plead. Entreaties and beseechings must blend
with our instructions. Any and every appeal which will reach the
conscience and move men to fly to Jesus we must perpetually
employ, if by any means we may save some. Charles H. Spurgeon
64. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-
sufficient, shall be thy supply: The flame shall not hurt thee; I only
design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine, thy dross to
consume, and thy gold to refine. From “How Firm A Foundation”

65. When I consider how the goodness of God is abused by the


greatest part of mankind, I cannot but be of his mind that said, The
greatest miracle in the world is God’s patience and bounty to an
ungrateful world. If a prince hath an enemy got into one of his towns,
he doth not send them in provision, but lays close siege to the place,
and doth what he can to starve them. But the great God, that could
wink all His enemies into destruction, bears with them, and is at
daily cost to maintain them. Well may He command us to bless them
that curse us, who Himself does good to the evil and unthankful. But
think not, sinners, that you shall escape thus; God’s mill goes slow,
but grinds small; the more admirable His patience and bounty now
is, the more dreadful and unsupportable will that fury be which
ariseth out of His abused goodness. Nothing is smoother than the
sea, yet when stirred into a tempest, nothing rageth more. Nothing is
so sweet as the patience and goodness of God, and nothing is so
terrible as His wrath when it takes fire. William Gurnall
66. How often in the trials of life we are prone to imitate the faithless
disciples and cry out, “Lord, don’t You care?” Of course, He cares!
He arose and rebuked the storm, and immediately there was a great
calm. But Jesus did not stop with the calming of the elements, for
the greatest danger was not the wind or the waves: it was the
unbelief in the hearts of the disciples. Our greatest problems are
within us, not around us. This explains why Jesus gently rebuked
them and called them “men of little faith.” They had heard Him teach
the Word and had even seen Him perform miracles, and yet they still
had no faith. It was their unbelief that caused their fear, and their
fear made them question whether Jesus really cared. We must
beware of “an evil heart of unbelief.” Warren Wiersbe
67. Seldom was any knowledge given to keep, but to impart. Joseph
Hall
68. After all, why do you think this world is so important? This world
has never treated you like a friend. You owe it little love. Why should
you go courting after it? The world will never be a faithful partner to
you. Never seek warm fire under cold ice. This is not a field where
your happiness grows; it is up above, where there are a great
multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds,
and people, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the
Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands (Rev. 7:9).
What you could never get here you shall find there. Consider how in
all these trials (and truly they have been many) your Lord has been
loosening you at the root from perishing things, and hunting after
you to grip your soul. Madam, for the Son of God’s sake, do not
weaken His grip on you, but stay and abide in the love of God, as
Jude says (Jude 21). Letter to Lady Kenmure from Samuel
Rutherford September 1634
69. If Christ has our love, He has our all; and Christ never has what
He deserves from us, till He has our love. True love withholds
nothing from Christ, when it is sincerely set upon Him. If we actually
love Him, He will have our time, and He will have our service, and
He will have the use of all our resources, and gifts, and graces;
indeed, then He shall have our possessions, freedom, and our very
lives, whenever He calls for them. In the same way, when God loves
any of us, He will withhold nothing from us that is good for us. He
does not hold back His own only begotten Son, Rom.8:32. When
Christ loves us, He gives us everything we need—His merits to
justify us, His Spirit to sanctify us, His grace to adorn us, and His
glory to crown us. Therefore, when any of us love Christ sincerely,
we lay everything down at His feet, and give up all to be at His
command and service: “And they loved not their lives unto the
death,” Rev. 12:11. Thomas Doolittle
70. If once (like Hezekiah) we call in spectators to see our treasure
and applaud us for our gifts and comfort, then it is high time for God
to send some messengers to carry these away from us, which carry
our hearts from Him . . . . Pride of gifts hinders the receiving of good
from others. Pride fills the soul, and a full soul will take nothing from
God, much less from man.
Joseph’s coat made him finer than his brethren, but caused
all his trouble; thus great gifts lift a saint up a little higher in the eyes
of men, but it occasions many temptations which thou meetest not
with that are kept low; what with envy from their brethren, malice
from Satan, and pride in their own hearts, I dare say none find so
hard a work to bear up against those waves and winds.

While thou art priding in thy gifts, thou art dwindling and
withering in thy grace. Such are like corn that runs up much into
straw, whose ear commonly is light and thin. Grace is too much
neglected where gifts are too highly prized; we are commanded to
be clothed with humility . . . . Pride kills the spirit of praise: when
thou should bless God, thou art applauding thyself. It destroys
Christian love, and stabs our fellowship with the saints to the heart:
a proud man hath not room enough to walk in company, because
the gifts of others he thinks stand in his way. Pride so distempers
the palate that it can relish nothing that is drawn from another’s
vessel . . . . Pride loves to climb up, not as Zaccheus, to see Christ,
but to be seen himself. William Gurnall from “The Christian In
Complete Armour”
71. Pray in prosperity, that thou mayest not be ensnared by it.
Prosperity is no friend to the memory, therefore we are cautioned so
much to beware when we are full, lest we forget God. You shall find,
in Scripture, that the saints have had their saddest falls on the most
even ground. Noah, who had seen the whole world drowned in
water, no sooner was safe on shore, but himself is drowned in wine.
David’s heart was fixed when in the wilderness, but his wanton eye
rolled and wandered when he walked upon the terrace of his palace.
William Gurnall
72. He hath engaged to answer the prayers of His people, and fulfill
the desires of them that fear Him (Ps. cxlv. 19); but it proves a long
voyage sometimes before the praying saint hath the return of his
adventure. There comes often a long and sharp winter between the
sowing time of prayer and the reaping. He hears us, indeed, as soon
as we pray, but we often do not hear of Him so soon. Prayers are
not long on their journey to Heaven, but long coming thence in a full
answer. Never was faithful prayer lost at sea. No merchant trades
with such certainty as the praying saint. Some prayers, indeed, have
a longer voyage than others, but then they come with the richer
lading at last. William Gurnall
73. Whoever loves much, does much. Thomas a‘ Kempis
74. Jesus had called these men to follow Him, and they knew that
whatever happened to Him would happen to them. If there was a
cross in His future, there would be one in their future as well. That
would be reason enough to disagree with Him! In spite of their
devotion to Him, the disciples were still ignorant of the true
relationship between the cross and the crown. They were following
Satan’s philosophy (glory without suffering) instead of God’s
philosophy (suffering transformed into glory). Which philosophy you
accept will determine how you live and how you serve. Warren
Wiersbe on Mark 8:31-38
75. I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life
produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for
myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God
is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His show-room; He is
getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He
likes. Oswald Chambers
76. Walk not according to the course of the most, but after the
example of the Best. John Flavel
77. It is God’s word that does convert, quicken, comfort, and build up,
or, on the other side, wound and beat down. What is the reason that
there was so great an alteration made by the ministry of Christ and
his disciples, by the apostles and others after them, indeed, by
Luther, and other ministers of reformed churches? They did not
preach traditions of elders like the scribes; nor men’s inventions like
the Roman Catholics do. They preached the pure word of God. The
more purely God’s word is preached, the more deeply it pierces and
the more kindly it works. William Gouge

78. The flesh is not only the common idol, but the most devouring idol
in all the world. It hath not, as subservient, flattered idols have, only
a knee and compliment, or now and then a sacrifice or ceremony,
but it hath the heart, the tongue, the body to serve it; the whole
estate, the service of friends, the use of wit and utmost diligence; in
a word, it hath all. It is loved and served by the sensualist, as God
should be loved and served by His own, even “with all their heart,
and soul, and might: “they” honour it with their substance, and the
first fruits of their increase.” It is as faithfully served as Christ
requireth to be of His disciples: men will part with father, and mother,
and brother, and sister, and nearest friends, and all that is against it,
for the pleasing of their flesh. Nay, Christ required men to part with
no greater matter for Him than transitory earthly things, which they
must shortly part with whether they will or no; but they do for the
flesh ten thousand thousandfold more than ever they were required
to do for Christ. They forsake God for it. They forsake Christ, and
Heaven, and their salvation for it. They forsake all the solid comforts
of this life, and all the joys of the life to come for it. They sell all that
they have, and lay down the price at its feet; yea, more than all they
have, even all their hopes of what they might have to all eternity.
They suffer a martyrdom in the flames of hell for ever, for their flesh.
All the pains they take is for it. All the wrong they do to others, and
all the stirs and rums they make in the world, is for it. And all the
time they spend is for it: and had they a thousand years more to live,
they would spend it accordingly. If any thing seem excepted for
God, it is but the bones, or crumbs, or leavings of the flesh; or
rather, it is nothing: for God hath not indeed the hours which He
seems to have, He hath but a few fair words and compliments, when
the flesh hath their hearts in the midst of their hypocritical worship,
and on His holy day; and they serve Him but as the Indians serve
the devil, that He may serve their turns, and do them no hurt.
Richard Baxter
79. Faith without works cannot be called faith. “Faith without works is
dead” (James 2:26), and dead faith is worse than no faith at all.
Faith must work; it must produce; it must be visible. Verbal faith is
not enough; mental faith is insufficient. Faith must be there, but it
must be more. It must inspire action. Throughout his epistle to
Jewish believers, James integrates true faith and everyday practical
experience by stressing that true faith must manifest itself in works
of faith.
Faith endures trials. Trials come and go, but a strong faith
will face them head-on and develop endurance. Faith understands
temptations. It will not allow us to consent to our lust and slide into
sin. Faith obeys the Word. It will not merely hear and not do. Faith
produces doers. Faith harbors no prejudice. For James, faith and
favoritism cannot coexist. Faith displays itself in works. Faith is
more than mere words; it is more than knowledge; it is demonstrated
by obedience; and it overtly responds to the promises of God. Faith
controls the tongue. This small but immensely powerful part of the
body must be held in check. Faith can do it. Faith acts wisely. It
gives the ability to choose wisdom that is heavenly and to shun
wisdom that is earthly. Faith produces separation from the world
and submission to God. It provides us with the ability to resist the
Devil and humbly draw near to God. Finally, faith waits patiently for
the coming of the Lord. Through trouble and trial it stifles
complaining. (From the introduction to James in the Nelson New
King James Bible.)
80. Jesus made love the most important thing in life, because “love is
the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10). If we love God, we will
experience His love within and will express that love to others. We
do not live by rules but by relationships, a loving relationship to God
that enables us to have a loving relationship with others. Warren
Wiersbe

81. What does it mean when a person is “not far from the kingdom of
God”? It means he or she is facing truth honestly and is not
interested in defending a “party line” or even personal prejudices. It
means the person is testing his or her faith by what the Word of God
says and not by what some religious group demands. People close
to the kingdom have the courage to stand up for what is true even if
they lose some friends and make some new enemies. Warren
Wiersbe
82. It is character that makes a person valuable, and nobody can give
you character: you must develop it yourself as you walk with God.
Warren Wiersbe
83. Neptune had long been shining before he was discovered and
named; and you and I, brethren, may remain unknown for years,
and possibly the world may never discover us; but I trust that our
influence, like that of Neptune, will be felt and recognized, whether
we are seen of men, or only shine in solitary splendor to the glory of
God. (Charles H. Spurgeon on the discovery of Neptune due to its
effects on the orbit of Uranus).
84. Poor souls are apt to think that all those whom they read of or
hear of to be gone to Heaven, went thither because they were so
good and so holy . . . Yet not one of them, not any man that is now
in Heaven (Jesus Christ alone excepted), did ever come thither any
other way but by forgiveness of sins. And that will also bring us
higher, though we come short of many of them in holiness and
grace. John Owen
85. A student may easily exhaust his life in comparing divines and
moralists without any practical regard to morals and religion; he may
be learning not to live but to reason . . . while the chief use of his
volumes is unthought of, his mind is unaffected, and his life is
unreformed. Samuel Johnson
86. Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the
witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the
peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry til it does or
find out the reason why it does not. If you are acting on an impulse,
or from a sense of the heroic, the peace of Jesus will not witness;
there is no simplicity or confidence in God, because the spirit of
simplicity is born of the Holy Ghost, not of your decisions. Every
decision brings a reaction of simplicity.
My questions come whenever I cease to obey. When I have
obeyed God, the problems never come between me and God, they
come as probes to keep the mind going on with amazement at the
revelation of God. Any problem that comes between God and
myself springs out of disobedience; any problem, and there are
many, that is alongside me while I obey God, increases my ecstatic
delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to
watch and see how He unravels this thing. Oswald Chambers
87. Let a clergyman but intend to please God in all his actions, as the
happiest and best thing in the world, and then he will know that there
is nothing noble in a clergyman but a burning zeal for the salvation
of souls; nor anything poorer in his profession than idleness and a
worldly spirit. William Law
88. We will have all of eternity to celebrate the victories, yet only
a few hours before sunset in which to win them. Amy
Carmichael
89. I have no doubt that historians will conclude that we of the
twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great
civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it. A.W. Tozer
90. The honor of this world doesn’t last, it is transient, it passes
away; and I don’t believe any man or woman is fit for God’s
service that is looking for worldly preferment, worldly honors
and worldly fame. Let us get it under our feet, let us rise above
it, and seek the honor that comes down from above. D.L.
Moody
91. All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief
hand in their own education. Sir Walter Scott

92. I am positive that much that passes for the gospel in our day is
very little more than a mild case of orthodox religion grafted onto a
heart that is sold out to the world and its pleasures and tastes and
ambitions. A.W. Tozer
93. Waiting for God, then, means power to do nothing save under
command. This is not lack of power to do anything. Waiting for God
needs strength rather than weakness. It is the power to do nothing.
It is the strength that holds strength in check. It is the strength that
prevents the blundering activity which is entirely false and will make
the true activity impossible when the definite command comes. G.
Campbell Morgan
94. I have thus shown what it is to walk with God, the blessed
consequences, and the means. May I not now, my Christian
brethren, urge upon you this delightful duty? It is what you owe to
the blessed God, your Father and Savior, who has astonished
heaven by His kindness to you, and whose mercies, if you are not
deceived, will hold you entranced to eternity. It is what you owe to
Him, and it will secure you a happy life, more than all the wealth and
honors of the world. It is heaven begun below. Do you not wish to be
happy? Bend all your cares then to walk with God. Be not satisfied
with a general desire to do this, but fix systematically on the means
prescribed. Pursue those means hourly, daily, yearly. Reduce your
life to a system under the regulation of these rules. Good old Enoch
could walk with God three hundred years. And he has never seen
cause to repent it. Could you have access to him in his glory, would
he express regret for the pleasant mode of spending the last three
hundred years of his life? We are apt to think that we are not
expected to aim at the superior piety of the ancient saints. But why
paralyze every power by such a stupid mistake? Are we not under
as great obligations? Is not God as worthy of obedience now as
in the days of old? Have the increased displays of His mercy in the
Gospel impaired His claims? Has the affecting scene of Calvary
rendered Him less lovely in the eyes of sinners? Are the means
used with mankind less than in the patriarchal age? Or are the
happy consequences of a walk with God worn out by time? Why
should we then content ourselves with being scarcely alive, when so
many saints have been through life rapt in communion with God? Do
we thirst for honors? What honor is so great as to be the companion
and son and favorite of the everlasting God? Do we wish for riches?
Who is so rich as the heir of Him who owns all the treasures of the
universe? Do we prize the best society? What better society can be
found than Enoch had? Does any valuable consideration move us,
or any ingenuous motive, O let us never cease to walk with God.
Amen.
95. Although tares, or impure vessels, are found in the church, yet
this is not a reason why we should withdraw from it. It only behooves
us to labor that we may be vessels of gold or of silver. But to break
in pieces the vessels of earth belongs to the Lord alone, to whom a
rod of iron is also given. Nor let any one arrogate to himself what is
exclusively the province of the Son of God, by pretending to fan the
floor, clear away the chaff, and separate all the tares by the
Judgment of man. This is proud obstinacy and sacrilegious
presumption, originating in a corrupt frenzy. St. Cyprian
96. In comparing one ministerial identity with another he reminded
other pastors that at the last supper there was a chalice for drinking
the wine and there was a basin for washing feet. Then he said, I
protest that I have no choice whether to be the chalice or the basin.
Fain would I be whichever the Lord wills so long as He will but use
me . . . .So you, my brother, you may be the cup, and I will be the
basin; but let the cup be a cup, and the basin a basin, and each one
of us just what he is fitted to be. Be yourself, dear brother, for, if you
are not yourself, you cannot be anybody else; and so, you see, you
must be nobody . . . .Do not be a mere copyist, a borrower, a spoiler
of other men’s notes. Say what God has said to you, and say it in
your own way; and when it is so said, plead personally for the Lord’s
blessing upon it. John Piper on Charles H. Spurgeon
97. God’s purposes often ripen slowly and if the door is shut,
don’t put your shoulder to it, wait till Christ takes out the key
and opens it up. John Stott
98. Those preachers whose voices were clear and mighty for truth
during life continue to preach in their graves. Being dead, they yet
speak and whether men put their ears to their tombs or not, they
cannot but hear them . . . Often the death of a man is a kind of new
birth to him when he himself is gone physically, he spiritually
survives, and from his grave there shoots up a tree of life whose
leaves heal nations. O’ worker for God, death cannot touch thy
sacred mission! Be thou content to die if the truth shall live the better
because thou diest. Be thou content to die, because death may be
to thee the enlargement of thine influence. Good men die as dies the
seed–corn which thereby abideth not alone. When saints are
apparently laid in the earth, they quit the earth, and rise and mount
to Heaven–gate, and enter into immortality. No, when the sepulchre
receives this mortal frame, we shall not die, but live. Charles H.
Spurgeon
99. Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle.
Andrew Bonar
100. Whatever task God is calling us to, if it is yours, it is mine, and if it
is mine, it is yours. We must do it together —or be cast aside
together, and God in his absolute freedom goes on by other means
to use His Church in hastening His Kingdom. Howard Hewlett Clark
101. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of
the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is
in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.
Oswald Chambers
102. The Gospel is calculated and designed to stain the pride of
human glory. It is provided, not for the wise and the righteous, for
those who think they have good dispositions and good works, to
plead, but for the guilty, the helpless, the wretched, for those who
are ready to perish; it fills the hungry with good things, but it sends
the rich empty away. John Newton

103. To combine zeal with prudence is indeed difficult. There is


often too much self in our zeal, and too much of the fear of man
in our prudence. However, what we cannot attain by any skill or
resolution of our own, we may hope in measure to receive from
Him who giveth liberally to those who seek Him, and desire to
serve Him. Prudence is a word much abused but there is a
Heavenly wisdom, which the Lord has promised to give to
those who humbly wait upon Him for it. It does not consist in
forming a bundle of rules and maxims, but in a spiritual taste
and discernment, derived from an experimental knowledge of
the truth, and of the heart of man, as described in the word of
God; and its exercise consists much in a simple dependence
upon the Lord, to guide and prompt us in every action. We
seldom act wrong, when we truly depend upon Him, and can
cease from leaning to our own understanding. When the heart
is thus in a right tune and frame, and His word dwells richly in
us, there is a kind of immediate perception of what is proper for
us to do in present circumstances, without much painful
inquiry; a light shines before us upon the path of duty; and if
He permits us in such a spirit to make some mistakes, He will
likewise teach us to profit by them; and our reflections upon
what was wrong one day, will make us to act more wisely the
next. At the best, we must always expect to meet with new
proofs of our own weakness and insufficiency; otherwise how
should we be kept humble, or know how to prize the liberty He
allows us of coming to the throne of grace, for fresh
forgiveness and direction every day? But if He enables us to
walk before Him with a single eye, He will graciously accept our
desire of serving Him better if we could, and His blessing will
make our feeble endeavors in some degree successful, at the
same time that we see defects and evils attending our best
services, sufficient to make us ashamed of them. John Newton
104. God doth not value that man’s service, who accounts not his
service a privilege and a pleasure. Stephen Charnock
105. Observe when God sends an invitation, and hoist up the sails
when the winds begin to blow. Stephen Charnock
106. On the other hand, there is a sober decent way of speaking of
God, and goodness, and benevolence, and sobriety, which the world
will bear well enough;––nay, we may say a little about Jesus Christ,
as ready to make up the deficiencies of our honest and good
endeavors, and this will not displease them. But if we preach Him
as the only foundation, lay open the horrid evils of the human
heart, tell our hearers that they are dead in trespasses and sins,
and have no better ground of hope in themselves than the
vilest malefactors in order to exalt the glory of Jesus, as saving
those who are saved wholly and freely for His own name’s
sake; if we tell the virtuous and decent, as well as the
profligate, that unless they are born again, and made partakers
of living faith, and count all things loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ, they cannot be saved; this the world
cannot bear. We shall be called knaves or fools, uncharitable
bigots, and twenty hard names. If you have met with nothing
like this, I wish it may lead you to suspect whether you have yet
received the right key to the doctrines of Christ; for, depend
upon it, the offense of the cross is not ceased. John Newton
107. Speak your heart and maybe you could shed light on the shadow
of someone’s doubt. From the song “Live Right” by Rich Mullins
108. 1. When there is a want of brotherly love and Christian confidence
among professors of religion, then a revival is needed. Then there is
a loud call for God to revive his work. When Christians have sunk
down into a low and backslidden state, they neither have, nor ought
to have, nor is there reason to have, the same love and confidence
toward each other, as when they are all alive, and active, and living
holy lives . . .
2. When there are dissensions, and jealousies, and evil speakings
among professors of religion, then there is great need of a revival.
These things show that Christians have got far from God, and it is
time to think earnestly of a revival. Religion cannot prosper with
such things in the church, and nothing can put an end to them like
a revival.
3. When there is a worldly spirit in the church: it is manifest that the
church is sunk down into a low and backslidden state, when you
see Christians conform to the world in dress, equipage, parties,
seeking worldly amusements, reading novels and other books
such as the world reads. It shows that they are far from God, and
that there is a great need of a Revival of Religion.
4. When the church finds its members falling into gross and
scandalous sins, then it is time for the church to awake and cry to
God for a Revival of Religion. When such things are taking place
as give enemies of religion an occasion for reproach, it is time for
the church to ask God, “What will become of Thy great name?”
5. When there is a spirit of controversy in the church or in the land, a
revival is needful. The spirit of religion is not the spirit of
controversy. There can be no prosperity in religion, where the
spirit of controversy prevails.

6. When the wicked triumph over the church, and revile them, it is
time to seek for a Revival of Religion.
7. When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell
unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is
as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is for the firemen to
awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city. The
church ought to put out the fires of hell which are laying hold of
the wicked. Sleep! Should the firemen sleep, and let the whole
city burn down, what would be thought of such firemen? And yet
their guilt would not compare with the guilt of Christians who sleep
while sinners around them are sinking stupid into the fires of hell.
Charles G. Finney
109. Yes, I am among the things of God. Somehow I am coming
to be quite sure that I am intended for co-operation with Him,
for my life rises to highest heights, and feels the largest
ecstasy, and becomes conscious of the greatest things, in
those moments when I know I am doing something with God. I
am not speaking only of Christian service —that ultimately, that
is the crowning glory —but of the smallest things. When you
are really in your garden, doing the thing in the garden that
presently will smile back at you in all the colors and beauties
that come out of God’s earth, those are the days and moments
when you live. G. Campbell Morgan
110. Practically then, I say, Pray as He did, until prayer makes you
cease praying. Pray until prayer makes you forget your own wish,
and leave it or merge it in God’s will. The divine wisdom has given
us prayer, not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means
whereby we become strong to meet it. “There appeared an angel
unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him.” That was the true reply
to His prayer. Frederick W. Robertson
111. Prayer, then, is a necessity of our humanity rather than a duty.
To force it as a duty is dangerous. Christ did not; He never
commanded it and never taught it until asked. Frederick W.
Robertson
112. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to
the end. Remember the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom,
but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed, but surely. Many
suns, showers, and frosts pass upon it before it comes to perfection;
and in winter, when it seems dead, it is gathering strength at the
root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavor
to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus, and all shall be
well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd, and remain,
for His sake. John Newton
113. Waiting for God to sound the marching order is sometimes
harder than the tasks He leads us to accomplish. We are
anxious to move on, to get something done, to leave our barren
desert. But God’s timing is perfect. He alone knows when we
need to rest in our tents and when we need to resume the
journey. It’s only by keeping His charge that we make any
progress at all. Cathleen Armstrong
114. They also serve who only stand and wait. John Milton
115. One day, when Jesus comes or when we go to Him, we shall join
in the song of those who are able to look back on the past and see
from the heights of Immanuel’s Land that every turn and twist of the
road and every experience was put into God’s definite and perfect
plan. J. Stuart Holden

116. It is indeed natural to us to wish and to plan, and it is merciful in


the Lord to disappoint our plans, and to cross our wishes. For we
cannot be safe, much less happy, but in proportion as we are
weaned from our own wills, and made simply desirous of being
directed by His guidance. This truth (when we are enlightened by
His Word) is sufficiently familiar to the judgment; but we seldom
learn to reduce it to practice, without being trained awhile in the
school of disappointment. The schemes we form look so
plausible and convenient, that when they are broken, we are
ready to say, What a pity! We try again, and with no better
success; we are grieved, and perhaps angry, and plan out
another, and so on; at length, in a course of time, experience
and observation begin to convince us, that we are not more
able than we are worthy to choose aright for ourselves. Then
the Lord’s invitation to cast our cares upon Him, and His
promise to take care of us, appear valuable; and when we have
done planning, His plan in our favor gradually opens, and He
does more and better for us than we either ask or think.
I can hardly recollect a single plan of mine, of which I
have not since seen reason to be satisfied, that had it taken
place in season and circumstance just as I proposed, it would,
humanly speaking, have proved my ruin; or at least it would
have deprived me of the greater good the Lord had designed
for me. We judge of things by their present appearances, but
the Lord sees them in their consequences, if we could do so
likewise we should be perfectly of His mind; but as we cannot,
it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether
we are pleased with His management or not; and it is spoken of
as one of his heaviest judgments, when He gives any person or
people up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk after their
own counsels. John Newton
117. Let me have His presence and His Spirit, wisdom to know my
calling, and opportunities and faithfulness to improve them; and as
to the rest, Lord, help me to say, “What Thou wilt, when Thou wilt,
and how Thou wilt.” John Newton
118. They who study the Scriptures, in an humble dependence upon
divine teaching, are convinced of their own weakness, are taught to
make a true estimate of everything around them, are gradually
formed into a spirit of submission to the will of God, discover the
nature and duties of their several situations and relations in life, and
the snares and temptations to which they are exposed. The word of
God dwells richly in them, is a preservative from error, a light to their
feet, and a spring of strength and consolation. By treasuring up the
doctrines, precepts, promises, examples, and exhortations of
Scripture, in their minds, and daily comparing themselves with the
rule by which they walk, they grow into an habitual frame of spiritual
wisdom, and acquire a gracious taste, which enables them to judge
of right and wrong with a degree of readiness and certainty, as a
musical ear judges of sounds. And they are seldom mistaken,
because they are influenced by the love of Christ, which rules in
their hearts, and a regard to the glory of God, which is the great
object they have in view.

In particular cases, the Lord opens and shuts for them,


breaks down walls of difficulty which obstruct their path, or hedges
up their way with thorns, when they are in danger of going wrong, by
the dispensations of His providence. They know that their
concernments are in His hands; they are willing to follow whither and
when He leads; but are afraid of going before Him. Therefore they
are not impatient: because they believe, they will not make
haste, but wait daily upon Him in prayer; especially when they
find their hearts most engaged in any purpose or pursuit, they
are most jealous of being deceived by appearances, and dare
not move farther or faster than they can perceive His light
shining upon their paths. I express at least their desire, if not their
attainment: thus they would be. And though there are seasons when
faith languishes, and self too much prevails, this is their general
disposition; and the Lord, whom they serve, does not disappoint
their expectations. He leads them by a right way, preserves them
from a thousand snares, and satisfies them that He is and will be
their guide even unto death. John Newton
119. Remember that God’s delays are not the delays of inactivity but of
preparation. Warren Wiersbe
120. When we first believe in Christ we see but little of Him. The
higher we climb the more we discover of His excellencies and His
beauties. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has ever
known all the fulness of the heights, and depths, and lengths, and
breadths of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Paul now
grown old, sitting, gray haired, shivering in a dungeon in Rome—he
could say, with greater power than we can, “I know whom I have
believed?” —for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill,
each trial had been like the ascending to another summit, and his
death seemed like the gaining of the very top of the mountain from
which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of Him
to whom he had committed his soul. Charles H. Spurgeon
121. Take time to be holy, speak oft with the Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word;
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide,
And run not before Him whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord,
And looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above. William D. Longstaff
122. I am, therefore, trying to say in the spiritual realm what Lord
Fisher once said in the realm of material warfare. He said, “Compel
your enemy to fight you on your own drill ground.” Yes, indeed, and
when we fight the world and the flesh and the devil on the drill
ground of prayer, we have a certain victory. Let us bring our evil
thoughts to the field of prayer. Let us drag our mean judgments to
the field of prayer. Let us drive our ignoble purpose and our insane
prejudices and our malicious practices and our tyrannical passions
to the same field. Let us fight them on our own drill ground and slay
them there. Men ought always to bring their evil antagonisms and
difficulties into the presence of God. Force them into God’s holy
place and there fight and slay. Men ought always to pray, and they
will not faint in the heaviest day. John Henry Jowett

123. The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the
surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our
own circumstances, these very things—tribulation, distress,
persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight.
We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in
spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the
joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it— “I am
exceeding joyful in all our tribulation,” says Paul. Oswald Chambers
124. Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows
the One Who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and
reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us “go.” The root of faith is
the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the
idea that God is sure to lead us to success.
The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character.
There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray
we feel the blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we
are changed, then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and
the glory vanishes. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with
wings, but a life of walking and not fainting. It is not a question of
sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than
sanctification, of faith that has been tried and proved and has stood
the test. Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life
of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. “Abraham believed God.”
Oswald Chambers
125. Whatever interpretation we take of the book of Revelation, it is
undeniable that the church of Laodicea presents a vivid picture of
the age in which we live. Luxury-living abounds on every hand while
souls are dying for want of the gospel. Christians are wearing
crowns instead of bearing a cross. We become more emotionally
stirred over sports, politics, or television than we do over Christ.
There is little sense of spiritual need, little longing for true revival.
We give the best of our lives to the business world, then turn over
the remnants of a wasted career to the Savior. We cater to our
bodies which in a few short years will return to dust. We accumulate
instead of forsake, lay up treasures on earth instead of in Heaven.
The general attitude is, “Nothing too good for the people of God. If I
don’t pamper myself, who will? Let’s get ahead in the world and
give our spare evenings to the Lord.” This is our condition on the
eve of Christ’s Return. William MacDonald
126. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many things
inevitable as possible, let the consequences be what they will.
We cannot stay on the Mount of Transfiguration, but we must
obey the light we received there; we must act it out. When God
gives a vision, transact business on that line, no matter what it
costs. Oswald Chambers
127. Written across Calvary is sacrifice; written across this age of ours
is pleasure. On the lips of Christ are the stern words, I must die. On
the lips of this age of ours, I must enjoy. When I think of the passion
to be rich and the judgment of everything by money standards, of
the feverish desire at all costs to be happy, of the frivolity, of the
worship of success; and then contrast it with the “pale and solemn
scene” upon the hill, I know that the offense of Calvary is not
ceased. Unto the Jews a stumbling block —unto far more than the
Jews: unto a pleasure-loving world and a dead church. Therefore
say nothing about it. Let it be. Make everything interesting,
pleasant, easy. Then is the offense of the cross ceased —and with
it the power of the gospel. George H. Morrison

128. The heavens declare the glory of God—yes, but His Holy Word
declares it more plainly still. And it is declared most plainly of all in
the Incarnate Word—in Jesus Christ. If you want to behold the
“beauty of the Lord,” you can do better than study the book of
nature; come and study Jesus Christ, for in Him dwelleth all the
fullness of the Godhead bodily, and He and the Father are one.
John Daniel Jones
129. If you are “looking off unto Jesus,” avoiding the call of the
religious age you live in, and setting your heart on what He wants,
on thinking on His line—you will be called unpractical and dreamy;
but when He appears in the burden and the heat of the day, you will
be the only one who is ready. Trust no one, not even the finest saint
who ever walked this earth, ignore him, if he hinders your sight of
Jesus Christ. Oswald Chambers
130. But the man of faith can go alone into the wilderness and get on
his knees and command Heaven—God is in that. The man who will
dare to stand and let his preaching cost him something—God is in
that. The Christian who is willing to put himself in a place where he
must get the answer from God and God alone—the Lord is in that.
A.W. Tozer
131. There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who
love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this
is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and
there is no other. St. Augustine
132. A Moravian leper hospital nurse in Jerusalem, who had won
only one leper to Christ in a year, turned to a group of
American young people who visited her hospital and said, “You
Americans like to count big numbers as a result of service.
Ours is not to count results, but to be faithful.” W.O. Vaught,
Jr.
133. The great lesson of Peter’s denial is that wherever there is
arrested development of Christian life there must follow deterioration
of Christian character. Life must make progress to higher levels or
sink lower until it pass away. I must follow Jesus Christ wholly and
absolutely without question, or there will be an ever widening breach
between Him and myself, until I, even I, presently shall deny Him
with blasphemy over some flickering imitation fire. “Let him that
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” G. Campbell Morgan
134. You can see Christ in the street as well as in the sanctuary, on
Monday as well as on Sunday. Wherever a soul obeys Him and
demonstrates love He answers love with manifestation, and every
manifestation leaves its impress upon your brow, its light in your
eyes, its elasticity in your step.
So by the commonplace of obedience I climb to the
mountain of vision, demonstrating my love by keeping His
commandments, seeing Him where I did not dream He could
appear. G. Campbell Morgan
135. Yes, the darkest night has stars in it, and a Christian is a man
who fixes not on the darkness but on the stars; and especially on the
one bright morning star that is always shining—Jesus! When the
low mood comes, open your New Testament. Read it imaginatively.
Stand on the shore at Capernaum. Visit the home at Bethany. Sit
by Jacob’s well, and in the upper room. Look into Jesus’ eyes.
Listen to His voice. Take a walk round by Calvary. Remember the
crown of thorns. Then tell yourself (for it is truth), “All this was for
me! The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me.” And see
if a passion of praise does not send the low mood flying, and you
begin to feel like Charles Kingsley when he wrote to a friend, “Must
we not thank, and thank, and thank forever, and toil and toil forever
for Him?” “While I live I will praise Thee: I will sing praises to my
God while I have any being.” James S. Stewart

136. The Church has always found it easier to fulfill her priestly than
her prophetic role. The temptation to institutionalism is always with
us, and who will profess himself guiltless? We reduce Christianity to
the service of an institution, the Church, for this enables us to be
active in what is fondly called “the work of the Lord,” while at the
same time failing to grapple with the fundamental problem for all
Christians, that of winning our generation for Christ. In our little circle
of like-minded people we condemn outsiders because they do not
come in. Perhaps we even make half-hearted attempts to get them
to come in. And then we snuggle down again in the warmth of our
fellowship, comforted that we have done all that might reasonably be
expected of men in our situation. Fortified with this consolation we
concentrate on keeping the institution, the Church, running as it
should. Leon Morris
137. Caught by conscience in my sin, I drag myself before Your Face
And all my shame shouts out my guilt and calls for condemnation.
But as Your eyes read all in mine and neither blink nor charge
I hear the fall of stones unthrown and weep in my salvation. Ann
Cole
138. Men love to trust God (as they profess) for what they have in their
hands, in possession, or what lies in an easy view; place their
desires afar off, carry their accomplishment behind the clouds out of
their sight, interpose difficulties and perplexities—their hearts are
instantly sick. They cannot wait for God; they do not trust Him, nor
ever did. Would you have the presence of God with you? Learn to
wait quietly for the salvation you expect from Him. John Owen
139. Thou has made us, O Lord, for Thyself, and our heart shall find no
rest till it rest in Thee! St. Augustine
140. God’s love for His own is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting
love. The fact that He loves us, and we love Him is no guarantee
that we will be sheltered from the problems and pains of life. After
all, the Father loves His Son: and yet the Father permitted His
beloved Son to drink the cup of sorrow and experience the shame
and pain of the Cross. We must never think that love and suffering
are incompatible. Certainly they unite in Jesus Christ. Warren
Wiersbe
141. Whenever, in the presence of super abounding need, man says,
“It is not the psychological moment,” know well that the cleverness
of his argument is revelation of the carelessness of his heart. The
time is not come; we are waiting for the time, for some moment
electric with inspirational opportunity. People who wait for that
moment never find it, and do not want to find it. G. Campbell
Morgan
142. If Christ and His work and His sacrifice do not result in
Christlikeness in you and me, then for us it is quite valueless, and has
entirely failed; and, insofar as you and I are concerned, Christ was
thrown away in vain. How, then, is it with you and me? Be very sure
that upon Calvary it was no strange, immoral favoritism that came into
operation, whereby because of some beliefs that remain mere dead
letters, that produce no change whatever in their characters, some
people living the same kind of life as others and following the same
selfish interests and ends as they, are given a destiny entirely different.
That is the vainest of vain dreams. Rather is this the supreme
revelation of a new way of living life; and only those who—
blunderingly, it may be, yet honestly—seek to adopt and imitate it can
be counted really Christian folk. A. J. Gossip
143. Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,
Shall we to men benighted the lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O Salvation! The joyful sound proclaim,
Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Messiah’s name
Reginald Heber

144. But Manoah’s wife was of a hopeful turn of mind. She had the
eye which sees flecks of blue in the darkest skies. She had the ear
which hears the softest goings of the Eternal. She was an
interpreter of the Divine thought. Oh, to have such an interpreter in
every pulpit, to have such a companion on the highway of venture
and enterprise! This is the eye that sees further than the dull eye of
criticism can ever see, that sees God’s heart, that reads meanings
that seem to be written afar. Have we this method of reading Divine
Providence? Joseph Parker in a sermon on Judges 13:23
145. Wherever the missionary character of the doctrine of election is
forgotten; wherever it is forgotten that we are chosen in order to be
sent; wherever the minds of believers are concerned more to probe
backwards from their election into the reasons for it in the secret
counsel of God, than to press forward from their election to the
purpose of it, . . . that they should be Christ’s ambassadors and
witnesses to the ends of the earth, wherever men think that the
purpose of election is their own salvation rather than the salvation of
the world: then God’s people have betrayed their trust. Lesslie
Newbigin
146. When God wants to show you what human nature is like apart
from Himself, He has to show it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of
God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of
God (and He only does it when His Spirit is at work), you know there
is no criminal who is half so bad in actuality as you know yourself to
be in possibility. My “grave” has been opened by God and “I know
that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” God’s Spirit
continually reveals what human nature is like apart from His grace.
Oswald Chambers.
147. Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. In Hebrew, “Be silent in
God, and let Him mold thee.” Keep still, and He will mold thee to the
right shape. Martin Luther
148. DRINKING FROM MY SAUCER
I’ve never made a fortune
and it’s probably too late now
But I don’t worry about that much
I’m happy anyhow
and as I go along life’s way
I’m reaping better than I sow
I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed
Haven’t got a lot of riches
and sometimes the going’s tough
But I’ve got loving ones around me
and that makes me rich enough
I thank God for His blessings
and the mercies He’s bestowed
I’m drinking from my saucer
‘cause my cup has overflowed
O, Remember times when things went wrong
My faith wore somewhat thin

But all at once the dark clouds broke


and sun peeped through again
So Lord, help me not to gripe
about the tough rows that I’ve hoed
I’m drinking from my saucer
“Cause my cup has overflowed
If God gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I’ll not ask for other blessings
I’m already blessed enough
and may I never be too busy
to help others bear their loads
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer
“Cause my cup has overflowed
149. Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted
sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but
when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember
who you are—not a special being made up in Heaven, but a sinner
saved by grace. Oswald Chambers
150. If we allow the consideration of heathen morality and heathen
religion to absolve us from the duty of preaching the gospel we are
really deposing Christ from His throne in our own souls. If we admit
that men can do very well without Christ, we accept the Savior only
as a luxury for ourselves. If they can do very well without Christ,
then so could we. This is to turn our backs upon the Christ of the
gospels and the Christ of Acts and to turn our faces towards law,
morality, philosophy, natural religion. We look at the moral teaching
of some of the heathen nations and we find it higher than we had
expected . . . Or we look at morality in Christian lands, and we
begin to wonder whether our practice is really much higher than
theirs, and we say, “They are very well as they are. Leave them
alone.” When we so speak and think we are treating the question of
the salvation of men exactly as we should have treated it had Christ
never appeared in the world at all. It is an essentially pre-Christian
attitude, and implies that the Son of God has not been delivered for
our salvation. It suggests that the one and only way of salvation
known to me is to keep the commandments. That was indeed true
before the coming of the Son of God, before the Passion, before the
Resurrection, before Pentecost; but after Pentecost that is no longer
true. After Pentecost, the answer to any man who inquires the way
of salvation is no longer “Keep the law,” but “Believe in the Lord
Jesus Christ.” Roland Allen
151. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in
peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and have
vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these
blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our
own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self
sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving Grace,
too proud to pray to the God that made us. Abraham Lincoln

152. If we trust Him to do so, surely God will open the right doors,
guide each step of every Christian’s life, and provide the means of
fulfilling the “good works” which He has ordained for each one of us .
. . The Christian life is too glorious to be easy. It must involve trials
and testings . . . May He give us grace to live by faith as true
Christians; and may earth’s trials strengthen our faith, deepen our
love for God, increase our fellowship with and joy in Him, and bring
honor and glory to Him for eternity! Dave Hunt
153. It is not God’s way that great blessings should descend without
the sacrifice first of great sufferings. If the truth is to be spread to
any wide extent among the people, how can we dream, how can we
hope, that trial and trouble shall not accompany its going forth. John
Henry Newman
154. Finally, Christ taught that man is created for service. He is an
instrument for carrying the will of God beyond the circle of his own
personality. That indeed is the teaching of the whole Bible. Man
was not the final flower of Eden. He was its master. Man was not
put into Eden for decorative purposes at the close of the great
procedure. He was put in to dress it, to keep it, to govern it in co-
operation with God. We have strange notions about the Garden of
Eden. There are people who imagine it was an actual garden such
as we see in this country of ours, beautifully laid out with flower beds
and paths. Nothing of the kind. It was a rough bit of soil full of
potentiality, blossoms in it, fruit in it, magnificence in it, glories in it,
but not manifest. What were they waiting for? The touch of God’s
partner, man. God put man into the garden to dress it and keep it.
Christ emphasized that in all His teaching: “The Son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” G. Campbell Morgan
155. In a world in which nine out of every ten people are lost, three out
of four have never heard the way out, and one of every two cannot
hear, the church sleeps on. Could it be we think there must be
some other way? Or perhaps we don’t really care that much.
Robertson McQuilken
156. We shall never get an outspoken gospel until we get a set of men,
who say “I don’t care for the whole earth; if there is no one else right,
and I conceive myself to be so, I will battle the whole earth; and I
ask no man’s wish, or will, or assent. ‘Let God be true, and every
man a liar.’ “ Oh, we want a few of those gigantic spirits who need
no approvers— who can of themselves sweep their acre of men and
slay them with their strong broad sword of confidence; and when we
get these care-for-nothings, who care only for God, then shall the
earth shake again beneath the tramp of angels and God shall visit
our land, even as He did of old. Charles H. Spurgeon
157. The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the
one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated
definitely what the call of God is to, because His call is to be in
comradeship with Himself for His own purposes, and the test is to
believe that God knows what He is after. The things that happen do
not happen by chance, they happen entirely in the decree of God.
God is working out His purposes.
If we are in communion with God and recognize that He
is taking us into His purposes, we shall no longer try to find out
what His purposes are. As we go on in the Christian life it gets
simpler, because we are less inclined to say—Now why did God
allow this and that? Behind the whole thing lies the compelling
of God. “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends.” A Christian
is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his
own wits. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the
simplicity and the leisureliness which ought to characterize the
children of God. Oswald Chambers

158. Wherever the Gospel is preached in power, it will be opposed by


people who make money from superstition and sin. Paul did not
arouse the opposition of the silversmiths by picketing the temple of
Diana or staging anti-idolatry rallies. All he did was teach the truth
daily and send out his converts to witness to the lost people in the
city. As more and more people got converted, fewer and fewer
customers were available. Warren Wiersbe on Acts 19.
159. I clearly recognize that all good is in God alone, and that in me,
without Divine Grace, there is nothing but deficiency . . . The one
sole thing in myself in which I glory, is that I see in myself nothing in
which I can glory. Catherine of Genoa
160. The Psalm is a tremendous unfolding of the word of the Lord
through Zechariah, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,
says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). There is such a danger that we
depend on the power of the dollar or on human ingenuity. But the
Lord’s will is not accomplished in that way. It is by His Spirit that we
build for eternity. It is not what we do for God through our own
resources, but what He does through us by His mighty power. All
we can produce is wood, hay, stubble. He can use us to produce
gold, silver, precious stones. When we act in our own strength, we
are spinning our wheels. When we bring God into everything,
our lives become truly efficient. Carnal weapons produce carnal
results. Spiritual weapons produce spiritual results. William
MacDonald on Psalm 127
161. The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. William
Shakespeare
162. “A glorious throne, on high from the beginning, is the place of our
sanctuary.” That is to say, the government of God is based upon
the reasons of things and finds its expression not in the rules of a
passing hour, but in the principles of eternity. So that if God shall
order my life for the next half-hour the reason of His ordering lies
back in the ages that I cannot measure. That is Calvinism at its
deepest and best and truest. That is the great fact which we still
believe, that every flower that blooms on the sod under the Divine
government has its roots of life and thought and suggestion far back
in the ages we do not know . . . Here you are, an atom of humanity,
and the surging sea of the multitude does but add to your unrest.
You are seeking sanctuary, a place of peace, of privacy, of purity.
Oh, to be high lifted above the things which seem to break and scar.
Listen, this is the Gospel of hope, “A glorious throne, on high from
the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary.” Oh, the inexpressible
comfort of knowing that unseen by the vision that is physical, but
surely apprehended by faith, “the throne of God is for ever and ever:
the scepter of His Kingdom is a right scepter.” And, oh, my soul, the
deeper comfort when individual life is immediately related to that
throne by submission to its authority. Then indeed is man able to
sing: “Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me, The
changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see; I ask Thee
for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee.” G. Campbell
Morgan

163. Men are everywhere saying or thinking, “Where is the


goodwill among men? Where is the peace on earth that was
promised?” Yes, but go on with your questions. You have not
finished the song. You have left out its initial and primary note.
I must finish your series of questions, and I must be allowed to
ask, “Where is the glory to God in the highest?” We have fixed
our eyes upon the third phrase of the angels’ song—”goodwill
among men”; or upon the second phrase, —”peace on earth!”
And we have overlooked the first phrase, the phrase which is
casual and causative—”glory to God in the highest.” That is to
say, we have begun at the end, and left out the beginning. We
have been concerned about fruits, but we have been careless
about roots. If you will really think about the matter, it is clear
that we have been wanting rivers to arise without any gathering
grounds or springs. That is the explanation of our
disillusionment. We have laid hold of the chain at the second
link, or the third link, and we have strangely overlooked the
first. I want to repeat my words, we have begun at the wrong
end, and we have forgotten the beginning. We have been
looking for magic harvests. We have been wanting the corn
before we had got the field. We have been expecting man to be
right with man before man was right with God. We have been
looking for harvests, and we have foolishly assumed that
harvests would grow out of nothing. We have taken one part of
the angels’ song and we have thrown away the other. We have
ignored the field, and we have then marveled that there was no
harvest. For what is the angels’ song, in all its harmonious
completeness? This is the song: “Glory to God is the highest,
and on earth peace, goodwill among men.” John Henry Jowett
164. Vital peace among men is to be brought about by the individual
man being at peace with God—rectified and justified and sanctified
in the power of God’s redeeming love and grace. We simply cannot
save the world in masses. We cannot, by any leagues and treaties,
bring the world into congenial and fraternal peace. Salvation and
peace are to be found only in the surrender of the personal life to the
Saviorhood and comradeship of Christ. True life begins where the
saints have always begun, and where every pilgrim has begun who
became a chivalrous Greatheart on life’s way. True life begins here,
and the new world will begin here, —”Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let
me hide myself in Thee.” John Henry Jowett
165. Christianity says, “When lives are surrendered to the saving grace
and power of Christ there is spiritual vitality and moral nobility, and
the Christian spirit is incarnated in every part of their communion.”
Is that being proved to be true or false? What say you, has
Christianity failed? There is a much more pressing question. Has
Christianity been tried? We have been trying to gather harvests
before we have got the field, and we have tragically failed. We have
been trying to organize peace and goodwill as though it were a
manufactured product, and we have pitiably failed. We have tried to
arrange fraternity round a council table, and we have miserably
failed. And now, brethren, suppose we try Christ! And suppose we
begin where the angels’ song began, by giving glory to God in the
highest! Suppose we glorify God by the full surrender of our lives in
body, soul, and spirit, to the saving governance and control of the
Lord Jesus Christ! We have been looking for grapes and we have
not got the Vine. Suppose we now reverse the order; get the Vine
and then look for the grapes. That is my Christmas message. First
the Vine, then the grapes! First glory to God in the highest, then
peace on earth, goodwill among men. And I would to God that
everywhere today men and women would hush their strife and hear
the angels sing. I would that the angels’ song might be heard in
every city, and every town, and every village in every land
throughout the world. But we must listen to all the song, every part
of it! Yes, all the song, root and all, and all in all! “Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men.! John Henry
Jowett
166. To truly “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” unto salvation must be
an all consuming conviction, opposition in all the fury Satan and the
flesh can inspire will surely follow. Remembering that eternity looms
before us, let us never barter God’s eternal “well done” for man’s
approval in this brief life. The fullness of that life now and
throughout eternity, for ourselves and for those we have opportunity
and responsibility to influence, depends upon non–negotiable truth.
Dave Hunt

167. But in the perilous gravitation of worldliness there is more than an


illicit spirit of compromise: there is what I will call the fascination of
the glittering. All through our ministry we are exposed to the
temptations which met our Lord in the wilderness, and which met
Him again and again before He reached the cross. “All these things
will I give Thee if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” It was the
presentation of carnal splendor, the offer of an immediate prize. The
tempter used the lure of the “showy,” and he sought to eclipse the
vision of reality. He used the glittering to entice the eyes away from
the “gold thrice refined.”
That peril will meet you on the very day your ministry begins.
Nay, it is with you now in the days of preparation. Even now you
may be arrested by fireworks and you may lose the vision of the
stars. On your ordination day you may be the victim of worldliness,
and your soul may be prostrate before Mammon. You may be
seeking “the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them”; in quest
of “glitter” rather than true “gold.” We are tempted to covet a showy
eloquence rather than the deep, unobtrusive “spirit of power.” We
may become more intent on full pews than on redeemed souls. We
may be more concerned to have a swelling membership–roll than to
have the names of our people “written in Heaven.” We may be more
keen for “the praises of men” than for “the good pleasure of God.”
These are the perils of worldliness. Our besetting peril is to go after
the “showy,” to “strive,” and “cry,” to let our voice be heard “in the
streets,” to follow the glitter instead of “the gleam,” and to be
satisfied if our names are sounded pleasantly in the crumbling halls
of worldly fame. John Henry Jowett
168. General principles of business management from John Henry
Jowett:
1. Never move with small majorities
2. Avoid the notoriety and the impotence of always wanting
something new.
3. Never mistake the multiplication of organization for the
enlargement and enrichment of service.
4. Never become a victim to the standard of numbers.
5. Never help the business by advertising yourself.
169. And now I have done. I have spoken to you in these lectures
from the journals of my own life, the findings of my own experience.
I thought you might like to know how one man has found the road
into the service of which you are consecrating your life. I have told
you where I have found perils, and where I have found arbors of rest
and refreshing springs. Your road may be very different from mine,
and yet I think the dominant features will be the same. You will have
your Slough of Despond, your hill “Difficulty,” your alluring Bye–path
Meadow, your Valley of Humiliation, your Enchanted Ground where
the spirit gets very drowsy, and your clear hill–tops with bewitching
visions of Beulah Land, where the birds sing and the sun shines
night and day. But you will surely find that, however swiftly changing
may be the character of your road, your provision in Christ is most
abundant.
My brethren, you are going forth into a big world to confront
big things. There is “the pestilence that walketh in darkness,” and
there is “the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” There is success
and there is failure, and there is sin, and sorrow, and death. And of
all pathetic plights surely the most pathetic is that of a minister
moving about this grim field of varied necessity, professing to be a
physician, but carrying in his wallet no balms, no cordials, no
caustics to meet the clamant needs of men. But of all privileged
callings surely the most privileged is that of a Greatheart pacing the
highways of life, carrying with him all that is needed by fainting,
bruised, and broken pilgrims, perfectly confident in Him “Whom He
has believed.” Brethren, your calling is very holy. Your work is very
difficult. Your Savior is very mighty. And the joy of the Lord will be
your strength. John Henry Jowett from his lectures on how to be an
effective preacher.
170. The worship of the sanctuary is wholly meaningless and valueless
save as it is preceded by and prepared for by the worship of the life.
G. Campbell Morgan

171. Every man is free to make his own choices in life, but he is not
free to choose the consequences of his choices. God has
established certain moral principles in the world. These principles
dictate the consequences for every choice. There is no way to put
asunder what God has thus joined together. William MacDonald
172. Methinks if I could get a right estimate of your souls’ value that I
should not speak as I do now, with stammering tongue, but with
flaming words. I have great cause to blush at my own slothfulness,
though God knows I have striven to preach God’s truth as
vehemently as possible, and would spend myself in His service; but
I wonder I do not stand in every street in London and preach His
truth. When I think of the thousands of souls in this great city that
have never heard of Jesus, that have never listened to Him; when I
think of how much ignorance exists, and how little gospel preaching
there is, how few souls are saved, I think—Oh God! What little grace
I must have, that I do not strive more for souls. Charles H.
Spurgeon
173. Whoever has Christ in his heart, so that no earthly or temporal
things—not even those that are legitimate and allowed—are
preferred to Him, has Christ as a foundation. But if these things be
preferred, then even though a man seem to have faith in Christ, yet
Christ is not the foundation to that man. St. Augustine
174. The surest symbol of a heart not yet fully subdued to God and His
will is going to be found in the areas of money, sex, and power: in
wanting these things for ourselves. The surest symbol of spiritual
earnestness will be the checkbook, the affections, and the ego-drive
surrendered to Him. A disciple must have discipline. He must not be
afraid of being asked by God for some of the time, the money, and
the pleasure he has been in the habit of calling his “own”. This does
not mean that there will not be time for the family, and time for some
healthy diversion. But it does mean that we are never—on vacation,
or wherever we may be—exempt from our primary commitment to
Him. Samuel M. Shoemaker
175. There are two ways by which a man may lose his own soul . . .
.He may lose his soul by living and dying . . . like a beast prayerless,
godless, graceless, faithless. This is a sure way to hell. Mind that
you do not walk in it. He may also lose his soul by taking up some
kind of religion. He may live and die contenting himself with false
Christianity, and resting on a baseless hope. This is the commonest
way to hell there is . . . .
There are multitudes of baptized men and women who . . .
give Christ a certain place in their system of religion, but Christ
alone is not “all in all” to their souls. No: it is either Christ and the
Church; or Christ and the Sacraments; or Christ and His ordained
ministers; or Christ and their own goodness or Christ and their
prayers; or Christ and their own sincerity and charity, on which they
practically rest their souls.
If you are a Christian of this kind I warn you . . . your religion
is an offence to God. You are changing God’s plan of salvation into
a plan of your own devising. J.C. Ryle
176. Wherever we may be placed in the will of God, in whatever
circumstances we find ourselves, each Christian is a fort of
resistance in the name of Heaven against all the forces of evil in the
world today. When the church is complete and Jesus comes to take
to Himself His body, the church, then the world will know the agony
of evil which is un-resisted by the presence of the people of God.
But today the Christian stands in the name of the Lord wherever he
is, as a point of resistance to the enemy of righteousness. He
doesn’t stand alone; he is one of a great army, that company of
people who have been redeemed by the precious blood and who
share together the life of their Lord, although scattered in different
parts of the world.

The triumph of the church as a whole depends upon the


personal victory of every Christian. In other words, your victory,
your life, your personal testimony, are important to the cause of God
today. What happens out in New Guinea, down in the Amazon
jungle, over in disturbed Congo, is not unrelated to what happens in
your own personal relationship with God and your personal battle
against the forces of darkness. Victory for the church on the whole
world front depends upon victory in your life and in mine; “home”
and “foreign” situations cannot be detached.
Therefore the answer is not, I repeat, in more money, more
equipment, more people; but it is in dedication, commitment,
abandonment to God. Alan Redpath
177. The word came to Joshua, as it had to Moses, that the ground
whereon he stood was holy. As a matter of fact, Joshua was on his
face in worship and surrender. But the man who is on his face
before God is always standing against the enemy. It is only the man
who has met God in Christ, whose heart has been broken at the
cross, who has been brought on his face before the Lord, who can
stand before the enemy. Alan Redpath
178. He is the true Gospel-bearer that carries it in his hands, in his
mouth, and in his heart . . . A man does not carry it in his heart that
does not love it with all his soul; and nobody loves it as he ought,
that does not conform to it in his life. Desiderius Erasmus
179. There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is
whispering to us well–nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the
world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these
whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not
always hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life
causes as it rushes on. Frederick Faber
180. When thro’ fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace all sufficient,
shall be thy supply; The flame shall not burn thee; I only design thy
dross to consume, and thy gold to refine. George Keith
181. It was no exceptional thing for Jesus to withdraw Himself “into the
wilderness to pray.” He was never for one moment of any day out of
touch with God. He was speaking and listening to the Father all day
long; and yet He, who was in such constant touch with God, felt the
need, as well as the joy, of more prolonged and more quiet
communion with Him . . . Most of the reasons that drive us to pray
for strength and forgiveness could never have driven Him; and yet
He needed prayer. G. H. Knight
182. We cannot have this Christ-life within us without having clear
vision, and without having driving compassion, and without having
the dynamic which makes us mighty. We cannot have Christ within
us and be parochial. Christ overleaps the boundaries of parish,
society, and nation, and His clear vision takes in the whole world. If
Christ be verily in us we shall see with His eyes, feel with His heart,
be driven with His very compassion. G. Campbell Morgan
183. Every difficulty contains prospective wealth. Break it open, and
the wealth is yours! We appropriate the strength of the enemy we
vanquish. Overcome a difficulty, and its power henceforth enlists on
our side. That is a grand evangel, having application both to
individual and to common life. John Henry Jowett
184. Our service too frequently ends where bloodletting begins. We
stop short of the promise of fertility. “The blood of the martyrs is the
seed of the Church.” Yes, and the blood of the servant fertilizes the
field of his service. “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood!” And it is
just at that point of resistance that we begin to win. It is just when
our service becomes costly that it begins to pay. Life becomes
contagious when it becomes sacrificial. Our work begins to tell when
the workman is content to suffer; when he persists even unto blood.
John Henry Jowett
185. From subtle love of softening things, from easy choices,
weakenings, (Not thus are spirits fortified; Not this way went the
Crucified;) From all that dims Thy Calvary, O Lamb of God, deliver me.
186.
Give me the love that leads the way, the faith that nothing
can dismay, The hope no disappointments tire, the passion that
will burn like fire; Let me not sink to be a clod: make me Thy fuel,
Flame of God!
Amy Carmichael
186. In my own ministry, I have shared in many local church services
and conferences, and I have always tried to communicate biblical
truth to the people. Sometimes the music has not been edifying,
and at other times, the music communicated the Word of God in a
powerful way. Whenever all of us as ministers have aimed at
edification, and not entertainment, God has blessed and the people
have been helped. A ministry that does not build up will tear down,
no matter how “spiritual” it may seem. When we explain and apply
the Word of God to individual lives, we have a ministry of edification.
Warren Wiersbe
187. He spoke out of the sense of eternity to the capacity for eternity in
the heart of man. You may characterize the teaching of Jesus by
borrowing a great phrase from the Old Testament and applying it in
a new connection, “Deep calleth unto deep.” When men heard Him
they did not understand Him perfectly, but they felt, somehow, that
He had spoken to the very depth of their personality. When He
came down from the mountain multitudes followed Him, and were
astonished at Him, for they said, “He taught them as One having
authority, and not as their scribes.”
What, then, was the difference between Him and the
scribes? He spoke out of the sense of the relation of the infinite and
the spiritual to the finite and the material. He set the measurement
of eternity upon passing time. Wherever He went He said, “Repent,”
which meant, Change your mind, your thinking is wrong, your action
is wrong, you have departed from the center of things, your
measurements are false, your balances are evil, your judgments are
perverted! He flung against the materialized age the force of His
spiritual conception. He made Heaven’s light break upon earth’s
darkness. The voice of God sounded again in the deeps of human
nature, and o’er all the region as He passed, men felt the
atmosphere of Heaven enwrapping them, and they hurried after
Him, for never Man spake as He spake. That is the deeper secret in
the ministry of Jesus. He was a voice from God, nay, the very Word
of God incarnate, speaking in the syllables of human speech, and
yet with all the force of infinite truth. What are men to do with that
truth? My brethren, then as today, men standing in the presence of
Christ have but one alternative. They must do one of two things.
They must either crown Him or crucify Him. There is no middle
course. And if you ask me why they crucified Christ, I tell you it was
because they declined to submit themselves to the spiritual
conceptions which He proclaimed, because they would have none of
His views of things, because in their deepest heart, notwithstanding
all of their religiousness, they were godless. And when they
silenced that voice, they silenced the voice of the infinite.
When they took that Man to the Cross, they flung out the One
Who had offended them by revealing the fact that all their
thinking and all their life were false. G. Campbell Morgan
188. Sanctification is simply the marvelous expression of the
forgiveness of sins in a human life, but the thing that awakens the
deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven
sin. Paul never got away from this. When once you realize all that it
cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vice, constrained by
the love of God. Oswald Chambers

189. There is no question but that part of our failure today is


religious activity that is not preceded by an aloneness—an
inactivity. I mean the art of getting alone with God and waiting
in silence and in quietness until we are charged, and then,
when we act, our activity really amounts to something, because
we have been prepared for it. A.W. Tozer
190. “Sentimentalism is enjoyment without obligation,” said George
Meredith. But the true comfort of Christ is a strong, bracing,
reinforcing thing. It is like a wind to a boat that has been becalmed.
It is like the gift of a job to a man who has been for years out of
work. It is like the clasp of a friend’s hand in a time of need. This is
certainly the root idea of the word “comfort” in the New Testament;
and when Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as the “Comforter,” He is
really giving a promise that God will stand by a man in the day of his
need, and brace his heart and nerve his arm, and make him more
than conqueror. James S. Stewart
191. And in that day you will say: “O Lord, I will praise You; Though
You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You
comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be
afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has
become my salvation.’” Therefore with joy you will draw water from
the wells of salvation. And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord,
call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make
mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for He has done
excellent things; this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O
inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”
Isaiah Chapter 12
192. Amidst much that is cheering, there is, on the other hand,
much that is discouraging and distressing to the more pious
observer. We behold a strange combination of zeal and world-
mindedness; great activity for the extension of religion in the
earth, united with lamentable indifference to the state of
religion in the soul; in short, apparent vigor in the extremities,
with a growing torpor at the heart. Multitudes are substituting
zeal for piety, liberality for mortification, and a social for a
personal religion. No careful reader of the New Testament, and
observer of the present state of the church, can fail to be
convinced, one should think, that what is now lacking is a high
spirituality.
The Christian profession is sinking in its tone of piety;
the line of separation between the church and the world
becomes less and less perceptible; and the character of
genuine Christianity, as expounded from pulpits and delineated
in books, has too rare a counterpart in the lives and spirit of its
professors. John Angell James
193. Peace can come only to a world where death confronts men,
when, somehow, death can be transfigured, and men cease to
speak of death, and talk instead of decease, of exodus, going out.
Peace can come only when death is no longer looked on as a
harbor of refuge into which the ship all battered escapes, but rather
as the harbor from which the ship puts out to sea and finds the
ultimate fulfillment of all being. These are Christian ideals, and can
be realized by men only when they enter into Christian experience.
G. Campbell Morgan
194. And that self-control is to be exercised mainly, or at least as one
very important form of it, in regard of our use and estimate of the
pleasures of this present life. Yes! It is not only from the study of a
man’s make that the necessity for a very rigid self-government
appears, but the observation of the conditions and circumstances in
which he is placed points the same lesson. All round about him are
hands reaching out to him drugged cups. The world with all its
fading sweets comes tempting him, and the old fable fulfills itself—
Whoever takes that Circe’s cup and puts it to his lips and quaffs
deep, turns into a swine, and sits there imprisoned at the feet of the
sorceress forevermore!

There is only one thing that will deliver you from that fate, my
brother. “Be sober” and in regard of the world and all that it offers to
us—All joy, possession, gratification— “set a knife to thy throat if
thou be a man given to appetite.” There is no noble life possible on
any other terms—but suppression and mortification of the desires of
the flesh and of the spirit. You cannot look upwards and downwards
at the same moment. Your heart is only a tiny room after all, and if
you cram it full of the world, you relegate your Master to the stable
outside. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” “Be sober,” says
Paul, then, and cultivate the habit of rigid self-control in regard of
this present. Oh! What a melancholy, solemn thought it is that
hundreds of professing Christians in England, like vultures
after a full meal, have so gorged themselves with the garbage
of this present life that they cannot fly, and have to be content
with moving along the ground, heavy and languid. Christian
men and women, are you keeping yourselves in spiritual health
by a very sparing use of the dainties and delights of earth?
Answer the question to your own souls and to your Judge.
Alexander Maclaren
195. Centuries later, today’s Christians need to appreciate afresh the
courageous stand Paul and his associates took for the liberty of the
Gospel. Paul’s concern was “the truth of the Gospel”, not the “peace
of the church.” The wisdom that God sends from above is “first pure,
then peaceable”. “Peace at any price” was not Paul’s philosophy of
ministry, nor should it be ours. Warren Wiersbe
196. When seen from the Lord’s perspective, however, the purpose of
the valleys is that we might be outfitted—equipped, prepared,
strengthened—for the climb to the top of the mountain, which is
where the Lord is always seeking to lead us. Valleys and wilderness
times in which we may feel isolated or tested are never permanent.
Oswald Chambers in the book So Send I You writes of “the
vision, the valley, and the verity.” God gives us a vision and then
puts us in the valley in order to sift us, sand us, discipline us, prune
us—in other words, to rid us of all that would be a hindrance to us in
climbing up to or living on top of the mountain. It is in the valley that
we make a decision to leave the valley and climb up the mountain
God has set before us. Charles Stanley
197. We need to recognize the fact that God calls people to different
ministries in different places; yet we all preach the same Gospel and
are seeking to work together to build His church. Among those who
know and love Christ, there can be no such thing as “competition.”
Warren Wiersbe
198. When God sent His Son into the world, it was without fanfare.
Jesus was not born into royalty, but of a simple family. As he grew
older, the Son of God did not wear robes of fine silk or eat the finest
foods, but dressed modestly and ate what was set before him.
During his life on earth, Jesus always reached out to the lower
classes. He preached His Father’s words and encouraged all to
seek the better way. Not only was Jesus’ life a living testimony of
love, but through His suffering and death, this Man, the Son of God,
gave His very life for you and me. At this low point in human history,
when man crucified the Son of God, when we spit on Him, beat Him
and punished Him terribly, Jesus still reached out to us in love.
Through the blood, pain and death, victory was found in love! Do not
let His precious gift of love go to waste. Melanie Schurr
199. It is a sad thing when the Church drops its standard down to the
world’s standard of what it ought to be, and swallows the world’s
name for itself, and its converts. Alexander Maclaren

200. . . . He that departs from his end, recedes from his own nature.
All the content any creature finds, is in performing its end, moving
according to its natural instinct; as it is a joy to the sun to run its
race. In the same manner it is a satisfaction to every other creature,
and its delight to observe the law of its creation. What content can
any man have that runs from his end, opposeth his own nature,
denies a God by whom and for whom he was created, whose image
he bears, which is the glory of his nature, and sinks into the very
dregs of brutishness? Stephen Charnock
201. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy
compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put
the tiller into the Hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be
escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or
quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to His sovereign
will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, ‘As sure as ever
a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers’; this is a
great truth. Said another old divine, ‘He that goes before the cloud
of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand’; and so he does. We
must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries,
tarry till providence comes. Charles H. Spurgeon
202. What greater weakness can there be than to love flattery rather
than plain dealing? . . . ..Now for this, we shall acquit ourselves well
enough by giving attendance to reading, to exhortation, and
doctrine; taking ourselves first to study, and then to teach. First we
must learn, and then teach others what we have learned. Preaching
without reading is but a venting of our own windy conceit. On the
other side, reading without preaching is but a miserly hoarding up
from others that which we have learned. Where should a minister
die rather than in the pulpit? Where should he rather be buried than
in his study? . . . ..Ministers are nurses, and such they should show
themselves. A nurse, you know, first feeds herself and then feeds
her young. So should we first digest our reading and learning, and
then draw it out and impart it to others. That which is most native will
take best, and is most desired of our hearers. A child desires not to
have his milk sugared, but likes it best as it comes from the breast,
without any mixture. So when a minister speaks the native truth
without all affectation, when he speaks out of his own heart so that
the hearers see plainness and honesty in his speech, this
commends him most to the hearer, and gives value to all his labors.
On the other side, let him trim and starch a speech never so neatly,
if either he shall preach but of himself, or else confute himself by his
own practice, he shall but render himself suspect and despicable
when all is done. This was Paul’s glory in 2 Corinthians 1:13: “You
shall read no other thing in me than what I write.” And this is a
minister’s glory: when his heart is seen in what he writes, and his
heart is heard in what he speaks, then, though his matter is never so
plain and ordinary, it will pass and be accepted. Therefore, if we
would preach to purpose, we must bring our hearts as well as our
heads into the pulpit. Preach the Word (as Peter bids), and preach it
as the Word, and preach it fully. Look to your ministry, Archippus,
which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it. Unless a
man’s hands preach, his hair preaches, and his feet preach as well
as his tongue, little good will follow; he shall but do and undo. As it is
said of Aeneas Sylvius (afterwards called Pope Pius Secundus),
“What Sylvius did, Pius undid.” So such a one shall but undo at
home what he did at church, whose conversation and doctrine go
not all one way; whose life does not preach as well as his tongue . . .
..Why should we trouble ourselves with what men think or do to us?
The wicked look upon God’s ministers as so many pests or plagues
of the world (we have found this disease perverting the people, said
Tertullus of Paul). And those who are good among men cannot
judge our labors; they know not the pains and cares of our place;
they understand not what it is to bear the burden of a charge of
souls, to break our sleep, yea, to break our brains for their sakes.
They think it a fine matter to see a man in a pulpit, standing and
talking over the people for an hour together. They see not in what
fear, with what care, and with how many temptations we stand in
this place. Therefore, let us never trouble ourselves with men who
know nothing of all this, but look to Him who knows perfectly how it
is with us. Accordingly He tells the angels of the churches
(Revelation 2 and 3): “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy
patience.” He knows all and takes notice of all; therefore worry not
about how men judge you, but look higher. Robert Harris
203. A missionary society wrote to David Livingston and
suggested that if he could ensure them of safe roads that they
would send him some help. He responded with the following
note: “If you have men that will only come if they have a good
road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no
road at all.” Somewhere in our modern–day, comfort–driven
society we lost the determination it takes to stay committed. In
the Scriptures we learn that the worthwhile things are never
what comes by doing the “easy” tasks. We miss opportunities
by trying to avoid testing. When we get committed, we endure
to the end the task that has been set before us. Karl Forehand.
204. A Bug’s Life: Cricket was always fretting. “Everyone is
listening,” she chirped. “Every note must be perfect.” Cricket had a
gift for reaching others with her music. She could change her tune to
suit her listener. She could perk you up with a bouncy melody, liven
your step with a reel or jig or calm you with a hymn or ballad. That
responsibility had begun to weigh cricket’s heart. Her tone became
shrill. “Can’t you see I am busy?,” she would screech. “Don’t you
know that everyone is depending on me? “Everyone around could
hear her atonal whinges.” What horrid noise!” groaned the
caterpillar.” The other insects agreed. Something was wrong with
their reliable and once harmonious friend. They decided to ask the
one who had the most wisdom, the praying mantis. “Mmmm,” he
said. “I shall see about this.” Praying mantis sent cricket an
invitation to tea. Cricket was so worried. “It must be perfect,” she
shrilled. “He must be in need. I can’t let him down!” Upon arriving,
cricket tried to sense mantis’s mood. He appeared at peace. Finally,
she asked what it was he needed of her. The mantis said, “You
have been given a very great gift . . . “ Cricket interrupted, “Thank
you. You are too kind. I am only here to serve.” “Yes you are,”
mantis said solemnly. “Unfortunately you have been rather a poor
tool of late.” Cricket was so horrified and overwhelmed that she
began to cry. “But I tried so hard,” she said miserably. “I have
worked until exhaustion trying to do well.” “That is just the problem,”
mantis said. “You are trying too hard. You are an instrument, but
you have taken yourself out of the master’s hands and tried to wield
yourself. Like a violin leaping from the hands of the virtuoso in the
midst of a concert and playing a jingle.” Mantis told cricket to think
back to when she first began to play her tunes for others. “What
were you thinking of then?” he said. Cricket realized that she hadn’t
been thinking of anything. She had simply seen someone and felt
happy or sad or compassionate and her music had come from her
soul to fill the air and heal the others around her. “Think back to
what happened to make you leap off on your own,” he added.
Cricket pondered. “I lost faith and stopped trusting what guided me
and began to fear,” she said. Fear turned to panic and panic to
anger and anger turned to fear again. “Take your faith back with you
to your family and friends and you will soon change your tune,” said
mantis. Lisa Suhay

205. If you want to do people good you can; but you have got to pay
the price for it. That price is personal sacrifice and effort. The
example of Jesus Christ is the all-instructive one in the case.
People talk about Him being the pattern, but they often forget that
whatever more there was in Christ’s Cross and Passion there was
this in it: the exemplification for all time of the one law by which any
reformation can be wrought on men—that a sympathizing man shall
give himself to do it, and that by personal influence alone men shall
be drawn and won from out of the darkness and filth. A loving heart
and a sympathetic word, the exhibition of a Christian life and
conduct, the fact of going down into the midst of evil and trying to lift
men out of it, are the old-fashioned and only magnets by which men
are drawn to purer and higher life. That is God’s way of saving the
world—by the action of single souls on single souls. Masses of men
can neither save nor be saved. Not in groups, but one by one,
particle by particle, soul by soul, Christ draws men to Himself, and
He does His work in the world through single souls on fire with His
love, and tender with pity learned of Him. Alexander Maclaren
206. You are writing a Gospel, a chapter each day, by the deeds that
you do and the words that you say. Men read what you write,
whether faithful or true: Just what is the Gospel according to you?
Source unknown
207. So we live in this little drop of the world, not much bigger in
God’s esteem than a drop of the bucket; and one of us seems a
little larger than the other, a worm a little above his fellow
worm. But, O how big we get! And we want to get a little
bigger, to get a little more prominent, but what is the use of it?
For when we get ever so big we shall then be so small that an
angel would not find us out if God did not tell him where we
were. Whoever heard up in Heaven anything about emperors
and kings? Small tiny insects: God can see the animalculae,
therefore He can see us; but if He had not an eye to see the
most minute He would never discover us. O may we never get
ambition in this church. The best ambition is, who shall be the
servant of all. The strangers seek to have dominion, but
children seek to let the father have dominion, and the father
only. Charles H. Spurgeon
208. Too many Christians are too involved in “many things,” when the
secret of progress is to concentrate on “one thing.” It was this
decision that was the turning point in D.L. Moody’s life. Before the
tragedy of the Chicago fire in 1871, Mr. Moody was involved in
Sunday School promotion, Y.M.C.A. work, evangelistic meetings,
and many other activities; but after the fire, he determined to devote
himself exclusively to evangelism. “This one thing I do!” became a
reality to him. As a result, millions of people heard the Gospel.
Warren Wiersbe
209. I may be wrong, but I have the feeling that we are looking for
shortcuts because we don’t want to pay the price for doing
things God’s way. Travail in prayer, hard study, serious heart
searching, and patient sowing of the seed have been replaced
by methods that guarantee instant results. Results, yes; fruit,
no. You cannot have fruit without roots, and you cannot have
roots unless you dig deep; and that takes time. Warren
Wiersbe
210. A time to be careful is when one reaches his goals. The easiest
period in a crisis situation is actually the battle itself. The most
difficult period is the period of indecision—whether to fight or run
away. And the most dangerous period is the aftermath. It is then,
with all his resources spent and his guard down, that an individual
must watch out for dulled reactions and faulty judgment. Charles
Swindoll
211. Thoughts on Christmas Eve (By Joseph Tate Bayly)
Praise God for Christmas.
Praise Him for the incarnation
for the Word made flesh.
I will not sing
of shepherds watching flocks
on frosty night
or angel choristers.
I will not sing

of stable bare in Bethlehem


or lowing oxen
wise men
trailing distant star
with gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Tonight I will sing
praise to the Father
who stood on Heaven’s threshold
and said farewell to His Son
as He stepped across the stars
to Bethlehem
and Jerusalem.
And I will sing
praise to the infinite eternal Son
who became most finite
a Baby
who would one day be executed
for my crimes.
Praise Him in the heavens.
Praise Him in the stable.
Praise Him in my heart.
212. Allow nothing to keep you from looking God sternly in the face
about yourself and about your doctrine, and every time you preach
see that you look God in the face about things first, then the glory
will remain all through. A Christian worker is one who perpetually
looks in the face of God and then goes forth to talk to people. The
characteristic of the ministry of Christ is that of unconscious glory
that abides. “Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he
talked with Him.” Oswald Chambers
213. We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have
preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers
everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a
whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. “Whatsoever
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Oswald Chambers
214. Our Lord implies that the only men and women He will use in His
building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately
and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The
conditions are stern, but they are glorious.
All that we build is going to be inspected by God. Is
God going to detect in His searching fire that we have built on
the foundation of Jesus some enterprise of our own? These
are days of tremendous enterprises, days when we are trying to
work for God, and therein is the snare. Profoundly speaking,
we can never work for God. Jesus takes us over for His
enterprises, His building schemes entirely, and no soul has any
right to claim where he shall be put. Oswald Chambers
215. The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole
us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in
heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly simply and unaffectedly.
Those are the lives that mold us. If you want to be of use to God,
get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use
unconsciously every minute you live. Oswald Chambers

216. The good news without the good deed will leave us impotent. But
the spirit of sacrificial love will make us invincible. John Henry
Jowett
217. I want to say that there is nothing in God that is aloof, nothing of
mere composure, nothing of passive regard, nothing apathetic.
Every attribute of God is a fountain of vitality and the throne from
which flows the river of the Water of Life. Grace is favor, but it
means more than this. It is holy love radiating from the soul of the
Eternal into the soul of His children and radiating holy love into His
children, transforming them to His likeness and equipping them for
His service. John Henry Jowett
218. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will
carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong
means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our
counselor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to
the ‘broken cistern’ instead of to the ‘fountain’; a sin which was laid
against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s loving
kindness, and thus our love to Him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and
thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered,
our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking.
Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him;
but if through simple faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it
comes upon Him, and are ‘careful for nothing’ because He
undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him, and
strengthen us against much temptation. ‘Thou wilt keep him in
perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in
Thee.’ Charles H. Spurgeon
219. To make the improving of our own character our central aim is
hardly the highest kind of goodness. True goodness forgets itself
and goes out to do the right thing for no other reason than that it is
right. Lesslie Newbigin
220. It is notorious that when a man is made a bishop his days become
so crowded that it is a rare thing for him to produce his greatest
books! And who knows but that if this great Apostle (Paul) had had
more temporary freedom we might have had less permanent fruit.
Sometimes the Lord permits seclusion in order that we may do a
larger work. His merciful sight has long range, and that is why our
immediate circumstances are often so contradictory to our aspiration
and prayer. The Lord looks beyond the temporary bondage to the
ultimate freedom. John Henry Jowett
221. While walking along a beach, a man saw thousands of starfish the
tide had thrown onto the beach. Unable to return to the ocean during
low tide, the starfish were dying. He observed a young man picking up
the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the water.
After watching the seemingly futile effort, the observer said, “There
must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possibly save
enough to matter.”
The young man smiled as he continued to pick up another starfish
and tossed it back into the ocean. “It matters to this one,” he
replied.
222. Behind the ministry of public teaching there lies the discipline of
private study. All the best teachers have themselves remained
students. They teach well because they learn well. So before we can
effectively instruct others in the truth we must have ‘really digested’
it ourselves.
It is still important today for Christian leaders to discern,
cultivate and exercise their gifts, and be helped to do so by others.
For the people will be receptive to their ministry, once they are
assured that God has called them and they have not appointed
themselves
The example which Christian leaders set, then, whether in
their life or their ministry , should be dynamic and progressive.
People should be able to observe not only what they are but what
they are becoming, supplying evidence that they are growing into
maturity in Christ. Some Christian leaders imagine that they have to
appear perfect, with no visible flaws or blemishes. But there are at
least two reasons why this is a mistake. First, it is hypocritical. Since
none of us is a paragon of all virtues, it is dishonest to pretend to be.
Secondly, the pretense discourages people, who then suppose that
their leaders are altogether exceptional and even unhuman. Paul
himself conceded that he had not arrived. ‘Not that I have already
obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on .
. . ‘ (Phil.3:12) In the same way we should not give the false
impression that we have reached our goal; on the contrary, we are
still on the road, still pilgrims. Not that we should go to the opposite
extreme, parade our failures, or make embarrassing public
confessions. That helps nobody.
There is much practical wisdom here for everybody called to
Christian leadership, and especially for younger people given
responsibility beyond their years. If they watch their example,
becoming a model of Christ–likeness; if they identify their authority,
submitting to Scripture and drawing all their teaching from it; if they
exercise their gift, giving evidence of God’s call and of the rightness
of the church’s commissioning; if they show their progress, letting it
be seen that their Christian life and ministry are dynamic, not static;
if they mind their consistency, by practicing what they preach; and if
they adjust their relationships, being sensitive to people’s age and
sex – then other people will not despise their youth, but gladly and
gratefully receive their ministry. John Stott
223. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a subject to which the world is
very averse; it is, however, the grand concern, in comparison with
which everything else is but trifling. What does it signify though we
have food to eat in plenty, and variety of raiment to put on, if we are
not born again? if after a few mornings and evenings spent in
unthinking mirth, carnal pleasure, and riot, we die in our sins, and lie
down in sorrow? What does it signify though we are well able to act
our parts in life, in every other respect, if at last we hear from the
Supreme Judge, “Depart from me, I know you not, ye workers of
iniquity?” Matthew Henry
224. A truly godly pastor has only one goal in his ministry: to give no
rest to his soul until he has crowned Jesus Lord in every area of his
life—and to bring both himself and his sheep under the governing
rule of the Holy Spirit. David Wilkerson
225. “Men must either be hammers or anvils”; must either give blows
or receive them. I am afraid that a great many of us who call
ourselves Christians get a great deal more harm from the world than
we ever dream of doing good to it. Remember this, “you are the salt
of the earth,” and if you do not salt the world, the world will rot you . .
.
And so I would remind you that fellowship with Jesus Christ
is no vague exercise of the mind but is to be cultivated by three
things, which I fear me are becoming less and less habitual among
professing Christians: Meditation, the study of the Bible, private
prayer. If you have not these, and you know best whether you have
them or not, no power in Heaven or earth can prevent you from
losing the savor that makes you salt . . .

My brother, let us return unto the Lord our God, and keep
nearer Him than we ever have done, and bring our hearts more
under the influence of His grace, and cultivate the habit of
communion with Him; and pray and trust, and leave ourselves in His
hands, that His power may come into us, and that we in the beauty
of our characters, and the purity of our lives, and the elevation of our
spirits, may witness to all men that we have been with Christ; and
may, in some measure, check the corruption that is in the world
through lust. Alexander Maclaren
226. Christ has not commissioned us to improve this evil world, but to
call out of the world for heavenly citizenship repentant sinners who
are stricken with the awful guilt of their rebellion against God. He
has not commanded us to “dialogue” in order to come to a mutually
advantageous arrangement with the enemies of the Cross, but to
preach the gospel and uncompromisingly contend earnestly for the
faith once for all delivered to the saints. May He enable us, with
pure hearts, to glorify Him and not man, and to seek the honor that
comes from God only. Dave Hunt
227. Simplicity, gratitude, contentment and generosity constitute a
healthy quadrilateral of Christian living. John Stott
228. It is the child-spirit that finds life’s golden gates, and that finds
them all ajar. The proudly aggressive spirit, contending for place
and power, may force many a door, but they are not doors which
open into enduring wealth and peace. Real inheritances become
ours only through humility.
The proud are, therefore, self-deceived. They think they
have succeeded when they have signally failed. They have the
shadow, but they have missed the substance. They may have the
applause of the world, but the angels sigh over their defeat. They
pride themselves on having “got on”; the angels weep because they
have “gone down.”
When we grow away from childlikeness we are “in a
decline.” “God resisteth the proud; He giveth grace to the humble.”
The lowly make great discoveries; to them the earth is full of God’s
glory. John Henry Jowett
229. “He knew all men, and required no evidence from anyone
about human nature.” But Jesus was much more than a
student of His fellow men. He was a lover of men. Through all
the tragedy and comedy of life, through all their human foibles
and bignesses of soul, through sin and the pitiful
consequences of sin, He loved them as only God could love.
James S. Stewart
230. Humility’s obedience depends on the initiative of God. Since God
dwells with the humble (Isa. 57:15), they are in constant contact with
Him. They know when He speaks and are quick to obey Him. If God
chooses to delay, waiting is not difficult for them. Proud people want
to obey only their self-exalting impulses. They cannot hear God, for
“God is opposed to the proud” (James 4:6). The humble work on
God’s initiative; the proud work on their own initiative. T.W. Hunt
231. (Referring to John the Baptist) This man humbly desires to
be “a voice.” He has no ambition to receive popular homage.
He does not covet the power of the lordly purple. He does not
crave to be a great person; he only wants to be a great voice!
He wants to articulate the thought and purpose of God. He is
quite content to be hidden, like a bird in a thick bush, if only his
song may be heard.

And in order that he may be a voice he retires into the


silent solitudes of the desert. He will listen before he speaks.
Come thou, my soul, into his secret! The air is clamorous with
speech behind which there has been no hearing. Men speak,
and in their words there is no pulse of the Infinite. In their
consolations there is no balm. In their reproaches there is no
sword. Their words are empty vessels, full of sound! Let my
voice be hushed until I have heard the Voice of the Highest.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
And when he spake, it was in clear and definite
testimony, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The “voice” succeeded,
for men began to look away from the herald to the herald’s
Lord. In forgetting John they found the King. They passed the
signpost, and arrived at home! John Henry Jowett
232. Timothy’s spiritual life and ministry were to be the absorbing,
controlling things in his life, not merely sidelines that he occasionally
practiced. There can be no real pioneer advance in one’s ministry
without total dedication to the task. “No man can serve two masters”
(Matt. 6:24). Warren Wiersbe
233. We are all being watched at the present time. The world is most
unhappy, men and women do not know what to do, they do not
know where to turn. When they see someone who seems to be
calm and steadfast, someone who is not utterly bewildered at a time
like this, someone who seems to have an insight into it all, and who
can see beyond it all, they look and they say, “What is this? What is
that person’s secret?” And so you become an evangelist by just
standing and being “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His
might.” You are not carried away by the flood, you do not do things
because everyone else is doing them, you have principles of your
own, and you are ready to stand for them and to suffer for them.
That has often been the means, under God’s blessing, of awakening
others and convicting them of sin, and causing them to begin to
inquire after God. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
234. All earnest Christian conviction will demand expression; and all
deep experience of the purifying power of Christ upon character will
show itself in conduct. Alexander Maclaren
235. The lighthouse-keeper takes no pains that the ships tossing away
out at sea may behold the beam that shines from his lamp, but all
that he does is to feed it and tend it. And that is all that you and I
have to do—tend the light, and do not, like cowards, cover it up.
Modestly, but yet bravely, carry out your Christianity, and men will
see it. Do not be as a dark lantern, burning with the slides down and
illuminating nothing and nobody. Live your Christianity, and it will be
beheld. Alexander Maclaren
236. But shall the blue green fight with the gray green? They know
better; nature more loyally serves her Lord. All the green forests
sway in the music of unity: it is only man who makes a fool of
himself. His color he is always magnifying above every other color;
he says his is the right green, and other people’s green is the wrong
green. So we have botanized ourselves into little woods and special
corners of plantations, and we publish annual reports to show that
our green is the right green. Oh! That men were wise, that they
understood these things, that they would consider the manifold
grace of God, the many-sidedness of His gifts, the many colors in
His gardens and in His forests, and that they would not compare one
to the disadvantage of the other. Joseph Parker
237. All conscientious Christian teachers, once they have been
delivered from the unhealthy lust for originality, take pains to make
old truths new and stale truths fresh. John Stott
238. Without a personal experience of salvation we lack the right, the
incentive and the confidence to teach social ethics to others. John
Stott

239. The word “grace” is not popular today. It is by no means a


modern word, for it goes back to the very heart of God. This is the
day of materialism; of pomp and show and glittering spectacle; this
is an age of mechanics, engineering, and what is called practical
work. I claim for “grace” that it is the most practical work of all. It
renews the heart, it purifies the motive, it gives life a new purpose, it
makes conduct beautiful, and any ministry that can accomplish all
these marvels is never to be described or despised as sentimental
or theoretical. Brethen, until the grace of God has had free course
in our lives and hearts we know not the highest meaning of our own
manhood, nor can we get any clear view of our own eternal destiny.
The grace of God is what we need—the purifying spirit, the clear
vision, the high aim. God waits to be gracious. Joseph Parker
240. True contentment comes from godliness in the heart, not
wealth in the hand. Warren Wiersbe
241. It is a dangerous thing to use religion as a cover-up for acquiring
wealth. God’s laborer is certainly worthy of his hire, but his motive
for laboring must not be money. That would make him a “hireling,”
and not a true shepherd. We should not ask, “How much will I get?”
but rather “How much can I give?” Warren Wiersbe
242. With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before
the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with
calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my
transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has
shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of
you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your
God? Micah 6:6-8
243. We are now in a position to summarize the six essential
ingredients of salvation. Its need is our sin, guilt and slavery; its
source is God’s gracious loving–kindness; its ground is not our merit
but God’s mercy in the cross; its means is the regenerating and
renewing work of the Holy Spirit, signified in baptism; its goal is our
final inheritance of eternal life; and its evidence is our diligent
practice of good works.
We note what a balanced and comprehensive account of
salvation this is. For there are three persons of the Trinity together
engaged in securing our salvation: the love of God the Father who
took the initiative; the death of God the Son in whom God’s grace
and mercy appeared; and the inward work of God the Holy Spirit by
whom we are reborn and renewed.
Here too are the tenses of salvation. The past is justification
and regeneration. The present is the new life of good works in the
power of the Spirit. The future is the inheritance of eternal life which
will one day be ours.
Once we have grasped the all–embracing character of this
salvation, reductionist accounts of it will never satisfy us. We shall
rather determine both to explore and experience for ourselves the
fullness of God’s salvation and to share with other people the same
fullness, refusing to acquiesce, whether for ourselves or others, in
any form of truncated or trivialized gospel. John Stott
244. But to these comrades the sacred thing was life, and they were
willing to destroy a hundred roofs if so doing they could save a
brother. That is the spirit we want within the church, the spirit that
sees the worth of personality; the spirit ready, for the Master’s sake,
to break through everything that keeps us snug and comfortable.
After all, it is only a matter of values, and whenever we see the
value of one soul, then many an old roof will have to go . . . George
H. Morrison

245. Washing the feet is indicative of cleansing the ways; and the
whole passage is a symbolical picture of the work in which He has
been engaged ever since ascending to Heaven. He has been
cleansing the feet of the saints by cleansing them from the
defilement of the way—those earth-stains which are so readily
contracted by sandaled pilgrim-feet pressing along this worlds
highways. H.A. Ironside
246. From the human point of view, Paul was a loser. There was
nobody in the grandstands cheering him, for “all they which are in
Asia” had turned away from him. He was in prison, suffering as an
evildoer. Yet, Paul was a winner! He had kept the rules laid down
in the Word of God, and one day he would get his reward from
Jesus Christ. Paul was saying to young Timothy, “The important
thing is that you obey the Word of God, no matter what people may
say. You are not running the race to please people or to get fame.
You are running to please Jesus Christ.” Warren Wiersbe
247. As for social or political action, it is very clear from the
biblical record that in spite of political corruption and rampant
injustice, neither Christ, His apostles nor the early church ever
engaged in it. For us to do so today is to stray from both the
teaching of Scripture and the example of Christ and the first
Christians. We are not called to improve the world but to call
people out of the world to Heavenly citizenship through
repentance and the new birth in Jesus Christ.
It is not only a waste of effort to attempt to persuade the
unsaved to live moral lives, but it is counterproductive: it
implies that God is pleased with outward behavior without an
inner change of heart. In fact, the more righteous a person
believes his behavior is, the less likely he is to realize that he is
a sinner in need of a Savior. Christ said, “I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:32). That is our
task as His followers. The Berean Call, July 1999
248. Habakkuk retired to his watchtower to see how the Lord
would answer him. He wanted to get alone in order to gain
God’s perspective. This is a most important principle for
believers today as well. Whether we call it our “quiet time,”
“devotions,” or by some other term, daily communion with God
is crucial for every Christian. William MacDonald
249. Jesus went down into the Jordan to take His stand by the side of
sinners. When you see the sinless Christ going to the sinners’
baptism, you are seeing love going to a great redeeming act of self-
identification. It was a prophecy of what the coming years were to
bring, when the Lord of glory was to earn the name “Friend of
publicans and sinners,” to go where need called, reckless of His
reputation, to sit often at outcasts’ tables, and to die at last between
two thieves. “He was numbered with the transgressors.” (Isa.
53:12.) True, but He numbered Himself with them first of all. At the
Jordan, Jesus took His stand by the side of sinners, making their
shame His shame, their trouble His trouble, their penitence His
penitence, their burden His burden. It was the beginning of the work
that was crowned at Calvary, when He carried the burden away
forever. Hence the baptism of Jesus points up the fact that the only
love which can ever possess redeeming power is a love that goes all
the way and identifies itself with others. James S. Stewart
250. His divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so
thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course.
What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to
renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Charles
H. Spurgeon

251. The distinction between reputation and reality, between what


human beings see and what God sees, is of great importance to
every age and place. Although we have responsibilities to
others, we are primarily accountable to God. It is before Him
that we stand, and to Him that one day we must give an
account. We should not therefore rate human opinion too
highly, becoming depressed when criticized and elated when
flattered. We need to remember that ‘The Lord does not look at
the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Sa. 16:7). He reads our
thoughts and knows our motives. He can see how much reality
there is behind our profession, how much life behind our
facade. John Stott
252. Paul’s “manner of life” backed up his messages. He did not
preach sacrifice and live in luxury. He gave to others far more than
he received from them. He stood up for the truth even when it
meant losing friends and, in the end, losing his life. Paul was a
servant, not a celebrity. Warren Wiersbe
253. The ultimate issue posed by the whole sermon concerns the
authority of the preacher. It is not enough either to call Him Lord or
to listen to His teaching. The basic question is whether we mean
what we say and do what we hear. On this commitment hangs our
eternal destiny. Only the man who obeys Christ as Lord is wise. For
only he is building his house on a foundation of rock, which the
storms neither of adversity nor of judgment will be able to
undermine. The crowds were astonished by the authority with which
Jesus taught. It is an authority to which the followers of Jesus in
every generation must submit. The issue of the Lordship of Christ is
as relevant today, both in principle and in detailed application, as
when He originally preached His Sermon on the Mount. John Stott
254. When we fail to obey God’s truth, we can expect consequences.
This is not because God is out to get even, instead, it’s because
God’s truth protects us from situations that will harm us. When we
trample down those protective fences God has set up in His Word,
we end up experiencing the evil from which those fences were
created to save us. Take God at His word. The Scriptures can keep
you from harm. Refuse to violate God’s truth either by running
ahead or lagging behind His will for your life. God’s truth will keep
you from the consequences. Woodrow Kroll
255. For ten days in December of 1995 the Hubble Space Telescope
collected light from a blank spot of sky, devoid of naked–eye stars,
just above the bowl of the Big Dipper. This project, known as the
Hubble Deep Field survey, covered an area of the sky about one–
twenty–fourth of a degree wide, no larger than a grain of sand held
at arm’s length. Within this tiny spot of sky, beyond the reach of
earth–bound telescopes, were brought into view over fifteen–
hundred galaxies, four billion times fainter than the limits of human
vision. This snapshot of the Big Bang’s galactic baby boom
discloses galaxies in an astonishing plenitude and variety. There are
spirals and ellipticals and bar–shaped galaxies, the same familiar
galactic types seen in galaxies nearer to us. Many are colliding,
some interacting or exchanging their material. Many are seen edge–
on; many face–on; and many from every angle in between. Their
stars are colored blue, yellow, and orange. Their light has traveled to
us across eons of time from the remotest parts of the known
universe.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim
the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night
after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard. Their music goes out into all the
earth, their words to the ends of the world. O Lord, our Lord, how
majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory
above the heavens. When I consider Your heavens, the work of
Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You
care for him?

To the Hebrews, the greatness of the heavens taught not of


God’s remoteness, but of the power and glory by which His
presence may affect our lives: To whom, then, will you compare
God? Who are you that you forget the Lord your Maker, who
stretched out the heavens? I who stretched out the heavens say you
are my people.
256. We all need to live with future generations in mind. It’s not enough
to live a godly life to gain God’s blessings for yourself; consider what
influence your life will have on your grandchildren, your great–
grandchildren and the rest of your family tree. The character you
choose to develop will leave its mark on the lives of generations
you’ll never live to see. Don’t be content to leave an inheritance of
material possessions. Instead, strive to be a channel for God’s
blessings to reach generations still unborn. The greatest inheritance
your posterity can receive from you is the heritage of God’s blessing.
Live so your descendants will rise up and call you blessed.
Woodrow Kroll
257. If you cannot make the world completely pious, then do what you
can. Martin Luther
258. You cannot keep the grace of God a secret; it will reveal itself.
You need not advertise your religion: live it, and other people will
talk about it. It is good to speak for Christ whenever you have a fair
opportunity, but your life will be the best sermon. Charles H.
Spurgeon
259. First, the message of Christianity is primarily to individuals, and
only secondary to society. It leaves the units whom it has influenced
to influence the mass. Second, it acts on spiritual and moral
sentiment, and only afterwards and consequently on deeds or
institutions. Third, it hates violence, and trusts wholly to enlightened
conscience. So it meddles directly with no political or social
arrangements, but lays down principles which will profoundly affect
these, and leaves them to soak into the general mind. Alexander
Maclaren
260. Even in the good things that we do, how many defects are there
intermingled! For God, in that which is done, respecteth especially
the mind and intention of the doer. Cut off, then, all those things
wherein we have regarded our own glory, those things which we do
to please men, or to satisfy our own liking, those things which we do
with any by–respect, and not sincerely and purely for the love of
God, and a small score will serve for the number of our righteous
deeds. Richard Hooker
261. To conclude; let us make up our mind and determine to pass on
to God on the spot every syllable of praise that ever comes to our
eyes or our ears—if, in this cold, selfish, envious, and grudging
world, any syllable of praise ever should come to us. Even if pure
and generous and well–deserved praise should at any time come to
us, all that does not make it ours. The best earned usury is not the
stewards’ own money to do with it what he likes. The principal and
the interest, and the trader too, are all his master’s. And, more than
that, after the wisest and the best trader has done his best, he will
remain, to himself at least, a most unprofitable servant. Pass on
then immediately, dutifully, and to its very last syllable, to God all the
praise that comes to you. Wash your hands of it and say, Not unto
us, O God, not unto us, but unto Thy name. And then, to take the
most selfish and hungry–hearted view of this whole matter, what you
thus pass on to God as not your own but His, He will soon, and in a
better and safer world, return again to the full with usury to you, and
you again to God, and He again to you, and so on, all down the pure
and true and sweet and blessed life of heaven. Alexander Whyte

262. When we see things we believe need to be changed, most of us


are impatient to see them done at once. The kingdom of God does
not operate spectacularly, with a sudden rush of irresistible force,
but rather like seed and yeast. These are small and wholly
unimpressive and go to work only when buried. They need an
appropriate medium in which to generate change, but the life–
principle is there, latent but powerful, ready to begin the slow and
marvelous process of transformation.
Our prayers for change—in people, in situations—are
summed up in the old petition, “Thy kingdom come”—but when we
ask for that we are asking for what may seem an excruciatingly
drawn–out business. We will need the patience of the farmer and
the baker who, having done the one thing needful, then quietly (and
with calm faith) wait for the thing to happen. Elisabeth Elliot
263. The visible unity of the church is a proper Christian quest, but only
if union is not sought at the expense of doctrine. Jesus prayed for
the oneness of His people. He also prayed that they might be kept
from evil and in truth. We have no mandate from Christ to seek unity
without purity, purity of both doctrine and conduct. If there is such a
thing as ‘cheap reunion’, there is ‘cheap evangelism’ also, namely
the proclamation of the gospel without the cost of discipleship, the
demand for faith without repentance. These are forbidden shortcuts.
They turn the evangelist into a fraud. They cheapen the gospel and
damage the cause of Christ. John Stott
264. The one, true, pure, abiding joy is to hold fellowship with God and
to live in His love. The secret of all our unrest is the going out of our
desires after earthly things. Alexander Maclaren
265. He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot
lose. Jim Elliot
266. God does nothing by mere energy, He makes no display of mere
power; He never worked a miracle for the sake of the miracle, He
always worked it for the sake of the blind man or the lame creature
or the suffering woman or the hungry ones that were feeling the
pinch of starvation in the inhospitable wilderness. I will think of my
Lord’s greatness in this way; it brings Him nearer to me; perhaps He
may weep over me some day and take me back into the heart which
by my many sins I have forsaken or even distrusted. My hope is in
the tears of God. Joseph Parker
267. Paul knew there would be those who would not receive his
message, but he still proclaimed it. Christ knew there would be more
reject Him than accept Him, but He still died for all. You and I cannot
be in ministry only if we are assured of resounding success in terms
of visible results. Our call and commission is to faithfully
proclaim the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Whatever
happens between the people who hear and the Lord is out of
our hands. Dr. Jere Phillips
268. When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there
When you worry and hurry through the day
It is like an unopened gift . . . thrown away.
Life is not a race, do take it slower.
Hear the music, before the song is over. Author unknown
269. It was always against the grain with Jesus to appeal to the lower
side of men’s nature and the sensational spirit. Men might want Him
to blaze His message across the skies, to stop the stars in their
courses, to call down fire from Heaven, to change the face of nature;
but no one knew better than Christ that that spirit had absolutely
nothing to do with religion at all. That was not the Messiah spirit, but
the Herod spirit. James S. Stewart
270. “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to
succor them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18) Peter and John and the
rest verified that anew every day they lived with Him. For as time
went on, they found that they could conquer the love of the world in
themselves and indeed every low love, not by crushing it down by
sheer force of will, but by having a better love to set against it, the
love of Jesus, Who had gone the same hard road Himself. Contact
with His radiant, dynamic personality achieved the impossible.
God’s own victorious power was coming across into their weak lives,
not through any moral code, impersonal and cold and uninspiring,
but through this splendid, magnificent, adorable Lover of their souls;
not by any strained and difficult obedience, but by “Christ in them
the hope of glory.” “He is able,” they said. That is the heart and
center of Christianity—yesterday, today, and forever. James S.
Stewart
271. Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord. Once His gift I
wanted, now Himself alone. A. B. Simpson
272. This is the basic teaching of the deeper Christian life. It is the
willingness to let Jesus Christ Himself be glorified in us and through
us. It is the willingness to quit trying to use the Lord for our ends
and to let Him work in us for His glory. A. W. Tozer
273. The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always
unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian. If I
say—I wonder if I am of any use—I instantly lose the bloom of the
touch of the Lord. “He that believeth in me, out of him shall flow
rivers of living water.” If I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of
the Lord. Oswald Chambers
274. The darkness may be described by contrast with the light. In
Christ we have found the One God. In the world we find humanity
living without God, having lost its vision of Him. In Christ we have
discovered the oneness of humanity. In the world we find humanity
broken up and in perpetual conflict. In Christ the one law of love is
revealed. In the world we see the mastery of selfishness producing
suffering everywhere. G. Campbell Morgan
275. True wisdom is found, not in mental acquisitions, but in a
certain spiritual relation. The wise man is known by the pose of
his soul. He is “inclined toward the Lord!” He has returned
unto his rest, and he finds light and vision in the fellowship of
his Lord. “To depart from evil is understanding.” Yes, I need
the lens of purity if I am to see the secrets of things. A dirty
lens is the explanation of much ignorance and obscurity. I do
not think I can ever see a flower if my lens is defiled. Much less
can I see “the things of others.” And still less again can I enjoy
“the secret of the Lord.” What we want is not so much a
theological training as a right spirit, not so much to go to
school as to “depart from evil.” When I leave an evil habit
worlds unseen begin to show their glory. “Blessed are the pure
in heart, for they shall see God.” John Henry Jowett

276. Ye have enemies; for who can live on this earth without them?
Take heed to yourselves: love them. In no way can thy enemy so
hurt thee by his violence, as thou dost hurt thyself if thou love him
not. And let it not seem to you impossible to love him. Believe first
that it can be done, and pray that the will of God may be done in
you. For what good can thy neighbor’s ill do to thee? If he had no ill,
he would not even be thine enemy. Wish him well, then, that he may
end his ill, and he will be thine enemy no longer. For it is not the
human nature in him that is at enmity with thee, but his sin. St.
Augustine
277. With us of today it is too often assumed that the human mind
is the center, not merely of human thought, but of universal
being. And thus God, the One self-existent Cause of all that is,
is banished to a distant point on the circumference of our
imaginary universe. Men carry this temper unconsciously into
their religion. And thus our first question, in presence of a
great truth like the Resurrection, is too often, not, What is its
intrinsic importance? but, What interest has it for me? Henry
Parry Liddon
278. Jesus Christ says, in effect, Don’t rejoice in successful
service, but rejoice because you are rightly related to Me. The
snare of Christian work is to rejoice in successful service, to
rejoice in the fact that God has used you. You never can
measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related
to Jesus Christ. Keep your relationship right with Him, then
whatever circumstances you are in, and whoever you meet day
by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it
is of His mercy that He does not let you know it. When once
you are rightly related to God by salvation and sanctification,
remember that wherever you are, you are put there by God; and
by the reaction of your life on the circumstances around you,
you will fulfill God’s purpose, as long as you keep in the light
as God is in the light.
The tendency today is to put the emphasis on service.
Beware of the people who make usefulness their ground of
appeal . . . The lodestar of the saint is God Himself, not
estimated usefulness. It is the work that God does through us
that counts, not what we do for Him. All that Our Lord heeds in
a man’s life is the relationship of worth to His Father. Jesus is
bringing many sons to glory. Oswald Chambers
279. It is not enough just to do things if you are seeking to commend
the Lord. You may do the right things in the wrong way. You may
do them in a way that causes pain. The mark of the follower of the
Lord Jesus is that whatever he has to do in life, like his Lord, he tries
to do it attractively. George H. Morrison
280. Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more
than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and
physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to “count it all
joy.” If we live only for the present and forget the future, then trials
will make us bitter, not better. Job had the right outlook when he
said, “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I
shall come forth as gold.” Warren Wiersbe
281. The purpose of preaching is not to stir people to action while
bypassing their minds, so that they never see what reason God
gives them for doing what the preacher requires of them (that is
manipulation); nor is the purpose to stock people’s minds with truth,
no matter how vital and clear, which then lies fallow and does not
become the seed–bed and source of changed lives (that is
academicism). . . . The purpose of preaching is to inform, persuade,
and call forth an appropriate response to the God whose message
and instruction are being delivered. J. I. Packer

282. Above all, the expositor must expound the Word like Paul did in
Corinth (1 Cor 2:1–5). He did not come as a clever orator or
scholarly genius; he did not arrive with his own message; he did not
preach with personal confidence in his own strength. Rather, Paul
preached the testimony of God and Christ’s death, and this, with
well–placed confidence in God’s power to make the message life–
changing. Unless this kind of wholesale dependence on God marks
the modern expositor’s preaching, his exposition will lack the divine
dimension that only God can provide. Richard L. Mayhue
283. Through our preaching the Lord seeks to change men’s lives. We
are to be evangelists, to awaken men to their high calling in Christ.
We are to be heralds, proclaiming the messages of God to men. We
are to be ambassadors, calling men to be reconciled to God. We are
to be shepherds, nourishing and caring for men day by day. We are
to be stewards of the mysteries of God, giving men the proper Word
for their every need. We are to be witnesses, telling men of all that
God has done for them. We are to be overseers, urging men to live
their lives to God. We are to be ministers, preparing men to minister
with us to others. As we reflect on each of these phases of our work,
what emphasis each gives to the importance of preaching! What a
task the Lord has given us! Mark Steege
284. Do I not voice the longing of your heart this morning when I
say, Oh, for a church that the world cannot treat with
indifference. Oh, for a band of saints that it is absolutely
impossible to ignore. Oh, for a ministry that will divide
audiences and communities and cities and continents into
those who are either out and out for Christ or out and out
against Him. Oh, for a Christianity virile enough to compel the
active opposition. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against
it” (Luke 16:18). But the direst of all dire calamities is for it to
become so effete, so powerless, so dead, that it is not worth
fighting. Clovis Gillham Chappell
285. No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put
upon His worker, only one thing will, and that is a personal
relationship to Himself which has gone through the mill of His spring-
cleaning until there is only one purpose left—I am here for God to
send me where He will. Every other thing may get fogged, but this
relationship to Jesus Christ must never be. Oswald Chambers
286. At all events, do not run risks with such a very shaky hypothesis
as that death will change the main direction of your life, but
remember that what a man sows he shall reap, that the present is
the parent of the future, and that unless we have the earnest of the
inheritance here and pass into the other world, bearing that earnest
in our hands, there seems little reason why we should expect that,
when we stand before Him empty-handed, we can claim a portion
therein. Alexander Maclaren
287. “I don’t think I have any more talent than a great many people
have. What I did have was an awful lot of sheer necessity. The
results convince me that one of the biggest wastes in the world is
the unexploited potentials of average human beings. Almost all of
us, I think, are perfectly capable of doing many more things, entirely
on our own, than we ever imagine or attempt. At any rate, living in
the wilderness has taught me many things about myself—some of
them rather surprising to me.” Ralph Edwards from ‘Crusoe Of
Lonesome Lake’
288. Jesus came preaching and teaching. He was quite young when
He began to display his understanding of Scripture. As with earlier
spokesmen, His preaching included both revelation and explanation.
The sermons of Christ, such as in the Sermon on the Mount and the
one at Nazareth, are models of explanation and exposition for all
time. In Matthew 5 Jesus said, “You have heard that it hath been
said . . . but I say to you. . .” In so doing He instructed and
enlightened His listeners and amplified the text, much to the
people’s amazement. He stands head and shoulders above all who
share the title “preacher” with Him. Many qualities of Christ’s
teaching and preaching can be quickly identified. Among them are
the following: (1) He spoke with authority; (2) He made careful use
of other Scriptures in His explanations; (3) He lived out what He
taught; (4) He taught simply to adapt to the common man; and (5)
His teaching was often controversial. To be understood properly,
Christ must be seen “not as a scientific lecturer but
as a preacher, a preacher for the most part to the common people,
an open–air preacher, addressing restless and mainly
unsympathizing crowds. “He taught His listeners the truth and
explained it to them in simple but profound words. Some were
confounded while others rejoiced. Today’s expository preacher
should model his ministry after the expositional work of Christ. He
should study His method carefully, “not as an example to be
slavishly imitated, but as an ideal to be freely realized.” James F.
Stitzinger
289. “You praise what I have said, and receive my exhortation with
tumults of applause; but show your approbation by obedience; that
is the only praise I seek.” John Chrysostom
290. He (Jesus) calls us to thought before He calls us to action. John
Stott
291. So anybody who divides his allegiance between God and
mammon has already given it to mammon, since God can be served
only with an entire and exclusive devotion. This is simply because
He is God: ‘I am the Lord, that is My name: My glory I give to no
other’ (Is.42:8; 48:11). To try to share Him with other loyalties is to
have opted for idolatry.
And when the choice is seen for what it is – a choice
between Creator and creature, between the glorious personal God
and a miserable thing called money, between worship and idolatry –
it seems inconceivable that anybody could make the wrong choice.
For now it is a question not just of comparative durability and
comparative benefit, but of comparative worth: the intrinsic worth of
the One and the intrinsic worthlessness of the other. John Stott
292. Since God is supreme in the universe for all time and yet has still
shown concern for His creatures, how should His children respond?
Certainly a reverent gratitude is in order, as is a God–consciousness
that pervades every activity and attitude. In times of need, reminders
of a transcendent God’s involvement in human life can be important
sources of strength. These and other lessons derive from Psalm
113, a gem among gems. Disclosures about God that arise from the
exquisite beauty of the language should be adorning the Bride of
Christ. Furthermore, preachers and teachers of God’s word should
shine their expositional floodlights on this Scripture more regularly.
God’s infinite greatness and inexplicable grace need more attention.
The richly blessed should voice spontaneous thanksgiving and
praise to Him who reigns in heaven and yet responds to human
needs. George J. Zemek

293. And just as we are often dulled towards God, so are we


dulled to our besetting sin for it has grown so gradually and
strengthened with our strength and never startled us with any
uproar. It is easy to see the sins of other people, because in a
moment they are displayed to us. We see them not in the
slowness of their growth, but in the sudden flash of their
fulfillment . . . But the most deadly evils do not leap on us. The
most deadly evils creep on us. And it is that slow silent growth
of all that at last is mighty to confound which lulls men into the
strange security which always is the associate of self-
ignorance . . . I shall mention but one more cause of our self-
ignorance, and that is the low standard of our moral judgment.
We manage to be contented with ourselves because of the
poverty of our ideal. A sheep may look tolerably fair and clean
against the greeness of the summer grass, but when the snow
has fallen in virgin purity the sheep may be as a blot upon the
hill. It is not the living creature that is different; it is the
background that is different, and I want to ask you this straight
question—What is the background of life? Is it the common
standard of your class? Then you will never understand your
errors. You are not worse than anybody else; you are as good
as they are any day. But how that poor and shallow self-
complacency is torn and tattered into a thousand shreds when
the life which once accepted social values is set against the
background of Christ! Paul was proud of his moral standing
once, for he could lift up his head with any Pharisee. But when
Christ found him and made a man of him, the Pharisee became
the chief of sinners. And it is always so when Christ comes in.
We see the brightest and we see the worst. There is a Heaven
higher than our hope, and there is a hell deeper than we
dreamed. Have you been awakened in any way like that? Are
you profoundly dissatisfied with self? Have you had hours
when you felt that in all the world there could be nobody quite
as bad as you? Blessed be God for His convicting Spirit. It is
better to feel that than to be satisfied. It is along that road,
however dark, that the way lies for self-examination at the
Communion Table. George H. Morrison
294. It seems significant that in the same gospel of Matthew the Jesus
Who here says that our Heavenly Father feeds and clothes His
children, later says that “we” must ourselves feed the hungry and
clothe the naked, and will be judged accordingly. It is always
important to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. The fact that God
feeds and clothes His children does not exempt us from the
responsibility of being the agents through whom He does it. John
Stott
295. Intimacy with Jesus is the best of all teachers. James S. Stewart
296. Let no man lose the faith that God willeth to do a great work
through him. Martin Luther
297. God wants us to depend on His grace, while the devil wants us to
depend on ourselves. Satan is the author of all “do-it-yourself”
spiritual enterprises. He enjoys inflating the ego and encouraging
the believer to do it his own way. In spite of Jesus’ warnings about
Satan’s plans, Peter fell into the snare, pulled out his sword, and
tried to accomplish God’s will in his own way. What a mess he
made of things! Warren Wiersbe
298. We stand upon the shoulders of the past, and thereby we are
lifted up in all the higher work of mankind; and we ought to be
grateful to the past, and mindful of our duty to the future; for the time
will come when men will look back upon our inventions, our slow
travel, our wonderful ignorance of the power of physical forces and
the adaptations of them to physical advancement, and smile at the
childishness with which, in the end of the nineteenth century, we
boasted of ourselves and our time . . . And not merely are there
many contemporaries with whom we are linked in unity, but we are
in unity with the past; other men have labored and we have entered
into their labors. All the good that all the devout women and all the
zealous men of past ages have been doing has come down to us,
opening the way for us to do good. And not merely with the past, but
we are linked with the laborers of the future. They may hear our
names or they may hear them not. We may perish from all memory
of mankind, but our work will not ever, and if we are engaged in the
Lord’s work, we link ourselves to His permanency and His
almightiness, and our work will go down to help the men who are to
come after . . . We put all our work together. We sink our work in the
one great common work. We scatter seed for God and for souls, and
we leave it to God’s own care and blessing. One soweth, and
another reapeth . . . The teacher has to sink himself in his pupils:
never mind if he sinks all out of the world’s sight, provided he can
make his mark upon them and prepare them for greater usefulness,
and put into them some good spirit, and send them forth to do the
work which to him personally is denied. John A. Broadus
299. Obscure the holiness and you relieve the blackness of sin.
Relieve the blackness of sin and you impoverish the glory of
redemption. The more we lighten sin the more we uncrown our
Redeemer. If sin be a light thing, the Redeemer was superfluous.
And so, with holiness hidden and sin relieved, we come to hold a
cheap redemption, and it is against the conception of a cheap
redemption that the apostle raises an eager and urgent warning
—”There was nothing cheap about your redemption. It was not a
light ministry which cost a mere trifle. Ye were redeemed, not with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with precious blood, even
the blood of Christ.” John Henry Jowett
300. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and Heaven opens and the
profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never
reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you
know already. Beware of becoming “wise and prudent.” Oswald
Chambers
301. It is our worship of Him which nourishes in us the highest and
best. How can a man tell the reasons why we should worship God?
They are as high as Heaven, as wide as the world, as vast as the
universe; all existence and all conception—everything is a reason
why we should worship God. John A. Broadus
302. Finally, what do we mean by the word “true”? How do we
distinguish real Truth from human notions and ideas and opinions
and doctrines? We are compelled to say that the word “true”
means “grounded in reality, based on the real nature of things, on
the basic facts which underlie the universe.” Hence, if people say
—as many have said—that the moral ideals set out in the gospels
are high and noble ideals, and express admiration for the moral
character of Jesus, and stop there, not daring to affirm more than
that, the answer they are giving to the Question, “Is the Gospel
true?”, is No. Gabriel Hebert
303. “Unto a land that I will show thee.” But what mysterious
windings there often are before that land is reached! But God’s
windings are never wasteful and purposeless. The apparent
deviations are always gracious preparations. We are taken out
of the way in order that we may the more richly reach our end . .
. So I will remember that the “short cut” is not always the finest
road. God’s round-about ways are filled with Heavenly
treasure. Every winding is purposed for the discovery of new
wealth. What riches we gather on the way to God’s goal! John
Henry Jowett
304. There are times when solitude is better than society, silence is
wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more
alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His
Word spiritual strength for labor in His service. Charles H. Spurgeon
305. The test of a man’s religious life and character is not what he
does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the
ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting on.
The worth of a man is revealed in his attitude to ordinary things
when he is not before the footlights. It is a painful business to get
through into the stride of God, it means getting your second wind
spiritually. In learning to walk with God there is always the difficulty
of getting into His stride; but when we have got into it, the only
characteristic that manifests itself is the life of God. The individual
man is lost sight of in his personal union with God, and the stride
and the power of God alone are manifested.

It is difficult to get into stride with God, because when we


start walking with Him we find He has outstripped us before we have
taken three steps. He has different ways of doing things, and we
have to be trained and disciplined into His ways. It was said of
Jesus—”He shall not fail nor be discouraged,” because He never
worked from His own individual standpoint but always from the
standpoint of His Father, and we have to learn to do the same thing.
Spiritual truth is learned by atmosphere, not by intellectual
reasoning. God’s Spirit alters the atmosphere of our way of
looking at things, and things begin to be possible which never
were possible before. Getting into the stride of God means
nothing less that union with Himself. It takes a long time to get
there, but keep at it. Don’t give in because the pain is bad just now,
get on with it, and before long you will find you have a new vision
and a new purpose. Oswald Chambers
306. When you find yourself in the fire, remember that God keeps His
gracious hand on the thermostat! “But He knoweth the way that I
take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Satan wants us to get impatient with God, for an impatient
Christian is a powerful weapon in the devil’s hands. You will recall
from our study in James 1 that Moses’ impatience robbed him of a
trip to the Holy Land; Abraham’s impatience led to the birth of
Ishmael, the enemy of the Jews; and Peter’s impatience almost
made him a murderer. When Satan attacks us, it is easy for us to
get impatient and run ahead of God and lose God’s blessing as a
result. Warren Wiersbe
307. In the beginning Moses realized that he was the man to deliver
the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He
was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the
work until he had learned communion with God.
We may have the vision of God and a very clear
understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing, then
comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as
if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly
discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the
quaver in and say—”Oh who am I?” We have to learn the first great
stride of God—”I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee.” We have to learn
that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality
is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God.
Oswald Chambers
308. The universal confession of all true believers is this—”I know
that unless Jesus Christ had sought me when a stranger
wandering from the fold of God, I would to this very hour have
been wandering far from Him, at a distance from Him, and
loving that distance well.” With common consent, all believers
affirm the truth, that men will not come to Christ till the Father
who hath sent Christ doth draw them. Charles H. Spurgeon
309. Why is it that Christ Jesus is so little beloved? Why are even His
professed followers so cold in their affections to Him? Whence arise
these things? Assuredly, dear brethren, we can trace them to no
other source than this, the corruption and vitiation of the affections.
We love that which we ought to hate, and we hate that which we
ought to love. It is but human nature, fallen human nature, that man
should love this present life better than the life to come. It is but the
effect of the fall, that man should love sin better than righteousness,
and the ways of the world better than the ways of God. And again,
we repeat it, until these affections be renewed, and turned into a
fresh channel by the gracious drawings of the Father, it is not
possible for any man to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Charles H.
Spurgeon

310. We stand before Him like Nicodemus—”How can these things


be?” In what part of this changing universe, by what reconstruction
of this unstable soul? He has the same reply: “No man hath
ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even
the Son of man, which is in Heaven.” It admits of none other; it is for
faith, not for sight; for the trust of the heart, not for the telescope of
science. If God has given us spirits that cry out for such a home,
and if Christ has given us one fixed point in God’s love, we can
commit all the rest to Him. He who can create a spark of love in a
human heart, which all the floods of change cannot quench, can
raise it to a sun that shall no more go down. Heaven is a state
before it is a place. It is being in God, then with God. The locality
will flow from the heart. The way to be sure of a permanent home is
to keep fast hold of Him who is the same yesterday, today, and
forever. John Ker
311. It seems to me that life is much like that great musical
masterpiece. It was written by Someone a long time ago. The
Composer was very gifted and even though He had been, at
times, scorned by the multitudes, He never gave up, never
called it quits, even laid His life on the line to finish what He
was ordained to do.
Happenstance? You may call it that. It just had to
happen. If that is all that it was I would still be very grateful and
thankful that it “Just happened to happen.”
We believe though, that it was part of that marvelous
Masterpiece. That we were written into the concert somewhere
in the performance of life. That the Conductor was none other
than the One Who created the music, the instruments, the
musicians and all else that was, is or ever will be.
Dear Conductor, You deserve and we give You all the
credit and all the thanksgiving and all the glory.
And if that turns out to be Happenstance, we know Who
created it, don’t we. Bring on some more happenstance,
because it is made of wonderful materials.
He, who created Heavenly happenstance is the great
Conductor and we are just one player in the great orchestra.
Hallelujah! James Arthur Creamer from his short story
‘Happenstance’.
312. So a mighty consciousness expresses itself in lowly service. In
our ignorance we should have assumed that divinity would have
moved only in planetary orbits, and would have overlooked the petty
streets and ways of men. But here the Lord of Glory girds Himself
with the apron of the slave, and almightiness addresses itself to
menial service.
And that is the test of an expanding consciousness. We
may be sure that we are growing smaller when we begin to
disparage humble services. We may be sure we are growing larger
when we love the ministries that never cry or lift their voices in the
streets. When a man begins to despise the “towel,” he is losing his
kingly dignity, and is resigning his place on the throne. “I have give
you an example that ye also should do as I have done to you.” John
Henry Jowett
313. Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God.
Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry
land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked
on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land.
We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and
pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does
require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in
every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an
ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is
inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we
have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be
holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in
five minutes. Oswald Chambers
314. The core of sin is our making ourselves the center of life, rather
than accepting the holy God as the center. Daniel D. Williams
315. I looked to Jesus and the dove of peace flew into my heart. I
looked at the dove of peace and it flew away. Charles Wesley

316. We have all seen fishermen upon a summer morning mending


their nets on the seashore. With a patience and a skill that we have
envied, we have watched them busy at their task. These bronzed
faces, and strong and vigorous frames, tell of many a year upon the
deep. We can picture the men handling their boats magnificently
when the wind is freshening into angry storm. And now in the quiet
of the summer morning, when the waves are idly lapping on the
beach, they are busied with the mending of their nets. It was thus
that James and John were busied when they received the call that
changed their lives. Their boat was rocking in the shallow water,
and they were chatting, and working as they chatted. And then
came Jesus, and claimed them for Himself, and called them into the
service of discipleship, and they left everything and followed Him.
George H. Morrison
317. “Acknowledge Him.” But not with a passing nod of recognition. I
must not merely glance at Him now and again, admitting His
existence on the field. To acknowledge Him is to acknowledge Him
as King, with the right to control, and as predominant partner in all
the affairs of my life, even the right to give the determining voice in
all my decisions. No, it is not the recognition paid to an
acquaintance, it is the homage paid to a King.
And if I thus acknowledge Him, He will direct my paths. Life
shall always be moving on to its purposed end and glory. The path
chosen will not always be the most alluring one, but it will be the
right one, and therefore the safe one, and there will be wonderful
discoveries on the uninviting track.
How will He let me know which path to take? I cannot
say. We can never anticipate God’s ways of dealing with us.
But if my life is bent to the loving acknowledgment of His will,
He will assuredly find a way to make His will known. The light
will always reach the willing mind. John Henry Jowett
318. Deception in matters of religion is especially perilous. There is no
more subtle snare of the devil than a profession of Christ without the
possession of grace. People come into the church of God, but, if
their hearts have never been really touched by converting grace,
they are very prone to mistake their place in the church for their
membership in “the church of the firstborn which are written in
Heaven,” and to cherish a false security through sacraments and
ordinances and outward communion with the church of God, and so
sometimes go down into the grave still in a state of awful deception.
Arthur T. Pierson
319. My dear children, the milk and honey are beyond this wilderness.
God be merciful to you, and grant that you be not slothful to go in to
possess the land. John Bunyan
320. Now, you are to love poor sinners for what God’s grace can
do for them; and you do not know but that the abandoned man
or the outcast woman that you lift up out of the gutter and
rescue out of the clutch of vile sins may yet be a saint that shall
get nearer to God than nine-tenths of those disciples that pass
them by in neglect. Arthur T. Pierson

321. By His illustrations, His epigrams, His paradoxes, and above all,
by His parables, those matchless pictures which are not only
creations of purest artistry but also living revelations of grace,
windows opening suddenly upon life and destiny and God, He made
men actually see the truths which He was proclaiming. Very often,
while Jesus was speaking, some sudden picture would flash its way
across His hearer’s minds, so that even those whom no amount of
abstract reasoning or argument would have convinced were left
crying, “I see it! I see it!” Many were ready to confess that until
they met Jesus they had been blind, drifting through life like
men with eyes shut, more than half asleep, never guessing at
life’s glory; but that now, thanks to Him, they were awake and
alive, seeing life and seeing God. Jesus was the world’s great
giver of vision. James S. Stewart
322. They launched the ark not only on the Nile but on God’s
providence. He would be Captain, Steersman, and Convoy of the
tiny ark. Miriam stood to watch. There was no fear of fatal
consequences, only the quiet expectancy that God would do
something worthy of Himself. They reckoned on God’s faithfulness
and they were amply rewarded when the daughter of their greatest
foe became the babe’s patroness. F. B. Meyer
323. There was true heroism in the act, when Moses stepped down
from Pharaoh’s throne to share the lot of his brethren. But it would
take many a long year of lonely waiting and trial before this strong
and radiant nature could be broken down, shaped into a vessel meet
for the Master’s use, and prepared for every good work . . . One
blow struck when God’s time is fulfilled is worth a thousand
struck in premature eagerness. F. B. Meyer
324. “It was said of old time . . . but I say unto you”—with one stroke
sweeping scribism and all its buttressed positions aside, striking
down through all the layers of tradition to bedrock fact, to the living
God. And men were left gasping at the sheer daring of it, amazed
and overwhelmed by the marvelous assurance of it, but also feeling
with a great thrill of the heart that here was the real thing at last,
here was a Man who had seen what He was talking about and knew
it and had a right to speak, a Man straight from God! James S.
Stewart
325. No man’s religion will ever make any real impact on the world if
the man is not putting himself into it, if he is not living it. But if he is,
it may be irresistible anywhere. James S. Stewart
326. Where there is no thirst at the roots there shall be no withering of
the leaf. John Henry Jowett
327. A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of
success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense
of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches forth to battle,
strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall
conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto
me the victory”, defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with
that man who marches in his own strength. Charles H. Spurgeon
328. And the Holy Spirit is thus to be a strengthener of the friends
of the Lord. He will be my “Comforter.” By His gracious
advocacy He will make my faith and hope invincible. The best
service which can be rendered me is not to change my
circumstances, but to make me superior to them; not to make a
smooth road, but to enable me to “leap like an hart” over any
road; not to remove the darkness, but to make me “sing songs
in the night.” And so I will not pray for less burdens, but for
more strength! And this is the gracious ministry of “The
Comforter.” John Henry Jowett
329. It is part of Christian culture to know what God’s aim is. In the
history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade
being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought
to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own.
God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the “long, long
trail.” Oswald Chambers

330. The self-sins . . . dwell too deep within us and are too much a
part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is
focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins—
egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion—are strangely tolerated in
Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are
so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become
identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say
that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some
sections of the Church visible. Promoting self under the guise of
promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little
notice. A. W. Tozer
331. O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which
most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His
people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next
trial makes us doubt Him. Charles H. Spurgeon
332. And because there was obedience there came vision. In the
wonderful answer to his faith Peter beheld the glory of his Lord. And
so I never know where the unenticing road of obedience will lead
me. At the end of the dull road there will be some gracious surprise!
It is the rugged path which leads to the summit! The panorama
comes as the reward of the toilsome climb! Always, in the realm of
the Spirit, the dogged “nevertheless” will lead to the “shining
tableland to which our God Himself is moon and sun.” John Henry
Jowett
333. And yet I fear that I have not been able to make you think of the
blood of Christ. I beseech you, then, just for a moment try to picture
to yourself Christ on the cross. Let your imagination figure the
motley crew assembled round about that little hill of Calvary. Lift
now your eyes, and see the three crosses put upon that rising knoll.
See in the center the thorn-crowned brow of Christ. Do you see the
hands that have always been full of blessing nailed fast to the
accursed wood! See you His dear face, more marred than that of
any other man? Do you see it now, as His head bows upon His
bosom in the extreme agonies of death? He was a real man,
remember. It was a real cross. Do not think of these things as
figments, and fancies, and romances. There was such a being, and
He died as I describe it. Let your imagination picture Him, and then
sit still a moment and think over this thought: “The blood of that Man,
whom now I behold dying in agony, must be my redemption; and if I
would be saved, I must put my only trust in what He suffered for me,
when He Himself did ‘bear our sins in His own body on the tree.’”
Charles H. Spurgeon
334. If I have any counsel for God’s shepherds today, it is this:
cultivate a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and share what
He gives you with your people. That way, you will grow, and they
will grow with you. Warren Wiersbe
335. ‘From Him all my fruit must be found, for no fruit can ever come
from me’. We are taught, by past experience, that the more simply
we depend upon the grace of God in Christ, and wait upon the Holy
Spirit, the more we shall bring forth fruit unto God. Oh! To trust
Jesus for fruit as well as for life. Charles H. Spurgeon
336. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus
said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a
lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or
else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.
Either this Man was, and is the Son Of God: or else a madman or
something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at
Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him
Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense
about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to
us. He did not intend to. C. S. Lewis

337. The trouble supreme to the advancement of our Lord’s kingdom in


this world is with the people of His kingdom, with those who love it,
and who are of it, and yet whose lives do not harmonize with it.
There is our supreme trouble. If we are saying wrong things, or if
we are doing wrong things; if, in our lives, inconsistencies may be
seen; if there is marked worldliness, and if we fall so far short of the
characteristics of what a Christian ought to have, so that men about
us believe that our religion is just a theory, and not the dominating
passion of our lives, then are we hindering the cause of Christ to a
very sad degree. George W. Truett
338. If a man’s heart be right with God, then one prayer prayed from
such a heart will have more power with God and with men than a
thousand years of praying if the heart be all wrong with God.
George W. Truett
339. The supreme thing for which you live is to point men to Christ.
George W. Truett
340. Christian progress does not consist in seeing new things, but in
seeing the old thing more clearly: the same Christ, the same Cross,
only more distinctly and deeply apprehended, and more closely
incorporated into my very being. We do not grow away from Him,
but we grow into knowledge of Him. Alexander Maclaren
341. You will get as much of God as you want and no more. The
measure of your desire is the measure of your capacity, and the
measure of your capacity is the measure of God’s gift. “Open they
mouth wide and I will fill it.” And if your faith is heavily shod and
steps slowly, His power and His grace will step slowly along with it,
keeping rank and step. “According to your faith shall it be unto you.”
Alexander Maclaren
342. If we forget what God has done for us, we will not be excited to
share Christ with others. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have
been purged and forgiven! God has opened our eyes! Let’s not
forget what He has done! Rather, let’s cultivate gratitude in our
hearts and sharpen our spiritual vision. Life is too brief and the
needs of the world too great for God’s people to be walking around
with their eyes closed! Warren Wiersbe
343. The Bible is a revelation of God to man and a revelation of man to
himself, and a revelation of sin to itself; and until we get into these
deeper and more inward mysteries, we know nothing about the
Bible. What is your standard: Into what haunts do you flee when the
soul is ill at ease? Your daily Bible is your autobiography; he who
has eyes to read character and conduct aright could discover from
my daily Bible what I am, what I have suffered, enjoyed, what I long
for, hope for, live for. There is nothing in the Bible that is
unimportant, but there is a central Bible, a Bible within the Bible, full
of the spirit of revelation and worship, prophecy and evangelical
exposition, and into that innermost circle of all the concentric circles
we must find our way before we can form any estimate of the real
compass and the real spirit of the Bible. Few men have read thee,
O Book of God, for thou art a letter to the heart, to be read in the
dusk of life, or in the morning twilight, when no one is present, when
the air is listening as if nervously to take back to the Author of the
letter some answer given in sigh or sob. Joseph Parker

344. We are not called upon to study the miracles, but to be the
miracles. We are to be the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the lame, the
dead, on whom the great revivals of Christ’s energy shall operate,
calling us up into speech and hearing and song and agility and
manhood: that is the miracle towards which all other miracles of
mine were lamely moving. I am not called upon to entertain some
advanced thinker and to discuss with him the miracles of Christ; I
am called upon to say, I was blind, and now I see. The Christian is
to be the miracle, and not to write commentaries upon the miracles.
No man can understand the manner of the miracles or has any right
to speak about them until he has undergone the major or final
miracle, testified in his own new life, expressed in his own
consciousness, and verified by his own conduct. Joseph Parker
345. When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and
allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God.
God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but
that we may intercede. Oswald Chambers
346. When we are asking for “the gift of God” our request must be
accompanied by the gift of ourselves to God. If we want the water
we must offer the vessel. No gift of self, no bounty of God! No
losing, no finding! John Henry Jowett
347. Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight,
show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively
become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving
and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and
that I may find favor in Your sight. And [Lord, do] consider that this
nation is Your people. Exodus 33:13 from the Amplified Bible
348. Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much
of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ.
In external history the Cross is an infinitesimal thing; from the Bible
point of view it is of more importance than all the empires of the
world. If we get away from brooding on the tragedy of God upon the
Cross in our preaching, it produces nothing. It does not convey the
energy of God to man; it may be interesting but it has no power. But
preach the Cross, and the energy of God is let loose. “It pleased
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” “We
preach Christ crucified.” Oswald Chambers
349. Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire by James Montgomery
Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, unuttered or expressed,
the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast. Prayer is the
burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear, the upward glancing of an eye,
when none but God is near. Prayer is the simplest form of speech
that infant lips can try; Prayer the sublimest strains that reach The
Majesty on high. Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice returning from
his ways, while angels in their songs rejoice and cry, “Behold, he
prays!” Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native
air, his watchword at the gates of death—He enters Heaven with
prayer. The saints in prayer appear as one in word and deed and
mind, While with the Father and the Son Sweet fellowship they find.
Nor prayer is made by man alone—The Holy Spirit pleads, And
Jesus on th’ eternal throne for sinners intercedes. O Thou by whom
we come to God, The Life, the Truth, the Way, The path of prayer
Thyself hast trod—Lord, teach us how to pray.
350. So this was the substance of the Lord’s teaching (as we know
also from the Gospels) during the forty days between the
resurrection and the ascension: when the Spirit came in power, the
long promised reign of God, which Jesus had Himself inaugurated
and proclaimed, would begin to spread. It would be spiritual in its
character (transforming the lives and values of its citizens),
international in its membership (including Gentiles as well as Jews)
and gradual in its expansion (beginning at once in Jerusalem, and
then growing until it reaches the end of both time and earthly space).
This vision and commission must have given clear direction to the
disciples’ prayers during their ten days of waiting for Pentecost. But
before the Spirit could come, the Son must go. John Stott

351. Christ’s kingdom, while not incompatible with patriotism, tolerates


no narrow nationalisms. He rules over an international community in
which race, nation, rank and sex are no barriers to fellowship. And
when His kingdom is consummated at the end, the countless
redeemed company will be seen to be drawn ‘from every nation,
tribe, people and language’. John Stott
352. Before the Day of Pentecost, however, there was to be a time of
waiting, for forty days between the resurrection and the ascension of
Jesus, and for ten more between Ascension and Pentecost. Jesus’
instructions were quite clear, and Luke repeats them for emphasis,
first at the end of his Gospel and then at the beginning of Acts. ‘Stay
in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’. ‘Do
not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which
you have heard Me speak about’. During the fifty day waiting period,
however, they were not inactive. On the contrary, Luke singles out
for comment four important events. First, they received their
commission. Secondly, they saw Christ go into Heaven. Thirdly,
they persevered together in prayer, presumably for the Spirit to
come. Fourthly, they replaced Judas with Matthias as the twelfth
apostle. Not that we are to think that these are human activities only.
For it is Christ who commissioned them, ascended into Heaven,
promised them the Spirit they prayed for, and chose the new
apostle. Dr. Richard Longenecker goes further and sees these four
factors as comprising what he calls ‘the constitutive elements of
Christian mission’, namely the mandate to witness, the ascended
Lord who directs the mission from Heaven, the centrality of the
apostles in this task, and the coming of the Spirit to empower them.
Only when these four elements were in place could the mission
begin. John Stott
353. Just as at the beginning of the Gospel Jesus in the Judean desert
turned away from false ends and means, so at the beginning of Acts
the apostles before Pentecost had to turn away from both a false
activism and a false pietism. And in their place, as the remedy for
them, there was (and is) witness to Jesus in the power of the Spirit,
with all that this implies of earthly responsibility and heavenly
enabling. John Stott
354. Christians should seek after those things which will be to the
honor of their birth, after spiritual wisdom, and knowledge of the
most worthy and noble truths. They should seek more and more an
acquaintance with God, and to be assimilated to Him, their great
progenitor, and their immediate Father, that they may have the
image of His excellent and divine perfections. They should
endeavor to act like God, wherein they are capable of imitation of
Him. They should seek heavenly-mindedness, those noble
appetites after heavenly and spiritual enjoyments, a noble ambition
after heavenly glory, a contempt of the trifles and mean things of this
world. Jonathan Edwards
355. That Christianity should be equated in the public mind,
inside as well as outside the Church, with “organized religion”
merely shows how far we have departed from the New
Testament. For the last thing the Church exists to be is an
organization for the religious. Its charter is to be the servant of
the world. John A. T. Robinson
356. A true servant of God is humble and seeks to serve others. The
true servant of God does not think about praise or pay, because he
serves God from a loving and obedient heart. He honors God and
the authority that God has established in this world. In short, the
true servant of God patterns himself after Jesus Christ. Warren
Wiersbe
357. Paul was careful not to build his converts’ faith on either his words
or his wisdom. Paul was a brilliant man, but his ministry was simple
and practical. He preached to express and not to impress. He knew
the difference between communication and manipulation. Warren
Wiersbe

358. The life of the Church becomes fruitful when it becomes


sacrificial. When the Church is easeful she loses the power to
redeem. I remember the old story of Pope Innocent IV. and Thomas
Aquinas, who were standing together as bags of treasure were
being carried in through the gates of the Lateran. “You see,”
observed the Pope, with a smile, “the day is past when the Church
could say, ‘Silver and gold have I none!’” “Yes, Holy Father,” was the
saint’s reply, “and the day is past when the Church could say to the
lame man, ‘Rise and walk!’” John Henry Jowett
359. The freedom that Jesus Christ offers means enjoying fulfillment in
the will of God. It means achieving your greatest potential to the
glory of God. Jesus Christ frees us to become our very best in this
life, and then to be like Him in the next. Warren Wiersbe
360. Here, then, is a fourfold message - two events (Christ’s death and
resurrection), as attested by two witnesses (prophets and apostles),
on the basis of which God makes two promises (forgiveness and the
Spirit), on two conditions (repentance and faith, with baptism). We
have no liberty to amputate this apostolic gospel, by proclaiming the
cross without the resurrection, or referring to the New Testament but
not the Old, or offering forgiveness without the Spirit, or demanding
faith without repentance. There is a wholeness about the biblical
gospel. It is not enough to ‘proclaim Jesus’. For there are many
different Jesus’ being presented today. According to the New
Testament gospel, however, He is “historical” (He really lived, died,
rose and ascended in the arena of history), “theological” (His life,
death, resurrection and ascension all have saving significance) and
“contemporary” (He lives and reigns to bestow salvation on those
who respond to Him). Thus the apostles told the same story of
Jesus at three levels - as historical event (witnessed by their own
eyes), as having theological significance (interpreted by the
Scriptures), and as contemporary message (confronting men and
women with the necessity of decision). We have the same
responsibility today to tell the story of Jesus as fact, doctrine and
gospel. John Stott
361. I have also, while found in this blessed work of Christ, been
often tempted to pride and liftings up of heart: and though I
dare not say, I have not been affected with this, yet truly the
Lord of His precious mercy, hath so carried it towards me, that
for the most part I have had but small joy to give way to such a
thing: for it hath been my every day’s portion to be let into the
evil of my own heart, and still made to see such a multitude of
corruptions and infirmities therein, that it hath caused hanging
down of the head under all my gifts and attainments; I have felt
this thorn in the flesh the very mercy of God to me. John
Bunyan
362. And here is this amazing statement in Hebrews, surely one of the
most daring summaries of the life of Jesus ever penned: “Though
He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He
suffered.”
Here, I suspect, lies the clue to this striking and astonishing
fact—that the problem of evil is raised far more often by the
spectators of life than by the actual combatants. You will nearly
always find that the loudest voices railing against providence and
the universe—the voices which keep crying out noisily, “How can
there be a God and life be so tragic and unjust?”—belong to the
spectators of life’s sufferings, and not to the sufferers themselves.
You will hardly ever find that the great sufferers are the great
skeptics. Quite the reverse. It is the spectators, the people who are
outside, looking at the tragedy, from whose ranks the skeptics come;
it is not those who are actually in the arena and who know suffering
from the inside. Indeed, the fact is that it is the world’s greatest
sufferers who have produced the most shining examples of
unconquerable faith. It is precisely from the company of the sons
and daughters of affliction that the most convinced believers of all
the ages have sprung. James S. Stewart
363. We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what
they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right
we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they
want with all their hearts to know the source of it. Madeleine
L’Engle
364. Every now and again, not often, but sometimes, God brings us to
a point of climax. That is the Great Divide in the life; from that point
we either go towards a more and more dilatory and useless type of
Christian life, or we become more and more ablaze for the glory of
God—My Utmost For His Highest. Oswald Chambers
365. The rational process in the presence of the world is to pass
through the object, sun, star, river, animal, to the thought behind it,
and through the thought to the thinker, and in the presence of the
thinker to bow in worship and service.
What, then, is the irrational process? To take the object, sun
or star, animal or tree, and worship it, and serve it. That is the
meaning of Paul’s argument concerning the Gentile world. Instead
of worshiping the Creator they worshiped and served the creature.
They stayed in the realm of the things seen, and did not pass
through them to the actuality of the unseen things. That is
worldliness. G. Campbell Morgan
366. Thus have I, in short, declared the manner and occasion of my
being in prison; where I lie waiting the good will of God, to do with
me as He pleaseth; knowing that not one hair of my head can fall to
the ground without the will of my Father, which is in Heaven. Let the
rage and malice of men be never so great, they can do no more, nor
go any further, than God permits them; but when they have done
their worst, We know all things shall work together for good to them
that love God. John Bunyan
367. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies, let us rehearse
our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New
Jerusalem. Charles H. Spurgeon
368. Abram began his journey without any knowledge of his ultimate
destination. He obeyed a noble impulse without any discernment of
its consequences. He took “one step,” and he did not “ask to see
the distant scene.” And that is faith, to do God’s will here and now,
quietly leaving the results to Him. Faith is not concerned with the
entire chain; its devoted attention is fixed upon the immediate link.
Faith is not knowledge of a moral process; it is fidelity in a moral act.
Faith leaves something to the Lord; it obeys His immediate
commandment and leaves to Him direction and destiny. John Henry
Jowett
369. There are times when you cannot understand why you
cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank
space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space
may come in order to teach you what sanctification means, or it
may come after sanctification to teach you what service means.
Never run before God’s guidance. If there is the slightest
doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt—don’t.
In the beginning you may see clearly what God’s will is—the
severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business
relationship, something you feel distinctly before God is His will for
you to do, never do it on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you
will end in making difficulties that will take years of time to put right.
Wait for God’s time to bring it round and He will do it without any
heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the
providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait on God, he forecast in his mind where the
test would come, and the test came where he did not expect it. “I
will lay down my life for Thy sake.” Peter’s declaration was honest
but ignorant. “Jesus answered . . . The cock shall not crow, till thou
hast denied Me thrice.” This was said with a deeper knowledge of
Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because
he did not know himself of what he was capable. Natural devotion
may be all very well to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His
fascination, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will
always deny Jesus somewhere or other. Oswald Chambers
370. A vital principle is illustrated in this incident, which is of urgent
importance to the church today. It is that God calls all His people to
ministry, that He calls different people to different ministries, and that
those called to ‘prayer and the ministry of the word’ must on no
account allow themselves to be distracted from their priorities. John
Stott on Acts 6:1-7
371. This is an age of doubt, an age when it is fashionable to doubt, an
age when men and women are questioning all the great verities and
certainties of the Word of God, and the unseen world. You may
pride yourself on your scepticism, you may think well of yourself
because you doubt what humble-minded believers accept without a
question; but I tell you solemnly, here and now, that your life will be
a restless and unhappy life, that can never know the peace of God,
so long and so far as you do not believe . . . How can there be any
heavenly rest in the soul where there is not heavenly belief in the
soul? Paul could say, “For we know that if our earthly house of this
tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Paul could say, “I know
Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep
that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Paul could
say, “I know that all things work together for good to them that love
God”; and the power to say “I know” on great religious questions is
the power that brings the peace of God to the human mind, and no
mind ever knew peace unless there was this rest of conviction in
God. A. T. Pierson
372. There is a border line that lies between the church and the world.
Within that border land or line there lie what we call worldly
amusements of which you cannot say, perhaps, that there is
anything in them inherently wrong and yet you notice that the world
loves them, that the world has put its stamp upon them, that they are
the favorite employments and enjoyments of men that have no love
of God in their hearts; and I am sorry to say that in this border land
you will find thousands upon thousands of professed disciples
habitually walking. They consort with the world, and follow its
amusements. They are drawn into the world’s pleasures, and so
find themselves drawn further and further into the world, until they
leave the company of Christ’s disciples altogether. There never
was a child of God that had the peace of God that passeth all
understanding until he had made the sublime resolve to let that
border land alone that lies between the Church and the world.
If you want the peace of God, there must be a separation between
you and the world. You must leave chosen employments and
enjoyments in which worldly men find their satisfaction, and you
must get nearer the heart of true disciples and nearer to the heart of
Jesus Christ. A. T. Pierson
373. No one who reads the Gospels will ever be led astray by the
argument that to pardon freely is simply to condone sin and
therefore to make for the demoralization of the sinner. To know
oneself forgiven, and forgiven at so great a cost, is always a moral
dynamic of the first order. It is a mainspring of the dedicated life. It
creates character. It works righteousness. It brings honor back to
the throne. It makes the forgiven sinner Christ’s man, body and
soul, forever. James S. Stewart
374. How easy it becomes even for those of us who profess to be
faithful followers of Christ to get caught up in the “things of earth,” so
that our heavenly vision and values become blurred and dull. This
often happens even when we are active in our Christian activities,
we become so involved in merely doing things for God that we miss
the real blessing of enjoying the personal fellowship of Christ
Himself in our daily lives. Kenneth W. Osbeck
375. David should have been engaged in fighting the Lord’s battles,
instead of which he tarried at Jerusalem, and gave himself up to
luxurious repose, for he arose from his bed at eventide. Idleness
and luxury are the devil’s jackals, and find him abundant prey. In
stagnant waters noxious creatures swarm, and neglected soil soon
yields a dense tangle of weeds and briars. Oh for the constraining
love of Jesus to keep us active and useful! When I see the King of
Israel sluggishly leaving his couch at the close of the day, and falling
at once into temptation, let me take warning, and set holy
watchfulness to guard the door. Charles H. Spurgeon

376. Our Lord’s disciples often argued over which of them would be
the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus had to remind them that their
model for ministry was not the Roman official who “lorded it over”
people, but the Savior Himself who came as a humble servant.
During my many years of ministry, I have seen the model for
ministry change, and the church is suffering because of it. It
appears that the “successful minister” today is more like a Madison
Avenue tycoon than a submissive servant. In his hand he holds a
wireless telephone, not a towel; in his heart is selfish ambition, not a
love for lost souls and for God’s sheep. Warren Wiersbe
377. It is a very remarkable thing that the church of Christ persecuted
has been the church of Christ pure. The church of Christ patronized
has always been the church of Christ impure. G. Campbell Morgan
378. Only tell a man that he need not be a drunkard anymore, nor a
thief, nor a bad creature, and you instantly bring the morning of hope
to shine upon the night of despair. Joseph Parker
379. But let a man respond to Christ and receive the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit— and thou knowest not whither thou shalt go. Thou shalt
go to a life that is a joyous thing. Thou shalt go to a life that is a
conquering thing. Thou shalt go to a power and usefulness and
honor that will amaze thee, knowing what thou art. And then at last,
kept by the power of God, and plucked as a brand by Christ out of
the burning, thou shalt go to be with Him, which is far better.
George H. Morrison
380. It is when the church’s leaders and members get accustomed to
their blessings and complacent about their ministry that the enemy
finds his way in. Warren Wiersbe
381. “The High Places,” answered the Shepherd, “are the starting
places for the journey down to the lowest place in the world. When
you have hind’s feet and can go ‘leaping on the mountains and
skipping on the hills,’ you will be able, as I am, to run down from the
heights in gladdest self-giving and then go up to the mountains
again. You will be able to mount to the High Places swifter than
eagles, for it is only up on the High Places of Love that anyone can
receive the power to pour themselves down in an utter
abandonment of self-giving.” Hannah Hurnard from “Hinds’ Feet On
High Places”
382. What Jesus loved more than anything was to find a man who had
daring enough to pitch his demands high and to be so sure that he
was right to do it that he would simply take no denial. Give me faith
like that, said Jesus, and all things will be possible! James S.
Stewart
383. Hence it may well be expected of such as profess hopes of their
being true Christians, that they should live after a peculiar manner,
and be devoted to God for His use. There should be a great
difference between their way of living and that of other men. Godly
men should not be hurried away by the general example. If any evil
practice is become a common custom, it may well be expected of
those who profess themselves godly, that they should stem the
stream of common custom and example, though they are despised
for it. Jonathan Edwards
384. Let us be on our guard against men whose pockets are filled
with deceptive labels. Let us vigilantly resist all teachings
which would chloroform the conscience. Let us prefer true
terms to merely nice ones. Let us call sin by its right name,
and let us tolerate no moral conjuring either with ourselves or
with others. The first essential in all moral reformation is to call
sin “sin.” “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to
forgive our sin.” John Henry Jowett
385. As long as each living creature remains in its own environment
and lives the kind of life for which it was created, it fulfills the
purpose for which it was made. Thus, the highest that can be said
of any creature is that it fulfilled the purpose for which God made it.
A. W. Tozer
386. And so it is with the ministries of our Lord. He leads us through
discords into harmonies, through opposition into union, through
adversities into peace. His means of grace are processes,
sometimes gentle, sometimes severe; and our folly is to assume that
we have reached His ends when we are only on the way to them.
“The end of the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” “Be
patient, therefore,” until it shall be spoken of thee and me, “And God
saw that it was good.” John Henry Jowett

387. He who counts the stars, and calls them by their names, is in no
danger of forgetting His own children. He knows your case as
thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the
only saint He ever loved. Approach Him and be at peace. Charles
H. Spurgeon
388. Brethren, we ought to learn—and learn it very soon—that it is
much better to have God first and have God Himself even if we have
only a thin dime than to have all the riches and all the influence in
the world and not have God with it! A. W. Tozer
389. You and I are not always satisfied with the manner in which God
deals with us. We would very much like to do something new,
something different, something big and dramatic—but we are called
back. For everything we need, we are called back to the simplicity
of the faith, to the simplicity of Jesus Christ and His unchanging
person. A. W. Tozer
390. I believe that our Lord wants us to learn more of Him in worship
before we become busy for Him. He wants us to have a gift of the
Spirit, an inner experience of the heart, as our first service, and out
of that will grow the profound and deep and divine activities which
are necessary. A. W. Tozer
391. One is amazed at the fickleness of the crowd. One day they tried
to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas as if they were gods, while soon
after they joined in stoning Paul as if he were a felon. Yet Luke has
recorded something similar of the Jerusalem crowd who with loud
voices first acclaimed Jesus and then demanded His execution
(Lk.19:37-40; 23:23). Like Jesus, Paul remained unmoved. His
steadfastness of character was upset neither by flattery nor by
opposition. John Stott
392. God lays the groundwork and creates a window of opportunity,
even as He presented Paul with the opportunity to witness to Lydia.
Following God’s leading, Paul was in the right place at the right time
and took the initiative to speak for Jesus. His witness made all the
difference for Lydia. Vivian Conrad
393. Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you
are not your own but His. Oswald Chambers
394. If all we have to count on for the future is natural progress,
education, and science, then all we can expect is the perpetual
recurrence of what is and what has been, the truceless battle
between light and darkness, the eternal conflict over the body of
mankind, as Michael and the devil disputed over the body of Moses.
Clarence Edward Noble Macartney
395. For each of us, our own experience should be a revelation of
God. The things about Him which we read in the Bible are never
living and real to us till we have verified them in the facts of our own
history. Many a word lies on the page or in our memories, fully
believed and utterly shadowy until in some soul’s conflict we have
had to grasp it and found it true. Only so much of our creed as we
have proved in life is really ours. If we will only open our eyes and
reflect upon our history as it passes before us, we shall find every
corner of it filled with the manifestations to our hearts and to our
minds of a present God. But our folly, our stupidity, our impatience,
our absorption with the mere outsides of things, our self-will blind us
to the Angel with the drawn sword who resists us as well as to the
Angel with the lily who would lead us. So we waste our days, are
deaf to His voice speaking through all the clatter of tongues, and are
blind to His bright presence shining through all the dimness of earth;
and, for far too many of us, we never can see God in the present but
only discern Him when He has passed by like Moses from his cleft.
Like this same Jacob, we have to say: “Surely God was in this place,
and I knew it not.” Hence we miss the educational worth of our
lives; are tortured with needless cares; are beaten by the poorest
adversaries; and grope amid what seems to us a chaos of pathless
perplexities when we might be marching on assured and strong with
God for our Guide and the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob for our
defense. Alexander Maclaren

396. If we had not some bitter drops in the wine of this life, we
should become intoxicated with pleasure, we should dream ‘we
stand’; and stand we should, but it would be upon a pinnacle;
like the man asleep upon the mast, each moment we should be
in jeopardy. We bless God, then, for our afflictions; we thank
Him for our changes; we extol His name for losses of property;
for we feel that had He not chastened us thus, we might have
become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery
trial. Charles H. Spurgeon
397. “Which of you desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and
count the cost? . . . Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another
king, doth not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with
ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty
thousand? . . . Therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth
not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” He said, in effect,
You ask Me why My terms are so severe. I will tell you. I am come
into the world for building and for battle, and I cannot commit My
enterprises to any save those I know I can depend upon. It is He
that builds the tower, not I. He is the King conducting the warfare,
not I. Because He is here to build, and here for battle, His terms are
severe. I must, He says, have men and women coming after Me
who will take up their own crosses and follow Me as I take up My
cross: men and women who will not faint or grow weary when the
battle thickens, or until the building work is done. G. Campbell
Morgan
398. Therefore I begin to think, my Lord, You purposely allow us to be
brought into contact with the bad and evil things that You want
changed. Perhaps that is the very reason why we are here in this
world, where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that
we may let You teach us so to react to them, that out of them we
can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is the only really
satisfactory way of dealing with evil, not simply binding it so that it
cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good.
Hannah Hurnard from “Hinds’ Feet On High Places”
399. I would urge you young men, especially, to lay this to heart: that
of all delusions that can beset you in your course, none will work
more disastrously than the notion that the summum bonum, the
shield and stay of a man, is the “abundance of the things that he
possesses.” I fancy I see more listless, discontented, unhappy
faces looking out of carriages than I see upon the pavement. And I
am sure of this, at any rate, that all which is noble and sweet and
good in life can be wrought out and possessed upon as much bread
and water as will keep body and soul together, and as much
furniture as will enable a man to sit at his meal and lie down at night.
And as for the rest, it has many advantages and blessings, but oh! It
is all illusory as a defense against the evils that will come, sooner or
later, to every life. Alexander Maclaren
400. Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and know the
One Who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason,
but a life of knowing Who makes us “go.” The root of faith is the
knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea
that God is sure to lead us to success.
The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character.
There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray
we feel the blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we
are changed, then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and
the glory vanishes. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with
wings, but a life of walking and not fainting. It is not a question of
sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than
sanctification, of faith that has been tried and proved and has stood
the test. Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life
of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. “Abraham believed God.”
Oswald Chambers
401. If Christianity had scented pillows to offer on which the head of
weariness could rest, and if it could have some comfortable
provision made on its return from slumber, Christianity would
become a quite popular religion, but it is known by the badge called
the Cross; its home is in Gethsemane and on Golgotha; its
command is, Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God. Joseph
Parker
402. With my whole heart I pray God to raise up in England an army of
Puritan preachers, men who know the Cross, and are not ashamed
of its stigma—men who know the Throne and have power with the
King. Joseph Parker
403. And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death
which war enforces. One of our best weapons, contented
worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can
believe that he is going to live forever. C. S. Lewis in “The
Screwtape Letters”
404. “And there appeared unto Him an angel from Heaven,
strengthening Him.” I know that angel! He has been to me. He has
brought me angel’s food, even heavenly manna. Always and
everywhere, when my soul has surrendered itself to the Divine will,
the angel comes, and my soul is refreshed. The laying down of self
is the taking up of God. When I lose my will I gain the Infinite. The
moment of surrender is also the moment of conquest. When I
consecrate my weakness I put on strength and majesty like a robe.
John Henry Jowett
405. Everything that makes life bitter was mingled in the cup of the
apostle, and yet he dares to speak of faith’s protection. I think there
are many who have still to learn that faith was never intended for
exemption. Faith is not given to guard the life from anything; it is
given to guard the life in everything. It empowers one to bear, and
to bear cheerfully, what otherwise would break the heart and darken
the loving ordering of God. To pass through the very worst that life
can bring, undismayed in soul, and unembittered; to tread the
darkest mile and sing in it; never to lose heart, or hope, or love; that
is what faith achieved for the apostle and can achieve for everyone
of us, and that is the shielding power of faith. So was it with our
blessed Lord. When He came here, He was offered no exemption.
He was a man of sorrows, and He suffered, and He was tempted in
all points like as we are. Yet to the end, in a faith that never faltered,
He was loving, tranquil, and forgiving and under the cross spoke
about His peace. George H. Morrison
406. Thus, for example, His prayer life was never at the mercy of
moods. Changes of feeling Jesus certainly knew. He was no
passionless Stoic. He knew joy and sorrow, smiles and tears,
ecstasy and weariness. But through it all His heart turned to prayer,
like the compass to the north. Prayer meant communing with the
One He loved best in Heaven and Earth. Jesus loved God His
Father so utterly and so passionately that He could not bear to be
away from Him, but used every opportunity the days and nights
brought Him to go and speak to the God of His love again. This
means that those failures in our own prayer life which we trace back
to lack of mood are really according to Jesus a symptom of
something deeper; they are a symptom of a breakdown of affection.
Christ bids us go and give God our love. James S. Stewart
407. The prayer life Of Jesus warns us against the view that would
make prayer a mere asking things from God. We do not make our
human friendships mere matters of convenience, approaching our
friend only when we desire a favor from him and never going near
him at any other time. No friendship could survive long on these
mercenary terms. And Jesus would have us reflect that least of all
can our friendship with God survive on such a basis. Jesus would
have men go to God when there is nothing to ask, go to Him not for
His gifts but for Himself alone. That is the prayer of communion;
and when a human heart goes out Godward in this way, God comes
to meet it, and it experiences the blessed invasion of God’s
presence. In such an experience a man’s whole life, like the face of
the Christ who prayed on the Mount of Transfiguration, is changed,
for it comes to bear something of the afterglow of Heaven. James
S. Stewart
408. Attitudes of prejudice and legalism trouble the church today just
as they did the early church. Believers sometimes mingle cultural
biases with biblical mandates, creating wrenching controversies over
numerous sensitive issues. Certainly issues need to be addressed,
particularly when essentials of the faith are at stake. But one of
those biblical essentials is that believers eagerly seek out all people,
look at them from God’s perspective, love them for the gospel’s
sake, and rejoice over those that respond in faith. Can the church
ever afford to wall itself off through fear or prejudice? Doing so
would be to turn away from God’s compassionate heart. From The
Word In Life Study Bible
409. ‘My soul recalls her day of deliverance with delight. Laden with
guilt and full of fears, I saw my Savior as my Substitute, and I laid
my hand upon Him; oh! How timidly at first, but courage grew and
confidence was confirmed until I leaned my soul entirely upon Him;
and now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer
imputed to me, but laid on Him, and like the debts of the wounded
traveler, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future
sinfulness, “Set that to My account”.’ Blessed discovery! Eternal
solace of a grateful heart! Charles H. Spurgeon
410. Of a surety, at the Day of Judgment it will be demanded of us, not
what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have
spoken, but how holily we have lived. Thomas A‘ Kempis
411. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore
cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by
trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do. Charles
H. Spurgeon
412. This life is but the prelude to the piece. This life is the introduction
to the book. It is not finis we should write at death. It is not finis, it is
initium. And that is how Jesus Christ has met this element, and
mastered it in His victorious way, and made it possible for breaking
hearts to bear the voiceless sorrow of farewell. George H. Morrison
413. A good life maketh a man wise toward God, and giveth him
experience in many things. The more humble a man is in himself,
and the more obedient towards God, the wiser will he be in all
things, and the more shall his soul be at peace. Thomas A‘ Kempis
414. It is of the utmost importance to remember that every Christian
has the power to release souls from sin’s penalty through
proclaiming the gospel to those who will believe. This is the good
news of God’s grace which looses from Satan’s bondage those who
believe. Dave Hunt
415. There is always the utmost danger when a man or his work
becomes remarkable. He may be sure Satan is gaining his
objective when attention is shown to anything or anyone but
the Lord Jesus Himself. A work may be commenced in the
greatest possible simplicity, but through lack of holy
watchfulness and spirituality on the part of the workman, he
himself or the results of his work may attract general attention,
and he may fall into the snare of the devil. Satan’s grand and
ceaseless object is to dishonor the Lord Jesus. If he can do
this by what seems to be Christian service, he has achieved all
the greater victory for the time. C. H. Mackintosh
416. Our danger is lest we grow rich and become proud, lest we
give ourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world, and
lose our faith. Or if wealth be not the trial, worldly care is quite
as mischievous. If we cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring
lion, if we may be hugged to death by the bear, the devil little
cares which it is, so long as he destroys our love to Christ, and
our confidence in Him. I fear me that the Christian church is far
more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days
than in those rougher times. We must be awake now, for we
traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall
asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a
reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. Many in these
days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not
wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the
true-born children of the living God. Christian, do not think that
these are times in which you can dispense with watchfulness
or with holy ardor; you need these things more than ever, and
may God the eternal Spirit display His omnipotence in you, that
you may be able to say, in all these softer things, as well as in
the rougher, ‘We are more than conquerors through Him that
loved us.’ Charles H. Spurgeon
417. Oh, he who hath but a spark of true charity, hath verily learned
that all worldly things are full of vanity. Thomas A‘ Kempis

418. So holiness is not to be obtained by climbing to a height, it is to be


lived by being a little child keeping close to the side of the Father,
and following Christ by the guidance of the Spirit. G. Campbell
Morgan
419. Discipline is the act of stretching the mind and body of a person
so that when the performance comes, it can be a pleasure because
of the pain a person faced in the practice. Gordon MacDonald
420. The Israelites taken into the Babylonian Captivity give us a
historical parallel to the contemporary church. Their home was still
the Promised Land even though they lived for so many years in a
foreign company. But when it came time to return, many had
become so entrenched into the Babylonian culture that they didn’t
want to leave. When the Lord says it’s time to go to Heaven, we
fight it as if it were the worst thing imaginable because this world has
become everything to us. That’s why we must always be reminded
that our citizenship is in Heaven. John MacArthur
421. Lose not, brother, thy loyal desire of progress to things spiritual.
There is yet time, the hour is not past. Why wilt thou put off thy
resolution? Arise, begin this very moment, and say, “Now is the
time to do: now is the time to fight, now is the proper time for
amendment.” When thou art ill at ease and troubled, then is the
time when thou art nearest unto blessing. Thou must go through
fire and water that God may bring thee into a wealthy place. Unless
thou put force upon thyself, thou wilt not conquer thy faults. So long
as we carry about with us this frail body, we cannot be without sin,
we cannot live without weariness and trouble. Gladly would we
have rest from all misery; but because through sin we have lost
innocence, we have lost also the true happiness. Therefore must
we be patient, and wait for the mercy of God, until this tyranny be
overpast, and this mortality be swallowed up of life. Thomas A‘
Kempis
422. I am more and more anxious that men should see that the reason
of their Christianity is not their salvation, but their influence on other
men. You defame Christ if you name His name and sing His song,
and do not realize His character. And to fail of holiness is to wrong
the world, to dim the only light it has, and make the salt, the aseptic
salt that should give goodness its chance, savorless. And mark the
infinite satire of Christ. “If the salt have lost its savor, wherewith
shall it be seasoned? It is fit only to be cast out and trodden under
foot of man.” And that is what happens to Christian men and
women who name the name of Christ, and are not salt. They are
trodden under foot of men; they are despised by their day and
generation. The world itself holds us in supreme contempt if we
profess to be Christian and are not holy. G. Campbell Morgan
423. When we contrast much contemporary evangelism with Paul’s, its
shallowness is immediately shown up. Our evangelism tends to be
too ecclesiastical (inviting people to church), whereas Paul also took
the gospel out into the secular world; too emotional (appeals for
decisions without an adequate basis of understanding), whereas
Paul taught, reasoned and tried to persuade; and too superficial
(making brief encounters and expecting quick results), whereas Paul
stayed in Corinth and Ephesus for five years, faithfully sowing
gospel seed and in due time reaping a harvest. John Stott
424. I believe that the best worship is the manifold activities of daily life
laid upon God’s altar, so that the division between things secular
and things sacred is to a large extent misleading and irrelevant. But
at the same time, I believe that you have very little chance of getting
this diffused and all-pervasive reference of all a man’s doings to God
unless there are, all through his life, recurring with daily regularity,
reservoirs of power, stations where he may rest, kneeling-places
where the attitude of service is exchanged for the attitude of
supplication; times of quiet communion with God which shall feed
the worshiper’s activities as the white snow fields on the high
summits feed the brooks that sparkle by the way, and bring fertility
wherever they run. So, dear brethren, remember that while life is
the field of worship, there must be the inward worship within the
shrine if there is to be the outward service. Alexander Maclaren
425. ‘Fear not’, is the Lord’s command and His divine encouragement
to those who at His bidding are launching upon new seas; the divine
presence and preservation forbid so much as one unbelieving fear.
Without our God we should fear to move; but when He bids go, it
would be dangerous to tarry. Reader, go forward, and fear not.
Charles H. Spurgeon

426. Almighty God, our Father, Thou dost come to us. We cannot find
Thee out, but Thou canst find Thy child, and speak to him in little
words which he can understand. We cannot find out the Almighty,
but the Almighty can find us out, and speak to our hearts, to our sin
and sorrow and whole necessity. It is from this point that we now
humbly and in the name and at the Cross of Jesus Christ approach
Thee with some boldness of love, that we may obtain mercy and
Thy grace to help in every time of need. Every time is a time of
need; every moment is a cry unto God, everyday brings its own
hunger and thirst and conscious necessity. Come to us and reveal
Thyself to us while we tarry at Thy bleeding feet. The Cross never
disappoints us; the Cross fills the whole firmament; it, too, is longer
than the earth and deeper than the sea. It comes to us as Thine
own heart, an expression of Thine own infinite pity; we throw the
arms of our love around it, knowing that there, on Golgotha, no man
who believes can die. Joseph Parker
427. God always educates us down to the scruple. Is my ear so keen
to hear the tiniest whisper of the Spirit that I know what I should do?
“Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” He does not come with a voice like
thunder; His voice is so gentle that it is easy to ignore it. The one
thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the continual
habit of being open to God on the inside. When there is any debate,
quit. “Why shouldn’t I do this?” Your are on the wrong track. There
is no debate possible when conscience speaks. At your peril, you
allow one thing to obscure your inner communion with God. Drop it,
whatever it is, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.
Oswald Chambers
428. I have long held, and I repeat it here, that any work which I am
doing, which you are doing, which necessitates worry, which
compels anxiety of mind, and care, and perplexity, and solicitude, is
probably my own selfish work, and not God’s work at all. It is
something that you or I are doing because of our ambition, or
appetite, or avarice, or selfishness, or our desire to get ourselves on
in this world. For if it is God’s work I am doing, and I am only putting
my hand to God’s work, why should I worry about it? Is that not a
kind of impertinence as though God were not able to take care of
His own work? Why, the man that is on the battlefield, and has
supreme confidence in the general-in-chief, and follows the general
into the thickest of the fight, does not consider himself responsible
for the issues of battle. By no means. He knows that there is a
competent hand that is regulating the whole matter, and all he has to
do is as a soldier to follow where his leader goes, and strictly to
obey his commands. A. T. Pierson
429. Now, I want to have it understood, that in estimating success
you can never depend on the world’s standards. What the
world counts success God may count failure, and what man
counts failure God may count as success. Until we get rid of
the snares of man’s judgment and our own judgment and leave
everything to God, we shall never be able to do the will of God
with a peaceful soul. A. T. Pierson
430. Observe how Christ pushed beyond the impersonal discussion to
the personal challenge. That was regularly His way. You can see it
in His conversation with the woman at the well—first the general
talk, then suddenly the rapier thrust at her own heart. You can see it
in His interview with Pontius Pilate when the latter was questioning
Him about His kingly claims. Suddenly like an arrow came the
challenge, “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee
of Me?” Is this your own verdict, Pilate, or just rumor that you are
retailing at secondhand? Always sooner or later Jesus brought
things back to the personal issue. He was not anxious for any
secondhand opinions or verdicts by proxy. What He wanted was the
straight answer of a man’s own experience. Whom say ye that I
am? James S. Stewart

431. In the last resort, however, Peter’s knowledge of the messiahship


and divinity of Christ came as an inward revelation from God. “Flesh
and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in
Heaven.” It was not a discovery which the disciple by himself had
achieved; and while Peter’s quest for the truth had certainly opened
up the way for the coming of the vision, yet the vision when it came
was God’s gift. It was God who had flashed it in upon him. The
conviction was not man-made, but God-given. It had come upon
Peter with the inherent, compelling power, authenticating itself to his
heart, so that apart from any argument, independently of any logical
proof or demonstration, the man could say with absolute assurance,
“I know.” Somewhere in Peter’s heart God’s bell had tolled, and
in that moment he knew that in Jesus Christ he was touching
the Eternal. Such moments of revelation are the very life of
religion. Only God can make us finally sure of God. James S.
Stewart
432. Next day, John walked into the hills with Jesus and the others. As
they went from village to village, Jesus showed His marvelous gift
for speaking so that poor and rich, simple and wise, could
understand Him. He had acute powers of observation, as His
parables showed. Naturally, He knew about carpentry and building;
equally, He could make His points with stories about sheep and
wheat farming, about vineyards and fig trees and pigs. He had a
shrewd idea of trade and business so that He could tell of bad and
good stewards, and moneylenders and tax men; He had observed
the ways of the wealthy and of those so poor that a lost coin made a
matter of utmost concern; He could describe scribes in flowing
robes, judges and kings; burglars operating at night and highway
robbers. Using word pictures and pithy comments, He could make
truth plain, bring all Heaven before the inward eyes of His hearers,
and probe the ways of man. John Pollock
433. Blessed are they who search inward things and study to prepare
themselves more and more by daily exercises for the receiving of
heavenly mysteries. Thomas A‘ Kempis
434. For there are many who, when things have not gone prosperous
with them, become forthwith impatient or slothful. For the way of
man is not in himself, but it is God’s to give and to console, when He
will, and as much as He will, and whom He will, as it shall please
Him, and no further. Some who were presumptuous because of the
grace of devotion within them, have destroyed themselves, because
they would do more than they were able, not considering the
measure of their own littleness, but rather following the impulse of
the heart than the judgment of the reason. And because they
presumed beyond what was well-pleasing unto God, therefore they
quickly lost grace. They became poor and were left vile, who had
built for themselves their nest in heaven; so that being humbled and
stricken with poverty, they might learn not to fly with their own wings,
but to put their trust under My feathers. They who are as yet new
and unskilled in the way of the Lord, unless they rule themselves
after the counsel of the wise, may easily be deceived and led away.
Thomas A‘ Kempis
435. If a man is going to do anything worth while, there are times
when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual
domain Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you
hold by common sense and leap into what He says,
immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as
solidly as common sense. At the bar of common sense Jesus
Christ’s statements may seem mad; but bring them to the bar
of faith, and you begin to find with awestruck spirit that they
are the words of God. Trust entirely in God, and when He
brings you to the venture, see that you take it. We act like
pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to
bank his faith in the character of God. Oswald Chambers
436. I believe we need to preach again a whole Christ to the world—a
Christ who does not need our apologies, a Christ who will not be
divided, a Christ who will either be Lord of all or who will not be Lord
at all! A. W. Tozer
437. Sometimes it is not difficulty that makes me think God will forsake
me, but drudgery. There is no Hill Difficulty to climb, no vision given,
nothing wonderful or beautiful, just the commonplace day in and day
out—can I hear God’s say-so in these things?
We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional
thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing
by and bye, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying
Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God’s say-
so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to
sing in the ordinary days and ways. Oswald Chambers

438. I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to
see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am
corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision
and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the
vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak and it
will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come,
it will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but
the just shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:1-4
439. What a warning flare is this story of one of the Master’s men
—a flare whose warning none of us dare disregard. If we do, it
is at our peril. For unhappily there is nothing very exceptional
in a divided heart on the part of those who profess the faith of
Christ. Judas only did what many another does—and seems to
get away with. For how many give Christ less than the whole of
their lives? How many have a love which contests His? In the
bright light of reality how many are self-revealed as the slaves
of this world, and its tinsel baubles and its deceiving riches?
How many are actually robbing the Master whom they acclaim
as Judas did? J. Stuart Holden
440. Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and
offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid
them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ,
but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech
deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become
known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to
be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of
peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Paul in Romans 16
441. This evening let us ask that the Scripture we have read, and our
devotional exercises, may not be an empty formality, but a channel
of grace to our souls. O that God the Holy Spirit would work in us
with all His mighty power, filling us with all the fulness of God.
Charles H. Spurgeon
442. Let not thy peace depend upon the word of men; for whether they
judge well or ill of thee, thou art not therefore any other man than
thyself. Where is true peace or true glory? Is it not in Me? And he
who seeketh not to please men, nor feareth to displease, shall enjoy
abundant peace. From inordinate love and vain fear ariseth all
disquietude of heart, and all distraction of the senses. Thomas A‘
Kempis
443. Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the
needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His
obedience to the Father. Oswald Chambers
444. God is forevermore bringing to His people supplies out of the
unknown. If a man is to be delivered, he will be delivered when he
feels he cannot help himself. If a man is to be led, he must be flung
into the wilderness where there is neither map nor guide post. If a
man is to depend on God, and lose his arrogance and his pride, he
must receive his supplies from One Who brings them from the
unknown resources. G. Campbell Morgan
445. We have often said that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. But
I would like to put that in another way, for the purpose of this
meditation, a more striking way. Man’s extremity is man’s
opportunity for finding himself, and finding his God, and so finding
life. I charge you remember, and if you will do so solemnly, you will
come, I am perfectly sure, to agreement with me when I say that the
richest hours of the past were the hours of extremity, and the hours
of darkness, the hours when we were at the end of ourselves; the
hours when we discovered something in us that appalled us,
because these were the hours when God came into visibility. No
bread, but it rained from heaven. No water, but out of the flinty rock
it gushed. No way in the dreary wilderness, but He chose the places
where we pitched our tents. G. Campbell Morgan
446. My Father hath loved Me, so love I you; thus have I spoken unto
My beloved disciples: whom I sent forth not unto worldly joys, but to
great strivings; not unto honors, but unto contempt; not unto ease,
but to labors; not unto rest, but to bring forth much fruit with
patience. My son, remember these words. Thomas A‘ Kempis

447. Our best portion and richest heritage we cannot lose. Whatever
troubles come, let us play the man; let us show that we are not such
little children as to be cast down by what may happen in this poor
fleeting state of time. Our country is Immanuel’s land, our hope is
above the sky, and, therefore, calm as the summer’s ocean; we will
see the wreck of everything earthborn, and yet rejoice in the God of
our salvation. Charles H. Spurgeon
448. And so we must be prayerfully thoughtful at all times lest we
appoint vessels to the service of the Kingdom which will absorb the
glory which belongs to God alone. But to be thoughtful is not to be
careless. Grace puts no premium upon shabbiness and disorder.
We must not offer to the Lord of that which costs us nothing. Our
best and hardest pains must be devoted to getting rid of all that is
theatrical, spectacular, and vainglorious; and we must present to the
Lord a lamp which is clean and burnished, but which will not distract
attention from the Presence and glory of the Lord. John Henry
Jowett
449. . . . and rarely is any man found altogether free from the blemish
of self-seeking. Thomas A‘ Kempis
450. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is
gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which
can adorn the bosom of a mortal. Be not guided by the will-o’-
the-wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine authority.
Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present
advantage, walk by faith and not by sight. Do God the honor to
trust Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of
principle. See whether He will be your debtor! See if He doth
not even in this life prove His word that ‘Godliness, with
contentment, is great gain’, and that they who ‘seek first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, shall have all these
things added unto them’. Should it happen that, in the
providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall
find that if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly
prosperity, He will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual
joy. Remember that a man’s life consisteth not in the
abundance of that which he possesseth. To wear a guileless
spirit, to have a heart void of offence, to have the favor and
smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could
yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win. ‘Better is a dinner of
herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention
therewith.’ An ounce of heart’s-ease is worth a ton of gold.
Charles H. Spurgeon
451. Some have the privilege given them, like our dear friend, of
putting off the garments slowly and teaching, as she did, lessons of
brave patience and of how to bear pain and weariness with
undimmed spirit, and unflagging interest in others, which those who
learned them will keep as precious memories. But however the end
comes, whether the wind rises and beats upon the house and it falls
in one sudden ruin, or whether it is slowly unroofed and dismantled
until it is no longer habitable, let us thank God that we know for our
dear ones and for ourselves that whatever becomes of the clay
hovel, the tenant is safe and has gone to live in a fair house in a
“distant City glorious.” . . .
So, when we see a life of which Christian faith has been the
underlying motive, and in which many graces of the Christian
character have been plainly manifested, passing from among us, let
not our love look only at the empty place on earth, but let our faith
rise to the thought of the filled place in Heaven. Let us not look
down to the grave, but up to the skies. Let us not dwell on the
departure, but on the abundant entrance. Let us not only remember,
but also hope. And as love and faith, memory and hope, follow our
friend as she passes “within the veil,” let us thank God that we are
sure:
She, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends
Passes to bliss, at the mid hour of night
Has gained her entrance.
Alexander Maclaren (on occasion of the death of Mrs. Stowell
Brown).
452. We are fashioned by our highest companionships. We acquire
the nature of those with whom we most constantly commune. John
Henry Jowett

453. Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in
that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else.
Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power
where you are. Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He
needs you in another He will show it you. Charles H. Spurgeon
454. Whether it be a Noah who is to build a ship on dry land, an
Abraham who is to offer up his only son, or a Moses who is to
despise the treasures of Egypt, or a Joshua who is to besiege
Jericho seven days, using no weapons but the blasts of rams’ horns,
they all act upon God’s command, contrary to the dictates of carnal
reason; and the Lord gives them a rich reward as the result of their
obedient faith. Would to God we had in the religion of these modern
times a more potent infusion of this heroic faith in God. If we would
venture more upon the naked promise of God, we should enter a
world of wonders to which yet we are strangers. Let Jeremiah’s
place of confidence be ours- nothing is too hard for the God that
created the heavens and the earth. Charles H. Spurgeon
455. Sweet is the cool twilight, when every star seems like the eye of
heaven, and the cool wind is as the breath of celestial love. Charles
H. Spurgeon
456. When you read the story of the prodigal, you feel that the
father loved that son. When he was far away rioting with the
harlots, the father was yearning for him night and day. But only
when that prodigal came home could the pent-up love be
poured upon the child—and the Church is the bit of the world
that has come home. The true Church is not an organization. It
is not Episcopalian nor Methodist. It is the mighty company of
quickened souls who could never rest content among the
swine. Drawn by need, hungry and despairing, they have
traveled back to “God who is our home,” and found the love
that had been always yearning for them. The prodigal was
loved in the far country, but there no cry was heard, “Bring
forth the best robe and put it on him.” To gain these tokens of
unwearying love, the poor rebellious child had to come home—
and the Church is the bit of the world that has come home.
George H. Morrison
457. The farmers used to make merry with the poet Wordsworth when
they saw him sitting hour by hour on some gray stone. Some of
them thought he was an idle rascal, and more of them thought he
was a little crazy. But Wordsworth was watching nature like a lover,
and he was passive that he might catch her voice, and he waited on
nature with such a splendid faithfulness that we are all his debtors to
this hour. George H. Morrison
458. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in
worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will
be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial
without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if
we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for
us. Charles H. Spurgeon
459. Grant me, O Lord, to know that which ought to be known; to love
that which ought to be loved; to praise that which pleaseth Thee
most, to esteem that which is precious in Thy sight, to blame that
which is vile in Thine eyes, nor to give sentence according to the
hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but to discern in true judgment
between visible and spiritual things, and above all things to be ever
seeking after the will of Thy good pleasure. Thomas A‘ Kempis
460. My son, thou art not always able to continue in very fervent desire
after virtues, nor to stand fast in the loftier region of contemplation;
but thou must of necessity sometimes descend to lower things
because of thine original corruption, and bear about the burden of
corruptible life, though unwillingly and with weariness. So long as
thou wearest a mortal body, thou shalt feel weariness and heaviness
of heart. Therefore thou oughtest to groan often in the flesh
because of the burden of the flesh, inasmuch as thou canst not give
thyself to spiritual studies and divine contemplation unceasingly.

At such a time it is expedient for thee to flee to humble and


external works, and to renew thyself with good actions; to wait for
My coming and heavenly visitation with sure confidence; to bear thy
exile and drought of mind with patience, until thou be visited by Me
again, and be freed from all anxieties. For I will cause thee to forget
thy labors, and altogether to enjoy eternal peace. I will spread open
before thee the pleasant pastures of the Scriptures, that with
enlarged heart thou mayest begin to run in the way of My
commandments. And thou shalt say, “The sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be
revealed in us.” Thomas A‘ Kempis
461. Every man comes ultimately to inhabit the kind of world he makes
for himself, and it is only the man who lives by love who can taste
the gladness of God. James S. Stewart
462. Wherever Jesus went, He found hearts that were hungry for love.
On the jaded face of a Zacchaeus, in the glib talk of a Samaritan
woman, in the weary looks of an inarticulate, shepherdless crowd,
that hunger for love struck at Christ’s own heart. Hence He laid it
down that, while men did not need many qualifications to be His
disciples, no man could be a disciple who was not prepared to love.
The heart of the world was crying for love. James S. Stewart
463. And He knew all about Nathaniel. “When thou was under the
fig-tree.” “In that secret meditation of thine, when thy wishes
and desires were born, ‘I saw thee!’” “When others saw
nothing, I had fellowship with thee in the secret place.”
And He knows all about thee and me. “I know My
sheep.” We do not take Him by surprise. He does not come in
late, and find the performance half over! He is in at our
beginnings, when grave issues are being born. “I am Alpha.”
John Henry Jowett
464. God had given Solomon the name “Jedidiah [beloved of the
Lord]”, yet he chose to be the beloved of heathen women instead, in
defiance of God’s covenant with him. What all this did to Solomon’s
sweet fellowship with God is to be seen in Ecclesiastes. Take the
sun out of the sky, and all earth’s beauty and fruitfulness will go
also. Take God out of your sky, and life’s joys will be turned to
dregs, bitterness, and futility. Solomon had deliberately chosen to
live “under the sun” instead of under God. In the awareness of his
own unquestionable greatness, he had become indifferent to the fact
that “here is more than Solomon” and that to scorn or ignore God is
fatal. With all his wisdom he failed to recognize that “God will not
allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by
mere pretensions or professions or by His precepts being set
aside) . . . For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he
will reap”. From the Amplified Bible
465. Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up
to the vision. Oswald Chambers
466. Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right
yourself. We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the
Sermon on the Mount is—Never look for justice, but never cease to
give it. Oswald Chambers
467. Tell me who they are that sit oftenest under the banner of His
love, and drink deepest draughts from the cup of communion, and I
am sure they will be those who give most, who serve best, and who
abide closest to the bleeding heart of their dear Lord. Charles H.
Spurgeon
468. Not by trying to imagine what Jesus would do in my
circumstances do I learn how a Christian should conduct himself in
this world; but by searching the scriptures, and tracing there the
lowly path of Heaven’s anointed One, I discern the way in which He
would have me to walk. H. A. Ironside
469. Brethren, we have been born of God and our Christian hope is a
valid hope! No emptiness, no vanity, no dreams that cannot come
true. Your expectation should rise and you should challenge God
and begin to dream high dreams of faith and spiritual attainment and
expect God to meet them. You cannot out-hope God and you cannot
out-expect God. Remember that all of your hopes are finite, but all
of God’s ability is infinite! A. W. Tozer

470. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations: it
is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting
His way with us. Oswald Chambers
471. Remember, we are not stronger than the weakest point in the
walls of our character. And true wisdom requires that we watch
even the smallest gate that is insufficient or insecure. Joseph
Parker
472. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man
sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the
flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit
reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in
due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we
have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of
the household of faith. Paul in Galatians 6:7-10
473. He (Paul) distinctly teaches, in this letter (Ephesians), that God
has an inheritance in His people; not that we have an inheritance in
Him—which is perfectly true—but something more astonishing: that
God has an inheritance in His people: that God has created in His
people a medium through which, to all ages to come and to the
unfallen intelligences of the other world, He will make known His
grace, and make know His wisdom. It is the most daring and
magnificent thing ever written about the ultimate vocation of the child
of God. It shows that in the ages to come we are still to be the
messengers of His grace: and that men will only know the grace of
God, and that angels and principalities will only know the grace of
God, and that all the ages that transcend the possibility of our
imaginations will only know the grace of God, as we tell “the old, old
story of Jesus and His love.” Our perfect work begins beyond.
So the apostle is speaking to a people who, in this
world, share the mystic and mighty life of the Christ; and who,
in this world, are being prepared for a final vocation that lies
beyond. Hear me, my brethren: they are otherworldly men and
women; and in the moment in which the Church of God is
afraid of that designation, she has lost the power to touch this
world. G. Campbell Morgan
474. Christ cannot be defeated, and the man whom Christ has
mastered is invincible. G. Campbell Morgan
475. He (Christ) never gives a man grace for two days ahead. G.
Campbell Morgan
476. If the works of God were of such sort that they might easily be
comprehended by human reason, they should no longer be called
wonderful or unspeakable. Thomas A‘ Kempis
477. The great thing to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to
fulfil God’s purpose, not our own. Naturally, our ambitions are
our own; in the Christian life we have no aim of our own. There
is so much said today about our decisions for Christ, our
determination to be Christians, our decisions for this and that,
but in the New Testament it is the aspect of God’s compelling
that is brought out. “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen
you.” We are not taken up into conscious agreement with
God’s purpose, we are taken up into God’s purpose without
any consciousness at all. We have no conception of what God
is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague.
God’s aim looks like missing the mark because we are too
shortsighted to see what He is aiming at. At the beginning of
the Christian life we have our own ideas as to what God’s
purpose is—‘I am meant to go here or there,’ ‘God has called
me to do this special work’; and we go and do the thing, and
still the big compelling of God remains. The work we do is of
no account, it is so much scaffolding compared with the big
compelling of God. “He took unto Him the twelve,” He takes us
all the time. There is more than we have got at as yet. Oswald
Chambers
478. The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the
relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that
relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one
thing that is being continually assailed. Oswald Chambers

479. God has put all His resources at our disposal, but we have not put
our resources at His disposal. That is the foundation principle that
ought to underlie all Christian giving. Let me break up that
foundation principle into two working principles: “Ye are not your
own; for ye were bought with a price,” and “Whatsoever ye do, do all
to the glory of God.” If in the consciousness of fellowship with God,
if in the activity of placing at His disposal all our resources, we
remember that we ourselves are not our own, but His; and if in all
the activities of everyday life we make His glory the one supreme,
master-passion, then we are applying these working principles, and
we shall find that they will produce all that is needed for the doing of
God’s work in the world. G. Campbell Morgan
480. To doubt is not sin, but to be contented to remain in doubt when
God has provided ‘many infallible proofs’ to cure it, is . . . Irwin H.
Linton
481. Great as Jesus recognized the claims of home to be, He never
hesitated to assert that if ever these claims and the claims of God
should be at variance, God’s claims must come first. James S.
Stewart
482. Mark, then, this: it is not our feelings which are to be our defense.
Our feelings may be as changeable as a barometer, and building
upon them we have no fixed, dependable resource. If I am to judge
the defenses of my religious life by the state and quality of my
feelings, then I can clearly see that there are breaches in the wall
every day, through which the evil one may make his attack. I turn
from my feelings to the truthfulness of God. At once I pass from
loose stones to compact rock. His truthfulness, the sure word of His
promise, is to be my strong defense. “Hath He not said, and shall
he not do it?” What hath He said about thy past? “Shall He not do
it?” What hath He said about thy present? “Shall He not do it?
What hath He said concerning thy tomorrow? “Shall He not do it?”
“His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” John Henry Jowett
483. If the Lord removed all our thorns, if Christian believers had no
temptations, no troubles, no difficult hills, what a poor, anaemic
witness we should offer to the world! We should present a character
that was faced by no enemy. We should present a life that was
grappling with no problem. We should present victories without
struggle! Is it not something infinitely more impressive to see a man
with a thorn limping along the road with a superb spirit? Is there not
something captivating in the sight of a man or woman burdened with
many tribulations and yet carrying a heart as sound as a bell? Is
there not something contagiously valorous in the vision of one who
is greatly tempted but is more than a conqueror? Is it not heartening
to see some pilgrim who is broken in body but who retains the
splendor of an unbroken patience? What a witness all this offers to
the endurement of God’s grace! There is the man’s thorn! And we
are made to wonder how he bears it so well. What is his secret? Or
here is a woman who has heaps of trouble; where does she get her
mysterious oil which enables her spirit to burn and shine so
radiantly? And those who ask such questions are led to her secret
and they are brought into the presence of the Lord. And so the
thorn remains in order that we may unveil the Lord. The very thorn
becomes the revealer of the keeping grace of our God. “This
sickness was not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son
of Man may be glorified.” John Henry Jowett

484. Christ does suggest two possibilities which are in


opposition. The one, that man can serve mammon. The other,
that he can serve God. What is it to serve God? To be His
bond-slave, yielding all to His absolute supremacy. The
abandonment of everything to which the name of God
connotes, purity, peace, and all those other facts of which we
spoke. That is a possibility for every man and nation. There is
the other possibility, to serve mammon. To be the bond-slave
of material possessions, and every poor man can be that; to
yield wholly to the sway of the things which are only material;
the abandonment of the life to husks. Jesus declared the
possibilities to be mutually exclusive. To serve God and be His
bond-slave. To serve mammon and be its bond-slave. To
serve God is to command mammon, not to serve it. To be
wholly yielded to God is to be the master of all material things,
not to be bound in slavery thereto. To state the case from the
other side. To serve mammon—to live saying only, What shall I
eat, what shall I drink, wherewithal shall I be clothed, and how
shall I possess these things, is to dethrone God. “Ye cannot
serve God and mammon.” G. Campbell Morgan
485. It’s like when you see a waterfall you think how powerful that
water is. How seemingly endless it appears; how pure and
refreshing it is. But the longer you’re away from it; the less you tend
to think about it. Sometimes you may even forget that it exists. But
when you go back to that waterfall, there it is just as plentiful, just as
powerful, just as amazing as the first time you ever saw it. That’s
how God’s love is for us. More than plentiful. More than powerful.
More than amazing. Melanie Irwin
486. It is to be feared that many believers lose their strength as
Samson lost his locks, while sleeping on the lap of carnal
security. With a perishing world around us, to sleep is cruel;
with eternity so near at hand, it is madness. Yet we are none of
us so much awake as we should be; a few thunder-claps would
do us all good, and it may be, unless we soon bestir ourselves,
we shall have them in the form of war, or pestilence, or
personal bereavements and losses. Charles H. Spurgeon
487. I am so disposed to pray up to my successes, and to cease to
pray in them! I remember God in my struggles, I forget Him in my
attainments. I hold fellowship with Him on the road, I part company
with Him when I arrive. I become a practical atheist in the midst of
my successes. My only security is to go up into a mountain apart
and pray. Unless I become closeted with God, and see all things in
their true colors and proportion, I shall be lifted up in most unholy
and destructive pride.
And let me notice that our Lord returned from His privacy
with the Father to do even greater miracles still. He had appeased
the pangs of hunger; now He appeases the passion of the sea. And
so in my degree shall it be with me. If in all my triumphs I remain the
humble companion of the Lord, my triumphs shall be repeated and
enriched. “Greater works than these shall ye do.” John Henry
Jowett
488. It is one thing to speak about God in words, maxims, precepts; it
is another thing to show us God in act and life. The one is theology,
the other is Gospel. The one is the work of man, the other is the
exclusive prerogative of God manifested in the flesh. Alexander
Maclaren
489. I cannot quietly and steadily contemplate the goodness of the
Lord without my soul being kindled into loving response. Without
high contemplations love smoulders, and will eventually die out. But
God’s goodness inflames the soul, and communicates its own most
gracious heat. “We love because He first loved us!”. John Henry
Jowett
490. “Yes, if you want to, say that I was a drum major. Say that I
was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for
peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.
“And all the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t
have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and
luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave
a committed life behind.
“And that is all I want to say. If I can help somebody as I
pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a song, if I can show
somebody he’s traveling wrong, then my living will not be in
vain.
“If I can do my duty as a Christian ought. If I can bring
salvation to a world once wrought. If I can spread the message
that the Master taught. Then my living will not be in vain.”
Martin Luther King, preaching at Ebenezer Baptist Church,
February 1968

491. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead
to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck
at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The
great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing.
Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching.
Charles H. Spurgeon
492. Remember that you can never be too weak for God to use, but
you can be too strong. Remember that the battle you currently face
is the Lord’s battle, not yours. Depend on God’s power for daily
living. Don’t let fear overcome your faith. Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn
493. “He hath made the earth by His power.” And He is making it
still. Even in the material world “His mercies are new every
morning.” James Smetham used to speak of going into his
garden “to see what the Lord is doing.” He would stand on the
top of Highgate Hill on a blustering night “to watch the goings
of the Lord in the storm.” And all this means that to James
Smetham creation was not merely a single event, but a process
whose countless events are still going on. He watched his
Lord at work! Every sunset was a new creation from the
Almighty Maker’s hands.
To many of us the Creator is remote from His works. He
is not immediately near. And so He no longer “walks in the
garden in the cool of the day.” The garden is no longer a holy
place. Let us recover the sacredness of things. Let us
“practice the presence of God.” Let us link His love and power
to every flower that blows. And so shall we be able to say, as
we move amid the glories of the natural world, “The Lord is in
His holy temple.” John Henry Jowett
494. The psalm tells us that the dear child of God that enjoys such
security as this, is the believer that does not run to God for a refuge
only in the time of some special temptation or danger; who does not
call on God only in the hour of sorrow and suffering, but whose
habitual place of abode is God; who by night is with God, who by
day is with God, who in prosperity finds his very sunshine in his
Father’s smile, who in adversity finds the light still breaking through
the clouds in that Father’s smile; the man who daily walks with God,
not only on Sunday, to go down in the week into paths where God is
forgotten; not the man who reads a verse of Scripture in the
morning, and offers a hasty prayer, and leaves the Word of God and
prayer behind him to be absorbed through the rest of the day in
secular employments and carnal pleasures. The believer who
abides in Jehovah is the man who stands before God as Elijah did,
waiting for God’s command, and walks with God as Enoch did,
finding no fellowship so sweet as the companionship of the Lord. A.
T. Pierson on Psalm 91
495. “Unto a land that I will show thee.” But what mysterious
windings there often are before that land is reached! But God’s
windings are never wasteful and purposeless. The apparent
deviations are always gracious preparations. We are taken out
of the way in order that we may the more richly reach our end.
George Pilkington yearned to go to the foreign field, and God
sent him to a dairy farm in Ireland. But the Irish dairy farm
proved to be on the way to Uganda; and all the experience and
knowledge which Pilkington picked up in this strange business
proved invaluable when he reached his appointed field. “He
bringeth the blind by a way that they know not.”
So I will remember that the “short cut” is not always the
finest road. God’s round-about ways are filled with Heavenly
treasure. Every winding is purposed for the discovery of new
wealth. What riches we gather on the way to God’s goal! John
Henry Jowett

496. Malachi hints that God is “weary” of professing disciples that


are so mixed up with the world that you cannot tell the
difference between them and the children of Mammon; and
what God yearns for in these days of a secularized church, split
up into factions, and pervaded with the venomous influence of
scepticism and infidelity, is, at least, a few souls, if only few
there be, who believe the Bible and the whole Bible, who take
Christ and the whole Christ, who believe in the Holy Spirit as a
Person, resident in the Church and in the believer, who know
the secret of prayer in the secret place, who understand the
names of God because they have had experience of His own
abiding in them, and who defy all the powers of man and all the
enmity and malignity of the devil in their persistent,
wholesome, unswerving fidelity to Him that bought them with
His own blood. It is to such heights of holy living that, if need
be, as with dying breath, I would call my fellow-disciples,
beckoning them up to these lofty summits to which few attain,
but upon which, even while on earth, we find the days of
Heaven brought down in advance and foretaste. A. T. Pierson
497. Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as
death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and
they were but flesh and blood, then why not I? They mourned their
weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave
them all their unflinching constancy -there is the same grace for me,
Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even Thy love in my
heart, this evening. Charles H. Spurgeon
498. Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that
he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation
of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After the first
strike for God and for the right, God allowed Moses to be driven
into blank discouragement, He sent him into the desert to feed
sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared
and told Moses to go and bring forth His people, and Moses
said—”Who am I, that I should go?” In the beginning Moses
realized that he was the man to deliver the people, but he had
to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in the
individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he
had learned communion with God.
We may have the vision of God and a very clear
understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing,
then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the
wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when
we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives
the call, and we get the quaver and say—”Oh, who am I?” We
have to learn the first great stride of God—”I AM THAT I AM
hath sent thee.” We have to learn that our individual effort for
God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered
incandescent by a personal relationship to God. We fix on the
individual aspect of things; we have the vision—”This is what
God wants me to do;” but we have not got into God’s stride. If
you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big
personal enlargement ahead. Oswald Chambers
499. Mystic contemplation, depth of spiritual communion, ecstasy of
soul, of that wonderful hour which made the face of Jesus shine
more brightly than any angel’s. But there was another element, too,
in the Transfiguration which no careful reader of the Gospel’s can
miss. Here on the mount Jesus made a new and final consecration
of Himself to the will of God His Father. Here He laid His body and
soul on the altar of utter sacrifice. Here He surrendered Himself to
the last dread demand of His vocation as Redeemer. What had
been begun at Nazareth and sealed at the Jordan and deepened
through all the Galilean days was here on Hermon made complete,
when with a great passion of joy flooding His being He accepted the
Cross. “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.” James S. Stewart
500. The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day
is the conception of practical work that has not come from the
New Testament, but from the systems of the world in which
endless energy and activities are insisted upon, but no private
life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus
said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, for lo
the kingdom of God is within you,” a hidden, obscure thing. An
active Christian worker too often lives in the shop window. It is
the innermost that reveals the power of the life.
We have to get rid of the plague of the spirit of the
religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none
of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so
highly, and the disciple is to be as his Master. The central thing
about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to
Himself, not public usefulness to men.
It is not its practical activities that are the strength of
this Bible Training College, its whole strength lies in the fact
that here you are put into soak before God. You have no idea
of where God is going to engineer your circumstances, no
knowledge of what strain is going to be put on you either at
home or abroad, and if you waste your time in over-active
energies instead of getting into soak on the great fundamental
truths of God’s Redemption, you will snap when the strain
comes; but if this time of soaking before God is being spent in
getting rooted and grounded in God on the unpractical line, you
will remain true to Him whatever happens. Oswald Chambers
501. But when I stand at the Cross; when I lift my eyes to the crucified
Son of God; when I recall the word that He spoke, “God so loved the
world that He gave His Son,” —in the love that blazes in that death I
can see something of the sin for which He died. I see it, as I see it
nowhere else. When I stand at the Cross I am permitted in my
measure to see sin through the eyes of my God. The Cross is the
place of great awakening for sinners. John Henry Jowett
502. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit
to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who
were foolish enough to trust God’s wisdom and the
supernatural equipment of God. Oswald Chambers
503. You cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself.
When the disciples came back from their first mission they were
filled with joy because the devils were subject to them, and Jesus
said—Don’t rejoice in successful service; the great secret of joy is
that you are rightly related to Me. The great essential of the
missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes
that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus.
Oswald Chambers
504. Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as
when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with
bitter scorn from earth’s hives, where we find no honey, but many
sharp stings, we rejoice in Him whose faithful word is sweeter than
honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to
realize God’s presence with us. Only let us enjoy His smile, and we
can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for His dear sake.
Charles H. Spurgeon
505. God’s love is the creator of my love. “While I muse the fire
burns.” I am kindled into the same holy passion. That is to
say, contemplation determines character. We acquire the hues
of the things to which we cling. To hold fellowship with love is
to become loveful and lovely. “We love because He first loved
us.” John Henry Jowett
506. There are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if
you live near to God, and your heart be kept warm with holy love.
He goes not amiss who goes in the company of God. Like Enoch,
walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You have
infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and
eternal power to defend you. ‘Jehovah’ - mark the word - ‘Jehovah
shall guide thee continually’. Charles H. Spurgeon
507. Notes from a sermon by Ken Jacks, missionary to Riau,
December 10, 2000:
• We can’t delegate vision and passion.
• It is amazing what vision and faith can accomplish.
• God uses partnership willing to risk failure and never gives
up.
• We often have not because we ask not.
• Courage is not the absence of fear but moving ahead in
spite of those fears.
• To bear fruit, at times, we must be willing to go out on a
limb.
• Risk- for God’s sake.
• The size of our God should determine the size of our
goals.
• God uses partnership that expects His Kingdom to grow.
• When we are in God we are enthusiastic about God things.
• There are variables in life over which we do have control.
• Today’s impossible situation is tomorrow’s miracle.

• God’s work done God’s way will not lack for resources.
(Hudson Taylor)
• The vision must be recast every 26 days. (From
Nehemiah)
• The measure of a leader is what it takes to discourage
him.
• God is looking for hearts fully committed to Him.
508. “When he came to himself.” He never would have come to
himself if not for his poverty, his desertion, his pain. So Almighty
God has strange ministers in His sanctuary. Not all His ministers
are mere speakers of holy and beautiful words. He employs some
grim teachers to instruct a certain class of mankind in the first
principles of right: grief, hunger, pain, homelessness, ill-health,
desertion. These are all the hired servants of the Father. He sends
them out after sons that have left the old, dear home.
This young man had to thank his swine-feeding, his
experience of famine, his homelessness, as the beginning of his
better life. Many of us probably have had to do precisely the same
thing. We found no religion in luxury; no altar in the carpeted room.
As long as we had everything within reach and call, our hearts never
went out of us in incense of praise, in utterance of prayer. Not until
we were breadless, homeless, until we exchanged fatherhood for
citizenship; not until we got under influences that were keenly bitter
and tormenting in their effects, did we begin to know that we had
done wrong. Some of us, again, have had to thank God for poverty,
for ill-health, for friendlessness, for being left out on the streets
without bread to eat or a pillow to rest upon while the rain dashed
into our faces and no man knew us. It was then we called for God,
and it was then the Father met us! Joseph Parker
509. There is a place in your heart called a throne. Someone always
occupies that place. The rival claimants are Christ and Self. Which
of these is on the throne? Christ will brook no rival. He will accept
no divided allegiance. So long as one apartment is withheld, He will
not assume control. Spirit, soul, and body belong alike to Him.
There is the spirit—the citadel; there is the city—the soul; there are
the walls—the body, with its five gates of access. You cannot keep
that wonderful little kingdom for while you are watching at one gate,
the crafty, sleepless enemy will come in at another. “Except the
Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
Jesus asks for the ownership of the entire being for the
whole is His by creative and redemptive right, and until all is yielded,
there is discord and disharmony. Only One can bring peace to this
wonderful little world. It is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we can say:
“The government is on His shoulders,” then every part of the little
kingdom acknowledges His Kingship and rejoices in His
Sovereignty. It was for this, man was created: it was for this, Jesus
died and rose again. J. Gregory Mantle
510. Does anything please Satan better than to look up into the face of
Jesus and say: “That man is a prominent officer and worker in that
church, but he belongs to me and to You?” “That woman is a
diligent worker in Your cause, but I have some stock in her life; she
belongs to me and to You.” Such is the penalty of compromise,
reservation, and disputed ownership. J. Gregory Mantle
511. “No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.” You
can say it easily with the lips, but the passage means something far
deeper; it means saying it with the life. It is the Holy Spirit who
alone can present and enforce the claims of Jesus to the Lordship of
the life. Only He can put this blessed ideal into a sinful and divided
soul. Only He can show the dishonesty of compromise and
reservation. Only He can detach you from the things you once loved
and spoil you forever for “the vain things that charmed you most.”
Only He can enthrone Jesus in the yielded heart and enable you to
sanctify Christ as Lord. J Gregory Mantle
512. If Religion has raised us into a new world, if it has filled us
with new ends of life, if it has taken possession of our hearts,
and altered the whole turn of our minds, if it has changed all
our ideas of things, given us a new set of hopes and fears, and
taught us to live by the realities of an invisible world—then we
may humbly hope that we are true followers of the Holy Jesus,
and such as may rejoice in the Day of Christ. William Law

513. It is the praise of God when the mother tells her child of the
goodness of Him who made the stars and who spread the world with
flowers. It is praise when the young convert tells of the joy of his
heart to his companion and bids him fly to the Fountain where he
was washed and been made clean. It is praise, praise of a high
order, too, when the advanced believer in his old age tells of the
faithfulness of God, and how not one good thing has failed of all that
the Lord God has promised; and while praise seems to sit in such a
comely manner upon the young convert that it seems to be the most
natural thing in all the world for him to praise, it is equally comely in
the aged Christian, for he seems to feel that if such a man as he,
preserved so long, did not praise God, the very stones in the street
would cry out against him. Charles H. Spurgeon
514. He who has two objects, two ends, who holds with the world and
holds with God, is not upright, and he cannot praise God. But when
a man has been created anew in Christ Jesus, when he has been
taught what the right path is and has grace given him to follow it,
and who says, “Now, come fair or come foul, my trust is in the living
God; I would not lie, though it were to gain a world; nor would I
cheat, though it were to win Heaven itself; I am independent of these
things, seeing that God has promised that He will never leave me,
nor forsake me”—when a man thus stands upright he makes very
blessed music, and such as God’s ears accept. Charles H.
Spurgeon
515. Now note the twice-repeated declaration: “When Moses came
down from Mount Sinai”; “When he came down from the Mount.”
That which created his unconsciousness was the Mount, and the
fact that he held in his hand those two tables of stone. The Mount
was the place of Divine revealing, and that is always the place of
self-concealing. The measure in which a soul passes into the
presence of God is the measure in which the soul becomes
unconscious of itself, and rises to the full dignity of the meaning of
its own experience. The deep secret of the human soul is capacity
for God which is always forgetfulness of self. He had been on the
Mount with God, and all his consciousness was effaced by the
fulness of experience. There were no atrophied powers, there was
no loss of personality; but personality rose into full spiritual health;
and personality in full spiritual health becomes unconscious of itself
in its grasp upon God, for the knowledge of Whom and communion
with Whom personality is created. G. Campbell Morgan
516. He is the God of the second opportunity. The Law is broken!
Grace will write the words again, and send them back to men that
they may try again. Moses coming down from the Mount was not
thinking of himself; he was thinking of God; and the light and the
glory that He had given to him changed the fashion of his
countenance. G. Campbell Morgan
517. A shining face is always the expression of a shining soul, if there
be no illumination of the soul, there can be no irradiation of the face.
The ghastly smirk that imitates happiness is deplorable; it is tragic.
The light within which makes us forgetful of ourselves is the light that
transfigures the face. As the spirit is strong in God, the face
expresses that strength. As the soul is confident in Him, confidence
shines from the eyes. As the spirit is full of hope on the darkest day,
hope is seen upon the countenance. As the soul is sensitive to
human sorrow and joy, feels the pain and the bliss of others, all the
sweet sympathy is manifested upon the face.
What, then, are the secrets of such shining? Let us go back
to the story. I admit that times have altered, things are not as they
were; but the deep philosophy of the story abides, and its principles
are of immediate application.
First, there must be time on the Mount. Time on the Mount
is time in which we separate ourselves from all the things of men;
time which we give to the cultivation of our fellowship with God and
the things of God.
And let us not forget that time on the Mount must be in the
interest of the very men and the very things from which for the time
we have withdrawn ourselves. Moses on the Mount was carrying
the burden of the people in the valley. His unconscious shining of
face was the outcome of the unconsciousness of himself that made
him willing to say, “Blot me out of Thy Book, if only these people can
be spared.”
Again, there must be silence for God; praise and prayer, but
also silence! Is not keeping silence before God almost a lost art
among Christian people? “His face shone by reason of His
speaking with him.” Not by reason of Moses’ speaking with God, but
by reason of Moses’ silence while God spoke to him. To silence,
deliberately sought, reverently guarded, God will for ever more
speak; revealing to the waiting soul new phases of Himself;
unveiling the mystery of His own character; telling of mercy and
judgment; repeating the terms of the old covenant that we have
broken that we may renew it again, the law of life that we have
violated that we may obey it.
These are the secrets of unconsciousness also. We shall
return presently to the valley of our appointed task, mastered by the
memory of the Mount, carrying with us the things we have heard in
secret, strengthened by the revelation in loneliness. All unconscious
of ourselves, we shall go, faces shining with the light. G. Campbell
Morgan
518. It is often said that ‘only what we’ve done for Christ will last’. I’ve
used that phrase myself. But, I’m starting to see that, on a deeper
level, ‘only what Christ does through us will last’. Mike Wilhoit
519. Turn then to the other side of the suggested picture, life in the
spirit. That is life in which man recognizes that the essential part of
him is spiritual, that he is not ultimately, finally, fundamentally of the
dust, but of Deity; that this life is but school time, and probation, and
preparation; and that all he feels within himself of essential life will
come to its fulfilment and intensity beyond; the life which answers
not the call of the flesh, but the call of the spirit. G. Campbell
Morgan
520. The demonstration of the far vision is courageous endurance. G.
Campbell Morgan
521. All the gaud and glitter of things temporal are the devil’s methods
for drowning thought. The one thing you dare not do if you are living
in the flesh is stay to think. You must away to the glaring lights and
the clashing music and the paint. God help you, man. That is not
life. Life in the flesh is life in prison, and in corruption. Life
deteriorating, degenerating, dying, doomed, and presently damned.
I pray you deliver yourself in this hour from soft conceptions of what
you are doing, and come to see the horror of the whole business.
You were made to lift your face to God. God has put eternity in
your heart, so said the ancient preacher, and it is true. You can
never satisfy the surging eternity of your own being with the
nonsense of fleeting time. You can never satisfy the clamant
cry of your deepest life in the painted glitter of the place of sin.
Life in the flesh is disaster because it is failure. G. Campbell
Morgan
522. I am impressed first by the fact that the Spirit of Christ was
characterized by simplicity rather than by complexity. I am
impressed secondly by the fact that the Spirit of Christ was
characterized by serenity rather than by feverishness. I am
impressed finally by the fact that the Spirit of Christ was
characterized by sensitiveness rather than by callousness. G.
Campbell Morgan
523. This also let us remember. We too often attempt to correct the
center from the circumference. Let us rather correct the
circumference from the center, by handing over all our lives to the
Christ Himself and so receiving the Spirit of God. When that Spirit of
God is enthroned, we live no longer in the flesh but in the spirit, and
then, not all at once, for the full fruitage of Christian character does
not come in a moment to perfection; first the blade, then the ear,
then the full corn in the ear; but when the Spirit of God is in the life
there will be the first promise of the Spirit of Christ, and we shall
“grow up in all things into Him Who is the head.” G. Campbell
Morgan
524. The inner man must be dealt with first, and then the outward will
come right in due time. How many of the plans for the social and
moral renovation of the world, come under the lash of this
condemnation, and are at once declared to be inadequate because
they only skim the surface of the evil! . . . We shall have to go
deeper than that, as Paul, echoing his Master, reminds us and to
begin right in the middle if we intend to influence to any purpose the
circumference and the outside. First of all must come the renewing
of the mind, after that, the transfiguration of the life. Alexander
Maclaren
525. Ah! dear brethren, what man knows himself, and has ever tried
fairly to judge his own inner history and life, but will say: “It is all
true”? Nature’s sternest painter is her best. The teaching that a
man, apart from God and the renovating influences of Christianity,
has a mind that needs to be shaped all over again before it is
capable of nobility and purity and true holiness, and wisdom, is a
teaching to which, if you will strip it of the mere, hard shell of the
theological language, by which it has often been made repulsive to
men, everybody’s conscience, when once it is fairly appealed to,
gives in its “Amen!” And when I come to a miscellaneous
congregation like this, and bring the message to each heart—”Thou
are the man!”—there is not one of us, if he is honest with himself,
but will say, “Yes! I know it all; I am!” Apart from God we have
minds enslaved, that need to be emancipated. Alexander Maclaren
526. The reason why multitudes of people who formally call
themselves Christians have such a slight hold of Christian truth, and
why the Gospel has so small a power over them, is because they
have never found out, in any real sense of the word, that they are
sinful men. Alexander Maclaren
527. If a man does not think much about sin, he does not think much
about a Divine Savior. And wherever you find a conception of
Christianity which makes light of the Divinity or of the sacrifice of
Jesus Christ, the reason for that error lies very largely in this other
one—an under-estimate of the importance of the fact of sin.
Wherever you find men and women with a Christianity that
sits very lightly upon them, that does not impel them to any acts of
service and devotion, that seldom breaks out into any heroisms of
self-surrender, and never rises into the heights of communion with
God, depend upon it that the roots of it are to be found here, that the
man has never been down into the abyss and never sent his voice
up from it as some man that had tumbled down a coal pit might fling
a despairing call up to the surface, in the hope that somebody
wandering past the mouth of it might hear the cry. “Out of the
depths” he has not cried unto God. Alexander Maclaren
528. The providence of God is as plain as the sunlight, as beautiful as
the summer landscape. How can we approach it? By studying
Jesus Christ; the daily life of Christ was the daily life of God. Then
why tear the clouds asunder to see some at present invisible
providence? It is needless, it may soon become impious. We need
not batter the cloud-door, and say, Admit us to see the machinery of
the universe. No need of that; read the life of Jesus Christ, and you
will see what God is doing, what God can do, and what God has
been doing all the undated and uncalendared ages.
This brings the matter very closely to us. The kingdom of
God is among us, the kingdom of God is within you. Why stretch
your necks to see something beyond the horizon when God Himself
is standing in your midst and manifesting Himself in your own flesh?
Then we will study Jesus, and see what He thought about the
people and about life, and how He sought comfort for all the persons
that trusted Him, how He made orchards grow and the wheatfields
and the vineyards and the yards of olives. That is right; now you are
becoming religious. Joseph Parker
529. What is God’s plan of judgment as shown by Jesus Christ? He
said, Where much is given much will be required; where little is
given little will be expected. Where there is poverty and difficulty
about doing certain things, yet there sounds this sweet music, She
hath done what she could. That is the judgment; that is the day of
judgment. Why not judge ourselves now? We need not wait until
the after-death judgment: set up the day of judgment now. I have
much, do I give much? I have little, do I give out of the little? Do I
do what I can? Oh, so small, yet given with a kiss of the heart. Let
this divine revelation come nearer and nearer to us. Let us go to
Jesus when we would know about God. Let us study His example
when we would apprehend somewhat of Divine metaphysics. With
Christ at hand no man need be at a loss for God. Joseph Parker

530. Our years are spent in ceaseless interaction with the lives of other
people. And whenever we learn to touch these other lives delicately
and understandingly, then we possess the charming grace of tact.
George H. Morrison
531. And then when our cares are cast on God, what kind of life does
God expect of us? It is here that Peter displays a heavenly wisdom,
for he says, “Be sober and watchful.” It is a perilous thing to have a
load of cares. It is fraught with manifold temptations. It may make a
husband very cross and irritable as many a wife knows. But never
forget that to be free from cares may be as perilous as to be
burdened with them, and that’s why Peter adds, “Be sober and be
watchful.” I have known people suddenly freed from care by some
large legacy of fortune—and that freedom has sometimes been their
ruin. God does not make His children carefree in order that He may
make them careless. Surely better a thousand cares than that. He
makes them carefree that with undivided heart they may give
themselves to the service of their brother and to the glory of His
blessed name. George H. Morrison
532. It is when we realize, however dimly, that in Him we live and
move and have our being, it is when we waken to the mysterious
certainty that we all hang on God for every heartbeat—it is only then
the word comes to its fullness in the deep usage of the Scriptures,
and man is said to be waiting upon God. George H. Morrison
533. And so when a man is said to wait on God, it is not a negation of
activity, for the thought of service runs right through the term. We
wait on God whenever we help a brother and do it lovingly for Jesus’
sake. We wait on God when we teach our little class or climb the
stairs to cheer some lonely soul. The servant in the kitchen waits on
God when for His sake she does her duty faithfully. The mistress in
the living room waits on God when for His sake she is a lady to her
servants. We are all apt to forget that and to narrow down these fine
old Bible words. We are prone to limit the great thought of waiting to
the single region of devotion. But the root idea of it is not devotion.
The root idea is simple, quiet obedience. And what doth the Lord
thy God require of thee but to obey? George H. Morrison
534. To wait on God is not just to pray to God, for many pray and
never expect an answer. To wait on God is to pray with tense
expectancy that the prayer we offer will be answered, for He is the
answerer of prayer. All prayer is not waiting upon God in the full and
highest sense of the Old Testament. For a man may rise from his
knees and forget the thing he prayed for and fail to keep on the
lookout for an answer. Only when we pray and pray believingly, and
climb the watchtower to see the answer coming, do we reach the
fullness of that fine old term waiting upon God. George H. Morrison
535. Egypt is the world with its bondage to sin and to Satan; the blood-
sprinkled doorway is the atonement of Jesus Christ, with the security
from the judgments of God accorded to the believer; the crossing of
the Red Sea may represent justification, passing away from Egypt
and beginning the new life under the leadership of God; the
wilderness journey may represent the uncertain and the unsettled
course of those that are disciples, but have not learned the fulness
of their privileges; and the crossing of Jordan may represent the
disciple coming into the possession of his privileges, realizing the
rest that is given to him in Christ and by the Spirit even in this world.
A. T. Pierson
536. There is nothing so absolutely wearying as an idle life, an aimless
life, a life without a purpose, without any definite end before it, any
definite object toward which to press . . . Blessed be God when He
takes some idle and aimless and purposeless life, and, by the breath
of His Spirit, turns the old rusty trumpet into a clarion that sounds the
peal for advance. A. T. Pierson
537. May it not be said, on the basis of the Word of God, with entire
reverence, that there is nothing that is such a provocation to the
Lord of grace and glory as that, when disciples have tasted of His
Spirit, of the powers of the world to come, and of the good Word of
God, they should turn back again to a worldly life, and desire the
leeks, and garlics, and onions, and cucumbers, of Egypt? caring
more for a worldly bill of fare than for the dainties that God sets on
the banquet table beneath the banner of His love. A. T. Pierson
538. And God will never give a disciple the rest unto which the child of
God is invited if he does not cross the Jordan of a new consecration.
Half a life for God brings no rest to anybody; it is a tiresome life, it is
an unsatisfying life. You cannot mix oil and water; you cannot
mingle light and darkness; you cannot wed Christ and Belial. There
must be a whole heart for God, or there can be nothing known of the
rest into which God invites you.
The Jordan, in my judgment, stands for that consecration
fully to God as the Red Sea stands for conversion, passing from
Egypt into a life of dependence upon Jesus. There is a great deal of
difference between acceptance of Christ as my Savior, and
acceptance of Christ as my Master; a great deal of difference
between taking Christ as my Redeemer to save me from hell and lift
me to Heaven, and taking Christ as my Sovereign to rule over me, to
reign in me, to direct my conduct, to govern my thoughts, to give an
end to my purposes, and to control my life. May God’s grace help
each one of us to comprehend what blessings come to a child of
God, who simply takes his Redeemer and his Savior to be also his
Ruler and his Sovereign. You should ask Jesus what His will is
concerning your life and what work He would have you to do, what
of your present activities he would have you forsake or diminish
because they are worldly and selfish, and what new forms of service
for Him He would have you assume in His dear name; how, when
you have sought to sanctify your family altar, you may sanctify the
counter in your business shop; how, when you have sought to
sanctify yourself at the Lord’s table, you may sanctify yourself at
your own family table; how, when you have sought to give one day
in seven wholly unto the Lord, you may keep every day holy unto the
Lord, so that, in a sense, every day should be a Sabbath day of rest;
so that you should go to your place of business tomorrow morning
as truly to transact business for God as when you come to the Lords
supper today to take the bread and the cup in His dear name; so
that, as you sanctify the Sabbath day wholly unto His service, you
should seek to pervade all your daily life with the conscious
presence of your Master; so that He shall be a partner in your daily
business, a sharer of its profits, and the constant companion of your
daily walk. A. T. Pierson
539. Where the winding road crept round the shoulder of Olivet, the
city suddenly came into view; and Jesus halted. They saw Him
sitting silent and absorbed. They saw Him gazing at the city spread
out before Him. And then—to their amazement—they saw tears in
the eyes that gazed. Jesus wept! They did not know the reason for
those tears. They did not understand how His heart was aching for
the stubbornness, the blindness, of the city that He loved. They did
not realize how He was foreseeing the day, so soon to come, when
fire and sword would seal Jerusalem’s fate. They only knew that the
leader, whom they had hoped to see asserting Himself with martial
vigor and remorseless might, was weeping. And they wondered.
And they were disquieted. When the procession was formed again
and moved on, the hosannas were perhaps a little less convinced.
Was this, after all, the king they had expected? But Christ’s
thoughts were not their thoughts; and when the day was over and
excitement still ran high, He slipped away, to the bitter
disappointment and chagrin of those who still hankered after a
Messiah who would take the throne by force, and returned quietly to
Bethany. James S. Stewart
540. Only a brief hour or two now and the storm would break in
devastating fury, but here in this quiet room the very peace of God
was reigning. Here the great Christian Sacrament of all the ages
was instituted. Here the deathless words about the home of many
mansions were spoken, and the promise of the Comforter was
given. And here the Master, eating and drinking for the last time
before He died with the men whom God had given Him out of the
world, the faithful few who through sunshine and cloud had clung to
Him and companied with Him down the years and loved Him tonight
most passionately, trysted them to meet Him again and to receive
from His hands another cup at the banquet of God in Heaven.
James S. Stewart

541. A stated purpose of this book of Proverbs is to impart skillful and


godly Wisdom. Proverbs is a practical book dealing with the art of
living, and it bases Wisdom solidly on the fear of the Lord. This
reverence for God is set forth as the path to life and security. In
chapters 1-9 the writer contrasts the way of Wisdom with the way of
folly—the path of violence and immorality. Wisdom in the Proverbs
has a broad base of meaning, covering such things as practical
knowledge in discerning between good and evil in the ordinary
affairs of life; the discernment between truth and error or that which
is lasting and makes for success in life; and the insight of man
beyond the human to the divine realities discerned and deduced
from that which God has revealed. All three of these meanings are
involved in the teaching through these pithy sayings. (From the
introduction to the book of Proverbs in the Amplified Bible).
542. God is saying to His people—You are not in love with Me now,
but I remember the time when you were—”I remember . . . the love
of thine espousals.” Am I as full of the extravagance of love to
Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to
prove my devotion to Him? Does He find me recalling the time
when I did not care for anything but Himself? Am I there now, or
have I become wise over loving Him? Am I so in love with Him that I
take no account of where I go? Or am I watching for the respect
due to me; weighing how much service I ought to give? Oswald
Chambers
543. The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is
His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us
look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere. The
teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is, in effect—Narrow all your
interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is
concentration on Jesus Christ. “Look unto Me.” Oswald Chambers
544. The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping
of the life open towards God. Let everyone else—work, clothes,
food, everything on earth—go by the board, saving that one thing.
The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration
on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding,
keeping the life absolutely spiritual all through. Let other things
come and go as they may, let other people criticize as they will, but
never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God.
Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. It is the
one thing that is apt to fluctuate but it ought not to. The severest
discipline of a Christian’s life is to learn how to keep “beholding as in
a glass the glory of the Lord.” Oswald Chambers
545. We would all be better Christians and wiser students if we would
remember this—God rarely uses periods. There is rarely a full stop
in His dealings with us—it is more likely to be with the effect of a
colon or a semi-colon. In most instances, what God does becomes
a means toward something else that He is planning to do . . .
Prospect is the word for you and me. Look forward! Look ahead!
Live with faith and expectation because the Christian’s future is
more glorious than his past! A. W. Tozer
546. Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be
proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important
is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality.
Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor Heaven, nor hell;
but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need
of the Christian worker today. As workers we have to get used to
the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal
holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human
goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the
test comes.

Paul did not say he separated himself, but—”when it pleased


God who separated me . . . “ Paul had not a hypersensitive interest
in his own character. As long as our eyes are upon our own
personal whiteness we shall never get near the reality of
Redemption. Workers break down because their desire is for their
own whiteness, and not for God. “Don’t ask me to come into contact
with the rugged reality of Redemption on behalf of the filth of human
life as it is; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me
more desirable in my own eyes.” To talk in that way is a sign that
the reality of the Gospel of God has not begun to touch me; there is
no reckless abandon to God. God cannot deliver me while my
interest is merely in my own character. Paul is unconscious of
himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one
purpose—to proclaim the Gospel of God. Oswald Chambers
547. If God were human, how sick to the heart and weary He would be
of the constant requests we make for our salvation, for our
sanctification. We tax His energies from morning till night for things
for ourselves—something for me to be delivered from! When we
touch the bedrock of the reality of the Gospel of God, we shall never
bother God any further with little personal plaints.
The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the Gospel of
God. He welcomed heart-breaks, disillusionments, tribulation, for
one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved
devotion to the Gospel of God. Oswald Chambers
548. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a
wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me.”
Oswald Chambers
549. George Steptoe Washington was the son of George Washington’s
brother, Sam. When Sam died, Washington took on the
responsibility of educating Sam’s son. George Steptoe Washington
was heading to college in Philadelphia when Washington wrote him
the following letter. Knowledge without virtue would be incomplete,
Washington tells his nephew. As John Locke put it: “Virtue is harder
to be got than knowledge; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom
recovered.” We have lost sight of the fact that the proper end of any
education is moral education. As Martin Buber wrote: “All education
is the education of character.”
Should you enter upon the course of studies here marked
out you must consider it as the finishing of your education, and
therefore, as the time is limited, that every hour misspent is lost
forever, and that future years cannot compensate for lost days at
this period of your life. This reflection must show the necessity of an
unremitting application to your studies. To point out the importance
of circumspection in your conduct, it may be proper to observe that a
good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the
habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your
conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore
highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but
virtuous. Much more might be said to show the necessity of
application and regularity, but when you must know that without
them you can never be qualified to render service to your country,
assistance to your friends, or consolation to your retired moments,
nothing further need be said to prove their utility. (From Our Sacred
Honor by William J. Bennett)

550. But there is another season in which the Christian has Heaven
revealed to him; and that is, the season of quiet contemplation.
There are precious hours, blessed be God, when we forget the
world—times and seasons when we get quite away from it, when
our weary spirit wings its way far, far, from scenes of toil and strife.
There are precious moments when the angel of contemplation gives
us vision. He comes and puts his finger on the lip of the noisy world;
he bids the wheels that are continually rattling in our ears be still;
and we sit down, and there is a solemn silence of the mind. We find
our Heaven and our God; we engage ourselves in contemplating the
glories of Jesus, or mounting upwards towards the bliss of Heaven
—in going backward to the great secrets of electing love, in
considering the immutability of the blessed covenant, in thinking of
that wind which “bloweth where it listeth,” in remembering our own
participation of that life which cometh from God, in thinking of our
blood-bought union with the Lamb, of the consummation of our
marriage with Him in realms of light and bliss, or any such kindred
topics. Then it is that we know a little about Heaven. Have ye never
found, O ye sons and daughters of gaiety, a holy calm come over
you at times, in reading the thoughts of your fellow men? But oh!
How blessed to come and read the thoughts of God, and work, and
weave them out in contemplation. Then we have a web of
contemplation that we wrap around us like an enchanted garment,
and we open our eyes and see Heaven. Christian! When you are
enabled by the Spirit to hold a season of sweet contemplation, then
you can say—”But He hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit;” for
the joys of Heaven are akin to the joys of contemplation, and the
joys of a holy calm in God. Charles H. Spurgeon
551. We have no correspondence with angels. The influence they
have upon us, the protection they afford us, is secret and
undiscerned; but God, the highest Spirit, offers Himself to us in His
Son, in His ordinances, is visible in every creature, presents Himself
to us in every providence; to Him we must seek; in Him we must
rest. God had no rest from the creation till He had made man; and
man can have no rest from the creation till he rests in God. God
only is our dwelling place; our souls should only long for Him: our
souls should only wait upon Him. The spirit of man never riseth to
its original glory, till it be carried up on the wings of faith and love to
its original copy. The face of the soul looks most beautiful, when it is
turned to the face of God, the Father of Spirits; when the derived
spirit is fixed upon the original Spirit, drawing from It life and glory.
Stephen Charnock
552. I was speaking once to one of our boys recently home from the
war. He was telling me—what I knew by experience already—of the
problems of living the Christian life in the services.
“The secret of success,” he said, “is in prayer. If I could get
away for a quiet time; if I could speak to God and listen to God . . .
all was well.”
That is the secret of success in the ambassadorial service
anywhere and at any time.
Do you know why so many people fail as Christian
ambassadors? They don’t maintain communication with their King.
William E. Sangster
553. How easily, without realizing it, do we become what the apostle
calls “conformed to this world”. How easily we accept a lower
standard; take to saying: “Well, I see no harm in it”; lose the sharp
distinction between right and wrong; have all our blacks and whites
dissolve into one indeterminate gray; keep up the pretense of being
ambassadors by preserving one or two Christian customs, but—for
the rest—we are unworthy; quite definitely not true to our
ambassadorial status; something of a failure; a casualty of the
diplomatic service. William E. Sangster
554. Some day the Christian ambassador will be called Home. God
doesn’t intend that he dwell forever in an alien land. Some day that
call will come to you and to me. Suddenly perhaps . . . or with
warning. It is as the Monarch wills. When it comes, may it only find
us fulfilling our ambassadorial duties; busy in the tasks He has
given; filling the moments with glad service to Him. William E.
Sangster
555. Therefore, riches are unrighteous, because the people misuse
and abuse them. For we know that wherever riches are, the saying
holds good: money rules the world, men creep for it, they lie for it,
they act the hypocrite for it, and do all manner of wickedness against
their neighbor to obtain it, to keep it, and increase it to possess the
friendship of the rich.
But it is especially before God an unrighteous mammon
because man does not serve his neighbor with it; for where my
neighbor is in need and I do not help him when I have the means to
do so, I unjustly keep what is his, as I am indebted to give to him
according to the law of nature: “Whatever you would that men
should do to you, do you even so to them.” And again Christ says:
“Give to him that asketh thee.” And John in his first Epistle says:
“But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have
need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how
dwelleth the love of God in him?” Martin Luther

556. It has been a matter of very great concern to many to know who
the unjust steward is whom Christ so highly recommends. This, in
short, is the simple answer: Christ does not commend unto us the
steward on account of his unrighteousness, but on account of his
wisdom and his shrewdness, that with all his unrighteousness, he so
wisely helps himself. As though I would urge some one to watch,
pray and study, and would say: “Look here, murderers and thieves
wake at night to rob and steal, why then do you not wake to pray
and study?” By this I do not praise murderers and thieves for their
crimes, but for the wisdom and foresight, that they so wisely obtain
the goods of unrighteousness. Martin Luther
557. Fear not to live because of the sorrows that shall come upon you,
as come they will, sooner or later. The Spanish proverb has in it
truth for us all when it says: “There is no home that sooner or later
will not have its hush.” The proverb carries its own meaning. There
will be shadows, there will be clouds, the windows will be darkened.
The hush comes sooner or later to every home. Jesus comes to us
saying: “Fear not. When that day comes with its hush, its clouds, its
shadows and its tears, I will be right there, closer than any earthly
friend. You can turn to Me for rest unto your soul. You can utterly
trust Me, for I will never fail you. Fear not to live.” George W. Truett
558. Oh, my friends! Your faith is incomplete, if you do not live in the
daily faith of a coming Savior. Robert Murray McCheyne
559. The final demonstration will be in the resurrection of the saints.
So that the resurrection of the saints is not the last thing, it is the
beginning. Do not limit God and humanity by the end of this age, or
by the millennium. Everything so far has been preparatory.
Stretching away beyond me, I dream dreams of unborn ages and
new creations, and marvelous processions out of the being of God,
but through them all, the risen Christ and the risen saints will be the
central revelations of holiness and of life. G. Campbell Morgan
560. There is first the vision of the possibility, and then the action
which realizes the vision. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him,” does
not merely mean see Him, believe Him, pray to Him, fear Him; it
means also, take the forces which He placed in your personality and
use them under His government. Do not expect that he will ever
bring you to the mountain height unless you climb. Do not imagine
that you will ever come to fulfilment of your own life unless you toil.
Do not for a moment think that to acknowledge God means that if
you are a member of the Christian Church He will make your life full
and beautiful and rich if you are lazy in the matter of your daily
avocation. G. Campbell Morgan
561. You have no right to choose what you will be. Seek Divine
guidance. Pray about it, but do not end with praying. For remember
this, in every human life there is some power which God needs, not
merely for the supply of all that is necessary to the life possessing it,
but for the commonwealth. It is for every man to discover in God’s
presence, and in fellowship with Him, what that power is; and then to
take hold of it and develop, and us it, as in the will of God. G.
Campbell Morgan
562. Oh, the safety of being in the will of God. “He shall direct thy
paths.” Not always in easy or pleasant paths, but always in right
paths. Not always in those I would have chosen, but always in
paths which lead to success. There may be the vastest difference
between success and fame. G. Campbell Morgan
563. The final test of life is beyond the things of time and sense. It will
be a test of fire; only that which cannot be destroyed will remain. In
the light of that final test if we would make our lives successful we
must begin right. What is the first step? Surrender. What the plan
of life, the pathway to the end? Obedience. Confronting everyone
of us tonight, God in Christ asks for our lives.
I pray for you that you may realize your ambitions, and fulfil
your dreamings. In order that when the eternal morning flushes the
eastern sky, you may come to fulfilment. “In all thy ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” G. Campbell
Morgan

564. And our lord summoned her forth, and made her tell her story,
that she might be lifted out of the realm of magic and brought into
living relationship with Him. It seemed cruel, but it was really kind.
It sent her home with loftier thoughts of Him. She would never talk
of the wonder of the tassel; she would always talk of the wonder of
the Lord. Permitted to steal away without confession, she would
have said exultantly, “I’ve found a cure.” Now the woman cried, “I’ve
found a friend.” . . . And Christ was so eager she should be a
witness-bearer, in places where His foot had never trod, that He
imperiously insisted on confession. Now she would never talk of
magic; she would talk of the wonderful welcome she had got; she
would talk of the love that streamed on her poor heart, which was
better than the healing of her body. Had she stolen away she would
have had her gift, but she never would have known the Giver. For
that she had to stand forth and confess. George H. Morrison
565. Watch God’s cyclones. The only way God sows His saints is by
His whirlwind. Are you going to prove an empty pod? It will depend
on whether or not you are actually living in the light of what you have
seen. Let God fling you out, and do not go until He does. If you
select your own spot, you will prove an empty pod. If God sows you,
you will bring forth fruit. Oswald Chambers
566. Without in any way detracting from the magnitude of his
accomplishments in other fields of endeavor, it should be pointed
out that the stimulus for his activities was found in the Scriptures,
and that his love for and attention to them was in large part the
secret of his passion and his accomplishments. Many modern
would-be reformers would do well to remember this lest they be
tempted in their revolutionary enthusiasm to overthrow a perceived
evil only to replace it with another variety of human error. Luther
was deeply concerned to impact the truth of the Scriptures to the
people and then to lead them in the practical, political, and personal
applications of the same. D. Stuart Briscoe on Martin Luther
567. How little Hezekiah knew of what was best for him or for Judah!
How presumptuous is anyone who demands that his own
shortsighted vision replace the wisdom of God’s plan for his own life
or for that of others! (From a footnote in the Amplified Bible on
Isaiah 38)
568. It is arduous work to keep the master ambition in front. It means
holding one’s self to the high ideal year in and year out, not being
ambitious to win souls or to establish churches or to have revivals,
but being ambitious only to be “accepted of Him.” It is not lack of
spiritual experience that leads to failure, but lack of laboring to keep
the ideal right. Once a week at least take stock before God and see
whether you are keeping your life up to the standard He wishes.
Paul is like a musician who does not heed the approval of the
audience if he can catch the look of approval from his Master.
Any ambition which is in the tiniest degree away from this
central one of being “approved unto God” may end in our being
castaways. Learn to discern where the ambition leads, and you will
see why it is so necessary to live facing the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul
says—”Lest my body should make me take another line, I am
constantly watching so that I may bring it into subjection and keep it
under.”
I have to learn to relate everything to the master ambition,
and to maintain it without any cessation. My worth to God in public
is what I am in private. Is my master ambition to please Him and be
acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how noble?
Oswald Chambers
569. If you cannot believe that God will forgive your sins for Christ’s
sake, how then will you believe that He will forgive you your sins for
the works of the law, which you could never perform? Martin Luther

570. So the trial, which was no trial, ended. One extraordinary feature
of the whole story let us notice in closing. Everyone who studies the
narratives has the strange feeling that the tables are being turned
before his very eyes and that what he is seeing is not Jesus on trial
before Caiaphas or Pilate or Herod; what he is seeing is Caiaphas,
Pilate, Herod, on trial before Jesus. And when all is over and the
prisoner has been marched away to Golgotha, it is not He who has
been judged by them; it is they who have been judged by Him. Face
to face for a brief hour; and His searchlight played upon their souls,
revealing their inmost nature and showing them up for all the world
and for all time to see. On that dark, crowded night the real Judge
was Christ. And where Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod stood that
night, every soul at some stage of its life journey must stand—face
to face with Jesus in the place of decision—and each soul’s verdict
on the Lord of all good life is in a deep and solemn sense Christ’s
verdict on itself. James S. Stewart
571. We are not so intimately acquainted with God as Jesus was, and
as He wants us to be—”That they may be one even as We are one.”
Think of the last thing you prayed about—were you devoted to your
desire or to God? Determined to get some gift of the Spirit or to get
at God? “Your Heavenly Father knoweth what things ye have need
of before ye ask Him.” The point of asking is that you may get to
know God better. “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give
thee the desires of thine heart.” Keep praying in order to get a
perfect understanding of God Himself. Oswald Chambers
572. But there is Another who claims to have for weary feet the gift of
rest. The world is always full of weary feet, and the days of the
Nazarene were no exception. The souls that gathered about Him
numbered a great many weary ones, tired, self-nauseated, faint. He
looked upon them, and saw their weariness, and was moved with
infinite pity, and thus appealed to them: “Come unto me, all ye that
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “I will give.”
How? You remember that other great word He spake on another
day: “Not as the world giveth, give I.” How does the world give? If
the world wished to help a heavy-laden man, it would seek to do it
by removing his burden. The world’s way of giving rest is by
removing a man’s yoke. “Not as the world giveth, give I.” The world
would create a paradise of sluggards. The world’s heaven would be
a life without burdens. Its gift of rest would be a gift of ease. “Not as
the world giveth, give I.” That is not His way. The restful life is not
the easeful life—life without burdens or yokes. The gift of Jesus is a
gift of rest while wearing the yoke, rest while carrying the cross, rest
in the very midst of mystery, temptation, and strife. “Come unto Me,
all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” John
Henry Jowett
573. Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the
eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you
will find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it!
(From Jeremiah 6:16 in the Amplified Bible)
574. But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and
knows Me [personally, directly discerning and recognizing My
character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness,
judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I
delight, says the Lord. (From Jeremiah 9:24 in the Amplified Bible)
575. This is a letter from Abigail Adams to her son, John Quincy
Adams, in June of 1778:
My Dear Son

... The most amiable and most useful disposition in a young mind is
diffidence of itself, and this should lead you to seek advice and
instruction from Him who is your natural Guardian, and will always
counsel and direct you in the best manner both for your present and
future happiness. You are in possession of a natural good
understanding and of spirits unbroken by adversity, and untamed with
care. Improve your understanding for acquiring useful knowledge and
virtue, such as will render you an ornament to society, an honor to your
country, and a blessing to your parents. Great learning and superior
abilities, should you ever possess them, will be of little value and small
estimation, unless virtue, honor, truth and integrity are added to them.
Adhere to those religious sentiments and principals which were early
instilled into your mind and remember that you are accountable to your
Maker for all your words and actions. Let me enjoin it upon you to
attend constantly and steadfastly to the precepts and instructions of
your father as you value the happiness of your mother and your own
welfare. His care and attention to you render many things
unnecessary for me to write which I might otherwise do, but the
inadvertency and heedlessness of youth, requires line upon line and
precept upon precept, and when enforced by the joint efforts of both
parents will I hope have a due influence upon your conduct, for dear as
you are to me, I had much rather you should have found your grave in
the ocean you have crossed, or any untimely death crop you in your
infant years, rather than see you an immoral profligate or a Graceless
child. You have entered early in life upon the great Theater of the world
which is full of temptations and vice of every kind. You are not wholly
unacquainted with history, in which you have read of crimes which your
inexperienced mind could scarcely believe credible. You have been
taught to think of them with horror and to view vice as
a Monster of so frightful mean. That to be hated, needs but to be
seen.
Yet you must keep a strict guard upon yourself, or the odious monster
will soon lose its terror, by becoming familiar to you. The modern
history of our own times furnishes as black a list of crimes as can be
paralleled in ancient time, even if we go back to Nero, Caligula or
Caesar Borgia. Young as you are, the cruel war into which we have
been compelled by the haughty tyrant of Britain and the bloody
emissaries of his vengeance may stamp upon your mind this certain
truth, that the welfare and prosperity of all countries, communities and I
may add individuals depend upon their morals. That nation to which
we were once united as it has departed from justice, eluded and
subverted the wise laws which formerly governed it, suffered the worst
of crimes to go unpunished, has lost its valor, wisdom and humanity,
and from being the dread and terror of Europe, has sunk into derision
and infamy.
576. What, then, do we need? We need the return of the wonder, the
arresting marvel of a transformed church, the phenomenon of a
miraculous life. I speak not now of the wonders of spasmodic
revivals; and, indeed, if I must be perfectly frank, my confidence in
the efficient ministry of these elaborately engineered revivals has
greatly waned. I will content myself with the expression of this most
sober judgment, that the alienated and careless multitude is not
impressed by the machinery and products of our modern revivals.
The ordinary mission does not, and cannot, reach the stage at which
this particular type of impressiveness becomes operative. The
impressiveness does not attach to “decisions,” but to resultant life.
The wonder of the world is not excited by the phenomena of the
penitent bench, but by what happens at the ordinary working-bench
in the subsequent days. The world is not impressed by the calendar
statement that at a precise particular moment winter relinquished
her sovereignty to spring; the real interest is awakened by the
irresistible tokens of the transition in garden, hedgerow, and field. It
is not the new birth which initially arrests the world, but the new and
glorified life. It is not, therefore, by spasmodic revivals, however
grace-blessed they may be, that we shall excite the wonder of the
multitude, but by the abiding miracle of a God-filled and glorious
church. What we need, above all things, is the continuous marvel of
an elevated church, “set on high” by the King, having her home “in
the heavenly place in Christ,” approaching all things “from above,”
and triumphantly resisting the subtle gravitation of the world, the
flesh, and the Devil. John Henry Jowett
577. We leave our places of worship, and no deep inexpressible
wonder sits upon our faces. We can sing these lilting
melodies, and when we go out into the streets our faces are
one with the faces of those who have left the theatres and the
music halls. There is nothing about us to suggest that we have
been looking at anything stupendous and overwhelming! Far
back in my boyhood I remember an old saint telling me that
after some services he liked to make his way home alone, by
quiet by-ways, so that the hush of the Almighty might remain
on his awed and prostrate soul. That is the element we are
losing, and its loss is one of the measures of our poverty, and
the primary secret of inefficient life and service. John Henry
Jowett
578. Many years ago I heard Margaret Bottome, the founder of the
King’s Daughters in America, speaking to a great gathering in
Northfield, and her address consisted of a simple story in her own
experience in travel, and of illustrations from it, in application to the
young life which she was then confronting. She told us that when
she first traveled in the Far East, there came an hour when the
guide came to take possession of the party, and lead them through
all their journeys. Three simple things happened which revealed to
her the meaning of a guide. In the first place, the guide came to
them and said: “ Will you be good enough to give everything to me?
I will take charge of everything.” They handed over to him all their
main articles of baggage—or luggage, whichever you choose—but
they were retaining, she among the rest, those small handbags
which ladies carry. The guide said: “You must give everything to
me.” They made their protest, saying there were in those bags
things that would be necessary on the journey. Said the guide:
“They will be far safer with me, and you will be far safer without
them.”
After a little while, they were waiting at a railway station for a
train; the guide was attending to the baggage. A train came in, they
selected a carriage, and the whole party entered it. As soon as they
were seated, the guide returned, and said: “Will you be good enough
to come out?” They came out, and then asked why he had required
them to do so. He replied: “That is the wrong train. Will you be kind
enough not to go before me, but after me?” She had learned her
second lesson as to the necessity for a guide. In the course of the
next day or two, on a long train journey, they were wondering what
provision would be made for them on their arrival at their destination.
Some stranger, coming from the place at which they were to stay,
had told them there was no accommodation, and the guide was
strangely silent. When they arrived everything was ready, and the
guide said quietly: “Perhaps you will trust me to prepare for you
ahead.” Three things: Give everything to me. Follow me; but
do not go before me. Trust me about the hidden things of the
future. G. Campbell Morgan
579. I will follow Thee in order to find my way into that fellowship with
Thee whereby Thy name shall be glorified, my life shall be realized,
and I shall be at Thy disposal for helpfulness to others in the
publication of the Kingdom of God. G. Campbell Morgan
580. The revelation of Righteousness and Love could be entrusted to
no flashing brightnesses, and to no thunders and lightnings. There
can be no revelation of these things to the outward eye, but only to
the heart, through the medium of a human life. For not the power
which knows no weariness, not the eye which never closes, not the
omniscience which holds all things, great and small, in its grasp, are
the divinest glories in God. These are but the fringe, the outermost
parts of the circumference; the living Center is a Righteous Love,
which cannot be revealed by any means but by showing it in action;
nor shown in action by any means so clearly as by a human life.
Therefore, above all other forms of manifestations of God stands the
Person of Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh. Alexander
Maclaren
581. And in the life of Christ this is the crowning glory—a will in perfect
conformity with God’s. He is our Savior and our great example
because of that unfailing dedication. Look at Him as He is tempted
in the wilderness—is there not there a terrible reality of choice?
Does there not rise before Him the alternative of self, to be instantly
and magnificently spurned? And ever through the progress of His
years, His meat is to do the will of God who sent Him; until at last,
upon the cross of Calvary, the dedication is perfected and crowned.
I want you then ever to remember that the will is the very citadel of
manhood. To be a Christian that must be yielded up. Everything
else without it is in vain. Religion founded on feeling is unstable. A
religion of intellect is cold and hard. Total surrender is what Christ
demands, and in it lies the secret of peace. George H. Morrison
582. There are three desires in the heart of every Christian; one is to
run his course with honor. The second is to endure, without
embittering, the bitterest that life can bring. The third and deepest of
the three is this, to be always growing more like the Master in inward
character and outward conduct. . . . To run with honor, to endure the
worst, to be changed into the likeness of the Lord—all of them are
based upon beholding. “Let us run with patience the race that is set
before us, looking unto Jesus.” “He endured as seeing Him Who is
invisible.” “We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of
the Lord, are changed into the same image.” George H. Morrison

583. God’s love is eternal and unchanging. There never was a time
when God had to be persuaded to love. No, Calvary was not an
inducement Jesus offered to God; it was God’s own love in action.
Just as from a volcano there flashes out now and again for one
sudden, startling moment the elemental fire which burns unseen at
the earth’s heart, so at the cross of Jesus, God’s love leapt out in
history, sheer flame, showing in that crowning moment of time what
God is in His inmost being forever. The cross reveals the heart of
the Eternal. It makes grace real. It makes love available for needy
souls. It reconciles the sinful and brings the world to God’s feet.
James S. Stewart
584. So this exclamation of his puts into a vivid shape, which may help
it to stick in our memories and hearts, this thought—what an awful
difference there is in the look of a sin before you do it and
afterwards! Before we do it the thing to be gained seems so
attractive, and the transgression that gains it seems so
comparatively insignificant. Yes! And when we have done it the two
alter places; the thing that we win by it seems so contemptible—
thirty pieces of silver! pitch them over the Temple enclosure and get
rid of them—the things that we win by it seem so insignificant, and
the thing that we did to win them dilates into such awful magnitude!
Alexander Maclaren
585. They thought that they were “doing God service” when they slew
God’s Messenger. They had no perception of the beauty and
gentleness of Christ’s character. They believed Him to be a
blasphemer, and they believed it to be a solemn religious duty to
slay Him then and there. Were they to blame because they slew a
blasphemer? According to Jewish law—no! They were to blame
because they had brought themselves in such a moral condition that
that was all they thought of and saw in Jesus Christ. Alexander
Maclaren
586. Standing in the shadow of the cross where the cleanest, noblest
soul who ever walked this earth hangs dying, we hear an inward
voice telling us that that cannot be the end. In the great, simple
words of the Creed—”The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the
Father Almighty.” James S. Stewart
587. It is only pride of Himalayan proportions and fiercely stubborn
unwillingness to face the horrible truth about ourselves and the
glorious truth about God that could possibly foster the delusion that
we could do anything at all to contribute to our salvation. Does God
need anything from us? Could we give God anything that did not
first come from Him? Have we not corrupted everything God has
given us so that returning it to Him as though it were of value would
only be an insult? Dave Hunt
588. It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than
absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must
be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming
to Jesus Christ. If we come to Him and ask Him to produce Christ-
consciousness, he will always do it until we learn to abide in Him.
Never allow the dividing of your life in Christ to remain
without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by
the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that
is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see
yourself separately. Nothing is so important as to keep right
spiritually. The great solution is the simple one—”Come unto Me.”
The depth of our reality, intellectually, morally and spiritually, is
tested by these words. In every degree in which we are not real, we
will dispute rather than come. Oswald Chambers
589. Atonement was necessary. Until alienation and enmity and evil
works are dealt with, there can be no reconciliation. God cannot be
reconciled to man in his sin. Man must be reconciled to God in His
holiness. The possibility of holiness is the true gospel hope for
those who know their alienation, and who in response to the
constraint of the Holy Spirit enter into fellowship by the way of the
cross. We may find our way back into intimate personal fellowship
with God because
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
If we so come, we shall know the reconciliation. It will be
reconciliation that begins with the consciousness of God, issues in
love of God, and finds its crown in the works that are pleasing to
God. G. Campbell Morgan

590. As I watch this process of the self-emptying of the Son of God,


the descent from the height to the depth, stage by stage, until I see
Him a spectacle for men and angels in the brutal agony of the cross;
I see that, which remains even until this century to the Greek
unutterable folly, but I see Him in that which is the very wisdom of
God. The demonstration of the wisdom is discovered in the victories
which that cross has won in the reconstruction of human character
and the remaking of human lives. The master principle of the mind
of Christ, then, is that of co-operation with the wisdom of God, in
spite of all human misunderstanding and human inability to
comprehend. G. Campbell Morgan
591. He proceeded forevermore against the question of personal
rights, against the suggestion of ease or pleasantness. The cross
was the supreme expression of the campaign in which the active
mind of Christ cooperated with the will of God against all forces
which were opposed to the will of God. The enemy suggested to
Him, in the temptation in the wilderness, that He should reach the
kingdoms of the world by a short and easy method; and He
declined, and accepted His Father’s way of the cross. His own
disciples at Caesarea Philippi protested against His declaration that
the cross was necessary: “Spare Thyself that!” In stern rebuke He
denounced the false conception, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou
are a stumbling-block unto Me: for thou mindest not the things of
God, but the things of men.” So against the opposition of foes,
against the mistaken views of friends, the mind of Christ moved with
unwavering strength, submitting itself forevermore, in spite of all the
forces that were opposed, to the will of God. G. Campbell Morgan
592. Not only can money and material possessions not satisfy the
desires of the heart or bring the lasting happiness they deceptively
promise, but they also blind those who pursue them to eternal,
spiritual concerns. John MacArthur
593. Now Jesus was not a happy dreamer. He did not wander
unconcerned across the world. He had a baptism to be baptized
with, and He was straitened till it was accomplished. And the
beautiful thing is that in a life like that, intense with the intensity of
Heaven, He had a heart that always was at leisure for the fragrant
things that blossom by the road. He did not miss the lilies. One who
misses the lilies misses God. He did not miss the weed upon the
hedgebank, nor the play of children, nor the widow’s mite. And in
Jairus’ house, where the power of God was present, and everyone
was hushed in wondering awe, He commanded that something be
given the child to eat. George H. Morrison
594. 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.
Oswald Chambers
595. The long way may be the kindest way. It would be very sweet to
get at once all that you crave for in your heart of hearts. But then if
you got it you would miss the best-all that God is and wants to be to
you—and I think a fuller earth is bought too dear, when it is
purchased by an emptier heaven. George H. Morrison
596. “Thou shalt remember all the way the Lord hath led thee, to prove
thee, and know what was in thy heart.” Not only to know God was
Israel led so; God led them that they might know themselves. So
you and I are led by devious roads where we are often alone and
often weary until at last, thank God, we know ourselves and know
our utter need of Jesus Christ. George H. Morrison
597. Let a man have all the talents without courage, and he will
accomplish little in the world. Let a man have the one talent and a
courageous heart, and no one can tell what things he may not do.
Probably when the stories of our lives are written, our gifts will be
found less diverse than we thought, and it will be seen that what set
us each apart is the distinguishing quality of courage. George H.
Morrison

598. The greatest obstacle that (William) Carey met with, during
the ten years that he was seeking to awaken interest in foreign
missions, was found not in the open and flagrant iniquities of
his brethren of the Baptist denomination, but in the dead sleep
in which whole Churches were abiding, rocked in the cradle of
their indulgence, swung in the hammock of ease, one end of
which was fastened to the cross of Christ and the other to
Mammon, fanned into a delicious slumber amid the intoxicating
odors of this world. A. T. Pierson
599. The major part of those who confess Christ as Savior, have
never yet awakened to the fact that He is their Lord also,—
Master of their lives, that He owns their purse, their properties
and their possessions, that He owns their hands, their feet,
their ears, their eyes; that they are His, that their children are
His, that their homes are His, that their business is His, that
their treasures are His, that all that they have they hold as His
stewards and trustees; that they owe a debt to the dying world
that can never be paid, however diligent they may be, but that
they are also trustees, put in trust with the gospel as the only
riches by which that debt can even in part be discharged. A. T.
Pierson
600. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians
who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they
must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming
when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends
and hiding places will all be swept away....It would be a tragedy
indeed to come to the place where we have no other but God and
find that we had not really been trusting God during the days of our
earthly sojourn. It would be better to invite God now to remove
every false trust, to disengage our hearts from all secret hiding
places and to bring us out into the open where we can discover for
ourselves whether or not we actually trust Him...time is running out
on us. A. W. Tozer
601. Worshiping in Everyday Occasions. We presume that we would
be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the
crisis that builds something within us—it simply reveals what we are
made of already. Do you find yourself saying, “If God calls me to
battle, of course I will rise to the occasion”? Yet you won’t rise to the
occasion unless you have done so on God’s training ground. If you
are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has
engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit
for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a
person’s true character.
A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest
essential element of spiritual fitness. The time will come, as
Nathanael experienced in this passage, that a private “fig-tree” life
will no longer be possible. Everything will be out in the open, and
you will find yourself to be of no value there if you have not been
worshiping in everyday occasions in your own home. If your worship
is right in your private relationship with God, then when He sets you
free, you will be ready. It is in the unseen life, which only God saw,
that you have become perfectly fit. And when the strain of the crisis
comes, you can be relied upon by God.
Are you saying, “But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified
life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible
study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet,
but when it does, of course I will be ready”? No, you will not. If you
have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get
involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also
a hindrance to those around you.
God’s training ground, where the missionary weapons are
found, is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint. Oswald
Chambers

602. There are those who in their very first seeking of it are nearer the
kingdom of Heaven than many who have for years believed
themselves to be of it. In the former there is more of the mind of
Jesus, and when He calls them they recognize Him at once and go
after Him; while the others examine Him from head to foot and,
finding Him not sufficiently like the Jesus of their conception, turn
their backs and go to church or chapel or chamber to kneel before a
vague form mingled of tradition and fancy.... George Macdonald
603. It is a wonderfully liberating experience when the desire to please
God overtakes the desire to please ourselves, and when love for
others displaces self-love. True freedom is not freedom from
responsibility to God and others in order to live for ourselves, but
freedom from ourselves in order to live for God and others...We are
to please God ‘more and more’, and we are to love one another
‘more and more’. Christian complacency is a particularly horrid
condition. We have constantly to be on our guard against vanity and
apathy. In this life we never finally arrive. We only ‘press on towards
the goal’. John Stott
604. Prayer is the appointed means by which rivers of energy are
unsealed and directed to some crying needs. And therefore vital
prayer is not a word, it is an act. It is as much an act as the
waterman’s lifting of a sluice-gate which lets the higher waters into
the lock where the waters are low. Prayer prepares the ways for the
supply of the Spirit of Jesus, and in that holy energy we have the
power which overmatches and conquers difficulties which are
otherwise invincible. John Henry Jowett
605. “Not walking in craftiness,” that is, resorting to what will carry your
point. This is a great snare. You know that God will only let you
work in one way, then be careful never to catch people the other
way; God’s blight will be upon you if you do. Others are doing things
which to you would be walking in craftiness, but it may not be so
with them: God has given you another standpoint. Never blunt the
sense of your Utmost for His Highest. For you to do a certain thing
would mean the incoming of craftiness for an end other than the
highest, and the blunting of the motive God has given you. Many
have gone back because they are afraid of looking at things from
God’s standpoint. The great crisis comes spiritually when a man
has to emerge a bit farther on than the creed he has accepted.
Oswald Chambers
606. We say “How foolish the nation of Israel was! Couldn’t they have
seen the handwriting on the wall?” Maybe we should ask ourselves
if we can see the handwriting on the wall! Are we like senseless,
foolish doves, flitting back and forth between the world and the
Lord? Do we really live as though we believe that this world is
passing away as 1 John 2:17 teaches? Are we looking to earthly
resources, rather than to the Lord, for our security? Are we
deceived by our culture into trying every worldly thrill or idea that
comes along, trying to find fulfillment and excitement in life? How
deceived can we be? Have we lost our moral compass? Let’s wake
up before we become hopelessly entrapped by our own foolish
choices! Let’s fly straight and strong, following the Lord. Our lives
should be characterized by His values and goals, not by “fluttering”
between worthless diversions. What’s really going to count at the
judgment seat of Christ? Senseless, silly doves don’t enter Heaven
with the blessing of “Well done, good and faithful servant.” David
Reid on Hosea 7:11

607. As for you, whose hearts God hath weaned from all things here
below, I hope you will value this heavenly life, and take one walk
every day in the New Jerusalem. God is your love and your desire;
you would fain be more acquainted with your Savior; and I know it is
your grief that your hearts are not nearer to Him, and that they do
not more feelingly love Him and delight in Him. O try this life of
meditation on your heavenly rest! Here is the mount on which the
fluctuating ark of your souls may rest. Let the world see, by your
heavenly lives, that religion is something more than opinions and
disputes, or a task of outward duties. If ever a Christian is like
himself, and conformable to his principles and profession, it is when
he is most serious and lively in his duty. As Moses, before he died,
went up into Mount Nebo to take a survey of the land of Canaan; so
the Christian ascends the mount of contemplation, and by faith
surveys his rest. He looks upon the glorious mansions, and says,
“glorious things are” deservedly “spoken of thee, thou city of God!”
He hears, as it were, the melody of the heavenly choir, and says,
“Happy is the people that is in such a case; yea, happy is that
people whose God is the Lord!” He looks upon the glorified
inhabitants, and says, “Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto
thee, O people, saved by the Lord, who is the shield of thy help and
the sword of thine excellency!” When he looks upon the Lord
himself, who is their glory, he is ready, with the rest, to “fall down
and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and say, Holy, holy,
holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come! Thou art
worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power!” When he
looks on the glorified Savior, he is ready to say Amen to that “new
song, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that
sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. For
Thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood, out of
every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made
us, unto our God, kings and priests!: When he looks back on the
wilderness of this world, he blesses the believing, patient, despised
saints; he pities the ignorant, obstinate, miserable world; and for
himself he says, as Peter, “It is good to be here;” or, as Asaph, “It is
good for me to draw near to God; for, lo, they that are far from Thee
shall perish.” Thus as Daniel, in his captivity, daily opened his
window towards Jerusalem, though far out of sight, when he went to
God in his devotions; so may the believing soul, in this captivity of
the flesh, look towards “Jerusalem which is above.” And as Paul was
to the Colossians, so may the believer be with the glorified spirits,
“though absent in the flesh, yet with them in the spirit, joying and
beholding their heavenly order.” And as the lark sweetly sings while
she soars on high, but is suddenly silenced when she falls to the
earth; so is the frame of the soul most delightful and divine while
fixed in the views of God by heavenly contemplation. Alas, we make
there too short a stay, fall down again, and lay by our music! From
“The Saint’s Everlasting Rest” By Richard Baxter
608. What should our attitude be to Christians who are doing well in
some aspect of their discipleship? Some people resort to
congratulations: ‘Well done! I think you’re marvelous. I’m proud of
you.’ Others are uncomfortable with this and see its incongruity. It
borders on flattery, promotes pride and robs God of his glory. So,
although they may thank God privately in their prayers, they say
nothing to the person concerned. They replace flattery with silence,
which leaves him or her discouraged. Is there a third way, which
affirms people without spoiling them? There is. Paul exemplifies it
here. He not only thanks God for the Thessalonians; he also tells
them that he is doing so: ‘We ought always to thank God for
you...we boast about you’. If we follow this example, we will avoid
both congratulation (which corrupts) and silence (which
discourages). Instead, we can affirm and encourage people in the
most Christian of all ways: ‘I thank God for you, brother or sister. I
thank Him for the gifts He has given you, for His grace in your life,
for what I see in you of the love and gentleness of Christ’. This way
affirms without flattery, and encourages without puffing up. John
Stott
609. And yet if that really was Judas’ sin, if in a kind of blundering way
he meant well, thinking that he knew better than his Master and
because he could not wait for Him and His slow, sure, unhurried
ways, sought cleverly to force His hand, God pity us! For are we not
all apt to do just that! Is the church ever quite free from a half-
bewildered, half-fretful impatience with Him, that can’t trust to the
steady drip, drip of the weekly services soaking into men’s souls,
that is irritated by the seeming resultlessness of His appointed
methods, must have the kingdom break in with a rush and a loud
noise and all men having to take note of it, keep seeking for a swift
immediate revival, not at God’s time but now in ours, devising
desperate expedients, trying to whistle up the winds of God! And
they won’t come. And these futilities we thought so wise and good
and clever end in nothing except robbing people of their hopes, and
so delaying what was in God’s mind to give us, what was coming,
and might have been here by now, had we not rushed in with our
fatuous nothings, our machine-made revivals, our grotesque
improvings upon Christ. Arthur John Gossip

610. God works in His own time, in His own ways. And if we try to
dictate to Him, to demand it must be now, and in this fashion we
have planned, only confusion comes of that. If we would cease our
cunning engineering, our hot organizing, our continual talking and
conferring, of which nothing ever seems to come but more
conferring, if we would sit quiet and reverent in God’s presence, and
worship Him, and wait, and give His voice a chance of reaching men
instead of ours, how much more might we see! For does our
fussiness and cleverness do anything except this? Like Judas, we
get in Christ’s way and hinder Him, we who had meant to help, were
so sure we could help, and had found the very way to do it! It was
impatience with His methods, it was running on ahead of Him, that,
think some, was the sin of Judas and that brought Christ to His
cross. And who of us is not guilty of that? Arthur John Gossip
611. The truth of Romans 8:28 is wonderfully displayed in this chapter
(Genesis 39). God was working behind the scenes for Joseph. The
latter resisted temptation and sought to avoid occasions for sin.
Despite this, his would be seducer framed him. And so for a second
time Joseph found himself in chains. Under the circumstances he
should have been upset. But he was not “under the circumstances”;
he was above them and saw God’s hand in them. His time in prison
was “training time for reigning time.” So things that were meant by
others for evil turned out to be for his good. William MacDonald
612. We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the
culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow
that the haphazard is anything less than God’s appointed order, and
be ready to discover the Divine designs anywhere. Oswald
Chambers
613. Sin attracts us, it does not blister us; it interests, it does not burn.
We can gaze upon it in curious observation, and it does not create
an emotional convulsion. We can see it and laugh, we can see it
and sleep. The Master saw it and wept. John Henry Jowett
614. Our lives should be charged with supernatural power. We should
be constantly seeing God’s hand in the marvelous converging of
circumstances. We should be experiencing His guidance in a
miraculous, mysterious way. We should experience events in our
lives that lie beyond the law of probability. We should be aware that
God is arranging contacts, opening doors, overruling opposition.
Our service should crackle with the supernatural.
We should be seeing direct answers to prayer. When our
lives touch other lives, we should see something happening for God.
We should see His hand in breakdowns, delays, accidents, losses,
and seeming tragedies. We should experience extraordinary
deliverances and be aware of strength, courage, peace, and wisdom
beyond our natural limits.
If our lives are lived only on the natural level, how are we
any different from non-Christians? God’s will is that our lives should
be supernatural, that the life of Jesus Christ should flow out through
us. When this takes place, impossibilities will melt, closed doors will
open, and power will surge. Then we will be supercharged with the
Holy Spirit, and when people get near us, they will feel the sparks of
the Spirit. William MacDonald
615. I was but a pen in God’s hand, and what praise is due to a
pen? Richard Baxter
616. We might add that most of the preaching in Acts was
spontaneous and extemporaneous. Usually there wasn’t time to
prepare a message. “It was not the performance of an hour but the
preparation of a lifetime.” It was the preachers who were prepared,
not the sermons. William MacDonald
617. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the
Irresistible future with Him. Oswald Chambers
618. If it is God who does all the work, and you are nothing but an
instrument, you are rid of all care and worry and anxiety; surely
the Lord can take care of His own work; and if He chooses to
lay down the instrument He once took up, you may glorify Him
just as much when you are silent as when you are speaking; if
He who chose to fill the vessel, chooses to empty it again for
another filling, let Him choose His own way in which to use
you, and in any way seek to glorify Him. If He sets you aside,
and you seem to be imprisoned and in the stocks, still praise
Him, and learn, in whatsoever state you are, therewith to be
content. A. T. Pierson
619. It is not always the man who owns the countryside who owns the
landscape. He owns the estate; his almost penniless cottager, with
the refined and purified spirit, owns the glory of the landscape.
Which of them drinks of the river of “God’s delicacies”? One man
owns miles of costly exotics, and masses them for show in
multitudinous congregation; another man does not own a single
costly flower, but to him “the meanest flower that blows can give
thoughts that do lie too deep for tears.” Which of them has the finer
perfumes? Which of them drinks of “God’s delicacies”? Aye, but
deeper and more subtle still are some of the delicacies of the Lord,
“the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” The
“natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit.” They are
delicacies which he can neither appreciate nor apprehend. John
Henry Jowett
620. For every look we take at ourselves, we should take ten looks at
Christ. Robert Murray McCheyne
0621. I believe in destiny, I believe that every man comes into the
world with a distinct gift, with an individuality all his own, and that it is
his business so to work his individuality as to increase the common
stock of intelligence and goodness and usefulness. Joseph Parker
622. When God makes a man better, He begins within: He changes
his moral sympathies: plants the germ of a new principle whose
growth is to develop hatred to sin which he once loved, and love
to holiness which he once hated. All this is the preparation for a
spontaneous life of obedience which is the fruit of a new nature.
He means that the germ shall root itself in us; that we shall
choose to do right, so that, were there no law, we should be a law
unto ourselves. Then, if every outward condition changes: if
society grows so corrupt that religion is no longer popular or
respectable; if education is so perverted that vice is crowned
instead of virtue—if every outside motive to a correct deportment
is gone; then, while the worldly man, whose moral life is the result
of expediency, shapes his conduct and his creed to suit the
change of outward conditions, the Christian still chooses what his
new nature recognizes as the will of God, delighting to do what
may bring upon him hatred, persecution, martyrdom. A. T.
Pierson
623. Had his heart not been occupied with self, he (Elijah) would have
learned that tempests, earthquakes and fires cannot accomplish
what the gentile voice of love can. He should have recognized
that there was no difference between his heart and that of the
nation; and, that as coercion failed to make him leave his cave, so
it failed, and must fail, to compel men to leave their sins. George
Williams
624. No man will lack attentive audience who speaks from a full heart,
which would burst if denied expression. A. T. Pierson
625. His (Jesus’) conversation at the well of Samaria is perhaps the
most remarkable instance on record of a purely religious talk with
an entire stranger. Yet nothing can be more easy, natural,
graceful, than His approaches to her inmost soul. And His words
to her tell us the secret of His own success, and how we may
secure a similar influence. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that
I shall give him…it shall be in him a well of water springing up
unto everlasting life.” There is the secret: a heart gushing up and
running over with its own full life, knowing no force but from
within. A. T. Pierson
626. We are too often only the mechanical workmen when we ought to
be sculptors of life. We aim to shape our lives after the pattern
showed us in the word of God, without aspiring to intense
sympathy with Him who wrought out the only model of a perfect
life! He did not design that we should simply imitate His life: that
makes a righteous man; but rather that we should resemble
Himself: that makes a good man. In one case we are the
mechanical workmen aiming after an outward conformity to a
divine pattern: in the other case we imbibe the spirit of Christ,
catch the inspiration of His purpose, become His disciples, pupils
in the art of holy living, and He the great Master; we are learners
not of the letter, but of the Spirit. Then we are prepared to work
out a result which is in a sense, our own, original. The principles
which underlie all true life appear in our own, but in new
combinations. It is the likeness of similarity rather than of
sameness—of inward sympathy as well as outward conformity.
The disciple, like the Master, delights in duty, and that delight is
his inspiration. A. T. Pierson
627. This was the meaning of the parable: Ahab had one thing to do by
the command of God, and while he did a hundred things, he
neglected the one. What a revelation of a perpetual reason and
method of failure! We are given some one responsibility by God,
some central, definite thing to do. We start to do it with all good
intentions, and then other things, not necessarily wrong in
themselves, come in our way. We get “busy here and there”
doing many things and we neglect the one central thing. G.
Campbell Morgan on 1 Kings 20:37-43
628. In order to be acceptable, ministry must have the effect of building
up the people of God. That is what is meant by edification—
spiritual growth. William MacDonald
629. We are never vitally right, and we never enter into robust spiritual
life, until we have something of this magnificent inclusiveness,
and make everything part of the glorious mountain-country of the
risen life in Christ our Lord. We must regard the lowly concerns of
our daily walk and conversation as being vitally related to the
heavenlies, and we must daringly believe that we can discharge
the humblest duty while still breathing the air of the mountain-
tops. John Henry Jowett
630. But Jesus was much more than a student of His fellow men. He
was a lover of men. Through all the tragedy and comedy of life,
through all their human foibles and bignesses of soul, through sin
and the pitiful consequences of sin, He loved them as only God
could love. James S. Stewart
631. Such were the factors that entered into our Lord’s preparation for
His lifework. Thirty long years passed, and no sign was given.
There was a broken world to be mended, a lost humanity to be
redeemed, and still there was no sign. Then, quite suddenly,
God’s hour struck; and the Son of man came forth. James S.
Stewart
632. A man not only wins his character largely, but reveals his
character largely through his work. George A. Gordon
633. Mine is a debt too big for words. I can never in my manhood turn
to the Twenty-third Psalm, either in public ministry or in private
devotion, without the figure of a humble carpenter appearing upon
the illumined page, for it was he who first led my feet into its green
pastures and by its still waters and who showed me something of
the audacious fearlessness of the friends of God. And neither
can I turn to the fourth chapter of John without a lowly porter
standing upon its threshold, for on one never-to-be-forgotten day
he stood with me by the well, and he spoke to my soul of its
vitalizing properties and of the rare medicinal qualities of its
waters “springing up into Eternal life.” And when I turn to the
greatest of the Old Testament prophets I find, standing among the
cultured crowd of college professors who have helped me and
enriched my discernment, an unordained wayfarer from the
Sunday School whose personal enthusiasm first made me realize
the stature of Isaiah. John Henry Jowett looking back on his
Sunday School days with a sense of personal obligation.
634. Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great
temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But
the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is
being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or
temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer.
Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued
process. Phillips Brooks
635. I will tell you what I have tried to preach, and what I have ever had
before me—a cheerful, helpful, near religion; not one limited to
special time and particular place, but one reaching down to the
nearest detail of everyday life, and watering the deepest roots of
household relationships. John Henry Jowett
636. It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world and the flesh, without
private differences in our own camp. But there is one thing that is
even
worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated...and
permitted....There are times when controversy is not only a duty
but also
a benefit, and it is a plain scriptural duty to “contend earnestly for
the
faith once delivered to the saints.” The apostle Paul...was beaten
with rods, stoned and left for dead, chained and left in a dungeon,
dragged before magistrates, barely escaped assassination, and
so pronounced in him were his convictions that it came to a point
when the unbelieving Jews of Thessalonica declared: “These that
have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” God
pity those pastors and Christian leaders whose main objective is
the growth of their organizations and whose main concern is lest
their “boats be rocked”. They may escape controversy, but they
will not escape the judgment seat of Christ. J.C. Ryle
637. In all our preaching we must preach for verdicts. We must
present our case, we must seek a verdict, and we must ask for an
immediate execution of that verdict. We are not in the pulpit to
please the fancy. We are not there even to inform the mind, or to
disturb the emotions, or to sway the judgment. . . . Our ultimate
object is to move the will, to set it in another course, to increase
its pace and to make it sing in the ways of God’s commandments.
John Henry Jowett
638. Fishing is an art, and so is soul-winning.
1. It requires patience. Often there are lonely hours of
waiting.
2. It requires skill in the use of bait, lures or nets.
3. It requires discernment and common sense in going
where the fish are running.
4. It requires persistence. A good fisherman is not easily
discouraged.
5. It requires quietness. The best policy is to avoid
disturbances and to keep self in the background. William
MacDonald
622. If our hopes, whatever we protest, really lie in this world instead of
in the eternal order, we shall find it difficult to accept the New
Testament teaching of the Second Coming. In our eyes, the job
is not yet done; and such an action would be, though we would
not put it so, an interference. But suppose our hope rests in the
purpose of God: then we safely leave the timing of the earthly
experiment to Him. Meanwhile, we do what we were told to do—
to be alert and to work and pray for the spread of His Kingdom. J.
B. Phillips
640. Are you a witness for the Lord, and are you just now in danger?
Then remember that you are immortal till your work is done. If the
Lord has more witness for you to bear, you will live to bear it.
Who is he that can break the vessel which the Lord intends again
to use?
If there is no more work for you to do for your Master, it cannot
distress you that He is about to take you home and put you where
you will be beyond the reach of adversaries. Your witness-
bearing for Jesus is your chief concern, and you cannot be
stopped in it till it is finished: therefore, be at peace. Cruel
slander, wicked misrepresentation, desertion of friends, betrayal
by the most trusted one, and whatever else may come cannot
hinder the Lord’s purpose concerning you. The Lord stands by
you in the night of your sorrow, and He says, “Thou must yet bear
witness for me.” Be calm; be filled with joy in the Lord.
If you do not need this promise just now, you may very soon.
Treasure it up. Remember also to pray for missionaries and all
persecuted ones, that the Lord would preserve them even to the
completion of their lifework. Charles H. Spurgeon
641.Among the enemies to devotion none is so harmful as distractions.
Whatever excites the curiosity, scatters the thoughts, disquiets
the heart, absorbs the interests or shifts our life focus from the
kingdom of God within us to the world around us—that is a
distraction; and the world is full of them. Our science-based
civilization has given us many benefits but it has multiplied our
distractions and so taken away far more than it has given....

The remedy for distractions is the same now as it was in earlier


and simpler times, viz., prayer, meditation and the cultivation of
the inner life. The psalmist said “Be still, and know,” and Christ
told us to enter into our closet, shut the door and pray unto the
Father. It still works....

Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us. So let us


cultivate simplicity; let us want fewer things; let us walk in the
Spirit; let us fill our minds with the Word of God and our hearts
with praise. In that way we can live in peace even in such a
distraught world as this. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give
unto you.” A. W. Tozer
642.A great many people are always sighing for opportunities to
minister to Christ, imagining some fine and splendid service which
they would like to render. Meantime they let slip past their hands
the very things in which Christ wants them to serve Him. True
ministry to Christ is doing first of all and well one’s daily duties. J.
R. Miller
643.Surprisingly, He did not go back to the city, but took the disciples
into the surrounding towns, explaining that He must preach there
also. Why did He not return to Capernaum?
1. First of all, He had just been in prayer and had learned
what God wanted Him to do that day.
2. Secondly, He realized that the popular movement in
Capernaum was shallow. The Savior was never attracted
by large crowds. He looked below the surface to see
what was in their hearts.
3. He knew the peril of popularity and taught the disciples by
His example to beware when all men spoke well of them.
4. He consistently avoided any superficial, emotional
demonstration that would have put the crown before the
cross.
5. His great emphasis was on preaching the Word. The
healing miracles, while intended to relieve human misery,
were also designed to gain attention for the preaching.
William MacDonald on Mark 1:38
641.Again we find that Jesus withdrew from the crowds and
ministered in deserted places. He did not measure success by
numbers. William MacDonald on Mark 1:45
642.We may wonder why the Lord allowed His servant to go through
such testings and trials. We would think that he could have
served the Lord more efficiently if He had allowed his pathway to
be free from troubles. But this Scripture teaches the very
opposite. God, in His marvelous wisdom, sees fit to allow His
servants to be touched by sickness, sorrow, affliction,
persecution, difficulties, and distresses. All are designed to break
the earthen pitchers so that the light of the gospel might shine out
more clearly. William MacDonald on 2 Corinthians 4:9
643.A harp string is invisible when it is vibrating to its true note,
and when a minister of the Gospel is doing his proper work
he makes no “copy” for the newspapers. It is when he does,
or says, things outside his proper sphere that he provides
headlines for the secular Press. Jowett felt this. He hated
what Dr. P. T. Forsyth called a “footlights ministry,” and it
was an immense relief to him when after some occasion that
brought him under the searchlight of the Press, he could
shrink back out of the glare of publicity to do his own work
quietly and unobtrusively. Arthur Porritt
644.Oh, for closest communion with God, till soul and body, head,
face, and
heart shine with Divine brilliancy! But oh! for a holy ignorance of
our
shining! Robert Murray McCheyne
645.All through the Scriptures this contrast between sight and insight
is being continually presented to us, and everywhere we are
taught to measure the meagerness and stinginess of the one, and
set it over the fulness and expansiveness of the other. John
Henry Jowett
646.First Kings opens with David’s death and 2 Kings closes with
Judah’s destruction. The nation had failed under Moses, had
failed under the judges, and now had failed under the kings. The
people refused to listen to God’s Word. They refused to be
moved by the tears of the prophets. They hardened their hearts
and stiffened their necks until God appointed the Assyrians and
the Babylonians to teach them that the wages of sin is death. The
captivity served its purpose well: it purged the heart of God’s
chosen people of idolatry. William MacDonald
647.I am learning to resist almost every hour of the day the
tremendous forces that would push me here and there. I do not
know what time ministers here spend in their studies. They are
evidently engaged in a hundred outside works which must leave
them very little time to prepare their message. I am going to
stand steadily against this pressure, even at the cost of being
misunderstood. When I get into my own home I shall allow
nothing to interfere with my morning in the study. If the pulpit is to
be occupied by men with a message worth hearing we must have
the time to prepare it. I feel the preaching of the Word of God is
incomparably my first work in New York. (Letter from John Henry
Jowett after moving from England to New York City.)
648.Today the kingdom of God needs men and women who are
equipped by God, trained and swift, strong in faith, able to prevail
against overwhelming odds and put the enemy to flight, full of the
Spirit, and selflessly dedicated to Jesus—people who have an
undivided heart! William MacDonald
649.God intends each man to have a share of the good things of life.
Some gather more, however, and some less. Those who have
more should share with those who have less. God permits the
unequal distribution of property, not so that the rich shall selfishly
enjoy it, but share it with the poor. Unknown author.
650.We need not begin with prolonged investigation into the length
and details of our theological creed. I have known men and
women with a creed as long as your arm, but they had no more
spirit of venture than a limpet. Their theology is like a mountain,
but they have not the courage of a mouse. Our jealousy for
orthodoxy is no proof at all of the value of our faith. What do we
hazard for it? The measure of the hazard reveals the vitality of
our faith, and nothing else reveals it. It is not revealed by our
controversial ardour. It is not revealed by our stern guardianship
of orthodox spoils. It is not revealed by the scrupulous regularity
of our attendance at Church and worship. No, all these may
mean nothing at all. What do we hazard for Christ? What have
we staked on the venture? How much have we bet that He is
alive and King? . . . Twopence a week, or our life? . . . That’s the
test. John Henry Jowett
651.Spiritual violets are forget-me-nots, and many a beautiful,
nameless little grace grows right out of the bare clay. Wouldn’t it
be a beautiful thing if we could thus transfigure all drudgery into a
bit of God’s garden, and surprise those who look upon us by our
likeness to the Lord? For we can be perfectly sure that our Lord
had many a long stretch of ordinary road, with the most ordinary
duties, but He just set to work to turn it all into the highway of a
King. John Henry Jowett
652.I believe that everything in nature is a sort of language which God
uses to speak to us. He is saying something to us in every
sunset, and in every wild flower, in every calm and stormy sea.
But we are so dense that we cannot interpret it, and it is so often
as though our Lord were making no communication at all. John
Henry Jowett
653.As Christian workers, worldliness is not our snare, sin is not our
snare, but spiritual wantoning is, viz.: taking the pattern and print
of the religious age we live in, making eyes at spiritual success.
Never court anything other than the approval of God, go “without
the camp, bearing His reproach.” Jesus told the disciples not to
rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one
thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have the commercial
view—so many souls saved and sanctified, thank God, now it is
all right. Our work begins where God’s grace has laid the
foundation; we are not to save souls, but to disciple them.
Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign
grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are
wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more
value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His
Spirit. As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind
spiritually, and that will be God’s witness to us as workers. God
brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are
responsible for reproducing that standard in others.
Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he
is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling
disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to
meetings. Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever our
Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced it with an “IF,”
never with an emphatic assertion—”You must.” Discipleship
carries an option with it. Oswald Chambers
654.He has reached the haven he longed for (he wrote to a son
mourning the death of a noble father): he has met his Lord. I
have an almost devouring curiosity to know what such men
realize when they stand in the immediate presence of the Lord
whom they have served. Their wonder and praise must be
overwhelming. How must your father feel to be young again, and
to be forever young. John Henry Jowett
655.My name is weakness sent by Love
To change the carnal to the dove,
And clothe thee with the life above
And lead thee into strength
John Henry Jowett
656. First of all, my child, think magnificently of God. Magnify
His providence; adore His power, frequent His service; and pray
to Him frequently and instantly. Bear Him always in your mind;
teach your thoughts to reverence Him in every place, for there is
no place where He is not. Therefore, my child, fear and worship,
and love God; first, and last, think magnificently of God. Paternus
657. Christ suited the gospel to a spiritual heart, and the Spirit
changeth the carnal heart to make it fit for a spiritual gospel. He
blows upon the garden, and causes the spices to flow forth; and
often makes the soul in worship like the chariots of Aminadab, in
a quick and nimble motion. Our blessed Lord and Savior, by His
death, discovered to us the nature of God; and after His
ascension sent His Spirit to fit us for the worship of God, and
converse with Him. One spiritual evangelical believing breath is
more delightful to God than millions of altars made up of the
richest pearls, and smoking with the costliest oblations, because it
is spiritual; and a mite of spirit is of more worth than the greatest
weight of flesh: one holy angel is more excellent than a whole
world of mere bodies. Stephen Charnock
658. The Sabbath was instituted to acknowledge God a common
benefactor. Public worship keeps up the memorials of God in a
world prone to atheism, and a sense of God in a heart prone to
forgetfulness. Stephen Charnock
659. I wonder if we shall soon hear again in our House of
Parliament, a man who dare quote his Bible, and do it accurately;
and do it, not at the bidding of a party, but at the bidding of God
Almighty. I wonder! G. Campbell Morgan
660. I am afraid that all the grace I have got out of my comfortable
and easy times and happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But
the good that I have received from my sorrows and pains and
griefs is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the
hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file! Affliction is the best bit
of furniture in my house. C. H. Spurgeon
661. To have a heart taken up with Christ and Heaven, when we
have health and abundance in the world, is neither easy nor
ordinary. Though soul and body compose but one man, yet they
seldom prosper both together. Therefore, that is our chief good
which will do us good at the heart; and that is our true glory which
makes us all glorious within; and that the blessed day which will
make us holy and blessed men; which will not only beautify our
house, but cleanse our hearts; not only give us new habitations,
and new relations, but also new souls and new bodies. The true
knowing, living Christian complains more frequently and more
bitterly of the wants and woes within him, than without him.
Richard Baxter
662. If dying men are wiser than others, who, by the world’s
forsaking them, and by the approach of eternity, begin to be
undeceived; then surely happiness is hereafter, and not here: for
though the deluded world, in their flourishing prosperity, can bless
themselves in their fool’s paradise, and merrily jest at the
simplicity of the saints, yet scarce one of many, even of the worst
of them, but are ready at last to cry out with Balaam, “Oh that I
might die the death of the righteous, and my last end might be like
his!” Never take heed, therefore, what they think or say now; for
as sure as they shall die, they will one of these days think and say
clean contrary. As we regard not what a drunken man says,
because it is not he, but the drink, and when he hath slept he will
awake in another mind; so why should we regard what wicked
men say now, who are drunk with security and fleshly delights,
when we know beforehand, for certain, that when they have slept
the sleep of death, at the furthest, they will awake in another
mind. Only pity the perverted understandings of these poor men,
who are beside themselves; knowing that one of these days,
when too late experience brings them to their right minds, they will
be of a far different judgment. Richard Baxter
663. Love is benevolence. Benevolence is giving one’s self; self-
sacrifice for others; losing my life that others may find life; giving
up my liberty that other men’s liberty may be increased; denying
myself extravagant and useless expenditure that the nakedness
of the naked may be clothed, and the hunger and thirst of the
needy be filled; mutual self-sacrifice for each other’s sake. A. T.
Pierson
664. Even our blessed Lord did not always receive instant answers
to prayer. But He realized that delays do not necessarily mean
denials. God answers prayer at the time that is best suited to the
accomplishment of His purposes in our lives. William MacDonald
665. Meekness is just self-suppression issuing in beneficent
service. Meekness does not tread the narrow path of a
selfish ambition, tending only to some self-enriching end.
Meekness seeks the enrichment of life through the
comprehension of the many. Self-assertion may appear to
succeed, but it never really wins. It may gain a telescope, but
it loses an eye. It may win an estate, but it loses the sense of
the landscape. It may gain in goods what it loses in power.
“It may gain the whole world, and lose its own soul.” The
meek are the only true “heirs.” They gain an ever finer
perceptiveness, and life reveals itself in the richer perfumes
and flavors and essences with every passing day. “The
meek shall inherit the earth.” John Henry Jowett
666. We never value our fellowship with God so much as when His
face seems to be hidden from us. William MacDonald
667. What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good
is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship—an awareness of
the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence
and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in
the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church? Why
make more converts to an effete Christianity? Why bring people
to follow after a Savior so far off that He doesn’t own them? We
need to improve the quality of our Christianity, and we never will
until we raise our concept of God back to that held by apostle,
sage, prophet, saint and reformer. When we put God back where
He belongs, we will instinctively and automatically move up again;
the whole spiral of our religious direction will be upward. A. W.
Tozer
668. Oh, that we may know our God: His power, His faithfulness, His
immutable love, and so may be ready to risk everything in His
behalf. He is One whose character excites our enthusiasm and
makes us willing to live and to die for Him. Oh, that we may know
our God by familiar fellowship with Him; for then we shall become
like Him and shall be prepared to stand up for truth and
righteousness. He who comes forth fresh from beholding the face
of God will never fear the face of man. If we dwell with Him, we
shall catch the heroic spirit, and to us a world of enemies will be
but as the drop of a bucket. A countless array of men, or even of
devils, will seem as little to us as the nations are to God, and He
counts them only as grasshoppers. Oh, to be valiant for truth in
this day of falsehood. C. H. Spurgeon
669. Charles Finney, one of the greatest of all of God’s men
throughout the years, testified that in the midst of his labors and
endeavors in bringing men to Christ, he would at times sense a
coldness in his own heart.
Finney did not excuse it. In his writings he told of having to turn
from all of his activities, seeking God’s face and Spirit anew in
fasting and prayer.
“I plowed up until I struck fire and met God,” he wrote. What a
helpful and blessed formula for the concerned children of God in
every generation! A. W. Tozer
670. This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this
fair garden, under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed
some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you
know very well what I would see—brigands on the high roads,
pirates on the seas; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please
applauding crowds; under all roofs misery and selfishness. It is
really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet in the
midst of it I have found a quiet and holy people. They have
discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any
pleasures of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted,
but they care not. They have overcome the world. These
people, Donatus, are the Christians –and I am one of them. St.
Cyprian
671. I do not hesitate to teach that faith is the very root of life. What
a man most deeply believes, that he most truly is. All earnest life
is but a working out of earnest conviction. No man can live a
deep, true, great life who lives upon the chances of the day,
without convictions, without purposes, without principles on which
he is prepared to risk the whole issue and destiny of his life.
Joseph Parker
672. Every worker in the valley of bones needs these qualifications.
He must be a man of God, a man of the Bible and a man of
prayer. He must keep right with God and speak the word of God,
while he trusts the Spirit of God. No valley of bones can resist a
man of this kind. Amzi Clarence Dixon
673. “Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” Luke 9:57.
Our Lord’s attitude to this man is one of severe discouragement
because He knew what was in man. We would have said—”Fancy
losing the opportunity of winning that man!” Fancy bringing about him
a north wind that froze him and “turned him away discouraged!” Never
apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until
there is nothing left to hurt or offend. Jesus Christ has no tenderness
whatever toward anything that is ultimately going to ruin a man in the
service of God. Our Lord’s answers are based not on caprice, but on a
knowledge of what is in man. If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a
word of the Lord that hurts you, you may be sure that there is
something He wants to hurt to death.
Verse 58. These words knock the heart out of serving Jesus Christ
because it is pleasing to me. The rigor of rejection leaves nothing but
my Lord, and myself, and a forlorn hope. “Let the hundredfold come or
go, your lodestar must be your relationship to Me, and I have nowhere
to lay My head.”
Verse 59. This man did not want to disappoint Jesus, nor to hurt his
father. We put sensitive loyalty to relatives in place of loyalty to Jesus
Christ and Jesus has to take the last place. In a conflict of loyalty,
obey Jesus Christ at all costs.
Verse 61. The one who says—”Yes, Lord, but . . .” is the one who is
fiercely ready, but never goes. This man had one or two reservations.
The exacting call of Jesus Christ has no margin of good-byes, because
good-bye, as it is often used, is pagan, not Christian. When once the
call of God comes, begin to go and never stop going. Oswald
Chambers
674. There was a connection between Christian’s burden at first, and
his delight in God afterwards; so there was between all the toils of
his pilgrimage, and his panting desires after God; for certainly, if
this pilgrimage were all the way a way of ease, then we should
not much desire to hasten on in it, or to come to the end of it, or to
see God in Heaven; too much satisfied with the sweetness of the
streams, we should stay away from the Fountain. We having
here no continuing city, seek one to come, that city which hath
foundations, whose builder and maker is God. G. B. Cheever in
“Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
675. Why did Abraham hold such a light grip on real estate?
Because he waited for the city which has foundations, whose
builder and maker is God. He did not have his heart set on the
present, material things, but on the eternal . . . The patriarchs all
died in faith. They did not live to see the fulfillment of the divine
promises. For instance, Abraham never saw his numerous
progeny. The Hebrew nation never occupied all the land that had
been promised to it. The OT saints never saw the fulfillment of
the promise of the Messiah. But their telescopic vision brought
the promises near, so near that they are pictured as waving at
them in joyful anticipation. They realized that this world was not
their final home. They were content to be strangers and pilgrims,
refusing the urge to nestle to make themselves comfortable.
Their desire was to pass through the world without taking any of
its character upon themselves. Their hearts were set on
pilgrimage . . . But they had a heavenly hope as well, and this
hope enabled them to treat this world as a foreign country. This
spirit of pilgrimage is especially pleasing to God. Darby writes,
“He is not ashamed to be called the God of those whose heart
and portion are in Heaven.” He has prepared a city for them, and
there they find rest and satisfaction and perfect peace. William
MacDonald in his commentary on Hebrews 11.
676. We must see the heavenly pattern if we would see the earthly
perversion of our Father’s will. If, therefore, we would have a
period of wise revolution we must have a preparatory period of
wise revelation. All healthy revolution in spirit and in
circumstance, in character and in conduct, must begin in the glory
of spiritual vision. “Where there is no vision the people perish.”
But where the vision is given and welcomed there will be the
health of disquietude, and we shall begin to have the stirrings of a
new day in movements of desire and will, and in the awaking
energies of agitation and action. And what is to be our pattern in
the mount except the holy mind of Jesus Christ? John Henry
Jowett
677. It is not the possession of things but the forsaking of them that
brings rest. J. Gregory Mantle
678. Like all men I love and prefer the sunny uplands of experience,
where health, happiness, and success abound, but I have learned
far more about God and life and myself in the darkness of fear
and failure than I have ever learned in the sunshine. There are
such things as the treasures of darkness. The darkness, thank
God, passes. But what one learns in the darkness one
possesses forever. “The trying things,” says Bishop Fenelon,
“which you fancy come between God and you, will prove means
of unity with Him, if you bear them humbly. Those things that
overwhelm us and upset our pride, do more good than all that
which excites and inspirits us.” Leslie Weatherhead
679. God has given us commandments and principles that are for
our good; God never gives us a commandment because He is
arbitrary or because He doesn’t want us to have fun. God says,
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” not because He is
jealous of His own position and prerogatives, but because He
knows that if we put anything, anything before Him, it will
hurt us. If we understand the principle behind this fact, we can
also understand why God chastens us. “Whom the Lord loves,
He chastens”. Donald G. Barnhouse
680. He (Satan) tells us that great designs for God cannot be
accomplished in the valley, and he makes it appear as if we were
going into darkness, or out of the world. He tells us that such a
light as ours ought to be set on a very tall candlestick; and he sets
that bold fellow Shame to work upon us, as upon Faithful, and
sometimes to go with us quite through the valley. And if he
succeeds in creating an inward discontent and repining in
Christian, then, a little further on, he is very likely to bestride the
path as Apollyon, brandishing his flaming darts. So, in going
down into this valley, a man must say within himself, What have I
to do with dictating? It is God who knows what is best, and not I.
He knows what is best for me, and what is most for His own glory.
If I be submissive to Him, He will make what use of me He can;
and though I may miss my purpose, He will be sure not to miss
His; and what more can I ask or wish for? My business now is
SUBMISSION. G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s
Progress”
681. How know I, if Thou shouldst me raise,
That I should then raise Thee?
Perhaps great places and Thy praise
Do not so well agree. George Herbert
682. The love of silver can be a tremendous hindrance to the
believer. Just as a small silver coin held before the eye comes
between it and the sun, so covetousness breaks fellowship with
God and hinders spiritual progress. The greatest riches a person
can have lie in possessing Him who promises, “I will never leave
you nor forsake you.” William MacDonald
683. Our blessed Lord never said, pray that ye be not tempted; but,
“Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation,” that ye enter
not within it, as a cloud surrounding you and taking away your
light, and leading you to deceive you; that ye enter not into
temptation, into its power, into its atmosphere, into its spirit; for
when that is done, the soul is weakened and easily conquered. G.
B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
684. Be assured, it is not place, nor opportunities, nor circumstances,
that make character or minister grace; but it is rather character
that makes circumstances, and grace that makes place. So the
next time you detect your heart, under the influence of the plague
that is in it, saying to you like a concealed devil, Oh, if I were in
such or such a one’s place, how much good I could do! Just think
of some eminent saint, and say, If that person were in my place,
how much nearer he would live to God than I do, how many
opportunities that I waste he would use for his Master’s glory, how
he would fill my little sphere, that now is so dark, with brightness
and happiness! And you, if you will, may do the same. G. B.
Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
685. These inward trials I employ from self and pride to set thee free;
to break thy schemes of earthly joy, and make thee find thine all
in Me. John Newton
686. The great discipline which we need as pilgrims, is mostly the
experience of our own weakness, and the art of finding our
strength in Christ; but it is astonishing what severe treatment is
oftentimes necessary to teach this, apparently the simplest and
most obvious of all lessons, but yet the deepest and most difficult
to be learned. G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s
Progress”
687. Any trial that weans us away from the love of passing things
and sets our affections on things above is a blessing in disguise.
William MacDonald
688. The temptations to worldliness are the strongest and most
common in the Christian race; they are so represented in
Scripture; we are told of the cares of this world, the deceitfulness
of riches, and the lusts of other things choking the word, that it
becometh unfruitful; and in many passages we are warned
against the love of the world, the imitation of its manners, and the
indulgence of its feelings. Especially in that striking passage in
John, and the corresponding one in James: “Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is of the world, the
lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is
not of the Father, but is of the world.” James is yet more severe:
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship
of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a
friend of the world is the enemy of God.” G. B. Cheever in
“Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
689. There is, however, an era of nominal Christianity. Vanity Fair
itself may be full of profound pilgrims, and the pilgrimage itself
may be held in high esteem, and yet the practice of the
pilgrimage, as Christian and Faithful followed it, may almost have
gone out of existence. With the increase of nominal Christians
there is always an increase of conformity to the world; and the
world appears better than it did to Christians, not so much
because it has changed, as because they have changed; the wild
beasts and the tame ones dwell together, not so much because
the leopards eat straw like the ox, as because the ox eats flesh
like the leopard. “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the
people;” the people have not come over to Ephraim, but Ephraim
has gone over to them; the people have not learned the ways of
Ephraim, but Ephraim hath learned the manners of the people.
This is too much the case in the Vanity Fair of the world at the
present time; there is not such a marked and manifest distinction
between the church and the world as there should be; their habits,
maxims, opinions, pursuits, amusements, whole manner of life,
are too much the same; so that the pilgrims in our day have lost
the character of a peculiar people, not so much because they
have become vastly more numerous than formerly, as because
they have become conformed to the world; not like strangers, but
natives in Vanity Fair. The great temptations of the church in our
day is that of entire, almost unmingled worldliness; formalism and
worldliness are too sadly the types of our piety; we are in
imminent danger of forgetting that our life is a pilgrimage, and that
this is not our rest. This being the case, what shall we say of this
sketch of Vanity Fair, and of the treatment of the pilgrims in it, as
applied to ourselves, to the Vanity Fair of our own era in the
world, and of the society around us? Do the pilgrims of our day
go as resolutely through Vanity Fair as Christian and Faithful did?
Is it true that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly lusts,
we, as they did, have our conversation in the world? Is our
merchandise the truth; or do we, as they did not, stop to trade in
Vanity Fair, cheapening its commodities? And how many among
us make Vanity Fair the end of our pilgrimage? G. B. Cheever in
“Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
690. It is true that in some cases these professed pilgrims were
found to have gone beyond their means, and to have built houses
and supported this expensive mode of life at the expense of other
people; but this did not prevent others from similar extravagance:
and at length the world’s people, as the original inhabitants at
Vanity Fair were called, and the population of the pilgrims, could
not at all be distinguished; the pilgrims having ceased to be a
peculiar people, and engaging in the same amusements and
pursuits as were generally deemed reputable. The pilgrims being
so prosperous and well-esteemed, you may readily suppose there
were very few new comers but were persuaded to settle down in
the same way, very few went straight through Vanity Fair, and
would not be turned aside from their pilgrimage. Some who
stayed in the town retained the recollection of their pilgrim life a
longer and some a shorter time than others, and some would be
ever and anon preparing to set out again; but there were certain
persons of influence in the place, as Mr. Self-indulgence, Mr.
Love-of-ease, Mr. Creature-comfort, Mr. Indolence, my Lord
Procrastinate, and my Lord Time-serving, who, with fair
speeches, did generally contrive to detain them, even to the day
of their death. So that it was rare that any of those who stopped
and became entangled in the cares and pleasures of life and
business in Vanity Fair, ever again set out on pilgrimage. I have
heard, however, that many of them, when they came to die, were
found in great gloom and distress, and could get no peace
whatever, crying out continually, Oh that I had never ceased to be
a pilgrim! G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
691. The awful moment of danger approaches when the temptation
to sin and the opportunity to sin coincide. We should pray
constantly that these two should never come together in our lives.
William MacDonald
692. Character is an inner garment, whose texture is woven by
thought, and feeling, and desire, and action; and this garment is
not exposed to the fickle whims of men or the caprice of
circumstances. John Henry Jowett
693. If I want to know the universal sovereignty of Christ, I must
know Him for myself, and how to get alone with Him; I must take
time to worship the Being Whose Name I bear. Oswald
Chambers
694. The philosophy of Money-love and By-ends is that which the
god of this world teaches all his votaries; and, alas! When
motives come to be scrutinized, as they will be, at the bar of God,
how much of our apparent good will be found to be evil, because
in the root that nourished both the branches and the fruit, there
was found to be nothing but self-interest carefully concealed! You
seek Me, not because of the miracles to be witnessed, or the
grace to be gained, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and
were filled. G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
695. James tests our faith by our answers to the following
questions. Am I willing like Abraham to offer the dearest
thing in my life to God? Am I willing like Rahab to turn traitor
to the world in order to be loyal to Christ? William
MacDonald
696. The habits of conformity to the world in Christians, and the love
of money in the church of Christ, are the two forms of sin and
danger especially brought to view in this portion of the Pilgrim’s
Progress. There are certain passages of Scripture, certain
declarations of our blessed Lord, which are “sharp arrows in the
hearts of the King’s enemies” on these subjects. “What shall it
profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
This is a sum in profit and loss, which it will take eternity to cipher
out. Therefore let no man try it; leave it to the Savior. Turn you to
Him and say, Lord, Thou knowest; Thou knowest perfectly what
the soul is, and what eternity is, and I do not know either; and
what it is to lose the soul, God grant I may never know! Lord,
keep me from making this experiment! And yet there are
multitudes who are making it, multitudes who are playing at this
game, working at this sum in arithmetic, What shall it profit a man,
if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? This is the
arithmetic of a great part of the world in Vanity Fair. Now you
may gain the world if you seek it. Its comforts, luxuries, sinful
pleasures, may be yours, if you be willing to barter your soul for
them; they almost always come at that price; so you may gain the
world, you may know what that part of the sum is: but what it is to
lose the soul—that computation you are to make, that column you
are to add up, in eternity; and that is an experiment which you
cannot make but by making it forever. (Continued)
697. Then there is that other passage, “Ye cannot serve God
and mammon.” Cannot! Yea, cannot; it is an absolute
impossibility! Then the life of a great many persons is a
perpetual strife after what is impossible, for many are
striving to serve God and mammon. Hard-working people
they are; there are no greater drudges in the world, than
those By-ends and Money-loves and Demases, who, in the
Christian church, are working away at this problem, to serve
God and mammon. That is also a tremendous sentence, “It
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than
for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” “Often as
the motley reflexes of my experience move in long
processions of manifold groups before me,” says a great
writer, and certainly not a cynical man, Mr. Coleridge, “the
distinguished and world-honored company of Christian
mammonists appear to the eye of my imagination as a drove
of camels heavily laden, yet all at full speed, and each in the
confident expectation of passing through the eye of the
needle, without stop or halt, both beasts and baggage!”
From such sad and fearful madness may the grace of our
God deliver us! G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s
Progress”
698. Some get into this prison (Doubting Castle) by spiritual sins,
others by sensual; some by the lusts of the flesh, some by the lust
of the eyes, some by the pride of life; some by conformity to the
world, and obedience to fashion; some by the pressure of
business, others by the cares of life and the deceitfulness of
riches; they that will be rich are always on the way to this castle, if
not in it. G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress”
699. Perhaps, notwithstanding there are so many examples of great
sins bringing men into his power, yet, with the majority of
Christians, it is little sins neglected, and sins of omission, and
duties undone, that shut them up in Doubting Castle, kept by
Giant Despair. Duties undone are in reality great sins, but they do
not strike the conscience with such immediate terror as open sins,
and therefore perhaps they are the more dangerous. The soul
gets sadly accustomed to such neglects, and there is always
some plausible excuse in the first instance, in the beginnings, a
man being always determined to repair the neglect immediately;
but it soon grows into a habit, and then the conscience ceases to
be so tender on that point, and at length there comes to be such
an accumulation of neglects and omissions, that there is no
computing them. G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s
Progress”
700. If men were content with what God has given them, what
staggering conflict and unrest would be avoided! If we loved
our neighbors as ourselves, and were more interested in
sharing than in acquiring, what peace would result! If we
would follow the Savior’s command to forsake all instead of
to accumulate, to lay up treasures in Heaven rather than on
earth, what contentions would cease! William MacDonald
701. But they had learned a lesson by that suffering, which nothing
else could have taught them, and which would remain with them
to the day of their death. They had learned, from bitter
experience, that anything and all things had better be endured,
than to depart from God and duty; and that whereas ease sought
in the way of their pilgrimage might seem as a sweet meadow for
a time, it would prove in the end a more intolerable evil, than all
the roughness and hardness of the King’s highway. They had
learned also to value the light of God’s countenance as they
never did before, to watch as they never did before, against
everything that might interrupt that light, or shut out the Savior
from their souls. They had learned to distrust themselves more
thoroughly, and to cast themselves on Christ more entirely; and
these are the two great lessons which we need to learn from
experience—our own weakness, and Christ’s strength. G. B.
Cheever in “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress” (Commenting on
the pilgrims stay in Doubting Castle.)
702. Such glimpses of Heaven, though they be but glimpses, are
inexpressibly blessed and sustaining in our pilgrimage. They help
to wean the affections from earth; they strengthen us against
temptations; they make us see, in the most striking light, the
emptiness and vanity of the things of the world, and the folly and
sinfulness of the love of the world; they make us feel, while
confined to the world, what shadows we are, and what shadows
we pursue; they make trials also seem very small and transitory,
and easy to be borne. Moreover, they quicken the heart after
God; for the renewed heart well knows that God is the glory of
that City: “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple
of it; and it has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine
in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light
thereof.” When the soul is filled and purified with such desires
after Heaven, as in Paul’s case, then it doth desire to depart and
to be with Christ; it would lay by these garments of mortality, that
it may put on Christ, and be clothed upon with its house which is
from Heaven. Sometimes, when God, by His grace, puts the soul
in such a holy frame, discloses so much of Himself in Christ to it,
every day is counted, as it passes, for joy, as a step nearer
Heaven; so that death seems no longer the king of terrors, but the
angel of a Father’s love; and the day when he comes is the
Christian’s BIRTH-DAY OF ETERNITY. So time itself, the most
fleeting of all things, seems sometimes long, because it separates
the soul from the Savior. G. B. Cheever in “Lectures on the
Pilgrim’s Progress”
703. Unless we have the right matter in our minds intellectually and
in our hearts affectionately, we will be hustled out of usefulness to
God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people
deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no matter in
them of God’s almighty grace, no matter of His mighty word.
Paul’s whole heart and mind and soul were taken up with the
great matter of what Jesus Christ came to do, he never lost sight
of that one thing. We have to face ourselves with the one central
fact—Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Oswald Chambers
704. When we read the exhortation to abstain from fleshly lusts
which war against the soul, we think immediately of sexual sins.
But the application is wider than that; it refers to any strong desire
that is inconsistent with the will of God. It would include over-
indulgence in food or drink, catering to the body with excessive
sleep, the determination to amass material possessions, or the
hankering for worldly pleasures. All these things wage
incessant warfare against our spiritual well being. They
hinder communion with God. They deter spiritual growth.
William MacDonald
705. There is something better than envying the prosperity of the
wicked; that is to live in constant fellowship with the Lord.
Occupation with the wicked brings discouragement; occupation
with the Lord brings delight. So the lesson is to make communion
with God the aim of our life. Also, to remember that there is a
future day of reckoning for the wicked and a bright hope of reward
for the righteous which shall never be disappointed. The hereafter
looks past death and resurrection to a glorious future in Heaven.
William MacDonald
706. We should be willing to pay a great price for truth, but unwilling
to sell it for any consideration. The same goes for wisdom and
instruction and understanding. We should spare no pains to
acquire them, but never surrender them for anything in this world.
William MacDonald
707. Have you ever thought again how much in Jesus’ character
seemed to promise nothing but obscurity? I say that with the
utmost reverence—you all know what our Lord means to me.
There is not a trace in Him of lust of power, so often the
characteristic of the great. If He had ever felt it He had crushed it
down, as you may read in the Temptation narrative. There is not
a sign in Him of any passion for fame—the spur that the clear
spirit doth raise, as Milton puts it. And as for ambition, if He were
ambitious, ambition should be made of sterner stuff. Christ was
gentle. Christ was tenderhearted. Christ was compassionate to
all the failures. And when men would have made Him a king He
slipped away. He had a habit of slipping away from
demonstrations. And He loved solitude, and lowly life, and the
quiet beauty of pasture and of hill. And He was never happier
than with His own, where the waves were lapping on the shore.
There were men who became powerful then as now by taking the
lead in patriotic movements. Christ never once identified Himself
with any popular or patriotic movement. He stood apart a little
from them all; went His own way in sunshine and in shadow; and,
with a character of perfect poise, kept at the heart of all a perfect
love. It is not usually characters like that which break through
every barrier of concealment. It is men who are determined and
aglow; who are intense even to narrowness. And it seems to me
that the very poise of Christ, and His meekness, and the beauty of
His love, are just the elements we might have reckoned as
making for the shelter of obscurity. Yet we all know that that was
not the case, Jesus could not be hid. George H. Morrison
708. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.” When Jesus Christ
cleansed the temple, He “would not suffer that any man should
carry any vessel through the temple.” The Spirit of God will not
allow you to use your body for your own convenience. Jesus
ruthlessly cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple,
and said—”My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye
have made it a den of thieves.” Have we recognized that our
body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? Oswald Chambers
709. The strength and power of the Church, or of the individual
believer, is found solely in the Holy Spirit; and, therefore, to rest
on any other source of power is to lean on a bruised reed that will
break, and pierce the hand that leans upon it. What constitutes
the power of a church? Numbers? God would rather have seven
consecrated men and women than seven thousand who are living
according to the course of this world. Where lies the strength of a
church? In human wealth and patronage? Sometimes these are
curses instead of blessings. The power of any church is the Holy
Spirit. If He be in the preacher and in the believer, and in the
general body of disciples, there is no telling what wonderful things
that may be done under His presidency. A. T. Pierson
710. Man is never satisfied. No matter how much he sees, he still
wants more. And his ears never reach the stage where they don’t
want to hear something new. He travels incessantly and
frenetically for new sensations, new sights, new sounds. He is
after what an American sociologist calls the fundamental wish for
new experience. But he returns dissatisfied and jaded. Man is so
constituted that all the world cannot bring lasting happiness to his
heart. This does not mean that his case is hopeless. All he
needs to do is get above the sun to the One who “satisfies the
longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness”. William
MacDonald
711. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that
money can’t buy. Anonymous
712. If the accumulation of possessions could guarantee peace and
happiness, then he (Solomon) had arrived. But like the rest of us,
he had to learn that true pleasure comes from noble renunciations
rather than from frenzied accumulations. He was spending his
money for what is not bread and his wages for what does not
satisfy. William MacDonald
713. God’s revelation of Himself to me is determined by my
character, not by God’s character. Oswald Chambers
714. In order for us to walk day by day in fellowship with God and
with our fellow believers, we must confess our sins: sins of
commission, sins of omission, sins of thought, sins of act, secret
sins, and public sins. We must drag them out into the open
before God, call them by their names, take sides with God against
them, and forsake them. Yes, true confession involves forsaking
our sins: “He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever
confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” William
MacDonald
715. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to
all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the
present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious
appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who
gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every
lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people,
zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and
rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. Titus
2:11-15
716. There was something else that drove him (Solomon) up the wall
—the fact that human activity and skill are motivated by the desire
to outdo one’s neighbor. He saw that the wheel of life was
propelled by the competitive spirit. The desire to have better
clothes and a more luxurious home—it all seemed so empty and
unworthy of men created in God’s image and after His likeness.
William MacDonald
717. Worldliness is the love for passing things. The human heart can
never find satisfaction with things…Concentrating on this world is
like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. So wise people do
not live for a world that is passing away. But he who does the will
of God abides forever. William MacDonald
718. Beware of “the cares of this world,” because they are the things
that produce a wrong temper of soul. It is extraordinary what an
enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention
from God. Refuse to be swamped with the cares of this life.
Oswald Chambers
719. There is no feature that the Bible loves more to proclaim than
just this feature of “aboveness.” It distinguishes the disciples of
Christ. See how the ambitions of the book run: --”Seek the things
that are above”; “Set your mind on things above.” It speaks also
of dwelling “with Christ in the heavenly places.” All this describes
the life that looks at everything from lofty standpoints and
approaches everything with high ambition. John Henry Jowett
720. Only the man who is born of God really overcomes the world,
because by faith he is able to rise above the perishing things of
this world and to see things in their true, eternal perspective.
Thus the one who really overcomes the world is not the great
scientist or philosopher or psychologist, but the simple believer
who realizes that the things which are seen are temporary and the
things which are not seen are eternal. A sight of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus dims the glory of this world. William
MacDonald
721. People often come to me to find out where they have missed
the secret of the victorious and joyful Christian life. Generally, I
discover that they want to live in two worlds. They want to live a
holy life like Dr. A. B. Simpson, but at the same time they want to
be as worldly as the heathen. They aspire to the saintliness of
the saintly McCheyne, but they are satisfied to be as worldly as
the world—and it is impossible to have both! A. W. Tozer
722. We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from
God; we must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The
greatest blessing spiritually is the knowledge that we are
destitute; until we get there Our Lord is powerless. He can do
nothing for us if we think we are sufficient of ourselves, we have
to enter into His Kingdom through the door of destitution. As long
as we are rich, possessed of anything in the way of pride or
independence, God cannot do anything for us. It is only when we
get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit, He imparts to
us the quickening life of Jesus, which puts “the beyond” within,
and immediately “the beyond” has come within, it rises up to “the
above,” and we are lifted into the domain where Jesus lives.
Oswald Chambers
723. Jude wishes for his readers mercy, peace, and love. The
greeting is peculiarly suited to those who were facing the
onslaught of those whose aim was to subvert the faith. Mercy
means God’s compassionate comfort and care for His
beleaguered saints in times of conflict and stress. Peace is the
serenity and confidence that come from reliance on God’s word
and from looking above circumstances to the One who overrules
all circumstances for the accomplishment of His own purposes.
Love is the undeserved embrace of God for His dear people—a
super-affection that should then be shared with others. He
wishes that these three blessings be multiplied. Not measured
out by mere addition, but by multiplication! William MacDonald on
Jude V.2
724. The more you know of God’s attributes, the more you
understand of His acts; the more you treasure up of His promises,
and the more you fully dive into the depths of His covenant, the
more difficult will it become for Satan to tempt you to
despondency and despair. Acquaint thyself with God and be at
peace. Meditate on His law both day and night, and thou shalt be
like a tree planted by the rivers of water; thy leaf shall not wither;
thou shalt bring forth fruit in thy season, and whatsoever thou
doest shall prosper. Ignorance of God is ignorance of bliss; but
knowledge of God is a divine armour, by which we are able to
ward off all the blows of the enemy. Know thyself, O man, and
that will make thee miserable; know thy God, O Christian, and
that will make thee rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Charles H. Spurgeon
725. “Renew a right spirit” means to repair something that exists but
is broken. We have a responsibility to maintain a growing
fellowship with God. But because of sin, that fellowship stops
functioning as it should. As we confess, or agree with God, that
our spirit needs to be repaired, He is faithful and just to forgive us.
J. Ransom Bennett
726. Perhaps, we should come out from hiding behind the
distractions of life and face what many of us fear—silence. God
often speaks to us in a gentle whisper. May we be still and know.
Tiria E. Brumfield
727. As one of God’s children, the most dangerous thing is to be part
of the crowd, identified with the world instead of His agenda. It’s
not that God is seeking pompous, power-hungry dictators. God
is seeking those who are holy, separate, apart from the world
through their conscious, decisive choices to be in the best
possible position to serve Him. Consider your position as a
servant of God. Are your daily battles concerned with choosing
God’s way versus compromise, or have you settled that argument
once and for all? Bill Craig
728. We must pray for our nation to repent of its tolerant, anyway-
you-want-to-live society in order to experience God’s forgiveness
rather than His wrath. Grace Lee Vaughan
729. Nothing between my soul and the Savior, naught of this world’s
delusive dream; nothing preventing the least of His favor, keep
the way clear, let nothing between. Charles A. Tindley
730. If prestige was the key to a happy life, then he (Solomon) held
the key. But it wasn’t, and he didn’t. Someone has said, “I asked
for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might
enjoy all things.” William MacDonald
731. The failure of pleasure and possessions to fill the heart of man
was further illustrated by a fictional character who only had to
wish for something and he got it instantly: He wanted a house
and there it was with servants at the door; he wanted a Cadillac,
and there it was with chauffeur. He was elated at the beginning,
but it soon began to pall on him. He said to an attendant, “I want
to get out of this. I want to create something, to suffer something.
I would rather be in hell than here.” And the attendant answered,
“Where do you think you are?” E. Stanley Jones. That is where
our contemporary society is—in a hell of materialism, trying to
satisfy the human heart with things that cannot bring lasting
enjoyment. William MacDonald
732. The Lord called it to a new zeal and a new endeavor to
strengthen what little there remained for Him, for even that was
showing signs of dying. The people had often started projects for
God but had never brought them to completion. Christ warned
them to hold fast the sacred deposit of truth and to repent of their
lifelessness. Unless they awoke, He would come unexpectedly
and deal with them in judgment. William MacDonald on the
church at Sardis, Revelation 3:2,3.
733. As the strength of sin lies in the inward frame of the heart, so
the strength of worship in the inward complexion and temper of
the soul. What do a thousand services avail, without cutting the
throat of our carnal affections? What are loud prayers, but as
sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, without divine charity? A
pharisaical diligence in outward forms, without inward spirit, had
no better a title vouchsafed by our Savior than that of hypocritical.
God desires not sacrifices, nor delights in burnt-offerings:
shadows are not to be offered instead of substance. God
required the heart of man for itself, but commanded outward
ceremonies as subservient to inward worship, and goads and
spurs unto it. Stephen Charnock
734. There is still emptiness within people, and they attempt to fill
that with things that do not satisfy. Jesus said to the woman at
the well, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again”. I tell
people to write this Scripture over the top of their ambition, over
every goal they set for their lives. No ambition is going to satisfy
their thirst, because it is a spiritual thirst. Man is a three-fold
being—body, soul and spirit. We have physical thirst. We have
emotional thirst for love, security and the need to be needed.
Then way down, deep inside, we have a thirst for God. In
Romans 8, Paul said, “The creature was made subject to vanity”.
God created a spiritual thirst that only He can quench. The
problem is that people are trying to quench a spiritual thirst with a
physical or emotional experience. It can’t be done, even as you
can’t fill a physical thirst with an emotional experience. Chuck
Smith
735. The times were indeed desperate. The community was
suffering a serious, economic depression. Their crops had been
decimated by pestilence. The priests were so immoral and
corrupt that their skepticism was spreading to the entire
population. The people complained against God, bemoaned their
dismal plight—even refused to pay their tithes and offerings.
Worship had degenerated into indecent and empty formalism.
Moreover, rather than remaining a separate people, they
were intermarrying with their Gentile neighbors. The politicians
were corrupt. Their corrupt political practices were affecting the
entire community. The people were disposed to question the
authority and the method of God. God’s love was being doubted
and God’s truth was being questioned. These dire conditions
called for a fearless spokesman for God. This spokesman was
Malachi! Richard O. Rigsby on the conditions when the book of
Malachi was written.
736. To be independent of everything in the universe is God’s glory,
and to be independent is man’s shame. All that God has, He has
from Himself—all that man has, he has from God. The moment
man cuts himself off from God, he cuts himself off from all true
grandeur. Frederick W. Robertson
737. If a man look for greatness outside of God, it matters little
whether he seeks it in his own applause or in that of others.
Frederick W. Robertson
738. “There was a certain rich man”—what is the meaning of the
word? Rich man—it stands for power, capacity, ability to serve.
“And there was a beggar that lay at his gate full of sores”—that
means need. And so we have here ability to serve and a need of
service brought close together. The poor man was at the rich
man’s gate. That means that this poor man was the rich man’s
responsibility. He was the rich man’s opportunity. I do not know
what responsibility lay at the gate of the man across the street,
but the responsibility of this rich man is very plain. The call for
help is loud and insistent. Here was his chance. Here was his
opportunity. Here was the safety vault in which he might have
made a deposit for eternity.
But the rich man seems never to have seen the man at his gate.
He was too busy with his affairs. He was too much occupied with
his own pleasures, the pleasures of getting and the pleasures of
spending. Not that he was unkind to the beggar—he did not have
him stoned, he did not have him thrown into prison. He was not a
cruel man, this rich man. At least, he was not aggressively cruel. I
dare say he was better than the average. Otherwise he would
have driven the old beggar away and not even allowed him to
gather up the crumbs. At least the sin of the man was not that he
did anything of harm to the beggar. It was rather in the fact that he
let him alone. Clovis Gillham Chappell
739. It is very grievous to see how some professedly Christian
parents are satisfied so long as their children display cleverness
in learning, or sharpness in business, although they show no
signs of a renewed nature. If they pass their examinations with
credit and promise to be well fitted for the world’s battle, their
parents forget that there is a superior conflict, involving a higher
crown, for which the child will need to be fitted by divine grace
and armed with the whole armor of God. Charles H. Spurgeon
740. “And there shall be no more curse,” perfect sinlessness; “but the
throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it,” perfect government;
“and His servants shall serve Him,” perfect service; “They shall
see His face,” perfect communion; “and His name shall be on
their foreheads,” perfect resemblance; “And there shall be no
night there,” perfect blessedness; “And they shall reign forever
and ever,” perfect glory. A. T. Pierson on Revelation 22:3-5
741. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not
known and received, the devil and his works will gain the
ascendancy; if
the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of
a
corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is
not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy
and
misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness, will
reign
without mitigation or end. Daniel Webster
742. The greatest tragedy in the world today is that God has made
man in His image and made him to worship Him, made him to
play the harp of worship before the face of God day and night, but
he has failed God and dropped the harp. It lies voiceless at his
feet. A.W. Tozer
743. When our eyes are opened by God’s grace, and we see things
no longer as the dark world sees them, but when ‘God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ,’ we begin to set a different value on all
things. We see that prosperity is sometimes a curse, and
adversity a blessing—we understand better what constitutes true
happiness. From the book The Basket Of Flowers
744. There is nothing terrible in death, to a Christian. It is only the
removal from the garden below to the garden above. From the
book The Basket Of Flowers
745. I have learned more from these few words, ‘Consider the lilies
of the field,’ than I learned in my youth from many a volume.
These simple words have been the origin of my purest
enjoyments; and in many an affliction, when I was ready to faint
under the weight of the trial, they have revived my courage,
strengthened my faith, and restored peace to my soul.” From the
book The Basket Of Flowers
746. “Ah!” said he to himself, as he passed the garden which James
had made, “how sadly those people deceive themselves who
suppose that happiness is only to be found in riches! With all her
gold, this rich woman has never tasted one hour of the pure
pleasure that James and Mary enjoyed in this very garden which
she despises!” From the book The Basket Of Flowers
747. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving
them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing
worth having—viz., life with Himself. Oswald Chambers
748. The watchman is one who stands in God’s counsels, knows
what is coming and looks out for the event. So now, he who
learns from the completed Scriptures what God has foretold,
discerning His purposes, not by speculative interpretation, but by
comparing Scripture with Scripture, and accepting what is therein
made plain, is able to warn and exhort others. He stands upon
the watchtower with God. W. E. Vine
749. Our part as workers for God is to open men’s eyes that they
may turn themselves from darkness to light; but that is not
salvation, that is conversion—the effort of a roused human being.
I do not think it is too sweeping to say that the majority of nominal
Christians are of this order; their eyes are opened, but they have
received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is one of
the neglected factors in our preaching today. When a man is born
again, he knows that it is because he has received something as
a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision.
People register their vows, and sign their pledges, and determine
to go through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that
we are brought to the place where we are able to receive
something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, viz.,
remission of sins.
Then there follows the second mighty work of grace—”and
inheritance among them which are sanctified.” In sanctification the
regenerated soul deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus
Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God’s interest in other
men. Oswald Chambers
750. If any man thirst. What “thirst” is this? Blaise Pascal said, “I
count only two men rational: the man who loves God with all his
heart because he has found Him, and the man who seeks God
with all his heart because he has as yet found Him not.” By those
criteria, most of mankind are not rational. The average person
who claims to believe in God (as does the vast majority in
America) is too preoccupied with himself to give God much time
or serious thought. Dave Hunt
751. Tragically, man’s natural tendency is not to seek the true God to
whose will we must submit, but a false god that will magically fulfill
selfish ambitions. There is a vast difference between praying for
God to grant one’s fleshly desires, and submissively praying for
that which God in His wisdom and love knows that one needs.
Hear the sadness in God’s heart: “Be astonished, O ye
heavens…and be horribly afraid….For my people have committed
two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and
hewed them out…broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer
2:12,13). The poet wrote: “I tried the broken cisterns, Lord, But O
the waters failed. E’en as I stooped to drink they fled, And mocked
me as I wailed.” Dave Hunt
752. Man’s attachment to this temporary life and its deceitful
pleasures and empty possessions blinds him to the spiritual and
eternal dimension of reality. Dave Hunt
753. As Herbert Vander Lugt points out, the prophet illustrates the
way God deals with His children by citing three aspects of a
farmer’s work. First, he declares that the plowman doesn’t
continue breaking the ground indefinitely, but stops when it is
ready for planting. Likewise, our trials are brought to an end as
soon as they have accomplished His purposes in our lives. Then
the prophet says that the farmer sows his seed with discernment,
scattering the cummin but putting the wheat in rows. This
assures us that the Lord carefully selects the discipline especially
suited to our particular need. Finally, Isaiah portrays the laborer
threshing his crop. With extreme care he beats out the dill with a
light stick, and strikes the cummin with a heavier flail. For the
wheat he employs a wheel just heavy enough to avoid crushing
the grain. Thus the Almighty uses the gentlest possible touch for
our condition, never allowing an affliction to be greater than we
can bear. William MacDonald
754. Still the Lord will wait to be gracious. “God waits until the
disaster of our choice has taught us the foolishness of that
choice.” When Judah turns to the Lord, He will be their Teacher,
Guide, Giver of rain, fertility and prosperity, Healer, Rock, and
Defender. His people “will throw away their idols like the polluted
things they are, shouting after them ‘Good riddance!’” William
MacDonald on Isaiah 30:18-25
755. Get out of your mind the idea of expecting God to come with
compulsions and pleadings. When our Lord called His disciples
there was no irresistible compulsion from outside. The quiet
passionate insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men with
every power wide awake. If we let the Spirit of God bring us face
to face with God, we too shall hear something akin to what Isaiah
heard, the still small voice of God, and in perfect freedom will say,
“Here am I, send me.” Oswald Chambers
756. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His
battlings. Oswald Chambers
757. Picture in your mind a tall ladder leaning against a wall. Now
think about your life as a process of climbing that ladder.
Wouldn’t it be a tragedy to get to the top of the ladder and find
you placed it against the wrong wall? One life to live and you
missed it! Your relationship to God (Father, Son, and Spirit) is the
single most important aspect of your life. If it is not right, nothing
else is important. Henry Blackaby
758. You need to begin orienting your life to the purposes of God.
His purposes go far beyond time and into eternity. Make sure you
are investing your life, time, and resources in things that are
lasting and not things that will pass away. If you don’t recognize
that God created you for eternity, you will invest in the wrong
direction. You need to store up treasures in Heaven. Henry
Blackaby
759. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will
make you in accordance with the vision He has given if you will
wait His time. Never try and help God fulfil His word. Abraham
went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-
sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying
on common-sense ways. Those years of silence were a time of
discipline, not of displeasure. Never pump up joy and confidence,
but stay upon God. Oswald Chambers
760. As soon as God becomes real, other people become shadows.
Nothing that other saints do or say can ever perturb the one who
is built on God. Oswald Chambers
764. One of the first cravings of men's hearts is wealth. So universal
the desire to gain it, that we might almost say it is a natural instinct.
How many have thought if they once possessed it they should be
blessed indeed! but there are ten thousand proofs that happiness
consists not in the abundance which a man possesseth. So many
instances are well known to you all, that I need not quote any to
show that riches are not a blessing indeed. They are rather
apparently than really so. Hence, it has been well said, that when
we see how much a man has we envy him; but could we see how
little he enjoys we should pity him. Some that have had the most
easy circumstances have had the most uneasy minds. Those who
have acquired all they could wish, had their wishes been at all
sane, have been led by the possession of what they had to be
discontented because they had not more.
“Thus the base miser starves amidst his store,
Broods o'er his gold, and griping still at more,
Sits sadly pining, and believes he's poor.”
Nothing is more clear to any one who chooses to observe it, than
that riches are not the chief good at whose advent sorrow flies, and
in whose presence joy perennial springs. Full often wealth cozens
the owner. Dainties are spread on his table, but his appetite fails,
minstrels wait his bidding, but his ears are deaf to all the strains of
music; holidays he may have as many as he pleases, but for him
recreation has lost all its charms: or he is young, fortune has come
to him by inheritance, and he makes pleasure his pursuit till sport
becomes more irksome than work, and dissipation worse than
drudgery. Ye know how riches make themselves wings; like the
bird that roosted on the tree, they fly away. In sickness and
despondency these ample means that once seemed to whisper,
“Soul, take thine ease,” prove themselves to be poor comforters. In
death they even tend to make the pang of separation more acute,
because there is the more to leave, the more to lose. We may well
say, if we have wealth, “My God, put me not off with these husks;
let me never make a god of the silver and the gold, the goods and
the chattels, the estates and investments, which in Thy providence
thou hast given me. I beseech Thee, bless me indeed. As for these
worldly possessions, they will be my bane unless I have Thy grace
with them.” And if you have not wealth, and perhaps the most of
you will never have it, say, “My Father, Thou hast denied me this
outward and seeming good, enrich me with Thy love, give me the
gold of Thy favor, bless me indeed; then allot to others whatever
Thou wilt, Thou shalt divide my portion, my soul shall wait Thy daily
will; do Thou bless me indeed, and I shall be content.” Charles H.
Spurgeon
761. In accepting the perfect One, God rejected all imperfection.
Imperfection is to be known by perfection. What is the perfect
type? Life God-centered, self-emptying, man-serving. The
imperfect type is life, self-centered, self-seeking, and self-serving.
God rejects that type of humanity forever. G. Campbell Morgan
762. It’s all about God’s gifts for God’s purposes, not about our gifts
for our purposes.
763. Our Lord said, in effect, to Paul—Your whole life is to be
overmastered by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no
purpose but Mine. Oswald Chambers
764. The first essential element of the Christian character is the
death of self—so easily said, so imperfectly understood, so little
realized—the death of self; not the destruction of self, but the
death of self, so far as self is a separate personality thinking only
of itself and making all outside forces minister to its own well-
being and advancement. The Lord Christ begins by saying to
men, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself . . . and
follow Me.” That is the central fact of Christian experience, denial
of self.
The result in the economy of grace is holiness of character;
purity of motive; holiness and righteousness, the two sides of the
one great pure Christly character; holiness, rectitude of character;
righteousness, rectitude of conduct springing out of rectitude of
character. Add to these two things that one inclusive word which
has in it the fire of holiness and the passion of self-denial, the great
word love. These are the distinctive elements of Christian
character. G. Campbell Morgan
765. Between the garden and the ultimate city, we find all the tragedy
of human sin, human failure, human inability; and all the
magnificent processes of God’s government, forever moving, to
our seeming with great slowness, but with infinite sureness,
toward the ultimate goal of the establishment in this world of His
own Kingdom, and the realization of His own purpose among the
sons of men. Between that garden and that city, there is a
long succession of pilgrims of faith, visionary souls, fanatics
in the thinking of the men among whom they lived, leaving
earthly cities to seek one they saw, but no other saw;
abandoning the values of the passing and perishing,
because convinced of the values of the eternal and
permanent. G. Campbell Morgan
766. I can strike no blow against the powers of darkness which will
tell, if I am allowing them to hold high revel within the citadel of my
own personality. In beginning to build the city of God, I make my
contribution, first and fundamentally, when I see to it that all my
own life is under the Lordship of God’s anointed and appointed
King. G. Campbell Morgan
767. All this brings home the folly, futility and sinfulness of pursuing
our own way, carrying out our own designs and turning after that
in which God cannot take pleasure, instead of waiting upon Him,
listening to His voice and delighting in the fulfillment of His will.
Through our walking with God He fulfills, and will fulfill, all the
promises of His Word. He responds to delighted confidence in
Him, by adding an Amen to His assurance. The peace of an
obedient heart and a trusting spirit is that which enjoys the
sunshine of His countenance and the calmness of holy
communion with Him. W. E. Vine
768. God reminds rebellious Israel of the fervor and the warmth and
purity of the love streams in the early days. She was desperately
in love with her Lover and the tender love made life full of music
and joy and hope. She was pure and clean and holy. No
disloyalty or unclean thought marred the beauty of her devotion.
But now the picture is heart-rending. God’s heart is crushed with
grief and disappointment. Israel now is living in open sin. She is
unfaithful to the covenant vows. Other gods have stolen her
affection. She has ceased to love Yahweh and her conduct is
shameful in the extreme. Kyle Yates on Jeremiah 2:1-3
769. What put into his heart (William Booth) the passionate
discontent with unholy conditions of life? His vision of the city of
God. All the discontent that is constructive is born of a great
content with the ultimate purpose of God. To have seen this
vision of the city is to be forever restless in every other city, and
so “We have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city
which is to come.” The inspiring vision which has created the
pilgrims and warriors of faith has been the vision of the city which
is in the plan of God. G. Campbell Morgan
770. The tendency of the religions of all time has been to care more
for religion than for humanity: Christ cared more for humanity than
for religion—rather, His care for humanity was the chief
expression of His religion. He was not indifferent to observances,
but the practices of the people bulked in His thoughts before the
practices of the Church. It has been pointed out as a blemish on
the immortal allegory of Bunyan that the Pilgrim never did
anything—anything but save his soul. The remark is scarcely fair,
for the allegory is designedly the story of a soul in a single
relation; and, besides, he did do a little. But the warning may well
be weighed. The Pilgrim's one thought, his work by day, his
dream by night, was escape. He took little part in the world
through which he passed. He was a Pilgrim travelling through it;
his business was to get through safe. Whatever this is, it is not
Christianity. Henry Drummond
771. In times of trouble and discouragement, there is a tendency to
question our certainties. A better policy for Christians is to believe
our beliefs and doubt our doubts, rather than doubting our beliefs
and believing our doubts. William MacDonald
772. If we are truly pilgrims of faith, warriors of faith, builders of faith,
then let us remember we cannot dwell in Jerusalem sharing its
life, and by talking of the Cross, redeem it. We cannot dwell in
London and be of London, of its desire and its amusement and of
its philosophies, and save it. There must be utter separation, with
a clear line of demarcation between those who have seen the
vision and are walking the way of God toward the victory, and
those who are content with godlessness. That is the first
requirement for being able to help the city, or to prepare for the
coming of the Kingdom or to co-operate in the building of the city
of God. G. Campbell Morgan
773. After Calvary, God has the right to be trusted; to be believed that
He means what He says; and that His love is dependable. A. J.
Gossip
774. We thank Thee for making all things so plain to us in Christ
Jesus the Lord; we bless Thee that Thou dost not call us to any
ventures on our own behalf or to any inventions of new and
untried moralities; we thank Thee for the eternal temple in which
we may hear the heavenly songs and for the balances by which
we may test all our doings and thoughts, our motives and
purposes. We thank Thee for the fine gold; may we examine all
pretended gold by its light and according to its quality; then shall
we be men and women of solid character, high uprightness, noble
magnanimity, and men shall take knowledge of us that we have
been with Jesus. Joseph Parker
775. Paul says he is gripped by the love of God, that is why he acts
as he does. Men may call him mad or sober, but he does not
care; there is only one thing he is living for, and that is to
persuade men of the judgment seat of God, and of the love of
Christ. This abandon to the love of Christ is the one thing that
bears fruit in the life, and it will always leave the impression of
holiness and of the power of God, never of our personal holiness.
Oswald Chambers
776. Keep a clear conscience; he cannot be a bold reprover that is
not a conscientious liver; such a one must speak softly, for fear of
awakening his own guilty conscience. He is like one that shoots
with a foul piece; his reproofs recoil upon himself. Unholiness in
the preacher’s life will either stop his mouth from reproving, or the
people’s ears from receiving. Oh, how harsh a sound does such a
cracked bell make in the ears of his congregation. William
Gurnall
777. God’s word to His people in the day of Jeremiah is still His sure
word for men who have sinned and lost touch with the Infinite. No
perfunctory gesture of interest can procure the rich treasure that
is more valuable than all gold. He is always available. His
longing is that all men may look to Him and live. His arms are
always open in loving invitation to any who will turn to Him. It is
just as true, however, that a diligent search is necessary. One
who becomes conscious of his need, senses the satisfying gift of
God, and sets out to find Him can be sure of victory if he seeks
with his whole heart. Cleansing, peace, joy, victory will be his at
the hand of a loving God who delights to welcome His children
home. Kyle M. Yates
778. The invasion of the Church by the world is a menace to the
extension of Christ's Kingdom. In all ages conformity to the
world by Christians has resulted in lack of spiritual life and a
consequent lack of spiritual vision and enterprise. A
secularized or self-centered Church can never evangelize the
world. John R. Mott
779. But the hour comes when a man is spiritually roused. Out of the
infinite, the hand of God hath touched him. The old content is
gone like some sweet dream. He realizes that things seen are
temporal. He is not satisfied anymore, nor very happy; sin
becomes real, the eternal is full of voices. And it is then, in a
vision fairer than any dawn, that the glory of Christ first breaks
upon the soul. There is a depth of meaning in His wisdom now,
that the mere intellect was powerless to grasp. There is a
tenderness and a strength in His compassion that mere emotion
never understood. There is a value and a nearness in His death
that once would have been quite inexplicable. When they were
awake, they saw His glory. George H. Morrison
780. “Do not be conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2
A Worldly Christianity?
Octavius Winslow
Professor of the gospel! guard against the world; it
is your undoing! Watch against conformity to it . . .
in your dress,
in your mode of living,
in the education of your children,
in the principles, motives, and policy that govern you.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by . . .
any known inconsistency of conduct,
any sinful conformity to the world,
any inordinate pursuit of . . .
its wealth,
its honors,
its pleasures,
its friendships, and
its great things.
Pray against the sin of covetousness, that canker
worm that feeds at the root of so many souls!
Pray against the love of dress, that sin that diverts
the mind of so many professors from the simplicity of
Christ, and takes the eye off from the true adornment!
Pray against a thirst for light and trifling reading, that
strange and sinful inconsistency of so many, the certain
tendency of which is to starve the life of God in the soul,
to engender a distaste for spiritual nourishment, for
the Word of God, for holy meditation, and for Divine
communion and fellowship. Yes, pray against the
spirit of worldly, sinful conformity in everything!
Reader! are you a professing Christian? Then guard
against a worldly Christianity—a Christianity that
wears a fair exterior, so far as it is composed of church
attendance, but which excludes from it the cross of the
meek and lowly Lamb of God—a Christianity which
loves the world and the things of the world, “makes
a fair show in the flesh,” speaks well of Christ, and
yet betrays Him with a kiss. Oh, awful state! oh,
fearful deception! oh, fatal delusion!
The world is the sworn enemy of your Savior; let it not
be your friend. No; come out of it, and be separate.
781. Right through the law of Moses and the prophets, and on to the
Baptist’s preaching in the wilderness, there is one long cry for
social justice. Then came Jesus, and the cry for justice was
transcended in the cry for love. He says to the man embittered by
his blinding, Have you tried the way of love? And He means that
by the way of love something more is gained than retribution, for
the enemy is turned into a friend. For conquering enemies and
settling problems, Jesus believed in love alone. Love to him was
the universal solvent of the injuries and injustices of life. We may
smile at that and call it idle dreaming—”Behold, this dreamer
cometh.” But for the Lord it was “the only way.” George H.
Morrison
782. He called on men to try the way of love because He knew it was
the way of God. He found that as he wandered in the fields—did
not the rain fall on the evil and the good? Did God withhold His
sunshine from the sinner on the strict and narrow plea of
retribution? He found that in Himself, sent in the very lavishness
of love, for God so loved the world. For Jesus, love was not an
attribute of God; it was the depth and center of His being. God
was not fatherly; He was a Father, loving His children as a father
does. His perfection was not a rigid justice, but an infinitely loving
heart—and we are to be perfect even as He is. That was why
Jesus was so daring, though all the world might reckon Him a
dreamer. To Him the way of love was God’s way, and God’s way
is the only way. Undeterred by the mockeries of men and
resolute in “the foolishness of God,” He confronts our broken
world today, still asking, “Have you tried the way of Love?”
George H. Morrison
783. The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to
stare up the steps—We must step up the stairs. Vance Havner
784. Jesus said to Peter—”Feed My sheep,” but He gave him
nothing to feed them with. The process of being made broken
bread and poured out wine means that you have to be the
nourishment for other souls until they learn to feed on God. They
must drain you to the dregs. Be careful that you get your supply,
or before long you will be utterly exhausted. Before other souls
learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus direct, they have to
draw on it through you; you have to be literally “sucked,” until they
learn to take their nourishment from God. We owe it to God to be
our best for His lambs and His sheep as well as for Himself.
Oswald Chambers
785. It is a mute reminder that sin, in spite of all its allurement and
excitement, carries with it heavy weights of sorrow, grief, misery,
barrenness, and pain. It is the other side of the ‘eat, drink and be
merry’ coin.” Charles R. Swindoll
786. And now, upon the whole matter, comparing the prophecy and
the history of this book together, we may learn in general, (1.)
That it is no new thing for churches and persons highly dignified
to degenerate, and become very corrupt. (2.) That iniquity tends
to the ruin of those that harbor it; and, if it be not repented of and
forsaken, will certainly end in their ruin. (3.) That external
professions and privileges will not only amount to an excuse for
sin and an exemption from ruin, but will be a very great
aggravation of both. (4.) That no word of God shall fall to the
ground, but the event will fully answer the prediction; and the
unbelief of man shall not make God’s threatenings, any more than
His promises, of no effect. The justice and truth of God are here
written in bloody characters, for the conviction or the confusion of
all those that make a jest of His threatenings. Let them not be
deceived, God is not mocked. Matthew Henry on the Book of
Jeremiah
787. Do we not sometimes wonder why it should be so hard to win
the crown which God delights to give? Redeemed by blood, why
should we have to fight so, why struggle in deadly fashion to the
end? And the answer is that thus we are ennobled and called into
fellowship with the divine and raised to be sharers in that work of
grace which rests on the satisfaction of Christ Jesus. All that you
cannot do, God will do. All that you can do, God will never do.
Trust Him to free you by bursting iron doors and leading you
triumphantly from prison. But gird thyself; do not ask God to do it.
Do not wait for the angel to tie on the sandal. It is only a fool who
would be idle because he was assured the light had come. . . But
when Peter came to look back upon it all, he would see the
meaning of the angel’s conduct and learn the lesson (which is so
hard to learn) that there is no hurry in the plans of God. George
H. Morrison
788. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these
things. Isaiah 40:26. The people of God in Isaiah’s day had
starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and
Isaiah made them look up at the heavens, that is, he made them
begin to use their imagination aright. Nature to a saint is
sacramental. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous
treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and
day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and
in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us
if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it. Oswald
Chambers
789. Our Lord is now teaching us that, while we are to aim to be
peacemakers, we are to be contented and cordially consent to
have our own peace broken up, and to be in the midst of war
perpetually, if our loyalty to Christ and to truth demands it. All
peace that does not rest on righteousness is delusive and
destructive of true harmony between God and man, and between
man and his fellow-man. A. T. Pierson
790. Are you pure in heart, and are you cultivating purity of
heart? You shall see God. You shall see God even now and
here, for purity of heart clears the eyes of every film and veil,
and makes it possible for us to recognize God where the
carnal mind is blind to His divine presence. A. T. Pierson
791. However high the responsibility of God’s messenger is,
Christians should not take this as teaching that they ought to cram
the gospel down every throat, or witness in every elevator.
Despite his great responsibility, Ezekiel was shut up by God and
had to wait for God-given opportunities. We also need to be
sensitive to His leading in witnessing. Sometimes we need to be
silent. However, most of us are silent when we ought to be
witnessing. William MacDonald
792. Moreover, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, as
Paul says here. But Christ is most certain that He pleases God;
therefore we also, having the Spirit of Christ, must be assured
that we are under grace for His sake who is most assured. This I
have said concerning the inward testimony, whereby a Christian
man’s heart ought to be fully persuaded that he is under grace
and has the Holy Ghost. Now, the outward signs are to gladly
hear of Christ, to preach and teach Christ, to render thanks to
Him, to praise Him, to confess Him, yes, if need be, with the loss
of goods and life; also, to do our duty according to our vocation,
as we are able—to do it in faith, joy, and cheerfulness. Not to
thrust ourselves into another man’s vocation, but to stand upon
our own, to help our needy brother, to comfort the heavyhearted.
By these signs, as by effects and consequences, we are fully
assured and confirmed that we are in God’s favor. Martin Luther
793. I gladly hear, read, write, and sing of Him, and desire
nothing more than that His gospel may be known to the
whole world, and that many may be converted to Him. Martin
Luther
794. In every age, God maintains a remnant testimony for Himself—
not the moral majority but the despised minority. William
MacDonald
795. Any nation that rejects the knowledge of God loses its moral
fiber, and has no means of support when trouble comes. This is
true of individuals, too. William MacDonald
796. But this far passes man’s capacity, that He calls us heirs; not of
some rich and mighty prince, not of the emperor, not of the world,
but of God, the Almighty Creator of all things. Our inheritance,
then (as Paul says in Ephesians 2:7), is incalculable. And if a
man could comprehend the great excellency of this matter, that
he is the son and heir of God, and with a constant faith believe it,
this man would esteem all the power and riches of all the
kingdoms of the world but as dung, in comparison with his eternal
inheritance. He would abhor whatever is high and glorious in the
world; in fact, the greater the pomp and glory of the world, the
more he would hate it. To conclude, whatever the world most
highly esteems and magnifies, that should be, in his eyes, most
vile and abominable. For what is all the world, with all its riches,
power, and glory, in comparison with God, whose son he is? A
man who could believe this would desire to be taken out of this
life and to be with Christ. Martin Luther
797. “Thou art an heir through Christ.” Paul has Christ ever in his
mouth: he cannot forget Him, for he well foresaw that nothing
should be less known in the world (even among them who should
profess themselves to be Christians) than Christ and His gospel.
Therefore he talks of Him and sets Him before our eyes
continually. And so often as he speaks of grace, righteousness,
the promise, adoption, and the inheritance, he is accustomed to
add, “in Christ,” or “through Christ,” covertly impugning the law.
As if he would say, these things come to us neither by the law,
nor by works, much less by our strength, or by any of men’s
traditions, but only by Christ. Martin Luther
801. Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to
God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from
God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit
together in the heavenly places . . .” “If one member suffers, all the
members suffer with it . . .” If you allow physical selfishness,
mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness,
everyone in contact with you will suffer. But you ask, “Who is
sufficient to be able to live up to such a lofty standard?” “Our
sufficiency is from God . . .” and God alone.
“You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” How many of us are willing to
spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy
for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the word
witness. But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God
left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it
is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread
and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this
age or this life except for one purpose and one alone—to be used
to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of
service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His
inexpressibly wonderful salvation. Remember, it is quite possible
for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him
—”. . . lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should
become disqualified”. Oswald Chambers
802. You must believe that you have the blessing, or you will not have
it unless it be by some extraordinary mercy beyond what is
promised. His usual way is to raise our expectations so that we
look out for the favor, and then He sends it. If some people looked
out for answers to prayer they might soon have them, for their
prayers would be answered by themselves. I was reminded of that
by a little boy whose father prayed in the family that the Lord would
visit the poor and relieve their wants. When he had finished, his
little boy said, “Father, I wish I had your money.” “Why so?”
“Because,” he said, “I would answer your prayers for you.” “Which
prayers, John?” “Why, father, you prayed that the poor might be
helped, and you could do it very well with your own money.” I like
better still that story of the good man at the prayer-meeting, who
reading the list of prayers found one for a poor widow that her
distress might be relieved, so he began to read it, but stopped and
added, “we won’t trouble the Lord with that, I will attend to that
myself.” Numbers of prayers are of that kind: we are praying God
to do what we ought to do ourselves, and that is sheer
impertinence. If we really prayed in earnest, expecting to be heard,
our answer would often come in this way, by our being stirred up to
see that the Lord had heard us. The Lord might well say to us,
“Thou sayest, Thy Kingdom come; arise and help to make My
Kingdom come! Thou askest that My name be hallowed; go thyself
and hallow My name.” Oh, that we had the expectancy which
would teach us practical action, so that we should find the answer
to our prayer given before we asked, according to the promise,
“Before they call I will answer them, and while they are yet
speaking I will hear.” Charles H. Spurgeon
803. Many nominal Christians feel safe from God’s judgment despite
the sin in their lives, but the Lord will tell them, “I never knew you.”
William MacDonald
804. Let no man lose the faith that God willeth to do a great work
through him. Martin Luther
805. How were the first twelve recruits enrolled? No doubt to each of
them the final call when it came was quite sudden and abrupt and
decisive, but it seems likely that in every case a longer or shorter
period of acquaintance with Jesus, and even companionship, had
gone before and prepared the way. Indeed, there were probably
three stages on the road to full apostleship. To begin with, they
were simply His friends, remaining in their own homes and at their
various secular activities, but seeing Him and speaking with Him
from time to time. The second stage came with the sundering of
home ties and the relinquishing of ordinary occupations. Finally,
there came the day when from the main body of the followers who
had gathered round Him twelve were set apart for the closest
intimacy and the most vital work. The call to apostleship was then
complete. James S. Stewart
806. As believers we have high privileges, but also the responsibility to
produce fruit for God’s glory. If we don’t glorify Him with our life,
our existence is vain and useless. It is like the vine without fruit,
and our testimony will be destroyed. As branches in Christ, the
True Vine, our chief function is to bear fruit for God. Primarily that
means the development of Christian character as seen in the fruit
of the Spirit. William MacDonald
807. From the Hallmark-card theology of a thousand churches to the
nauseating nonsense of PTL, American evangelicalism is awash in
sloppy, sentimental, superficial theology that wouldn’t empower a
clockwork mouse, let alone a disciple of Christ in the tough,
modern world . . . Having visited almost all the countries in the
English-speaking world, I would say that I know none where the
churches are more full and the sermons more empty than in
America. There are magnificent exceptions, of course. But by and
large, I am never hungrier and rarely angrier than when I come out
of an American evangelical church after what passes for the
preaching of the Word of God.
The problem is not just the heresy, though doubtless there is some
of that. Nor is it just the degree of entertainment, and there is lots
of that. Nor is it even the appalling gaps in the theology, for there
is far too much of that. The real problem is that in what is said
there is almost no sense of announcement from God; and in what
is shown, there is almost no sense of anointing by God.
Jeremiah attacked the false prophets of his day with the damning
question, “Which of them has stood in the council of the Lord, seen
Him and heard His word? Are we who profess a high view of
authority much better in practice? Is such a standard too
demanding? Os Guinness
808. Notice how pride was singled out as the root of Sodom’s sin
when her abominations were traced to their source. God has
blessed her abundantly with fullness of bread, but she
monopolized these blessings for her own pleasures and
basked in prosperous ease. Provision for her own needs
made her insensible to the needs of others; she had no social
conscience. Then she committed the abominations and
enormities which are linked inseparably with her name. God
took her away with a final blow when He saw it. Charles Lee
Feinberg
809. Presenting myself to God implies a recognition that I am
altogether His. This giving of myself is a definite thing . . .
There must be a day in my life when I pass out of my own
hands into His, and from that day forward I belong to Him and
no longer to myself. Watchman Nee (for me that day is
February 19, 2003, Mike)
810. When the Lord called me to serve Him, the primary objective was
not to hold revival meetings, help people hear more scriptural
doctrines, or for me to become a great evangelist. The Lord
revealed to me that He desired to build up local churches in
various places to manifest Himself and to bear the testimony of
unity on the ground of the local churches. In this way, each saint
[believer] is able to function in the church and live the church life.
What God wants is not individuals trying to be victorious or
spiritual; He wants a corporate glorious church presented to
Himself. Watchman Nee
811. Israel had wanted a king like the other nations. Here Ezekiel
lowers the curtain on the last act of their monarchy. God wants His
people to be different from the world, to be a holy people for
Himself, and to acknowledge Him as King. William MacDonald
812. Burn away wood, hay and stubble, everything else must go.
When our lives You behold – I hope You see gold. Mike
Wilhoit
813. God is not looking for new methods or programs; God is always
looking for someone to stand in the gap. One person can make a
difference. William MacDonald
814. Get a man who is restfully intimate with his Lord, and you have a
man whose force is tremendous! Such men move in apparent
ease, but it is the ease that is linked with the infinite, it is the very
rest of God. John Henry Jowett
815. Not by conforming to this world can humanity be saved.
Lying down in the gutter with the derelict is no way to reform
him. Acquiescence is not an effective way of remedying evils.
Sharing the gains of exploitation and enjoying the privileges
arising out of injustice will never lead to the transformation of
society. Untiring opposition to false standards and ceaseless
activity against wrongdoing are demanded by love. Mankind
can never be lifted to the highest levels if its teachers dwell in
the lowlands. To be in the world, and yet not of it, is the
difficult requirement of love. Kirby Page
816. Grace was to Paul an all-enveloping atmosphere, a defensive
and oxygenating air, which braced and nourished his own spirit,
and wasted and consumed his foes. John Henry Jowett
817. When we suffer with Christ we come to know Christ, to come
face to face with reality, and idle superfluities drop away. “And our
comfort aboundeth through Christ.” Our fellowship with His
sorrows makes us receptive of His joys; “My joy shall be in you,
and your joy shall be full.” Our fellowship in His battles makes us
receptive of His peace; “My peace I give unto you.” There is no
surer way of becoming sure of Christ than to follow the way of
sacrificial life and service. It may bring us into a fiery furnace of
suffering, but “in the midst of the fire” there shall be one “like unto
the Son of God.” John Henry Jowett
818. With weirdness, realism and dramatic force the prophet presents
the heartening news that Israel may hope to live. A revival is
possible! Even dry bones, without sinew and flesh and blood, can
live. The coming of God’s Spirit brings life. The same thrilling truth
is still needed in a world that has dry bones everywhere. What we
need is to have the Holy Spirit come with His quickening power
that a genuine revival may sweep the earth. Kyle M. Yates on
Ezekiel 37
819. Ever and everywhere, in the pulpit and out of it, amid a crowd,
with a few, or holding fellowship with the individual, the true
minister will guide himself with the self-arresting challenge: “What
am I after?” and he will continually refresh his vision and ambition
by the contemplation of the apostolic aim: “To present every man
perfect in Christ Jesus.” John Henry Jowett
820. A true sight of the glory of the Lord makes us ashamed of our
iniquities:
‘Tis the look that melted Peter,
‘Tis that Face that Stephen saw,
‘Tis that heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw.
Author unknown
821. They will be supported by things dedicated to the Lord. The Lord
wants to be their inheritance, and they will have nothing on earth.
This is true for the servants of God today; He wants us to find our
full satisfaction in Him, and thus be free to serve unhindered by
worldly attachments. Like Paul we can learn to be content in every
state, but we do have to learn it because it does not come naturally
to anyone. A broken man can say, “There is none upon earth that
I desire besides You . . . God is the strength of my heart and my
portion forever”. William MacDonald on Ezekiel 44:28-31
822. Now thanks be to God Who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every
place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who
are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one
we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the
aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of
sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 14-17
823. Many Christians study the Bible like a lawyer studying a law
book; their purpose is only to defend their own case. Therefore, it
is their motive that is corrupted first, not their mind. They first have
a tendency to covet in their heart; then their mind and whole being
are dragged into the peril of covetousness. Watchman Nee
824. The Christian life is often portrayed as a walk or a path in the
Bible. When we are not paying attention to where we are going,
we can easily lose our way. We see something interesting. Our
eyes are lured away. Our heads turn. Our hearts soon follow.
Our feet then step off the narrow path, following the notions of our
hearts. Before we know it, we are far from where we started, and
sometimes it takes us a while to find our way back. Carol Bradfield
825. O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide
open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your
own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children),
you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with
unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with
lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And
what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer
with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God
with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has
said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God,
and they shall be my people. Come out from among them and be
separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will
receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons
and daughters. Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore having these
promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of
the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2nd
Corinthians 6:11 through 7:1
826. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but
you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to
do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make
your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is
with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:8,9
827. The Jews were unharmed. The fire had burned only the cords
that bound them. Afflictions succeed in accomplishing God’s
purposes and setting us free from the things that bind us. William
MacDonald on Daniel 3:26-30
828. What the world counts as foolish we have rested our eternal
salvation on. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and
Lord and turn your back on the pleasures and the sensual lusts
and materialism of this world, people will think you are a fool. Billy
Graham
829. As I studied the prayers of those who founded this nation, a word
they frequently used for God is Sovereign, because they came to
this country seeking a land where God could be the Sovereign of
the land . . . We need to know that God is the Sovereign of this
nation. We have a responsibility to trust Him, to seek His will and
to live in accordance with His righteousness and justice. Lloyd
John Ogilvie
830. I believe that there is no separation between God and State. We
need God in the affairs of government, and those who are involved
in leadership desperately need Him and His guidance and
direction. If we take God out of the affairs of government, we are
left to our human devices without the empowerment that comes
through a relationship with God. Lloyd John Ogilvie
831. But it was sobering to think of how many die without ever
hearing the Gospel. And it was challenging to think that many of
us live so comfortably—so far away from little John—that we see
evangelism as something that can wait.
There is nothing more urgent than telling the world about the
incomparable love of Jesus Christ and the saving grace of God.
There is no greater way to demonstrate Christlike compassion.
“For Christ’s love compels us,” Paul said, explaining his motivation
for telling the world about Jesus. We need no other reason.
Franklin Graham after a visit to Sudan
832. Lord, help me never to take any more praise for what You do
through me than a hammer does after its been used by a carpenter
to build a house. Mike Wilhoit
833. Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for
food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase
the fruits of your righteousness… Second Corinthians 9:10
834. Paul says he counted his life dear only in order that he
might fulfil the ministry he had received; he refused to use his
energy for any other thing. Oswald Chambers
835. It is very easy in our day to discern a glaring inconsistency
among many well-groomed and overfed evangelical Christians,
who profess that they are looking for Christ’s second coming and
yet vigorously reject any suggestion that Christian faith and
witness should be costing them something. A. W. Tozer
836. God does not need our church trappings to expand His kingdom.
The early church had no property; they did have a testimony. It is
our testimony, how we live and what we say, that displays the
power of the gospel to change lives. Let us live His truth with our
lives, and let us speak His truth with our lips. This is what it means
to worship and to witness. Calvin Wittman
837. Writing from a Roman prison cell, Paul saw his whole life, the joy
and the suffering, as something God could and would use to
expand the kingdom. This total surrender to Jesus liberated Paul
from the prison of self-concern. His primary interest was the
kingdom of God, not his own comfort. Clearly, Paul was living this
life for the life to come. Calvin Wittman
838. But Paul’s concern for the kingdom was greater than his concern
for his own reputation. Paul responded in the Spirit, not in the
flesh. Paul rejoiced that Jesus was being preached even if he did
not get the credit.
Imagine how the kingdom of God would grow if none of us were
concerned about getting the credit and if our hearts’ desires were
simply to see Jesus magnified. This is what it means to lose our
lives for the sake of the gospel. For whose glory are you living,
yours or God’s? Calvin Wittman
839.Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in
vain in the Lord. 1st Corinthians 15:58
840. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him
who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked: for
whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to
his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the
Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow
weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do
not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good
to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:6-10
841. The faculty of faith is not meant to kill the faculty of criticism and
the instinct of curiosity, but rather to keep them keen and alive, and
prevent them dying of despair. Faith is the mark of those who seek
and keep on seeking, who ask and keep on asking, who knock and
keep on knocking until the door is opened. The passive, weak-
kneed taking of everything on trust -- which is often presented as
faith -- is a travesty of its truth. True faith is the most active,
positive, and powerful of all virtues. It means that a man, having
come into spiritual communion with that great personal Spirit Who
lives and works behind the universe, can trust Him, and, trusting
Him, can use all his powers of body, mind, and spirit to cooperate
with Him in the great purpose of perfection; it means that the man
of faith will be the man of science in its deepest, truest sense, and
will never cease from asking questions -- never cease from
seeking for the reason that lies behind all mysteries. G. A.
Studdert Kennedy
842. Let God have perfect liberty when you speak. Before God’s
message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in
you. Gather your material, and set it alight when you speak.
Oswald Chambers
843. “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” And
every one of them has a story, a story of grace, the miracle of
Divine mercy as he found it on the road, and the story is full of
encouragement for the runner of today. And what we have to do is
to listen to them. “What experience have you had on the road?
What secrets did you discover? What hidden manna did you
gather? What brooks did you find by the way? What light of divine
revelation broke upon your path? Above all, what did the Lord of
the way say to you?” John Henry Jowett
844. And perhaps in this “great cloud of witnesses” there are your own
father and mother, or some minister of Christ who was to you both
herald and hero, both prophet and priest. Listen to their evidence.
They have wonderful things to tell us about the way, and about the
Lord of the way, and about the provision which He has made for
those who are taking that road to the Celestial City, where the
glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land. And they tell us of their
stumblings and their fallings, and how they were recovered from
their faults. They tell us how things looked at the beginning of the
road, and how things looked towards the end. Above all, they tell
us of their fellowship with the Lord, and how His Presence
transformed the desert into a garden, and changed midnight into
noon. All these are not silent witnesses, indifferent lookers-on.
They have something to tell us, and they are eager to tell it. Let
them give their evidence. “We are surrounded by a great cloud of
witnesses.” . . . Let their story be retold in our teaching and
preaching, and so make it powerfully evidential. And to the
testimony of others let us add our own. Let us join the cloud of
witnesses, and let us tell our story. John Henry Jowett
845. What, then, shall we make of a person who says he has
experienced conversion, but whose religious emotions soon die
away, leaving him much the same person as he was before? He
seems as selfish, worldly, foolish, perverse and un-Christian as
ever. This speaks against him louder than any religious
experiences can speak for him. Jonathan Edwards
846. If we didn’t have conflict, pressure, trials, wars, we would
become passive and lukewarm. Decay would set in, and our
temple would lie in ruins. We wouldn’t be able to handle the
territory we’ve gained. That’s why the enemy’s plan against us is
clear: he wants to take us out of the battle. His aim is to remove all
the fight from us. David Wilkerson
847. In the end our ability to see Jesus correctly is never a matter of
gaining sufficient evidence. The evidence is overwhelming. He
has told us who He is with every action, with every miracle, with
every word He spoke. But the only voice that has the power to
confirm that identity must come ultimately from within ourselves.
And that voice will speak only if we are willing to hear it, only when
we are ready to listen. There are implications, you see,
implications that will cause us to stop our ears, to blind our eyes, to
put rigid limitations on what we will and will not accept. Larry
Huntsperger in his book “The Fisherman”.
848. At the beginning of 1999, a major battle in the culture war took
place. The Bill Clinton impeachment hearings, conducted by the
highest level of leadership in our nation, were in reality a
referendum on the culture war. But what began as outrage against
immorality, deception, and abuse of power ended rather abruptly
without any punishment or even censure. May I suggest that the
culture war, at least as we know it, is now over. The impeachment
process gave us a clear indication of where our culture stands—
and we have discovered that it refuses to follow a biblical morality.
The culture war is over—and we’ve lost. That was the inevitable
end because this world is the domain of darkness, whether it’s
portrayed as moral or immoral. Our responsibility has never been
to moralize the unconverted; it’s to convert the immoral. Our
responsibility is redemptive, not political. We do not have a moral
agenda; we have a redemptive agenda...The single divine calling
of the church is to bring sinful people to salvation through Christ. If
we do not lead the lost to salvation, nothing else we do for them,
no matter how beneficial at the time, is of any eternal
consequence. John MacArthur
849. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I
press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also
laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have
apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I
press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this
mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even
this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already
attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
Paul in Phillipians 3:12-16
850. Faith by majority vote is never a safe path for the child of God.
Rarely does our Lord give others faith for the work He seeks to do
through us. Larry Huntsperger in his book “The Fisherman”
851. As soon as our eyes are set on ourselves, we will surely fail. If
God is to save us, He must first save our eyes from looking at
ourselves to looking at His promises. We are courageous only as
long as we keep God’s promises in view. Once we see His
promises, we will see that we can overcome! Watchman Nee
852. The whole question in relation to overcoming is: Are we trusting
in ourselves, or are we trusting in the Lord? If we are relying on
ourselves then of course we have to consider whether or not the
Anakim are strong or weak and whether their cities are well
fortified, but if our reliance is on God, then the question of human
resources does not even arise. If we are trusting in God, there is
no ground for fear, and victory is assured no matter how great the
men and how high the city may be. Watchman Nee
853. The inhabitants of the land were admittedly “men of great size,”
but in Caleb’s eyes, they were food for God’s people. He not only
honored God’s promises, he despised all the difficulties. Everyone
who has genuine faith honors God and lightly esteems all
difficulties. But this leaves no room for pride, for only those who
humble themselves before God will be able to stand upon His
victory. Watchman Nee
854. However, there are those who have met and overcome difficulty
after difficulty, temptation after temptation; they are full of vigor
because they have fed well on Anakim. We have to eat our
difficulties and our temptation. Every difficulty and every
temptation Satan puts in our way is food for us. This is a God-
appointed means of spiritual progress. The sight of any trouble
strikes terror into the heart of those who do not have faith, but
those who trust Him say, “Here comes my food!” Praise and thank
the Lord, all our trials, without exception, are bread for us. Every
trial brings in growth after we have eaten of it. As we accept one
trial after another, we are more and more richly nourished.
Watchman Nee
855. First Peter 1:5 speaks of being “guarded by the power of God
through faith.” God guards those who have faith in Him. We do
not have to grapple with temptations and try to overcome them; the
keeping power of God will get us through, and we must believe in
His ability to save us from giving way to sin. If we implicitly rely on
Him, even when we are unexpectedly assailed by temptations, an
amazing thing will happen. In a way we cannot account for,
something will ward off all the fiery darts of the evil one. It is the
shield of faith. It will come in between us and Satan, so that his
fiery darts cannot reach us. Instead of hurting us they will beat
upon the shield of faith and rebound on Satan himself. Watchman
Nee
856. Paul said, “I am persuaded that He is able to guard my deposit
unto that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). Paul did something; he committed
himself to the Lord. If you believe in Him, then you must commit
yourself to Him. He can only keep those who have handed
themselves over to Him. Many people fail to experience the
blessedness of His keeping power because they have never put
themselves into His care. They have never said to Him, “Lord, I
hand myself over to you and commit to You the keeping of my life.”
Brothers and sisters, have you placed yourselves in His hands? If
you truly have, then you will be able to say with Paul, “I am
persuaded that He is able to guard my deposit unto that day.” . . .
Brothers and sisters, if we commit ourselves unreservedly into His
care, we will marvel at the way we are kept. Watchman Nee
857. This Man understood life. He wasn’t pushing some new religious
fad. He didn’t want them to join anything. He wasn’t after their
money. He simply wanted to love them, to touch their lives, to
meet their needs. Jesus fed their spirits and gave them hope.
Larry Huntsperger in his book “The Fisherman”
858. Purity is not innocence, it is much more. Purity is the outcome of
sustained spiritual sympathy with God. We have to grow in purity.
The life with God may be right and the inner purity remain
unsullied, and yet every now and again the bloom on the outside
may be sullied. God does not shield us from this possibility,
because in this way we realize the necessity of maintaining the
vision by personal purity. If the spiritual bloom of our life with
God is getting impaired in the tiniest degree, we must leave
off everything and get it put right. Remember that vision
depends on character—the pure in heart see God. Oswald
Chambers
859. A transfiguration is taking place in all our lives. The truth
is, we’re being changed by what obsesses us. We’re
becoming like the things that occupy our minds. Our
character is being influenced and impacted by whatever has
hold of our hearts. David Wilkerson
860. When a man is convicted of his lost condition he will cry out in
bitter anguish of his heart: “What must I do to be saved?” He will
need no urging, no coaxing; it is a matter of life or death to him,
and he will do anything to be saved. Oswald J. Smith
861. There is only one obstacle that can block up the channel and
choke God’s power, and that is SIN. Sin is the great barrier. It
alone can hinder the work of the Spirit and prevent Revival. “If I
regard iniquity in my heart,” declared David, “The Lord will not hear
me.” (Psalm 66:18.) And in Isaiah 59:12, we have these
significant words: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it
cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your
iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your
sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Sin then is
the great barrier, and it must be put away. Nor is there any
alternative. There can be no compromise. God will not work as
long as there is iniquity covered up. Oswald J. Smith
862. I want to be weaned from the world and all it contains. Oswald
J. Smith
863. Why do we so often seek our own will? Whether we live for
Christ or for self depends upon our understanding and faith. Christ
loves us so much that He paid the full penalty for our sins which
His justice demanded. When this fact becomes more real to us
than this passing world, we become overwhelmed with love for
Him and the desire to do His will. When we really believe that this
life is brief and eternity is unending, the shortness of time in
relation to eternity compels us by logic and even self-interest to live
for eternity. The life we live day by day depends upon what we
really believe. From the Berean Call April 2003
864. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God
became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the
purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the center of Time and
Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.
The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the
Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The
Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby
any individual of the human race can enter into union with God.
When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the
life to which the Cross is the gateway.
The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is
so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The
Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash
and the way to life is opened—but the crash is on the heart of God.
Oswald Chambers
865. We have only two positions here: one is that we are dead
and have dropped everything of the old creation; the other is
that we are resurrected and are serving God, learning to stand
before Him, listening to His order, and waiting in His presence
to minister to Him. We do not care for anything else. O
brothers and sisters, is God’s will enough to satisfy you? Is it
enough to do His will? Is His will good enough? Or are you
still pursuing other things? Are all of God’s plans for you
good enough? Oh, you must learn to minister to God is His
presence. Watchman Nee
866. The work of the Holy Spirit can only be revealed at the time of
ministering to the Lord. Only at the time of ministering to the Lord
will the Holy Spirit send some forth. If we do not place ministering
to the Lord as the top priority, everything will be out of order.
Watchman Nee on Acts 13:1,2.
867. We know that there are two kinds of soldiers in an army: one kind
volunteer to join the army, and the other kind are drafted by the
country. Based on the orders of the country, they have no choice
except to serve as soldiers. But in the Lord’s work, there are only
drafted soldiers; there are no voluntary soldiers. Therefore, no one
can say, because of his preference, he will go and preach the
gospel; God will not use him. God’s work has been greatly
damaged by too many volunteer soldiers. They cannot declare as
the Lord has declared, “Him who sent Me…” O brothers and
sisters, this is not a light matter. God’s work cannot be
accomplished according to our will. God’s work is completely His.
We must check to see if this work is out of ourselves or out of the
Lord’s call. We must ask ourselves if we have volunteered to join
the army or if we have been drafted by God. All the volunteer
soldiers will not last; all those who recommended themselves will
not last because God only wants soldiers who have been drafted
by Him. When they ministered to the Lord, Paul and Barnabas did
not say, We will go forth to spread the gospel.”“ Rather, the Holy
Spirit said, “Set apart for Me now Barnabas and Saul for the work
to which I have called them.” Only the Holy Spirit has the authority
to commission men to work. Concerning this matter, the church
has no authority at all. Yet within many missionary societies and
crusades there is the sending forth of men by men. God never
allows such things. We should only minister to the Lord, not to the
house. God desires to have those who will minister to Him directly
and receive the commission by the Holy Spirit directly. Watchman
Nee
868. I say again, to minister to the Lord is not to forsake all the work
on the outside. To minister to the Lord is not to give up serving in
the villages. What I say is that all the work on the outside should
be based on our ministry to the Lord. We go forth, out from our
ministry to the Lord, rather than out from our own desires, which
have no basis in the ministry to the Lord. There is a vast
difference between these two matters. The difference is greater
than that between heaven and earth. All those with experience
realize that there is no difference greater than the difference
between ministering to the Lord and ministering to the house.
Watchman Nee
869. Therefore, let us ask ourselves to whom the glory of the work
goes. Is everything that we are doing really for the satisfaction of
the Lord’s heart? Or is it for the satisfaction of our heart? Is the
fruit of the labor for the Lord’s satisfaction? Or is it for our own
satisfaction? I deeply fear that many times before the Lord is
happy, we are already very happy. We need to ask God to show
us where we should stand in His presence and how we should
really minister to Him in His presence. Watchman Nee
870. We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our
lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite
is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to
sacrifice the many for the One. A. W. Tozer
871. The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.
Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to
have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they
will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them
go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having
the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure,
all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for
he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and
forever.
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both
satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully
conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of
desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be
filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me
Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in
mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, `Rise up, my
love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and
follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so
long. In Jesus' name, Amen. From “The Pursuit of God” by A. W.
Tozer
872. The sleeper knoweth not anything. Behold how the refuse of
mankind are alike in this! Of some things they know much, but of
spiritual things they know nothing; of the divine person of the
adorable Redeemer they have no idea; of the high enthusiasms
and the inward raptures of the Christian they cannot mount. Talk
to them of divine doctrines, and they are to them a riddle; tell them
of sublime experiences, and they seem to them to be enthusiastic
fancies. They know nothing of the joys that are to come; and alas!
For them, they are oblivious of the evils which shall happen to
them if they go on in their iniquity. The mass of mankind are
ignorant; they know not; they have not the knowledge of God, they
have no fear of Jehovah before their eyes; but, blind-folded by the
ignorance of this world, they march on through the paths of lust to
that sure and dreadful end, the everlasting ruin of their souls.
Brethren, if we be saints, let us not be ignorant as are others. Let
us search the Scriptures, for in them we have eternal life, for they
do testify of Jesus. Let us be diligent; let not the Word depart out
of our hearts; let us meditate therein both by day and night, that we
may be as the tree planted by the rivers of water. “Let us not sleep
as do others.” Charles H. Spurgeon
873. They think that they are to live unto themselves, forgetting that
“no man liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself.” Oh,
what a vast amount of sleeping we have in all our churches and
chapels; for truly if our churches were once awake, so far as
material is concerned, there are enough converted men and
women, and there is enough talent with them, and enough money
with them, and enough time with them, God granting the
abundance of His Holy Spirit, which He would be sure to do if they
were all zealous—there is enough to preach the gospel in every
corner of the earth. The church does not need to stop for want of
instruments, or for want of agencies; we have everything now
except the will; we have all that we may expect God to give for the
conversion of the world, except just a heart for the work, and the
Spirit of God poured out into our midst. Oh! Brethren, “Let us not
sleep as do others.” You will find the “others” in the church and in
the world: “the refuse” of both are sound asleep. Charles H.
Spurgeon
874. Our work is the overflow of our relationship with God. As we
worship Him, as we minister to Him, as we walk with Him moment
by moment, He works in us to will and do for His good pleasure.
He will take that and bless others. Mike Wilhoit
875. Very often people try to justify materialism by saying that “they
only want the best for their families.” That is a supreme copout. If
we truly want the “best” for our families we need to help lead them
into the diligent search for God as our main and only priority. Then
they will be truly rewarded with the “Best”, which is God, Himself.
Adding bigger houses, bigger barns, bigger anything else only
serves to make us just a little more lukewarm. Mike Wilhoit
876. As we begin to focus upon God the things of the spirit will take
shape before our inner eyes. Obedience to the word of Christ will
bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14:21-23). It will
give acute perception enabling us to see God even as is promised
to the pure in heart. A new God-consciousness will seize upon us
and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God
who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining
of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
(John 1:9) More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more
sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the
glory and wonder of our lives. O God, quicken to life every power
within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that
I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste
Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me
than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen. From “The Pursuit of
God” by A. W. Tozer
877. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and
automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods
of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age
methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our
short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep
inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening
to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately
returned from afar.
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow
lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the
element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in
religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship
methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the
Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil
disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.
For this great sickness that is upon us no one person is
responsible, and no Christian is wholly free from blame. We have
all contributed, directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We
have been too blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-
satisfied to desire anything better than the poor average diet with
which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have
accepted one another's notions, copied one another's lives and
made one another's experiences the model for our own. And for a
generation the trend has been downward. Now we have reached a
low place of sand and burnt wiregrass and, worst of all, we have
made the Word of Truth conform to our experience and accepted
this low plane as the very pasture of the blessed. A. W. Tozer
878. What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do
not claim to know: but what He will do for the plain man or woman
who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any
man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto
godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity
by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed
anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days. Any
man who by repentance and a sincere return to God will break
himself out of the mold in which he has been held, and will go to
the Bible itself for his spiritual standards, will be delighted with
what he finds there. A. W. Tozer
879. And is there not a lesson here for us Christians as to the spirit in
which we should deal with those who are, as it is called, outside?
Are we approaching them in the spirit of the disciples before the
day of Pentecost, or after it; with the heart of those to whom the
Cross of Christ had as yet no meaning, or of those to whom it
opened the infinite sympathy and long-suffering of God? If we
carry the Gospel to men with no pity in our own souls for their
misery, but merely to quiet the disturbance of their cries, to
preserve social order, and to save ourselves and society from
danger, we cannot expect great progress in our works. Men know
very well when a gift comes from a loving heart, and when it is
thrown to them to get ease for ourselves. John Ker in a sermon on
“The Woman of Canaan.”
880. Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. This is
definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to
listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. We are at
the opposite end of the pole from there. Religion has accepted the
monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man
dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the
tempest of the last great conflict God says, `Be still, and know that
I am God,' (Ps 46:10) and still He says it, as if He means to tell us
that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence. A. W.
Tozer
881. Faith is not in itself a meritorious act; the merit is in the One
toward Whom it is directed. Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a
getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into
focus. Sin has twisted our vision inward and made it self-regarding.
Unbelief has put self where God should be, and is perilously close
to the sin of Lucifer who said, `I will set my throne above the throne
of God.' Faith looks out instead of in and the whole life falls into
line. A. W. Tozer
882. When we lift our inward eyes to gaze upon God we are sure to
meet friendly eyes gazing back at us, for it is written that the eyes
of the Lord run to and fro throughout all the earth. The sweet
language of experience is `Thou God seest me.' When the eyes of
the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has
begun right here on this earth. A. W. Tozer
883. Someone may fear that we are magnifying private religion out of
all proportion, that the `us' of the New Testament is being
displaced by a selfish `I.' Has it ever occurred to you that one
hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned
to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each
other, but to another standard to which each one must individually
bow. So one hundred worshippers met together, each one looking
away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could
possibly be were they to become `unity' conscious and turn their
eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion
is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes
stronger as its members become healthier. The whole Church of
God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a
better and higher life. A. W. Tozer
884. The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with
this determination to exalt God over all we step out of the world's
parade. We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of
the world, and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy
way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different
psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to
surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings. A. W. Tozer
885. And now that we have looked at the hindrances and helps to the
faith of this woman, let us put her example to its use. First, let us
give our souls into the hand of Christ, as we have been taught
clearly how to do, knowing Him whom we trust, and being
persuaded that He is able to keep that which we commit unto Him;
and then let us confide in Him every care and trial, whether they
touch our outward or our inward lives. Let us go with humble
thoughts of self, and high thoughts of Him; and let us hold on in
trust amidst delays and seeming repulses. He conceals His
purpose for a while, to surprise us with more than we could ask or
think. John Ker in a sermon on “The Woman of Canaan.”
886. Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to compete
with another for place or prestige or position. I would be simple and
artless as a little child. Deliver me from pose and pretense. Forgive
me for thinking of myself. Help me to forget myself and find my true
peace in beholding Thee. That Thou mayest answer this prayer I
humble myself before Thee. Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-
forgetfulness that through it I may find rest. Amen. A. W. Tozer
887. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to
find Him there. A. W. Tozer
888. Lord, make the tendency of my life one of helping and praying
for others, instead of judging and criticizing them. Mike Wilhoit
889. Mildred Mitchell, daughter of the Home Director of the China
Inland Mission, was there, and was a great help to me. She and I
and another friend with whom I was sharing a room had a long
discussion late into the night about guidance. How, we asked, can
one be sure of knowing God’s will? I remember her summarizing
on her fingers in the following order:
I. Daily Bible reading, when He can speak to us through a passage,
an example or a warning;
II. Daily private prayer, when we talk the problem over with the Lord;
as we wait on Him in quietness, He can speak directly to our
hearts;
III. The advice of Christian friends and those of greater experience,
who may have had to make a similar decision in the past;
IV. One’s circumstances, including family or business commitments,
health or even finance.
Then she moved her thumb to and fro in front of her fingers and
said, ‘Peace—in each one, in turn, individually and together. Let the
peace of God umpire in your heart; if He is speaking He will give peace
and silence other voices.’ I still use the same basic principles in
guidance today. Helen Roseveare in her autobiography “Give Me This
Mountain”
804. “If you think you have come to the mission field because you are
a little better than others, or as the cream of your church, or
because of your medical degree, or for the service you can render
the African church, or even for the souls you may see saved, you
will fail. Remember, the Lord has only one purpose ultimately for
each one of us, to make us more like Jesus. He is interested in
your relationship with Himself. Let Him take you and mold you as
He will; all the rest will take its rightful place.” Jack Scholes to
Helen Roseveare in her autobiography “Give Me This Mountain”
805. We look for God to manifest Himself to His children: God only
manifests Himself in His children. Other people see the
manifestation, the child of God does not. Oswald Chambers
806. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to
your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-
control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance
godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly
kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound you
will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is
shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he
was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even
more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do
these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be
supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Second Peter 1:5-11
807. Upon the plains of hesitation, bleached the bones of countless
thousands, that at the threshold of their victory, sat down to rest,
and while they rested, they wasted and died. Author unknown
808. To be too busy with God’s work to commune with God, to be
busy with doing Church work without taking time to talk to God
about His work, is the highway to backsliding, and many people
have walked therein to the hurt of their immortal souls. E. M.
Bounds
809. Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An
occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind,
but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new
vantage point. Harold B. Melchart
810. Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless
confidence on God. God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save
us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in
Him. Oswald Chambers
811. “Where there is no vision . . .” When once we lose sight of God,
we begin to be reckless, we cast off certain restraints, we cast off
praying, we cast off the vision of God in little things, and begin to
act on our own initiative. If we are eating what we have out of our
own hand, doing things on our own initiative without expecting God
to come in, we are on the downward path, we have lost the vision.
Is our attitude today an attitude that springs from our vision of
God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever
done? Is there a freshness and vigor in our spiritual outlook?
Oswald Chambers
812. There are times when a single step makes all the difference,
as when a man is standing on the quay. One step, and he is
on board the ocean vessel that will carry him over the deeps
to other countries. But let him refuse that step and stand
inactive, and all the feeling of which the heart is capable will
not prevent his return to the old life, there to be haunted by a
dull regret. Is it such an hour with anyone? Thou art not far,
my brother, from the kingdom. It was never quite so near you
in the past. It may never be quite so near you in the future.
Take it by violence. Storm its walls now. Say, “I am Thine, my
Savior, in a full surrender.” What a difference that will make
in time, and what a difference through all eternity! George H.
Morrison
813. In deciding upon beliefs or actions, though evidence may be
weighed, ultimately reason is set aside in order to bow before the
throne of self. We are our own worst enemies. Dave Hunt
814. Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and
selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite,
knowing no restraint, and suffering, having no solace or hope,
would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue,
duty, principle, would be mocked as unmeaning sounds. A sordid
self-interest would supplant every feeling; and man would become,
in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be--a
companion of brutes. McGuffey Fifth Reader, designed for the ten-
year-olds of our American frontier.
815. Our Heavenly Judge will not delay long over His elect, but He will
delay. In fact, God's definition of “speedily” and ours are not always
synonymous. The Lord incorporates delays into His overall plan:
Delays work perseverance in us. So crucial is endurance to our
character development that God is willing to delay even important
answers to prayer to facilitate our transformation. Thus, we should
not interpret divine delays as signs of divine reluctance. Delays are
tools to perfect our faith. Christ is looking to find a tenacity in our
faith that prevails in spite of delays and setbacks. He seeks to
create a perseverance within us that outlasts the test of time, a
resolve that actually grows stronger during delays. Francis
Frangipane
816. Desperation is God's hammer: It demolishes the stronghold of
fear and shatters the chains of our excuses. When desperation
exceeds our fears, progress begins. Francis Frangipane
817. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they simply
are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars and the moon
—all these are, and what a ministration they exert. So often
we mar God’s designed influence through us by our self-
conscious effort to be consistent and useful. Jesus says that
there is only one way to develop spiritually, and that is by
concentration on God. “Do not bother about being of use to
others; believe on Me”—pay attention to the Source, and out
of you will flow rivers of living water. We cannot get at the
springs of our natural life by common sense, and Jesus is
teaching that growth in spiritual life does not depend on our
watching it, but on concentration on our Father in Heaven.
Our heavenly Father knows the circumstances we are in, and
if we keep concentrated on Him we will grow spiritually as the
lilies. Oswald Chambers
818. Therefore, as many as trust to their own strength and
righteousness serve a god they themselves have devised, and not
the true God. For the true God speaks thus: “No righteousness,
wisdom, or religion pleases Me, but only that by which the Father
is glorified through the Son. Whoever apprehends the Son and
Me, and My promise in Him, by faith, to him I am God indeed, and
a Father; him do I accept, justify and save.” All others abide under
wrath, because they worship that thing which by nature is no god.
Martin Luther
819. Righteousness without mercy cannot save me, for I have broken
every commandment. Mercy without justice cannot save me, for
the moral law is engraven on my heart. But when I grasp the feet
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and let His love flow down into my being,
then righteousness and love are reconciled. George H. Morrison
820. Base your eternal hope on the life and love and promises of God.
He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He is not the God of
the dead, but of the living. No mother would let death rob her of
her child if her power were equal to her love, and with Him, love
and power are alike infinite. George H. Morrison
821. It is a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for your life is
material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The
abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance, and
faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or
even in ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns. Rick Warren
822. Jesus didn’t leave Heaven in order to create an earthly throne
for Himself. Rather, He came for the purpose of inheriting a
spiritual throne. His supreme goal, even today, is to establish His
reign in our hearts. He wants to bring us spiritual health, satisfy
our inner hunger, and overcome the enemies in our lives. He
desires to bring all conflict to an end and deliver an enduring
peace. Joel Sutton
823. When we read about the persecution and martyrdom of
believers around the world and the sacrifice our missionaries make
to minister, how can we not share our resources to help? Some
go; others hold the ropes; we all share the rewards. Doris Miller
824. God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything He
asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t.
Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of
Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some
commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks
understanding. Rick Warren
825. The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who
will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he
wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with
the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and
betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing, who
would ever have been spared? Martin Luther
826. If you do not cut the moorings, God will have to break them by a
storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great
swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open. If
you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the
smooth waters just inside the harbor bar, full of delight, but always
moored; you have to get out through the harbor bar into the great
deeps of God and begin to know for yourself, begin to have
spiritual discernment. Oswald Chambers
827. Beware of harking back to what you were once when God wants
you to be something you have never been. Oswald Chambers
828. Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light. V.
Raymond Edman
829. The more you realize yourself the less you will seek God.
Oswald Chambers
830. In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life
is all about. Wisdom is learning that truth sooner rather than later.
Don’t wait until you’re on your deathbed to figure out that nothing
matters more. Rick Warren
831. Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I
want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell. C. T. Studd
832. I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning
what lies in me apart from the grace of God. Oswald Chambers
833. Sadly, a quick review of many popular Christian books reveals
that many believers have abandoned living for God’s great
purposes and settled for personal fulfillment and emotional
stability. That is narcissism, not discipleship. Jesus did not die on
the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His
purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like Himself before He
takes us to Heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate
responsibility, and our ultimate destiny. Rick Warren
834. The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is
because they are all in our own hearts. The great characteristic of
a saint is humility—Yes, all those things and other evils would have
been manifested in me but for the grace of God, therefore I have
no right to judge. Oswald Chambers
835. Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will
likely be in your darkest days—when your heart is broken, when
you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is
great—and you turn to God alone. It is during suffering that we
learn to pray our most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers.
When we’re in pain, we don’t have the energy for superficial
prayers. Rick Warren
836. The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you
rightly related to Himself and then to your fellow men, He will tax
the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road.
Oswald Chambers
837. Christians, like snowflakes, are frail, but when they stick together
they can stop traffic. Vance Havner
838. The very fact that the church has continued on this earth for
nearly
two thousand years is the result of the work of Him who is a God
who
hides Himself. It is often true that the greater display
accompanying
any work, the less the divine content. Since all the work we do is
done
unto Him who hides Himself, it must be based on faith, not on
sight.
I trust these words will help some of us to realize that when we are
most conscious of impotence, God is often most powerfully
present.
Don't look for greater things. Don't look for things other than they
are. Don't set your expectation on some great vision or on some
great
experience. And don't expect anything outward, for the God who
hides
Himself is at work within your life, and He is working mightily. Your
responsibility is to cooperate with Him by responding to His voice
within—that “still small voice,” that voice that seems so much a
part
of your own feelings that you scarcely recognize it as a voice at all.
To that voice, registered in the deepest depths of your being, you
must
say “Amen,” for there, secretly and ceaselessly, the God who hides
Himself is working. Witness Lee
839. The Arminian seeks to bring men to activity; I seek to bring him
to no such thing at first, then God the Spirit worketh in him, and
then shall the activity begin. But activity apart from a sense of
inability, is but putting the sinner on a path which seems to lead to
heaven, but which will really lead to hell. I care not though it
should be said, thousands have been converted by a preaching
contrary to this. The conversion of most of these has been a
fallacy. Charles H. Spurgeon
840. The aim of the spiritual saint is “that I may know Him.” Do I know
Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am here not to
realize myself, but to know Jesus. In Christian work the initiative is
too often the realization that something has to be done and I must
do it. That is never the attitude of the spiritual saint, his aim is to
secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances
he is in. Oswald Chambers
841. The Christian soldier must avoid two evils—he must not faint or
yield in the time of fight, and after a victory he must not wax
insolent and secure. When he has overcome, he is so to behave
himself as though he were presently again to be assaulted. For
Satan's temptations, like the waves of the sea, do follow one in the
neck of the other. George Downame
842. To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we
are told. Oswald Chambers
843. If we did imagine the excellency and loveliness of God were
worthy to be the ultimate object of our affections, the heart would
attend more closely upon Him, and be terminated in Him; did we
believe God to be all-sufficient, full of grace and goodness, a
tender Father, not willing to forsake His own, willing, as well as
able, to supply their wants, the heart would not so lamely attend
upon Him, and would not upon every impertinency be diverted
from Him. There is much of a wrong notion of God, and a
predominancy of the world above Him in the heart, when we can
more savorly relish the thoughts of low inferior things than
heavenly, and let our spirits upon every trifling occasion be fugitive
from Him; it is a testimony that we make not God our chiefest
good. Stephen Charnock
844. Worship is an act that perfects our own souls; they are then most
widened by spiritual frames, to receive the influence of divine
blessings, as an eye most opened receives the fruit of the sun’s
light better than the eye that is shut. The communications of God
are more or less, according as our spiritual frames are more or
less in our worship; God will not give His blessings to unsuitable
hearts. What a nasty vessel is a carnal heart for a spiritual
communication! The chief end of every duty enjoined by God, is to
have communion with Him; and therefore it is called a drawing
near to God; it is impossible, therefore, that the outward part of any
duty can answer the end of God in His institution. It is not a bodily
appearance or gesture whereby men can have communion with
God, but by the impressions of the heart, and reflections of the
heart upon God; without this, all the rich streams of grace will run
beside us, and the growth of the soul be hindered and impaired. A
“diligent hand makes rich,” saith the wise man; a diligent heart in
spiritual worship, brings in rich incomes to the humble and spiritual
soul. Stephen Charnock
845. To resist Him in the working of His mighty energy for the
accomplishment of Divine purpose, to quench Him in the
bestowment of His fire-gifts whereby we co-operate with God; to
cause sorrow to Him by our disobedience and our disloyalty; these
are the ways in which we prevent His fulfilling His ministry within
us, and among us, and through us; these are the ways in which we
lose the vision of our Lord and our sense of His nearness, and
wander away from the pathway of His will, and fail in our attempts
to realize His purposes. G. Campbell Morgan
846. This is the truth we have to learn: That for a Church to allow any
man who is living in sin, and is known to be living in sin, to retain
his fellowship, is to permit leaven to remain, which is corrupting the
life of the whole Church, and rendering it weak where it ought to
be strong. G. Campbell Morgan
847. It is a solemn method, but I pray you ponder it—it is God’s
method. Is there lust in your heart? God will put you into
circumstances where that thing will be manifested sooner or later.
Is Judas a thief? Give him the bag, and he will either demonstrate
himself a thief, or be driven back to Him Who can make him
honest. The Church of God is not only disloyal to her Lord, and
paralyzing herself; she is violating the eternal order of the universe
if she permit men to retain their fellowship with her, who are
willfully and deliberately continuing to sin. G. Campbell Morgan
848. To allow a wrongdoer to continue in Church membership is to
inflict wrong on him by giving him a false sense of security. Put
him out, in order that he may see the darkness, and that the lurid
light of judgment may arrest him. Let him know there is no shelter
for a man who persistently sins. Do not lull him into false security
by allowing him to stay in the fellowship, and imagine that he may
continue in sin that grace may abound. The Church must be pure.
No consideration of delicacy, of sensitiveness, of peace, must
prevent our loyalty to Christ. G. Campbell Morgan
849. I am convinced, brethren, that during the past five and twenty
years one of the greatest hindrances to the Church’s progress has
been her ceaseless fussiness in attempting to devise new methods
for doing God’s work. We are always trying by our own wit and
wisdom to find some new method. Let us be done with it. What
shall we do? Yield ourselves to the interpretation of the Spirit of
God and to the energies of the Spirit. Let the Spirit of God have
His way. That is where we fail. The Spirit is the Spirit of light; He
flings a light upon our pathway, and indicates that which is God’s
will for us in service; and we are afraid, the Cross lies there; we
draw back. The Spirit is the Spirit of love. He touches us with a
sacred impulse to help that degraded man or woman whom we
see on the highway, an impulse to give up the quietness and the
comfort of the home life, and the home worship for the dark and
desolate places of the earth; and we shrink back—the Cross is
there. And because we have not yielded to the Spirit in passivity,
we fail; and we attempt to make up for our failure in devotion, by
finding out new methods of helping God. If we will only let the
Spirit have His way with us, if we will walk where He indicates, and
do what He says, counting no cost, holding back no alabaster box
of ointment for ourselves, then, in the rush of the fire and the
sweeping of the new force, far more than half of our mechanical
activities will be burned up; but we shall be out upon the highway
of God’s great enterprises in the world, going because we are
driven by this great Spirit indwelling, speaking, perchance, not with
the education and the elegance and eloquence of old, but in
power, which matters far more, doing—yes, I am bound to say it,
though it hits my heart—not half so many things, but a few things
better. And then—ah, then—the Word of God will reverberate, will
sound forth. G. Campbell Morgan
850. Notice God’s unutterable waste of saints, according to the
judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless
places. We say—God intends me to be here because I am so
useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest
use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are
no judges at all of where that is. Oswald Chambers
851. It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus.
The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps
intimate touch with Jesus. Oswald Chambers
852. The Church will not wait for power; the Church wants to
mechanize its own strength, to get up its own new little program of
progress: and the Lord Himself watches such poor little paper
kingdoms take fire, go up into smoke, and fall back into dust. The
Church of Christ today and everyday ought to be the mightiest
force in the world. It has all the elements, all the promises; it has
not the faith. It proposes and compromises and begs pardon of
the devil and hopes he is not unduly inconvenienced. What
becomes of such a church? Wreck, ruin, oblivion, or contempt.
Joseph Parker
853. Like a wise man, he knew his limitations, and he worked within
them; he never wanted to be somebody else, it was enough that
he knew his talent, whether one or two or five, and with whole-
heartedness he gave himself to the highest of all work. Joseph
Parker on Dwight L. Moody
854. In my church in the far north—and a beautiful church it was—we
had curtains on each side of the pulpit. The way into the pulpit
was through the curtains. And I often used to notice a tiny girl
gazing at these curtains with very eager eyes. It was quite clear it
was not the minister she was looking at. It was whenever the
curtains moved that she would start and stare. I found out
afterwards what all the interest was. The little child thought that
Heaven was behind the curtains. It was only a wilderness of joists
and planks, but she thought that the minister stepped out from
God into the pulpit, and every time the curtain rustled—little
heart, little eager, beating heart—who could tell but thou mightst
catch the shimmer of an angel there? George H. Morrison
855. We cannot give others what we ourselves do not have. If the
cross does not become our life, we cannot give the life of the cross
to others. The failure of our work comes because we love to give
the cross to others without realizing that we do not have the cross
in ourselves. Those who are good at preaching to others must be
good at preaching to themselves first. Otherwise, the Spirit will not
co-work with them. Watchman Nee
856. Brothers and sisters, only those who are consecrated to
God have real power. They can place their business in God’s
hands. They can place their fathers, mothers, wives, and
children in God’s hands. They can place their money in God’s
hands. They will not take what God has given to them and
waste it in the world. They have consecrated even their own
lives to the Lord. Those who are afraid of consecrating their
belongings, their material goods, and their relationships with
others to God have not yet overcome. The more one
consecrates to God, the more strength one has. Those who
willingly consecrate to God almost seem to encourage God to
take more. They seem to say to God, “Please take more!”
The life of consecration is a joyous life. It is a life of power. If
a man does not consecrate himself, not only has he sinned,
but he is also lacking in power. Watchman Nee
857. Religion, I discovered, is a multi-billion dollar business in the
United States. Entering churches, I was astonished at the
carpeting, furnishings, air conditioning and ornamentation. Many
churches have gymnasiums and fellowships that cater to a busy
schedule of activities having little or nothing to do with Christ. The
orchestras, choirs, “special” music—and sometimes even the
preaching—seemed to me more like entertainment than worship.
Many North American Christians live isolated from reality—not
only from the needs of the poor overseas, but even from the poor
in their own cities. Amidst all the affluence live millions of terribly
poor people left behind as Christians have moved into the suburbs.
I found that believers are ready to get involved in almost any
activity which looks spiritual but allows them to escape their
responsibility to the Gospel. K. P. Yohannan
858. In some way, which I still do not really understand, the trying of
our faith works patience and hope into the fabric of our Christian
lives. No one, I am convinced, will follow Jesus very long without
tribulation. It is His way of demonstrating His presence. Sufferings
and trials—like persecution—are a normal part of the Christian
walk. We must learn to accept them joyfully if we are to grow
through them, and I think this is true for ministries as well as
individuals. K. P. Yohannan
859. The Church Jesus called out of this world to be separated unto
Himself has, to a great extent, forgotten her reason for existence.
Her loss of balance is seen in the current absence of holiness,
spiritual reality and concern for the lost. Substituted for the life she
once knew are teaching and reaching for prosperity, pleasure,
politics and social involvement. K. P. Yohannan
860. What would Jesus do if He walked into our churches today?
I am afraid He would not be able to say to us: “You have kept
the faith, you have run the race without turning left or right, and you
have obeyed My command to reach this world.” I believe He would
go out to look for a whip, because we have made His Father’s
house a den of robbers. If that is so, then we must recognize that
the hour is too desperate for us to continue to deceive ourselves.
We are past the point of revival or reformation. If this Gospel is to
be preached in all the world in our lifetime, we must have a
Christian, heaven-sent revolution.
But before revolution can come, we must recognize the need for
one. We are like a lost man looking at a road map. Before we can
choose the right road that takes us to our destination, we must
determine where we went wrong, go back to that point and start
over. So my cry to the body of Christ is simple: Turn back to the
true Gospel road. We need to preach again the whole counsel of
God. Our priority must again be placed on calling men to
repentance and snatching them from hell-fire.
Time is short. If we are not willing to plead in prayer for a
mission revolution—and let it start in our own personal lives, homes
and churches—we will lose this generation to Satan. K. P.
Yohannan
861. A declining interest in missions is the sure sign that a church and
people have left their first love. Nothing is more indicative of the
moral decline of the West than Christians who have lost the
passion of Christ for a lost and dying world. K. P. Yohannan
862. Today I am calling on Christians to give up their stale
Christianity, use the weapons of spiritual warfare and advance
against the enemy. We must stop skipping over the verses which
read, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross, and follow me,” and “So likewise, whosoever he be of
you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”.
K. P. Yohannan
863. 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. Oswald Chambers
864. We are apt to forget that a man is not only committed to Jesus
Christ for salvation; he is committed to Jesus Christ’s view of God,
of the world, of sin and of the devil, and this will mean that he must
recognize the responsibility of being transformed by the renewing
of the mind. Oswald Chambers
865. The herd is usually wrong, God's men are usually a minority and
they don't cater to crowds. Eternal results are what matter, real
results, not perceived results. If God gets a hold of a life they will
turn their backs on this world and make sacrifices for the Gospel.
Mike Wilhoit
866. God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites not for them
to keep, but for them to break. What does this mean? God knows
that man cannot keep the law, and He knows that everyone is a
sinner. But man will not acknowledge God’s judgment. Only after
man has tried and failed will he admit that he is a sinner. The book
of Romans tells us that God gave the law for man to break, not for
man to keep. When a man finds that he cannot keep the law, his
will is subdued, and he will humble himself. God spent four
thousand years to help man realize that he cannot make it; then
He sent Christ to open the way for man to receive Him and be
saved by Him. Watchman Nee
867. God has prospered us for a purpose. He is the king of Matthew
25:14-30 who entrusts wealth to his servants and goes on a long
journey. When he returns, the king demands an accounting and a
profit from what he has given to invest. What will we present to our
Lord when He returns for an accounting? What kind of stewards
are we being with the blessings He has shed on this nation? K. P.
Yohannan
868. Prayer is not simply getting things from God, that is a most initial
form of prayer; prayer is getting into perfect communion with God.
Oswald Chambers
869. I’m calling on believers everywhere to join me in a radical, far-
out life of simplicity that will seem crazy to many of your family and
friends. You can live a greedy, self-indulgent life. Or you can
choose the way of the cross, living for others as Jesus did and still
calls us to imitate today. K. P. Yohannan
870. Paul mentions in Romans 1:1 that he is separated unto the
service of the Gospel. The Great Commission involves coming as
well as going. You cannot go into all the world unless first you
have come away from it and separated yourself to follow Jesus
Christ. Bondslavery, like marriage, implies total loyalty to the
Master. And there is no way we can have this unless we are
committed to living a life of separation from all other masters and
all other things. K. P. Yohannan
871. Mr. Panton once told about a black slave girl who was about to
be auctioned. Two men were bidding for her, and the price was
going up. Both of them were evil men, and the slave girl knew that
she would suffer no matter whose hand she fell into. She wept
and grieved. Suddenly another man showed up and joined the
bidding. The first two men could not offer as much as the third
one, and the girl was eventually bought by him. Immediately, he
called in a blacksmith and broke her chains and declared that she
was free, saying, “I did not buy you to be my slave. I bought you to
free you.” At that word, he walked away. The girl was bewildered.
After two minutes she came to her senses, and she ran up to the
man and said, “From this day forward until the day I die, I will be
your slave.” Brothers and sisters, this is the love of the Lord
toward us. We are constrained by this love to tell Him, “From this
day forward, I will be Your slave.” Brothers and sisters, God has
bought us, crucified us, and raised us up. Since we have tasted of
His compassions and mercies, we should consecrate ourselves to
Him. Watchman Nee
872. When a Hebrew man bought a slave, the slave had to serve the
master for six years. In the seventh year, the slave could go free.
However, if he said that he loved his master and would not go out
free, the master would bring him to the judges and the doorpost
and bore his ear through with an awl. Then the slave would serve
his master forever (Exo. 21:2-6). Brothers and sisters, God has
saved us and bought us with the blood. He did not purchase us
with corruptible gold but with the precious blood of His Son. Many
Christians feel that they have to serve God for their conscience’
sake. But when we see the Lord’s preciousness, we will voluntarily
and willingly consecrate ourselves to Him. When we tell the Lord
that we are willing to be His slave, He will take us to the door and
the doorpost, and He will bore our ear through with an awl. The
doorpost is the place where the blood of the Passover lamb was
applied. Today we are being led to bleed there as well; we are
being led to the cross as well. We love the Lord and choose to be
His slave forever. Because we know that He loves us, we are
willing to serve Him forever. We have no choice but to declare,
“Lord, You have loved me and saved me and released me! Lord, I
love You and cannot help but serve You forever!” Watchman Nee
873. The first thing we should consecrate is the people we love. If a
man does not love the Lord more than his parents, wife, children,
and friends, he is not worthy to be the Lord’s disciple. If you have
consecrated yourself to the Lord, there should be no one in this
world that can occupy your heart and nothing that can capture your
heart any longer. God saves you in order to gain you wholly.
Many tears pull you back. Many human sentiments bid you to
return to them. Many heartbreaks persuade you to turn back. You
have to say, “Lord, all my relationships with men are on the altar.
My relationship with the whole world is over.” Watchman Nee
874. I wrote a song called “We're Blessed To Be A Blessing”.
There's a line in there that was influenced by an action David
took when he was holed up in the cave of Adullam. He wanted
a drink of water from the well at Bethlehem and his three
mighty men, at great risk to themselves, went and got some
water for him. But, after such heroic effort, he wouldn’t drink
the water. Instead, he took it and poured it out to the Lord. I
used to see this as so ungrateful on his part. I've often
wondered why, with so many glaring failures, that God
considered him a man after His own Heart. Now, I think I have
some understanding of it. We hear all the time that God wants
us to be blessed people. I agree, that is true. But I think we're
missing why He wants to bless us. I think He wants to bless
us so that we can take it to the next level. I think he wants us
to fully grasp what He has done for us and be so grateful that
we take those blessings and pour them back out to Him. To
pour them into the things that He considers important. And, to
do it joyously, never daring to hoard them for ourselves. Mike
Wilhoit
875. Often, in India, in front of office buildings, you will see a
messenger boy sitting on a stool, apparently doing nothing. But
when he hears a bell ringing inside, he hurries in and asks, “Sir,
what do you want me to do?”
Whatever the instructions may be, he follows them without
complaining. Then he returns and sits, waiting again to hear his
master’s voice. This is the kind of commitment God wants from us.
But this is the opposite of the mad, rushing, pragmatic, modern-
day evangelical Christianity most of us are caught up in today.
Somehow we assume God is in some big mess, that we should
run around and frantically take His side, or He will be in big trouble.
On the other hand, I believe God is waiting for those who are
willing to become bondslaves, men and women who will wait and
watch to hear the Master’s voice and only do those things He asks
them to do.
A half hour with God, limited to doing His will in His way, is worth
more than a million years doing the best in our own self and
energy. All fleshly effort will be burned to ash and will not make it
into eternity. K. P. Yohannan
876. There are hundreds of so-called disciples of Christ, professedly
members of His Church, who are daily doing things that they know
to be contrary to the voice of an enlightened judgment; and yet
they try to persuade themselves that, after all, these things are not
harmful, and not opposed to the will of God, because hundreds of
other Christian people do the same. That is simply bribing the
conscience into silence, by the false argument that a wrong is right
because of the multitude who do it, even though everyone else,
also, knows it is not the right thing. A. T. Pierson
877. It is important to remember that never, since the fall of man, has
truth been with the majority; never, but always with the minority.
Never has godly consistency been characteristic of the multitude,
but always of the few. It has always been a comparatively little
flock of whom holiness and saintship could be affirmed; and,
therefore, to reason from the customs of the majority to the
rightness of any given course of conduct, is one of the most
deceitful and dangerous methods of reasoning. A. T. Pierson
878. The Lord has promised that out of us rivers of living water would
flow—pure and unhindered, producing and sustaining life. But
unfortunately, due to both lack of watchfulness and lack of
diligence on our part, the enemy has polluted our lives. Now
instead of rivers of living water flowing out of us, our lives have
been dragged down to mediocrity. But if we travel up from the foot
of the mountain to the source of this river, we’ll find the pure
crystal-clear water flowing from it. Instead of being content with
superficial Christianity, we need to learn the original purpose of
God for our lives. In the Word of God, we clearly read in Genesis
1:26 that the Lord made us so that we may reflect His image. K. P.
Yohannan
879. Only by God’s grace and with great effort can we escape
the shower of luxuries which has almost suffocated our
Christian compassion. All of us face this problem. Some
years ago I spent about fifty dollars on an extra suit. That’s
not much of course. Besides, I persuaded myself, it was a
wise investment (thanks to the 75 percent discount). But that
money would have fed a starving child in India for about a
year. In all honesty we have to ask ourselves: Dare we care at
all about current fashions if that means reducing our ability to
help hungry neighbors? Dare we care more about obtaining a
secure economic future for our family than for living an
uncompromisingly Christian lifestyle? . . . We have been
brainwashed to believe that bigger houses, more prosperous
businesses, more luxurious gadgets, are worthy goals in life.
As a result, we are caught in an absurd, materialistic spiral.
The more we make, the more we think we need in order to live
decently and respectably. Somehow we have to break this
cycle because it makes us sin against our needy brothers and
sisters and, therefore, against our Lord. And it also destroys
us. Sharing with others is the way to real joy. Ronald Sider
880. Christ’s own redeeming work shows the individualizing love of
God in action. Crowds surged round Jesus, but it was the single
soul that engrossed and fascinated Him. There were scores of
ailing folk at the pool of Bethesda; Jesus went straight to the one
poor, desperate soul who had had thirty-eight years of
disappointment. When the slow, sad procession filed out from the
gates of Nain, Jesus had eyes only for the weeping mother who
had lost her boy. Pressed and jostled by a gaping crowd, He
turned round and singled out the one shrinking soul who needed to
touch Him most. Some of the most glorious words in the Gospel
were given first to one lonely woman who had bungled her life. He
walked and talked with Nicodemus in the dark. He escaped from
the Jericho crowd and chose Zaccheus for His host. Looking at
Jesus, we feel the force of Augustine’s dictum about God—”He
loves us every one as though there were but one of us to love.”
James S. Stewart
881. Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love
of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically
everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way,
wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has
nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him. The
world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but
whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. 1 John 2-15-17
from The Message
882. The contemporary church seems to have little understanding of
the greatness of Jesus Christ as Lord of creation and Lord of the
church, before whom our place is on our faces in the dust. Nor do
we seem to see His victory as the New Testament portrays it, with
all things under His feet, so that if we are joined to Christ, all things
are under our feet as well. It seems to me that our greatest need
today is an enlarged vision of Jesus Christ. We need to see Him
as the One in whom alone the fullness of God dwells and in whom
alone we can come to fullness of life. John Stott
883. We make calls out of our own spiritual consecration, but when
we get right with God He brushes all these aside, and rivets us
with a pain that is terrific to one thing we never dreamed of, and for
one radiant flashing moment we see what He is after, and we say
—”Here am I, send me.”
This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with
being made broken bread and poured-out wine. God can never
make us wine if we object to the fingers he uses to crush us with. If
God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread
and poured-out wine in a special way! But when He uses someone
whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we
would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object. We
must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are
going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot
drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been
squeezed.
I wonder what kind of finger and thumb God has been using to
squeeze you, and you have been like a marble and escaped? You
are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you, the wine would have
been remarkably bitter. To be a sacramental personality means that
the elements of the natural life are presenced by God as they are
broken providentially in His service. We have to be adjusted into
God before we can be broken bread in His hands. Keep right with
God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is
producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other
children. Oswald Chambers
884. The Bible tells us, without a doubt, that God is indeed able to
change us into His likeness—but only through one way: the
process of brokenness. We must recognize that being born
again is just the beginning of God’s work in us. Ninety-nine
percent is yet to be done. God is continually at work in our lives,
breaking us, changing us, and putting to death our selfish desires,
until His nature shines through. K. P. Yohannan
885. In one way or another, we are all being sifted by circumstances
that God allows to come our way. Sifting is never comfortable
because it exposes the chaff in our lives. And all chaff is destined
for unquenchable fire. God will go to any lengths to find this dross
and consume it. We rarely know where it is lurking until God
exposes it and gives us a chance to deal with it. (From ‘In Touch’
magazine, October 2003)
886. We must remember that God Himself never enlarged His small
gate or His narrow road. They remain the same as they were
2,000 years ago when Jesus first described them. In Matthew
7:14, He said that only a few will ever find this road. That is so
true. But there are even fewer who are willing to consider walking
on the narrow road after they have found it. Deciding to choose
the narrow path means they will have to walk alone while others
enjoy traveling comfortably on their enlarged versions. Today, in a
world with mega churches and multiplied millions of Christians,
only a few will ever stop to hear the call of Christ to lay down their
lives for a lost world. He might ask us to go, to support
missionaries, to intercede in prayer, or to invest our strength as
well as our means in order to win the lost. K. P. Yohannan
887. Maybe you’ve heard this call of Jesus on your life, but you
were truly concerned over who would take your place if you
“sold out completely”. Believe me, there are others who are
just as qualified as you who can take your place. But there
are so very, very few who know or understand what you know.
George Verwer, the founder of Operation Mobilization, once
said, “It might be hard to find one in 10,000 or a million who
will understand that half of the world has never heard the
name Jesus and are plunging into eternal hell, and who will
give their lives away to die and be unknown, unnoticed for
their sake.” This statement is so true. Only a few will ever
hear the call and choose the narrow road that leads to life, not
only for themselves but for the lost world as well. You plus
God make a majority. Choose the narrow path—the Son of
God left His footprints on it. At the end of the road, you will
meet Him. What are the things that are holding you back? K.
P. Yohannan
888. After Ben graduated, he and I became pinch hit caretakers for
Dad. The ironic thing is, Dad cared for Ben the first five years of his
life while I worked at the Phone Company, and now Ben is taking
care of Dad in his senior years. Only Ben knows how to transfer
him to the bed in a way that isn't excruciating. Even when the
ambulance drivers come for transport to the hospital, we have to
get Ben's help. I used to tell people that Ben's future was on hold
while we were taking care of Dad. I don't say that anymore. Ben is
doing what he's supposed to be doing right now, no matter if
people think he should be in college. College will still be there. This
is a monumental moment in our lives, and if we are not careful, we
could miss it. It's all about loving God with all our hearts, minds,
souls, and strength and loving others as ourselves. It's about
honoring my father and letting him live his life in dignity. It's about
absorbing each other and not magnifying the faults. It's about love.
I am 41 years old and I finally see that. I hope others don't have to
wait that long. Carol Skipper
889. The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to
realize, is to feel ourselves at home here on earth. Malcolm
Muggeridge
890. It was the same in Jesus’ time. So many voices called for His
attention. He received so much advice and was enticed with so
many good things, but He rejected it, and said, “For the Son of
Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke
19:10). And we read in Romans 8:29, “For whom He forenew, He
also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He
might be the firstborn among many brethren.” That is, you and I
must become like Jesus. And as we become like Jesus, we will
say “no” to many good things and commit our lives with an
undivided heart and determination to reach multiplied millions who
are dying and going to hell having never heard of Jesus’ death for
them. K. P. Yohannan
891. Please walk away from the lukewarm, selfish, “me, mine, and
ours” Christianity and dedicate yourself to a radical, all-out
commitment to walk in His footsteps. His footsteps will take you to
genuine, intense warfare that will cost you much, but in the end
this is the best thing you can do. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” K. P.
Yohannan
892. It is my prayer and hope that we serve the living God for one
reason, and no other: deep down in our hearts, we love Jesus
more than anything else in this life, and His love is our only
motivation for action. K. P. Yohannan
893. Why is our perception of others and their problems often so
inaccurate and insensitive, even if we consider all the facts?
Because we lack God’s perspective on their situation. As human
beings, we are so limited in our ability to understand one another.
We don’t see the world through the eyes of our fellow man but only
through our own. Subsequently, our own experience, traditions,
and values are the measuring scale for our judgment and the
reality we perceive in the world, around us. If we use ourselves
and our circumstantial views of reality as final authorities for
assessing others, we will inevitably make hopeless and inaccurate
judgments.
Because each person on earth lives and judges by his own
perception of reality, how can we ever respond to a situation in the
right way? We can’t . . . until we recognize that God alone is the
measuring scale for all things and that without the guidance of the
Holy Spirit we are incapable of discerning the hearts of men, their
true needs, and God’s answer for their situations. In other words,
we must learn to see others through the eyes of Jesus.
The story of Peter in the 10th chapter of Acts is a classic example
of how Peter’s view of reality, which was created by his upbringing,
traditions, and convictions, became a major hindrance to his ability
to do God’s will. Being a Jew, he could have no dealings
whatsoever with Gentiles. But here we see Peter throwing out his
lifelong judgment on Gentiles and traveling to the house of
Cornelius to lead him and his entire family to Christ. What
happened to Peter? He allowed the Holy Spirit to replace his own
faulty conception of reality with God’s perfect one; and as a result,
he was able to respond as Jesus would. K. P. Yohannan
894. It was into the home that sin first came. It is in the home that
revival first needs to come. Revival is desperately needed in the
church, in the country, in the world; but a revived church with
unrevived homes would be sheer hypocrisy. It is the hardest
place, the most costly, but the most necessary place to begin. Roy
Hession
895. If you seek great things for yourself—God has called me for this
and that; you are putting a barrier to God’s use of you. As long as
you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set
ambition, you cannot get through into identification with God’s
interests. You can only get there by losing forever any idea of
yourself and by letting God take you right out into His purpose for
the world, and because your goings are of the Lord, you can never
understand your ways. Oswald Chambers
896. At this point, however, Joshua saw a vision of a great Man with a
drawn sword. Joshua did not recognize the Man and asked, “Are
You for us or for our adversaries?” We must pay close attention to
this question. How did the Man answer him? Many people
erroneously believe that the Man said He had come to help
Joshua, but the Man did not answer in this way. In His answer He
first said, “Neither,” that is, I am not here to help you, nor to help
your adversaries. I am here for only one thing; “as the Captain of
Jehovah’s army have I now come”. Thank God for doing this.
Thank God that this is what the Lord Jesus does! He does not
help us, neither does He help our adversaries, but He comes as
the Captain of the Lord’s army. If we are God’s army, then He
comes to be our Captain. This is not a question of receiving help,
but of accepting leadership. He has not come to offer assistance
but to demand subjection. He does not come to help but to lead.
He says, “As the Captain of Jehovah’s army have I now come.”
How did Joshua react when he heard these words? “Joshua fell to
the ground upon his face and worshiped.”
Brothers and sisters, we must learn the ways of God, and this is
another of His ways. God does nothing to assist us or to assist our
enemies. God does not stand in the midst of the conflict giving a
little help here or there. God wants to be the Captain and He
demands our submission. In the face of so many foes, the need
would not be answered if God merely helped us. Submitting to Him
will solve the whole problem.
The issue is not whether or not God is helping us, but whether we
are submitting to His leadership. When He is in command, all is
well. A great trouble today among God’s children is that we want
everything to revolve around us and everything to serve our
interests. But God will not allow this. He wants to bring us to the
point of simply submitting to Him. When this matter is settled, all
other problems vanish.
Joshua fell to the ground upon his face and worshipped. If we
Know God’s ways by knowing Him as our Captain, God will handle
everything, and we will worship Him. God does not come to assist
us in the battle; He comes to lead the troops. If we hope He will
help us in the fight, we have misunderstood God. God comes to
lead the troops. We must submit before Him. When we learn the
true meaning of worship, we will also know that there is now a
sword drawn on our behalf. Watchman Nee
897. Only the person who wants God Himself, rather than His gift,
can worship Him worthily. Watchman Nee
898. Worship always follows the cross and the altar. Wherever there
is the cross, the altar, consecration, and obedience to the ways of
God, there is worship. Wherever one gives up working for one’s
self or holding on to something for one’s self, there is worship.
Worship is saying that we are not the center. The meaning of
worship is that God is the center. The meaning of worship is that I
step aside and give all the space to God. It is necessary for
“Samuel” to pass out of our hands. Watchman Nee
899. Worship is bowing to the ways of God. When we submit to the
ways of God, this is worship. It is refraining from disappointment
and murmuring. It is, henceforth, not being negative, nor arguing
with God. Instead, it is saying, “God, You are right in this.” This is
worshipping God’s ways. Watchman Nee
900. When he (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) came to England on his return
from the United States, his friends quickly realized that
Bonhoeffer’s heart belonged to his oppressed and persecuted
fellow Christians in Germany and that he would not desert them at
a time when they needed him most. The reasoning which brought
Bonhoeffer to his decision belongs, as Reinhold Niebuhr says, “to
the finest logic of Christian martyrdom.” “I shall have no right,”
Bonhoeffer wrote to Niebuhr before leaving America, “to participate
in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I
do not share the trials of this time with my people. . . Christians in
Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat
of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or
willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our
civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose; but I
cannot make this choice in security” Dietrich Bonhoeffer never
regretted this decision, not even in prison, where he wrote in later
years: “I am sure of God’s hand and guidance . . . You must never
doubt that I am thankful and glad to go the way which I am being
led. My past life is abundantly full of God’s mercy, and, above all
sin, stands the forgiving love of the Crucified.” Dr. G. Liebholz
901. The majority of the people in all nations alike does not consist of
heroes. What Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others did cannot be
expected from the many. The future in modern society depends
much more on the quiet heroism of the very few who are inspired
by Him. These few will greatly enjoy the divine inspiration and will
be prepared to stand for the dignity of man and true freedom and
to keep the law of God, even if it means martyrdom or death.
These few perform the law because they “look not at the things
which are seen, but at the things which are unseen: for the things
which are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are
eternal.” Dr. G. Liebholz
902. The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by
grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ. Such a
man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that
the call is inseparable from the grace. But those who try to use
this grace as a dispensation from following Christ are simply
deceiving themselves. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
903. It was the error of Israel to put the law in God’s place, to make
the law their God and their God a law. The disciples were
confronted with the opposite danger of denying the law its divinity
altogether and divorcing God from His law. Both errors lead to the
same result. By confounding God and the law, the Jews were
trying to use the law to exploit the Lawgiver: He was swallowed up
in the law, and therefore no longer its Lord. By imagining that God
and the law could be divorced from one another, the disciples were
trying to exploit God by their possession of salvation. In both
cases, the gift was confounded with the Giver: God was denied
equally, whether it was with the help of the law, or with the promise
of salvation.
Confronted with these twin errors, Jesus vindicates the divine
authority of the law. God is its giver and its Lord, and only in
personal communion with Him is the Law fulfilled. There is no
fulfillment of the law apart from communion with God, and no
communion with God apart from fulfillment of the law. To forget the
first condition was the mistake of the Jews, and to forget the second
the temptation of the disciples. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
904. A believer’s spiritual maturity can be measured by what it takes
to steal his joy. John MacArthur
905. This commandment, that we should love our enemies and
forego revenge will grow more urgent as the years roll on, as we
fight in the holy war where love and hate engage in mortal combat.
It is the bounden duty of every Christian soul to enter into the thick
of the fray with might and main. The time is coming when the
confession of the living God will incur not only the hatred and the
fury of the world, for on the whole that is true already, but complete
ostracism from ‘human society’, as they call it. The Christians will
be hounded from place to place, subjected to physical assault,
maltreatment and death of every kind. We are approaching an age
of widespread persecution. Therein lies the true significance of all
the movements and conflicts of our age. Our adversaries seek to
root out the Christian Church and the Christian faith because they
cannot live side by side with us, because they see in every word
we utter and every deed we do, even when they are not
specifically directed against them, a condemnation of their own
words and deeds. They are not far wrong. They suspect too that
we are indifferent to their condemnation. Indeed they must admit
that it is utterly futile to condemn us. We do not reciprocate their
hatred and contention, although they would like it better if we did,
and so sink to their own level. A. F. C. Vilman, 1880
906. The mind of Christ was centered upon the ultimate, but it was
conscious also of the process that leads to the ultimate; therefore,
He sifted the crowds that followed Him in order to find amongst
them men and women upon whom He could depend for co-
operation in the work that lay before Him. G. Campbell Morgan
907. The idea is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal
to Him that He can do His work through us—”I reckon on you for
extreme service, with no complaining on your part and no
explanation on Mine.” God wants to use us as He used His own
Son. Oswald Chambers
908. It is the letter of an old man to a young man. It is a letter of an
old minister of Jesus Christ to a young man commencing his work
in the ministry of the Word. It is the letter of one who has borne
the burden and heat of the day to one who stands facing the battle.
It is the letter of one who has been careful to lay the foundations,
and who charges men to beware how they build thereupon, to a
man who is to continue to build. G. Campbell Morgan on 2nd
Timothy
909. To be the people of God without regeneration, is as impossible
as to be the natural children of men without generation; seeing we
are born God’s enemies, we must be newborn His sons, or else
remain His enemies still. Oh that the unregenerate world did know
or believe this, in whose ears the new birth sounds as a paradox,
and the great change which God works upon the soul is a strange
thing: who, because they never felt any such supernatural work
upon themselves, do therefore believe that there is no such thing,
but that it is the conceit and fantasy of idle brains; who make the
terms of regeneration, sanctification, holiness, and conversion, a
matter of common reproach and scorn, though they are the words
of the Spirit of God Himself; and Christ hath spoken it with His
mouth, “that except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the
kingdom of God.” The greatest reformation of life that can be
attained to, without this new life wrought in the soul, may procure
their further delusion, but never their salvation. Richard Baxter
910. You can tell whether you are becoming a servant by how you act
when people treat you like one. Gordan McDonald
911. The symbol of the New Testament and the Christian Church is a
cross, which stands for a love faithful despite physical agony and
rejection by the world. No amount of air-conditioning and pew-
cushioning in the suburban church can cover over the hard truth
that the Christian life... is a narrow way of suffering; that
discipleship is costly: that, for the faithful, there is always a cross to
be carried. No one can understand Christianity to its depths who
comes to it to enjoy it as a pleasant weekend diversion. W. Waldo
Beach
912. Salvation comes only when we receive by faith the gift of God’s
grace. Hell will be full of people who tried to reach Heaven some
other way. John MacArthur
913. It is our propensity to go off on our own, trying to be human by
our own devices and desires, that makes Ecclesiastes necessary
reading. Ecclesiastes sweeps our souls clean of all “lifestyle”
spiritualities so that we can be ready for God’s visitation revealed
in Jesus Christ. Ecclesiastes is a John-the-Baptist kind of book. It
functions not as a meal but as a bath. It is not nourishment; it is
cleansing. It is repentance. It is purging. We read Ecclesiastes to
get scrubbed clean from illusion and sentiment, from ideas that are
idolatrous and feelings that cloy. It is an expose’ and rejection of
every arrogant and ignorant expectation that we can live our lives
by ourselves on our own terms. Eugene Peterson in the
introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes in “The Message”
914.Faith that excludes obedience won’t save anyone. The delusion
that it will causes many people to take the broad road that leads to
destruction. That’s like building a religious superstructure on sand.
Build your life in obedience to Christ. Then you’ll know that you
belong to Him. John MacArthur
915.It was his steadfast and unalterable conviction that for a man who
has wrapped his will in God's will, put his life consciously into the
stream of the divine Life, freed his soul from all personal ambitions,
taken his life on trust as a divine gift—that for such a man there is
an over-ruling Providence which guards and guides him in every
incident of his life, from the greatest to the least. He held that all
annoyances, frustrations, disappointments, mishaps, discomforts,
hardships, sorrows, pains, and even final disaster itself, are simply
God's way of teaching us lessons that we could never else learn.
That circumstances do not matter, are nothing, but that the
response of the spirit that meets them is everything; that there is
no situation in human life, however apparently adverse, nor any
human relationship, however apparently uncongenial, that cannot
be made, if God be in the heart, into a thing of perfect joy; that, in
order to attain this ultimate perfection, one must accept every
experience and learn to love all persons... that the worth of life is is
not to be measured by its results in achievement or success, but
solely by the motives of the heart and the efforts of one's will.
George Seaver in The Faith Of Edward Wilson
916.Whoso will love wisely, it behooves him to love lasting things
lastingly, and passing things passingly; so that his heart be set and
fastened on nothing but in God. Richard Rolle
917.Everyone more or less believes in God. But most of us do
our best to keep God on the margins of our lives or, failing
that, refashion God to suit our convenience. Prophets insist
that God is the sovereign center, not off in the wings awaiting
our beck and call. And prophets insist that we deal with God
as God reveals Himself, not as we imagine Him to be.
These men and women woke people up to the sovereign
Presence of God in their lives. They yelled, they wept, they
rebuked, they soothed, they challenged, they comforted. They
used words with power and imagination, whether blunt or
subtle.
Sixteen of these prophets wrote what they spoke. We call
them “the writing prophets.” They comprise the section from
Isaiah to Malachi in our Bibles. These sixteen Hebrew
prophets provide the help we so badly need if we are to stay
alert and knowledgeable regarding the conditions in which we
cultivate faithful and obedient lives before God. For the ways
of the world—its assumptions, its values, its methods of going
about its work—are never on the side of God. Never.
The prophets purge our imaginations of this world’s
assumptions on how life is lived and what counts in life. Over
and over again, God the Holy Spirit uses these prophets to
separate His people from the cultures in which they live,
putting them back on the path of simple faith and obedience
and worship in defiance of all that the world admires and
rewards. Prophets train us in discerning the difference
between the ways of the world and the ways of the Gospel,
keeping us present to the Presence of God….
…One of the bad habits that we pick up early in our lives is
separating things and people into secular and sacred. We
assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge
of: our jobs, our time, our entertainment, our government, our
social relations. The sacred is what God has charge of:
worship and the Bible, Heaven and hell, church and prayers.
We then contrive to set aside a sacred place for God,
designed, we say, to honor God but really intended to keep
God in His place, leaving us free to have the final say about
everything else that goes on.
Prophets will have none of this. They contend that
everything, absolutely everything takes place on sacred
ground. God has something to say about every aspect of our
lives: the way we feel and act in the so-called privacy of our
hearts and homes, the way we make our money and the way
we spend it, the politics we embrace, the wars we fight, the
catastrophes we endure, the people we hurt and the people we
help. Nothing is hidden from the scrutiny of God, nothing is
exempt from the rule of God, nothing escapes the purposes of
God. Holy, holy, holy.
Prophets make it impossible to evade God or make detours
around God. Prophets insist on receiving God in every nook
and cranny of life. For a prophet, God is more real than the
next-door neighbor. Eugene Peterson in his introduction to
the Prophets
1004. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want
to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does
not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means
doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that
case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. C.
S. Lewis
1005. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness
would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing
with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger—
according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong
way. C. S. Lewis
1006. If we look carefully within ourselves, we shall find that there are
certain limits beyond which we refuse to go in offering ourselves to
God. We hover around these reservations, making believe not to see
them, for fear of self-reproach. The more we shrink from giving up any
such reserved point, the more certain it is that it needs to be given up.
If we were not fast bound by it, we should not make so many efforts to
persuade ourselves that we are free. ... François Fénelon
1007. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free
but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be
good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil
possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will,
though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes
possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. C. S. Lewis
1008. Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in
disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the
devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is
not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in
force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is
delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side
freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a
Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany
and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I
wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and
directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He
does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the
author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to
invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His
side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away
like a dream and something else—comes crashing in; something
so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of
us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without
disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either
irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be
too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you
choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up.
That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we
discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it
before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose
the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will
not last forever. We must take it or leave it. C. S. Lewis
1009. It is my prayer that no man shall ever stand in this pulpit as
long as time shall last who does not desire to have all that he does
based upon this Book. For this Book does not contain the Word of
God, it is the Word of God. And though we may preach the Word with
all the stammering limitations of our human nature, the grace of God
does the miracle of the ministry, and through human lips speaks the
divine Word, and the hearts of the people are refreshed. There is no
other explanation for the continuing power of a church that is poorly
located, that is without endowment, but which continues to draw men
and women to the capacity of its seating arrangements, morning and
evening, summer and winter, and which sends its sons and daughters
by the score to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ throughout
the world. Donald Grey Barnhouse
1010. It is not uncommon for Jesus’ saving work to be reduced by
well-meaning teachers merely to His death on the Cross. True, the
suffering of Jesus for our sin is the center of the gospel message.
There could have been no salvation for us unless Jesus had died for
us, bearing the penalty due for our transgressions. This doctrine is of
fundamental importance. Yet it is only one-half of what is necessary.
It is the negative side. The positive side is the imputation of Christ’s
righteousness to us, so that we are now able to stand before God
clothed in that righteousness; for that to happen, Jesus needed to live
a life of perfect righteousness. In other words, His perfect active
obedience was necessary for our salvation. James Montgomery Boice
1011. God is not only perfectly holy, but the source and pattern of
holiness. He is the origin and the upholder of the moral order of the
universe. He must be just. The Judge of all the earth must do right.
Therefore it was impossible by the necessities of His own being that
He should deal lightly with sin, and compromise the claims of holiness.
If sin could be forgiven at all, it must be on some basis which would
vindicate the holy law of God, which is not a mere code, but the moral
order of the whole creation. But such vindication must be supremely
costly. Costly to whom? Not to the forgiven sinner, for there could be
no price asked from him for his forgiveness; both because the cost is
far beyond his reach, and because God loves to give and not to sell.
Therefore, God Himself undertook to pay a cost, to offer a sacrifice, so
tremendous that the gravity of His condemnation of sin should be
absolutely beyond question even as He forgave it, while at the same
time the love which impelled Him to pay the price would be the wonder
of the angels, and would call forth the worshiping gratitude of the
redeemed sinner.
On Calvary this price was paid, paid by God: the Son giving Himself,
bearing our sin and its curse; the Father giving the Son, his only Son
whom He loved. But it was paid by God become man, who not only
took the place of guilty man, but also was His representative…
He offered Himself as a sacrifice in our stead, bearing our sin in His
own body on the tree. He suffered, not only awful physical anguish,
but also the unthinkable spiritual horror of becoming identified with the
sin to which He was infinitely opposed. He thereby came under the
curse of sin, so that for a time even His perfect fellowship with His
Father was broken. Thus God proclaimed His infinite abhorrence of
sin by being willing Himself to suffer all that, in place of the guilty ones,
in order that He might justly forgive. Thus the love of God found its
perfect fulfillment, because He did not hold back from even that
uttermost sacrifice, in order that we might be saved from eternal death
through what He endured. H. E. Guillebaud
1011. Here, I suppose, is the perfect portrait of the visible but
unbelieving church, a picture of many who in their lifetime called
out, “Lord, Lord,” but did not do the things Jesus said and
ultimately perished. We would not dare say this if the Lord had
not said it first, but on His authority we must say that many who
worship in apparently Christian congregations, who consider
themselves good Christians, supposing that all is well with their
souls, will be utterly surprised by God’s judgment. If people like
this will be shut out from God’s presence, ought we not to do as
Peter says and “make our calling and election sure”? Peter tells
how it must be done. He says to add goodness to faith,
knowledge to goodness, self-control to knowledge, perseverance
to self-control, godliness to perseverance, brotherly kindness to
godliness, and love to brotherly kindness, concluding, “If you do
these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich
welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ”. The emphasis is on “do”! James Montgomery Boice
1012. But I need to add that even Reformed believers need to
recapture this true gospel, since even those who insist most strongly
on the doctrines of grace cannot give God glory if they are, above all,
struggling to build their own kingdoms and further their own careers, as
many are.
I am a Calvinist. But I testify that in my judgment even most
Calvinists are not seeking the glory of God in all things. We say we
are. We consider ourselves to be the chief, perhaps even the sole true
heirs of the Reformation. But often what we are really interested in is
increasing our own small spheres of influence. We too want to be
prosperous and happy, just like the world. Or if we think of Christian
work, our true goal is frequently our own personal success, defined
primarily by loyalty to our own programs, churches, and
denominations. We want our programs to prosper, and we want to get
the credit for it. We will not see reformation until there is profound
repentance for these sins and a radical readjustment of our desires,
goals, and methodologies.
I believe that good times are ahead. I find many throughout the
church, particularly young pastors, who are dissatisfied with the
shallow consumerism of our times—our crass evangelical marketing of
the gospel, our sad self-preoccupation—and who want to recover a
gospel of substance whose end is the glory of Almighty God. I join
with them. I rejoice with them and in them. But we have a long way to
go to that end. Can we get there? Not by ourselves certainly. But
God will lead us to those better days if we do actually repent of our sin
and seek to make Him truly preeminent in everything. James
Montgomery Boice
1013. For the New Testament Christians, witness was not a sales
pitch.
They simply shared, each in his own way, what they had received.
Theirs was not a formally prepared, carefully worked-out presentation
with a gimmick to manipulate conversation, and a “closer” for an on-
the-spot decision…but the spontaneous, irrepressible, effervescent
enthusiasm of those who had met the most fascinating Person who
ever lived.
The gospel is not theology. It’s a Person. Theology doesn’t save.
Jesus Christ saves. The first-century disciples were totally involved
with a Person. They were followers of Jesus. They were learners of
Jesus. They were committed to Jesus. They were filled with Jesus.
They had encountered Jesus Christ and it simply could not be
concealed. They witnessed not because they had to, but because they
could not help it.
Their school of witnessing was the school of the Spirit where they
learned continuously. Authentic Christian witness is born of the Spirit.
Madison Avenue, with all its sophisticated know-how, can’t improve
on the strategy. Nothing is more convincing than the simple,
unembellished word of a satisfied customer. Richard Halverson
1014. When the true story gets told, whether in the partial light of
historical perspective or in the perfect light of eternity, it may well be
revealed that the worst sin of the church at the end of the twentieth
century has been the trivialization of God...We prefer the illusion of a
safer deity, and so we have pared God down to more manageable
proportions. Donald McCullough
1015. The true, the genuine worship is when man, through his spirit,
attains to friendship and intimacy with God. True and genuine worship
is not to come to a certain place; it is not to go through a certain liturgy;
it is not even to bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the
immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who
is immortal and invisible. William Barclay
1016. John MacArthur explains what happened in his church when
people began to take the nature of true worship seriously. “They
began to look at superficialities as an affront to a holy God. They saw
worship as a participant’s activity, not a spectator sport. Many realized
for the first time that worship is the church’s ultimate priority—not
public relations, not recreation and social activities, not boosting
attendance figures, but worshiping God.” And they were “drawn to the
only reliable and sufficient worship manual,” which is “Scripture.” That
is precisely what the evangelical church of our day needs most. And it
is precisely what God wants from us. James Montgomery Boice
1017. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that
God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too
distant, His grace too ordinary, His judgment is too benign, His gospel
too easy, and His Christ too common. David Wells
1018. Preoccupation with self is the chief sin of the modern world.
And this means that, without opposing the absorption with self, even a
renewed effort to teach about God will be fruitless, since it will end only
by presenting a God to be used by us rather than a God who demands
from us a surrender of self and a radical obedience. We need to show
that, in the Bible, God is not presented as an answer to our felt needs
but as one who calls us to take up a cross daily and follow Jesus
Christ. James Montgomery Boice
1019. What makes a community? A community holds together
because of some higher allegiance or priority. Christians are the
community of those who are formed by Scripture alone and who,
because of that, know that they are all sinners saved by grace alone
because of Christ alone. They are not wrapped up in themselves.
Therefore, they love each other and are able to stand together and
welcome all types of people and races to their fellowship. They have a
commitment that goes—or should go—beyond mere individualism; and
if they do, they inevitably model genuine community in church settings.
Such communities provide an unsurpassed opportunity for reaching
the unsaved world for Jesus Christ. James Montgomery Boice
1020. Protestants especially, because of our insistence on the
doctrine of justification by faith alone apart from works, tend to
overlook the importance of good works. We need to recover the
importance of good works as the necessary and inevitable outcome of
genuine conversion. True Christians must lead lives that are different
from and better than those they led before they came to Christ. God
expects it; indeed, He requires it. And the world expects it too. James
Montgomery Boice
1021. There are times in history when it takes a thousand voices to
be heard as one voice. But there are other times, like our own, when
one voice can ring forth as a thousand. So let’s get on with our calling,
and let those who say they know God show they actually do—for His
glory and for the good of all. James Montgomery Boice
1022. Does it not make a great difference whether I am, so to speak,
the landlord of my own mind and body, or only a tenant, responsible to
the real Landlord? If Somebody else made me, for His own purposes,
then I shall have a lot of duties which I should not have if I simply
belonged to myself. C. S. Lewis
1023. If [it] yields to the drift of the age and surrenders its hold of the
awful but glorious individualism of the Christian salvation,... the Church
itself will not be much enriched by an accession of panic-stricken
fugitives from a Personal God. And many unhappy young people are
discovering now that Church membership is not the equivalent of being
reconciled to God, and a kind of Confirmation is not a substitute for
Conversion. William Russell Maltby
1024. A large part of the evangelical church has developed a
pleasure-laden, cruise ship mentality, but it will result in a spiritual
Titanic. Seeker-friendly church pastors (and those tempted to climb
aboard) need to get on their knees and read the words of Jesus to the
church of the Laodiceans (Rev. 3:14-21). They were “rich, and
increased with goods,” yet failed to recognize that in God’s eyes, they
were “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
Jesus, standing outside their church, where they had unwittingly
displaced Him, offers them His counsel, the truth of His Word, which
alone will enable them to live their lives for His pleasure. There can be
nothing better here on earth, and for all eternity. T. A. McMahon
1025. The Church of God has gone into the entertainment business!
People must be amused, and as the church needs the people’s
money, the church must supply the demand and meet the craving!
How else are godless hypocrites to be held together? So the picture
show and entertainment…take the place of the gospel address and the
solemn worship of God. And, thus, Christless souls are lulled to sleep
and made to feel “religious” while gratifying every carnal desire under
the sanction of the sham called the church! And the end? What an
awakening in eternity! H. A. Ironside
1026. Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of
infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you
want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power,
peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that
has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose,
just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and
beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it,
the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man
is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is
separated from God, what can he do but wither and die? C. S. Lewis
1027. Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we
can, if we let God have His way, come to share the life of Christ. If we
do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made,
which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of
God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We
shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us.
He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other
men the kind of life He has—by what I call ‘good infection’. Every
Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming
a Christian is simply nothing else. C. S. Lewis
1028. The fire of revenge may singe or even scorch my enemy, but it
will do far more damage to the furniture of my own soul. After every
indulgence in vengeful passion some precious personal possession
has been destroyed. The fact of the matter is, this fire cannot be kept
burning without making fuel of the priceless furnishings of the soul.
“Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.” John
Henry Jowett
1029. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken
off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely
what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the
truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you
go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it
only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of
the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man I am. The rats
are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they
will have taken cover before you switch on the light. Apparently the rats
of resentment and vindictiveness are always there in the cellar of my
soul…But I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives.
After the first few steps in the Christian life we realize that everything
which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.
C. S. Lewis
1030. But there must be a real giving up of self. You must throw it
away ‘blindly’ so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real
personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as
your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going
to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self
altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and
yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking
for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound
strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday
matters. Even in the social life, you will never make a good impression
on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression
you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about
originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth
(without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will,
nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself,
and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it.
Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day
and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of
your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep nothing back. Nothing
that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that
has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and
you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin,
and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him
everything else thrown in. C. S. Lewis
1031. When Whitelocke was embarking, in 1653, for Sweden, he was
much disturbed in his mind, as he rested at Harwich on the preceding
night, which was stormy, while he reflected on the distracted state of
England. It happened that a good and confidential servant slept in an
adjacent bed, who, finding his master could not sleep at length said,
“Pray, sir, will you give me leave to ask you a question?” “Certainly.”
“Pray, sir, don’t you think that God governed the world very well before
you came into it?” “Undoubtedly.” “And pray, sir, don’t you think He
will govern it quite as well when you are gone out of it?” “Certainly.”
“Then, sir, don’t you think you may trust Him to govern it properly as
long as you live?” To this last question Whitelocke had nothing to
reply; but turning himself about, soon fell fast asleep, till he was called
to embark. From the book “Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James
R. Boyd
1032. God did not elect or choose any because He foresaw that they
would believe in Christ, and persevere in religion; but the true doctrine
is, that those who believe and persevere, do so because God had
chosen them to salvation, and therefore inclined and enabled them to
enter upon and pursue the Christian life. Their faith and holy life were
not the cause of election, but the result of it. From the book
“Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1033. The test of fellowship with God as love is righteousness of
conduct, and love one to another. The result of fellowship with God as
love, will be that of hatred toward us on the part of the world. Yet such
hatred is to be answered by the love of the Christian, such love being
the proof of the presence of the new life. G. Campbell Morgan
1034. A few days before the Rev. Dr. Payson closed his earthly
career, he dictated a remarkable letter to a sister, in which he
says: “Were I to adopt the figurative language of Bunyan, I might
date this letter from the land of Beulah, of which I have been for
some weeks a happy inhabitant. The celestial city is full in my
view. Its glories beam upon me, its breezes fan me, its odors are
wafted to me, its sounds strike upon my ears, and its spirit is
breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the
river of death, which now appears but as an insignificant rill, that
may be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give
permission. The Sun of Righteousness has been gradually
drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as he
approaches, and now he fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth
a flood of glory, in which I seem to float like an insect in the
beams of the sun, exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on
this excessive brightness, and wondering, with unutterable
wonder, why God should deign thus to shine upon a sinful worm.
A single heart and a single tongue seem altogether inadequate to
my wants; I want a whole heart for every separate emotion, and a
whole tongue to express that emotion.” From the book
“Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1035. Dr. Nettleton once fell in company with two men who were
disputing on the Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance. As he came
into their presence, one of them said, “I believe this doctrine has been
the means of filling hell with Christians.” “Sir,” said Dr. Nettleton, “do
you believe that God knows all things?” “Certainly I do,” said he. “How
then do you interpret this text—”I never knew you?’” said Dr. Nettleton.
After reflecting a moment, he replied, “The meaning must be, I never
knew you as Christians.” “Is that the meaning?” said Dr. Nettleton.
“Yes, it must be,” he replied, “for certainly God knows all things.”
“Well,” said Dr. Nettleton, “I presume you are right. Now, this is what
our Savior will say to those who, at the last day, shall say to Him, ‘Lord,
Lord, have we not eaten,’ &c. Now, when Saul, and Judas, and
Hymeneus, and Philetus, and Demas, and all who, you suppose, are
fallen from grace, shall say to Christ, Lord, Lord, —He shall say to
them, I never knew you—I never knew you as Christians. Where,
then, are the Christians that are going to hell?” From the book
“Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1036. The Gospel Jesus proclaimed did not foster that kind of
gullibility. From the time He first began to minister publicly, our
Lord eschewed the quick, easy, or shallow response. He turned
away far more prospects than He won, refusing to proclaim a
message that would give anyone a false hope. His words, always
tailored to the individual’s needs, never failed to puncture an
inquirer’s self-righteousness, unveil wrong motives, or warn of
false faith or shallow commitment. John MacArthur
1037. The central theme of the Old Testament is redemption by
grace. But incredibly, the Pharisees entirely missed it. In their rigid
emphasis on religious works, they de-emphasized the truth of God’s
grace and forgiveness to sinners, evident throughout the Old
Testament. They stressed obedience to law, not conversion to the
Lord, as the way to gain eternal life. They were so busy trying to earn
righteousness that they neglected the marvelous truth of Habakkuk
2:4: “The righteous will live by faith.” They looked to Abraham as their
father, but overlooked the key lesson of his life: “He believed in the
Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Genesis
15:6). They scoured the Psalms for laws they could add to their list,
but they ignored the most sublime truth of all—that God forgives sin,
covers transgressions, and refuses to impute iniquity to sinners who
turn to Him (Psalm 32:1-2). They anticipated the coming of their
Messiah, but closed their eyes to the fact that He would come to die as
a sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53:4-9). They were confident that they were
guides to the blind, lights to those in darkness, correctors of the foolish,
and teachers of the immature (cf. Romans 2:19-20), but they forgot the
most basic lesson of God’s law: that they themselves were sinners in
need of salvation. John MacArthur
1038. We are too busy entertaining ourselves to think of God. Dave
Hunt
1039. The Bibles Says So—CHILDREN should be early taught
that the Bible is the great authority; and that when it speaks upon
any point, the question is settled forever. They should be taught
to go directly to the Scripture, to find what is good and what is
bad, what is true and what is false. Thus, with the blessing of
God, they will acquire the habit of constantly subordinating their
own notions and inclinations to the plain declarations of
Scripture. It is a good sign to have a child often use the
expression, “The Bible says so.” From the book “Westminster
Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1040. Jesus never sanctioned any form of cheap grace. He was not
offering eternal life as an add-on to a life cluttered with unconfessed
sin. It is inconceivable that He would pour someone a drink of living
water without challenging and altering that individual’s sinful lifestyle.
He came to save His people from their sin (cf. Matthew 1:21), not to
confer immortality on people in bondage to wickedness. John
MacArthur
1041. God seeks people who will submit themselves to worship Him
in spirit and in truth. That kind of worship is impossible for anyone
sheltering sin in his life. Those who confess and forsake their sin, on
the other hand, will find a Savior anxious to receive them, forgive them,
and liberate them from their sin. Like the woman at the well, they will
find a source of living water, which will quench forever even the
strongest spiritual thirst. John MacArthur
1042. The portrait of Jesus in the gospels is altogether different
from the picture contemporary evangelicals typically imagine.
Rather than a would-be redeemer who merely stands outside
anxiously awaiting an invitation to come into unregenerate lives,
the Savior described in the New Testament is God in the flesh,
invading the world of sinful men and challenging them to turn
from their iniquity. Rather than waiting for an invitation, He
issues His own—in the form of a command to repent and take on
a yoke of submission. John MacArthur
1043. Our Lord emphasized that God Himself is the determinative
factor in salvation. We who witness for Christ are not ultimately
responsible for how people respond to the gospel. We are only
responsible to preach it clearly and accurately, speaking the truth in
love. Some will turn away, but it is God who either reveals the truth or
keeps it hidden, according to what is well-pleasing in His sight. His
plan will not be curtailed. Though the gospel according to Jesus
offends, its message must not be made more palatable by watering
down the content or softening the hard demands. In God’s plan, the
elect believe despite the negative response of the multitudes. John
MacArthur
1044. There is no place for jealousy in the kingdom. The only right
response is abject humility. Everything we receive from God is
undeserved blessing. How long or how well we work has nothing to do
with our place in the kingdom, for all will receive far more from God
than they deserve. We should never murmur because the fatted calf
was killed for someone else, or be resentful that heaven will be just as
wonderful for those who enter the kingdom late. God’s grace abounds
to us all. John MacArthur
1045. Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels. The fruit of one’s life reveals
whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle
ground. Merely knowing and affirming facts apart from obedience to
the truth is not believing in the biblical sense. Those who cling to the
memory of a one-time decision of “faith” but lack any evidence that
faith has continued to operate in their lives had better heed the clear
and solemn warning of Scripture: “He who does not obey the Son shall
not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). John
MacArthur
1046. Our personalities are diametrically opposed to God’s
personality. He likes concealment, we like display; He does not crave
outward manifestations, we cannot be content without them. This
divine disposition constitutes a great trial and test to us. Witness Lee
1047. Jesus never presented Christianity as a soft option for weak-
kneed, feeble souls. When a person becomes as Christian he
declares war on hell. And hell fights back. Following Christ can cost
one’s very life—it will certainly cost one’s life in a spiritual sense. The
faint-hearted and compromisers need not apply. John MacArthur
1048. I am convinced that the popular evangelistic message of
our age actually lures people into this deception. It promises a
wonderful, comfortable plan for life. It obliterates the offense of
the cross. Though it presents Christ as the way, the truth, and
the life, it says nothing of the small gate or the narrow way. Its
subject is the love of God, but there is no mention of God’s wrath.
It sees people as deprived, not depraved. It is full of love and
understanding, but there is no mention of a holy God who hates
sin, no summons to repentance, no warning of judgment, no call
for brokenness, no expectation of a contrite heart, and no reason
for deep sorrow over sin. It is a message of easy salvation, a call
for a hasty decision which is often accompanied by false
promises of health, happiness, and material blessing. This is not
the gospel according to Jesus.
“The gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and
few are those who find it.” How could Jesus be more clear? This
is the only path His Gospel takes. It is not an easy road, nor a
popular one. But it is the only one that leads to eternal glory.
John MacArthur
1049. There are several categories of deceived people in the church.
Obviously there are hypocrites, those who merely try to appear
religious. Others are nominal, superficial people who call themselves
Christians because they have gone to Sunday school since childhood,
or “made a decision” for Christ but have no ongoing interest in living
out the implications of faith. Still others are heavily involved in church
or religious activities; they know the facts of the gospel, but they are
not obedient to the Word of God. Perhaps they go to church because
they are looking for good feelings, blessings, experiences, healings,
miracles, or ecstatic gifts. Maybe they are committed to the
denomination, the church, the organization, but not the Word of God.
They may love theology purely as an academic interest. Whatever the
reasons, many who have identified themselves with Christ and
Christianity will be turned away at the judgment. John MacArthur
1050. The only validation of salvation is a life of obedience. It is the
only possible proof that a person really knows Jesus Christ. If one
does not obey Christ as a pattern of life, then professing to know Him
is an empty verbal exercise. John MacArthur
1051. The day of judgment is coming. That is what the wind, rain,
and flood of Matthew 7:25 and 27 speak of. God is sending the storm
of judgment. Some will stand and some will fall. Those who stand are
true believers; those who fall are those who never really believed at all.
The difference will be seen in whether obedience followed the hearing
of the gospel, and whether a life of righteousness followed the
profession of faith. This illustration is marvelously consistent with the
warning of earlier verses. They all teach that the test of true faith is
whether it produces obedience.
Thus Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount ends with a devastating warning
of judgment: “and great was its fall.” It is a warning of doom,
characteristic of the preaching of Jesus, but again, markedly different
from the trend of contemporary evangelism. The gospel according to
Jesus calls for a decision, not merely a new opinion, but an active
response to obedience. John MacArthur
1052. The Lord is saying that we must be unquestioningly loyal to
Him, even above our families—and especially above ourselves.
Scripture teaches us to deny self, consider ourselves dead, lay the old
self aside, and in a sense, treat the selfish aspect of our beings with
the utmost contempt. That is the same attitude we are to have toward
our possessions and even toward our own family.
Why is this language so severe? Why does Christ use such
offensive terms? Because He is eager to chase the uncommitted
away and to draw true disciples to Himself. He does not want half-
hearted people deceived into thinking they are in the kingdom. Unless
He is the number one priority, He has not been given His rightful place.
John MacArthur
1053. As I study through the New Testament, I see more clearly than
ever the unity of the New Testament gospel. The gospel according to
Jesus is the gospel according to His apostles. It is a small gate and a
narrow road. It is free but it costs everything. And though it is
appropriated by faith, it cannot fail to produce the fruit of true
righteousness in the life and behavior of the believer. John MacArthur
1054. “God almighty has given me but one journey through the world,
and when gone, I cannot return to rectify mistakes.” From the book
“The Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1055. Let us not merely call Him Lord, for that will not save us. For
He says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will be saved, but
he who does what is right.” Thus, brothers, let us acknowledge Him by
our actions…This world and the world to come are two enemies... This
one means adultery, corruption, avarice, and deceit, while the other
gives them up. We cannot, then, be friends of both. To get the one,
we must give the other up. From the Second Epistle of Clement to the
Corinthians, about A.D. 100
1056. If good works and love do not blossom forth, it is not genuine
faith, the gospel has not yet gained a foothold, and Christ is not yet
rightly known. Martin Luther
1057. The terms of Christ’s salvation are erroneously stated by the
present-day evangelist. With very rare exceptions he tells his hearers
that salvation is by grace and is received as a free gift; that Christ has
done everything for the sinner, and nothing remains except for him to
“believe”—to trust in the infinite merits of His blood. And so widely
does this conception now prevail in “orthodox” circles, so frequently
has it been dinned in their ears, so deeply has it taken root in their
minds, that for one to now challenge it and denounce it as being so
inadequate and one-sided as to be deceptive and erroneous, is for him
to instantly court the stigma of being a heretic, and to be charged with
dishonoring the finished work of Christ by inculcating salvation by
works…Salvation is by grace, by grace alone…Nevertheless, Divine
grace is not exercised at the expense of holiness, for it never
compromises with sin. It is also true that salvation is a free gift, but an
empty hand must receive it, and not a hand which still tightly grasps
the world…A heart that is steeled in rebellion cannot savingly believe;
it must first be broken…Those preachers who tell sinners they may be
saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without
surrendering to the Lordship of Christ, are as erroneous and
dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works and that
heaven must be earned by our own efforts. A. W. Pink
1058. Divine grace is not bestowed with the object of freeing men
from their obligations but rather with that of supplying them with a
powerful motive for more readily and gratefully discharging those
obligations. To make God’s favor a ground of exemption from the
performance of duty comes perilously near to turning His grace into
lasciviousness. A. W. Pink
1059. I say that I had been heaping up my devotions before God,
fasting, praying, etc. pretending, and indeed really thinking sometimes,
that I was aiming at the glory of God; whereas I never once truly
intended it, but only my own happiness. I saw that as I had never done
anything for God, I had no claim on anything from Him, but perdition,
on account of my hypocrisy and mockery. Oh, how different did my
duties now appear from what they used to do! I used to charge them
with sin and imperfection; but this was only on account of the
wandering and vain thoughts attending them, and not because I had
no regard to God in them; for this I thought I had. But when I saw
evidently that I had had regard to nothing but self-interest; then they
appeared a vile mockery of God, self-worship, and a continued course
of lies. I saw that something worse had attended my duties than barely
a few wanderings; for the whole was nothing but self-worship, and an
horrid abuse of God. From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1060. My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable, to see such a God, such
a glorious divine Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied, that
He should be God over all forever and ever. My soul was so
captivated and delighted with the excellency, loveliness, greatness,
and other perfections of God, that I was even swallowed up in Him; at
least to that degree that I had no thought, as I remember, at first, about
my own salvation, and scarce reflected that there was such a creature
as myself.
Thus God, I trust, brought me to a hearty disposition to exalt Him,
and set Him on the throne, and principally and ultimately to aim at His
honor and glory, as King of the universe. I continued in this state of
inward joy, peace and astonishment, till near dark, without any
sensible abatement; and then began to think and examine what I had
seen; and felt sweetly composed in my mind all the evening following.
I felt myself in a new world, and everything about me appeared with a
different aspect from what it was wont to do.
At this time the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite
wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever
think of any other way of salvation; I was amazed that I had not
dropped my own contrivances and complied with this lovely, blessed,
and excellent way before. If I could have been saved by my own
duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul
would now have refused. I wondered that all the world did not see and
comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of
Christ. From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1061. “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your
conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion
projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-
raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I
can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to
me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want
fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want. From
Amos Chapter 5 in “The Message”.
1062. No condition of life will of itself make a man content, without the
grace of God; for we find Haman discontented in the court, Ahab
discontented on the throne, Adam discontented in Paradise; nay, and
higher we cannot go, the angels that fell were discontented even in
heaven itself. Philip Henry
1063. Church history may record ours as the era of disastrous
collapse within the leadership of the church. The standards for
leadership have been lowered, and many thousands have tragically
lost their way.
Where are the godly and truthful men? Where are the humble,
unselfish models of virtue? Where are the examples of victory over
temptation? Where are those who show us how to pray and overcome
trials or adversity?
We have a sick and distorted church because we’ve lost sight of
Christ, His Word, and the Spirit. We’ve lost sight of our clear pattern
for growth in the life of the apostle Paul. And we have tolerated a
lower standard for leadership than the Bible allows. The essence of
Christianity is becoming more like Christ. Matters such as right
relationships, service, and evangelism will be taken care of if we just
pursue that one holy goal. John MacArthur
1064. The condition of the heart determines the quality of my
discernment. If “the heart is waxed gross,” the ears will be “dull of
hearing,” and the eyes will be “closed.” My spiritual senses gain their
acuteness or obtuseness from my affections. If my love is muddy my
sight will be dim. If my love be “clear as crystal” the spiritual realm will
be like a gloriously transparent air.
And the awful nemesis of sin-created blindness is this, that it
interprets itself as sight. “The light that is in thee is darkness.” We
think we see, and all the time we are the children of the night. We
think it is “the dawn of God’s sweet morning,” and behold! it is the
perverse flare of the evil one. He has given us a will-o-the-wisp, and
we boastfully proclaim it to be “the morning star.”
But there is hope for any man, however blind he be, who will humbly
lay himself at Jesus’ feet. Let this be my prayer, O Lord, “Cleanse
Thou me from secret faults.” Deliver me from self-deception, save me
from confusing the fixed light of heaven with the wandering beacon-
lights of hell. And again and again will I pray, “Lord, that I might
receive my sight!” John Henry Jowett
1065. Last year I longed to be prepared for a world of glory, and
speedily to depart out of this world; but of late all my concern almost is
for the conversion of the heathen, and for that end I long to live. But
blessed be God I have less desire to live for any of the pleasures of the
world than I ever had. I long and love to be a pilgrim, and want grace
to imitate the life, labors and sufferings of St. Paul among the heathen.
And when I long for the holiness now, it is not so much for myself as
formerly, but rather thereby I may become an ‘able minister of the New
Testament,’ especially to the heathen. From The Life And Diary Of
David Brainerd
1066. When I visit the Cross and the tomb, life is transformed from a
picnic into a crusade. For that is ever my peril, to picnic on the banks
of the river and to spend my days in emotional loitering. After all, my
Pentecost is purposed to prepare me for my own Gethsemane and
Calvary! Life is given me in order that I may spend it again in ready
and fruitful sacrifice. John Henry Jowett
1067. In a powerful revival, the Rev. Dr. Nettleton once said, “It may
be new to some of you that there should be such distress for sin. But
there was great distress on the day of Pentecost, when thousands
were pricked in the heart, and cried out, ‘Men and brethren, what shall
we do?’ Some of you may, perhaps, be ready to say, ‘If this is religion,
we wish to have nothing to do with it.’ My friends, this is not religion.
Religion does not cause its subjects to feel and act thus. These
individuals are thus distressed, not because they have religion, but
because they have no religion, and have found it out. It was so on the
day of Pentecost. They had made the discovery that they were lost
sinners, and that their souls were in jeopardy every hour.” From the
book “The Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1068. I seemed to do nothing, and indeed to have nothing to do, but to
‘stand still, and see the salvation of God;’ and found myself obliged
and delighted to say, ‘Not unto us,’ not unto instruments and means,
‘but to Thy Name be glory.’ God appeared to work entirely alone, and I
saw no room to attribute any part of this work to any created arm.
From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1069. Most prophets, most of the time, speak God’s Word to us.
They are preachers calling us to listen to God’s words of judgment and
salvation, confrontation and comfort. They face us with God as He is,
not as we imagine Him to be. Most prophets are in-your-face
assertive, not given to tact, not diplomatic, as they insist that we pay
attention to God. Eugene Peterson in his introduction to Habakkuk.
1070. But this prophet companion who stands at our side does
something even more important: He waits and he listens. It is in his
waiting and listening—which then turns into his praying—that he found
himself inhabiting the large world of God’s sovereignty. Only there did
he eventually realize that the believing-in-God life, the steady trusting-
in-God life, is the full life, the only real life. Habakkuk started out
exactly where we start out with our puzzled complaints and God-
accusations, but he didn’t stay there. He ended up in a world, along
with us, where every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into
something good. Eugene Peterson in his introduction to Habakkuk.
1071. Nor have I ever seen so general an awakening in any assembly
in my life as appeared here while I was opening and insisting upon the
parable of the great supper. Luke, 14. In which discourse I was
enabled to set before my hearers the unsearchable riches of Gospel
grace. Not that I would be understood here that I never instructed the
Indians respecting their fallen state, and the sinfulness and misery of it;
for this was what I at first chiefly insisted upon with them, and
endeavored to repeat and inculcate in almost every discourse, knowing
that without this foundation I should but build upon sand, and that it
would be in vain to invite them to Christ unless I could convince them
of their need of Him. Mar, 2:17. From The Life And Diary Of David
Brainerd
1072. The Rev. Philip Henry, for the use of his children, prepared this
short form of words, showing what is implied in baptism; taught it to his
children, required them to repeat it every Sabbath evening, after their
recitation of the Catechism, and was wont to add: “So say, and so do,
and you are made for ever”—”I take God the Father, to be my chiefest
good and highest end. I take God the Son to be my Prince and Savior.
I take God the Holy Ghost to be my Sanctifier, Teacher, Comforter,
and Guide. I take the Word of God to be my rule in all my actions.
And the people of God to be my people in all conditions. I do likewise,
devote and dedicate unto the Lord my whole self, all I am, all I have,
and all I do. And this I do deliberately, sincerely, freely, and for ever.”
He also took pains with his children to lead them into the
understanding of it, and to persuade them to a free and cheerful
consent to it. And when they grew up, he made them all write it over
severally with their own hands, and very solemnly set their names to it,
which he told them he would keep by him, and it should be produced
as a testimony against them, in case they should afterwards depart
from God, and turn from following after Him. From the book “The
Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1073. Our moral judgment is often dull and imperceptive. And
our spiritual judgment is often lacking in vigor and penetration.
And so our great Spirit-guide puts our spirits to school, and more
deeply sanctifies them, that in holiness we may have
discernment. And He will also give us foresight. He will enable
us to interpret circumstances, to apprehend their drift and
destiny. We shall see harvest while we are looking at seeds,
whether the seeds be seeds of good or evil. All of which means
that the Holy Spirit will deliver our lives from the governance of
mere whim and caprice, and that He will make us wise with the
wisdom of God. John Henry Jowett
1074. I do not go to the Lord’s Table to give, but to receive; not to tell
Christ how good I am, but to think how good He is. The words are, ‘Do
this in remembrance of Me,’ as if the Savior said: ‘Remember who I
am, and what thou art; remember Me as thy Savior—as thy Master;
remember My love, and thy obligations; remember Me as hating thy
sin, as bearing thy sin; remember Me, and fear not; remember Me, and
sin not; remember Me to live for Me, by Me, with Me. Rev. Thomas
Adam
1075. Let me pray and labor that my days may so shine with grace
that all who remember me shall adore the goodness of my Lord. John
Henry Jowett
1076. Happy experience, as well as the word of God and the example
of Christ and His apostles, has taught me, that the very method of
preaching which is best suited to awaken in mankind a sense and
lively apprehension of their depravity and misery in a fallen state,—to
excite them so earnestly to seek after a change of heart, as to fly for
refuge to free and sovereign grace in Christ as the only hope set
before them,— is likely to be most successful in the reformation of their
external conduct. I have found that close addresses, and solemn
applications of divine truth to the conscience, strike at the root of all
vice; while smooth and plausible harangues upon moral virtues and
external duties, at best are like to do no more than lop off the branches
of corruption, while the root of all vice remains untouched. From The
Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1077. I could not but feel some measure of gratitude to God at this
time, that He had always disposed me, in my ministry, to insist on the
great doctrines of regeneration, the new creature, faith in Christ,
progressive sanctification, supreme love to God, living entirely to the
glory of God, being not our own, and the like. God thus helped me to
see, in the surest manner, from time to time, that these, and the like
doctrines necessarily connected with them, are the only foundation of
safety and salvation for perishing sinners and that those divine
dispositions which are consonant hereto, are that holiness, ‘without
which no man shall see the Lord.’ The exercise of these God-like
tempers—wherein the soul acts in a kind of concert with God, and
would be and do everything that is pleasing to Him—I saw, would
stand by the soul in a dying hour; for God must, I think, deny Himself, if
He cast away His own image, even the soul that is one in desires with
Himself. From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1078. Could not but think, as I have often remarked to others, that
much more of true religion consists in deep humility, brokenness of
heart, and an abasing sense of barrenness and want of grace and
holiness, than most who are called Christians imagine; especially
those who have been esteemed the converts of the late day. Many
seem to know of no other religion but elevated joys and affections,
arising only from some flights of imagination, or some suggestion
made to their mind, of Christ being theirs, God loving them, and the
like. From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1079. His manner of praying was very agreeable, most becoming a
worm of the dust and a disciple of Christ, addressing an infinitely great
and holy God, the Father of mercies; not with florid expressions, or a
studied eloquence; not with any intemperate vehemence, or indecent
boldness. It was at the greatest distance from any appearance of
ostentation, and from everything that might look as though he meant to
recommend himself to those that were about him, or set himself off to
their acceptance. It was free also from vain repetitions; without
impertinent excursions, or needless multiplying of words. He
expressed himself with the strictest propriety, with weight and
pungency; and yet, what his lips uttered seemed to flow from the
fullness of his heart, as deeply impressed with infinite greatness,
excellency and sufficiency, rather than merely from a warm and fruitful
brain, pouring out good expressions. I know not that I ever heard him
so much as ask a blessing or return thanks at table, but there was
something remarkable to be observed both in the matter and manner
of the performance. In his prayers, he insisted much on the prosperity
of Zion, the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world, and the
flourishing and propagation of religion among the Indians. And he
generally made it one petition in his prayer, “that we might not outlive
our usefulness.” Jonathan Edward speaking of David Brainerd in From
The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1080. In the preceding week, I enjoyed some comfortable seasons of
meditation. One morning, the cause of God appeared exceedingly
precious to me. The Redeemer’s kingdom is all that is valuable in the
earth, and I could not but long for the promotion of it in the world. I
saw also, that this cause is God’s; that He has an infinitely greater
regard and concern for it than I could possibly have; that if I have any
true love to this blessed interest, it is only a drop derived from that
ocean. Hence I was ready to ‘lift my head with joy,’ and conclude,
‘Well, if God’s cause be so dear and precious to Him, He will promote
it.’ Thus I did, as it were, rest on God that He would surely promote
that which was so agreeable to His own will; though the time when,
must still be left to His sovereign pleasure. From The Life And Diary Of
David Brainerd
1081. I think that my mind never penetrated with so much ease and
freedom into divine things, as at this time; and I never felt so capable
of demonstrating the truth of many important doctrines of the Gospel
as now. As I saw clearly the truth of those great doctrines, which are
justly styled the doctrines of grace; so I saw with no less clearness,
that the essence of religion consisted in the soul’s conformity to God,
and acting above all selfish views for His glory, longing to be for Him,
to live to Him, and please and honor Him in all things: and this from a
clear view of His infinite excellency and worthiness in Himself, to be
loved, adored, worshiped, and served by all intelligent creatures. Thus
I saw, that when a soul loves God with a supreme love, he therein acts
like the blessed God Himself, who most justly loves himself in that
manner. So when God’s interest and his are become one, and he
longs that God should be glorified, and rejoices to think that He is
unchangeably possessed of the highest glory and blessedness, herein
also he acts in conformity to God. In like manner, when the soul is fully
resigned to, and rests satisfied and content with the divine will, here it
is also conformed to God.
I saw further, that as this divine temper, by which the soul exalts
God, and treads self in the dust, is wrought in the soul by God’s
discovering His own glorious perfections in the face of Jesus Christ to
it by the special influences of the Holy Spirit, so He cannot but have
regard to it as His own work; and as it is His image in his soul, He
cannot but take delight in it. Then I saw again, that if God should slight
and reject His own moral image, He must needs be deny Himself;
which He cannot do. And thus I saw the stability and infallibility of this
religion; and that those who are truly possessed of it, have the most
complete and satisfying evidence of their being interested in all the
benefits of Christ’s redemption, having their hearts conformed to Him;
and that these, and these only, are qualified for the employments and
entertainments of God’s kingdom of glory; as none but these have any
relish for the business of Heaven, which is to ascribe glory to God, and
not to themselves; and that God (though I would speak it with great
reverence of His name and perfection) cannot, without denying
Himself, finally cast such away. From The Life And Diary Of David
Brainerd
1082. I felt now pleased to think of the glory of God, and longed
for Heaven, as a state wherein I might glorify Him perfectly, rather
than a place of happiness for myself. This feeling of the love of
God in my heart, which I trust the Spirit of God excited in me
afresh, was sufficient to give me a full satisfaction, and make me
long, as I had many times before done, to be with Christ. From
The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1083. Especially, I discoursed repeatedly on the nature and necessity
of that humiliation, self-emptiness, or full conviction of a person’s being
utterly undone in himself, which is necessary in order to a saving faith;
and the extreme difficulty of being brought to this, and the great danger
there is of persons taking up with some self-righteous appearances of
it. The danger of this I especially dwelt upon, being persuaded that
multitudes perish in this hidden way; and because so little is said from
most pulpits to discover any danger here; so that persons being never
effectually brought to die in themselves, are never truly united to
Christ, and so perish. From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1084. This day I saw clearly that I should never be happy; yea,
that God Himself could not make me happy, unless I could be in a
capacity to ‘please and glorify Him forever.’ Take away this, and
admit me in all the fine heavens that can be conceived of by men
or angels, and I should still be miserable forever. From The Life
And Diary Of David Brainerd
1085. My heaven is to please God, and glorify Him, and to give
all to Him, and to be wholly devoted to His glory; that is the
heaven I long for; that is my religion, and that is my happiness,
and always was, ever since I suppose I had any true religion; and
all those that are of that religion shall meet me in Heaven. I do
not go to Heaven to be advanced, but to give honor to God. It is
no matter where I shall be stationed in Heaven, whether I have a
high or low seat there; but to love, please, and glorify God is all.
From The Life And Diary Of David Brainerd
1086. If persons who have money to spare for a thousand
superfluities, or even for a thousand mischievous indulgences, do
almost nothing for the spiritual welfare of others, what a condemning
contrast do they exhibit between their prayers and their conduct!
Either let men live to promote the kingdom of God, or cease to pray
that it may come. If they will live so as to promote the world’s
sensuality, skepticism, and ungodliness, then let them never more utter
the petitions which they do not mean; and if they will not labor for the
world’s conversion, let them not pretend to pray for it.—Noel. From the
book “The Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd
1087. What is its ultimate message? It teaches with unvarying
definiteness first, the immediate relation between God and man; and
secondly, that the great principle for the realization of human life is
such faith in God as expresses itself in obedience to His throne. G.
Campbell Morgan in The Message of Genesis
1088. Thus the book reveals the fact that faith is the basis upon which
God can work His will in man, and upon which man can realize the will
of God. All this is carried out in greater detail in subsequent books of
the Bible, but this is the simple and almost overwhelming message of
Genesis to the men of this age. First, that man is not wholly of the
dust, but that between him and God there is immediateness of
relationship; and secondly, that man only finds himself, and realizes
the true meaning of his own life as he places his confidence in God,
and obeys Him with unquestioning loyalty. G. Campbell Morgan in
The Message of Genesis
1089. To pass by a transgression is more becoming the Gospel than
to resent it. A man strikes me with his sword, and inflicts a wound.
Suppose, instead of binding up the wound, I am showing it to
everybody; and after it has been bound up, I am taking off the bandage
continually, and examining the depth of the wound, and making it to
fester, till my limb becomes greatly inflamed, and my general health is
materially affected; is there a person in the world who would not call
me a fool? Now, such a fool is he also, who by dwelling upon little
injuries, or insults, or provocations, causes them to agitate and
influence his mind. How much better were it to put a bandage over the
wound, and never look at it again? Rev. Charles Simeon (taken from
the book “The Westminster Shorter Catechism” by James R. Boyd).
1090. Give me a Christian that counts his time more precious than
gold. Joseph Alleine
1091. Hear then, O sinners, hear as you would live. Why should
you willfully deceive yourselves, or build your hopes upon the
sand? I know that he will find hard work that goes to pluck away
your hopes. It cannot but be unpleasant to you, and truly it is not
pleasing to me. I set about it as a surgeon when about to cut off a
mortified limb from his beloved friend, which of necessity he
must do, though with an aching heart. But understand me,
beloved, I am only taking down the ruinous house, which
otherwise will speedily fall of itself and bury you in the ruins, that
I may build it fair, strong, and firm forever. The hope of the
wicked shall perish. And had you not better, O sinner, let the
Word convince you now in time, and let go your false and self-
deluding hopes, than have death open your eyes too late, and find
yourself in hell before you are aware? I should be a false and
faithless shepherd if I should not tell you, that you have built your
hopes upon no better grounds than these before mentioned, are
yet in your sins. Joseph Alleine
1092. The unsound convert takes Christ by halves. He is all for the
salvation of Christ, but he is not for sanctification. He is for the
privileges, but does not appropriate the person of Christ. He divides
the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation.
Whoever loves life, let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake, of
which you have been often warned, and yet none is more common.
Jesus is a sweet Name, but men do not love the Lord Jesus in
sincerity. They will not have Him as God offers, “to be a Prince and a
Savior” (Acts 5:31). They divide what God has joined, the King and the
Priest. They will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it;
they divide it here. Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering, but
they do not desire to be saved from sinning. They would have their
lives saved, but still would have their lusts. Indeed, many divide here
again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed, but
they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias.
They cannot be cruel to the right eye or the right hand. O be infinitely
careful here; your soul depends upon it. The sound convert takes a
whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without
exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He is willing to have
Christ upon any terms; he is willing to have the dominion of Christ as
well as deliverance by Christ. He says with Paul, “Lord, what wilt thou
have me to do?” Anything, Lord. He sends the blank for Christ to set
down His own conditions. Joseph Alleine
1093. “Show me Thy glory.” Moses wist not what he asked. His
speech was beyond his knowledge. The answer to his request would
have consumed him. He asked for the blazing noon when as yet he
could only bear the quiet shining of the dawn. The good Lord lets in
the light as our eyes are able to bear it. The revelation is tempered to
our growth. The pilgrim could bear a brightness in Beulah land that he
could not have borne at the wicket-gate; and the brilliance of the entry
into the celebrated city throws the splendors of Beulah into the shade.
Yes, the gracious Lord will unveil His glory as our “senses are
exercised to perceive it.” John Henry Jowett
1094. Christ does not control His subjects by force, but is King of a
willing people. They are, through His grace, freely devoted to His
service. They serve out of choice, not as slaves, but as the son or
spouse, from a spring of love and a loyal mind. In a word, the laws of
Christ are the convert’s love, delight, and continual study. Joseph
Alleine
1095. Were it a matter of indifference, might you be saved as you are,
I would gladly let you alone; but would you not have me concerned for
you, when I see you ready to perish? As the Lord liveth, before whom
I am, I have not the least hope of seeing your face in Heaven, except
you be converted. I utterly despair of your salvation, except you will be
prevailed with to thoroughly turn and give up yourself to God in
holiness and newness of life. Has God said, “Except a man be born
again he cannot see the Kingdom of God”, and yet do you wonder why
your ministers labor so earnestly for you? Do not think it strange that I
am earnest with you to follow after holiness, and long to see the image
of God upon you. Never did any, nor shall any, enter into Heaven by
any other way but this. The conversion described is not a high
attainment of some advanced Christians, but every soul that is saved
undergoes this change. Joseph Alleine
1096. What is it that you count necessary? Is your bread necessary?
Is your breath necessary? Then your conversion is much more
necessary. Indeed, this is the one thing necessary. Your possessions
are not necessary; you may sell all for the pearl of great price, and yet
be a gainer by the purchase. Your life is not necessary; you may part
with it for Christ, to infinite advantage. Your reputation is not
necessary; you may be reproached for the name of Christ, and yet be
happy; yes, you may be much more happy in reproach than in repute.
But your conversion is necessary; your salvation depends upon it; and
is it not needful in so important a matter to take care? On this one
point depends your making or marring to all eternity. Joseph Alleine
1097. Man is, in the world, like the tongue to the body, which speaks
for all the members. The other creatures cannot praise their Maker,
except by dumb signs and hints to man that he should speak for them.
Man is, as it were, the high priest of God’s creation, to offer the
sacrifice of praise for all his fellow-creatures. The Lord God expects
tribute of praise from all His works. Now, all the rest do bring in their
tribute to man, and pay it by his hand. So then, if a man is false, and
faithless, and selfish, God is robbed of all, and has no active glory from
His works.
O dreadful thought! that God should build such a world as this, and
lay out such infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness thereupon, and
all in vain; and that man should be guilty, at last, of robbing and
spoiling Him of the glory of all!...Hence, “the whole creation groaneth”
under the abuse of unsanctified men who pervert all things to the
service of their lusts, quite contrary to the very end of their being.
Joseph Alleine
1098. Without the fear of God you cannot have the comfort of the
Holy Ghost. God speaks peace only to His people and to His
saints. If you have a false peace continuing in your sins, it is not
of God’s speaking, and therefore you may guess the author.
Joseph Alleine
1099. To hope we shall be saved, though continuing unconverted, is
to hope that we shall prove God a liar. He has told you that, merciful
and compassionate as He is, He will never save you notwithstanding, if
you go on in a course of ignorance or unrighteousness. In a word, He
has told you that whatever you are or do, nothing shall avail you to
salvation unless you become new creatures. Now, to say God is
merciful and to hope that He will save us without conversion, is in
effect to say, “We hope that God will not do as He says.” We must not
set God’s attributes at variance. God has resolved to glorify His
mercy, but not to the prejudice of His truth, as the presumptuous sinner
will find to his everlasting sorrow. Joseph Alleine
1100. To hope to see the kingdom of God without being born again,
to hope to find eternal life in the broad way, is to hope Christ will prove
a false prophet. Joseph Alleine
1101. The unsanctified sinner puts but little price upon God’s great
salvation. He thinks no more of Christ than they that are whole do of
the physician. He prizes not His balm, values not His cure, but
tramples on His blood. Now, would it stand with wisdom to force
pardon and life upon those that would return no thanks for them? Will
the all-wise God, when He has forbidden us to do it, throw His holy
things to dogs and His pearls to swine, that would, as it were, but turn
again and rend Him? This would make mercy to be despised indeed.
Wisdom requires that life be given in a way suitable to God’s honor,
and that God provide for the securing of His own glory as well as
man’s felicity. It would be dishonorable to God to bestow His choicest
riches on them that have more pleasure in their sins than in the
heavenly delights that He offers. God would lose the praise and glory
of His grace, if He should cast it away upon them that were not only
unworthy but unwilling. Joseph Alleine
1102. The Lord Jesus would have all the world know, that though He
pardons sin, He will not protect it. Joseph Alleine
1103. The predominant love of the world. This is the sure
evidence of an unsanctified heart. “If any man love the world, the love
of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn 2:15). But how often does this sin lurk
under the fair cover of forward profession. Yea, such a power of deceit
is there in this sin that many times, when everybody else can see the
man’s worldliness and covetousness, he cannot see it himself, but has
so many excuses and pretences for his eagerness after the world, that
he blinds his own eyes and perishes in his self-deceit. How many
professing Christians are there with whom the world has more of their
hearts and affections than Christ, “who mind earthly things”, and
thereby are evidently after the flesh, and likely to end in destruction
(Rom. 8:5; Phil. 3:19). Yet ask these men, and they will tell you
confidently they prize Christ above all; for they do not see their own
earthly-mindedness for want of a strict observance of the workings of
their own hearts. Did they but carefully search, they would quickly find
that their greatest satisfaction is in the world, and that their greatest
care and main endeavor are to get and secure the world, which are the
certain signs of an unconverted sinner. May the professing part of the
world take earnest heed lest they perish by the hand of this sin
unobserved. Men may be, and often are, kept off from Christ as
effectually by the inordinate love of lawful comforts, as by the most
unlawful courses. Joseph Alleine
1104. Again, you must give up your whole interest to Him. If there is
anything that you keep back from Christ, it will be your undoing (Luke
14:33). Unless you will forsake all, in preparation and resolution of
your heart, you cannot be His disciple. You must hate father and
mother, yea, and your own life also, in comparison with Him, and as far
as it stands in competition with Him. In a word, you must give Him
yourself, and all that you have without reservation, or else you can
have no part in Him. Joseph Alleine
1105. You must choose Christ’s laws for all times, for prosperity
and adversity. A true convert is resolved in his course; he will
stand to his choice, and will not set his back to the wind, and be
of the religion of the times. Joseph Alleine
1106. We also are commissioned by God to verbally expose the evil
of the world. We must diagnose it, confront it, and then offer the
solution. Sin is a cancer that must be removed. You aren’t helping
anyone by ignoring it. People need to be convicted about their sin
before they ever see their need for a Savior. John MacArthur
1107. But to love God as fully as humanly possible, you have to deny
yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus wherever He leads,
as we saw in Luke 9:23. How can you love God when you’re in the
way? You can’t. Salvation is not about self-fulfillment; it’s about self-
denial. It’s not about self-love; it’s about self-hate. When pride
dominates the sinner’s life, there’s certainly no room to love God, let
alone love Him perfectly. John MacArthur
1108. Yet, we have to understand: the kind of sensitive walk that
allows us to hear God’s voice doesn’t come overnight. The Spirit
has to teach us to seek Him in our daily lives. Only then will He be
able to direct our steps. The Psalmist speaks of this learning process:
“What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way
that He shall choose”. (Psalm 25:12) David Wilkerson
1109. Today’s culture is obsessed with entertainment, sports,
materialism, and emotional gratification. In fact, those excessive
preoccupations have become the marks of our shallow, amoral, and
often immoral society.
A century ago President Theodore Roosevelt essentially predicted
those results when he said that prosperity at any price, peace at any
price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get-
rich theory of life would eventually destroy America.
One sure antidote to such a lifestyle is the self-discipline evidenced
in the genuine Christian life. Your spiritual guidance and power come
from the Lord, but you need self-discipline if He is to work effectively
through you.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but
godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now
is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Ask God to make that
true for you. John MacArthur
1110. As you study the Bible and understand its truths, it transforms
your thinking. It will begin to wean you off worldly pleasures and cause
you to desire godliness. It has the power to separate you from the
world’s system, pull you away from the love of worldly things, and plant
in your heart a love for godly things. John MacArthur
1111. Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never
guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern.
Compromise is everywhere. A. W. Tozer
1112. Disciplined character belongs to the person who achieves
balance by bringing all his faculties and powers under control…He
resolutely faces his duty. He is governed by a sense of responsibility.
He has inward resources and personal reserves which are the wonder
of weaker souls. He brings adversity under tribute, and compels it to
serve him. Richard Shelley Taylor
1113. The Lord uses only the disciplined mind to think clearly,
understand His Word, and present its truth effectively to the world.
Only the disciplined mind consistently discerns truth from error. And
only the disciplined Christian is a good testimony, within the church
and before the world. John MacArthur
1114. The only way to know if we have experienced justification,
if we have been made right with Him and brought into His family,
is by looking at our hearts and our lives. If Christ is our Savior
and Lord, the deepest desire of our hearts will be to serve and to
please Him, and that desire will be expressed in a longing for
holiness and a pattern of righteous living. John MacArthur
1115. The more you become like Christ, the more sensitive you are to
the remaining corruptions of the flesh. As you mature in godliness,
your sins become both more painful and more obvious. The more you
put away sin, the more you will notice sinful tendencies you need to
eliminate. That is the paradox of sanctification: the holier you become,
the more frustrated you will be by the stubborn remnants of your sin.
John MacArthur
1116. Therefore, praying in the name of Jesus is more than merely
mentioning His name at the end of your prayers. If you truly pray in
Jesus’ name, you can pray only for that which is consistent with His
perfect character, and for that which will bring glory to Him. It implies
acknowledgment of all that He has done and a submission to His will.
John MacArthur
1117. There is no Bible warrant for teaching that a man will be able,
whensoever he chooses, throughout the ages, to turn back to God.
Every man has his own probation, and his own opportunity, and the
Judge of all the earth holds the balances with infinite precision.
Whosoever stubbornly refuses to submit himself to God in the day of
opportunity, and that repeatedly, finds at last that his own decision has
become his destiny. By the outworking of law God seals the choice of
the human will. G. Campbell Morgan
1118. Our lives are to be a rebuke to the sinful world. Ephesians 5:11
says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but
rather expose them.” If you are not experiencing much rejection from
the world, your life may not be a rebuke to the world. To have an
impact for Christ on this hostile and perverted world, you must avoid
sin and “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you
shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). John MacArthur
1119. This story is indeed a living message to our own age revealing
the necessity for absolute and uttermost obedience. The call of God is
to separation, and the world urges us to remain in the land, and be
neighborly. It is ours to reply that friendship with the world is enmity
against God. Then we are told that if we insist upon being peculiar it is
not necessary to compel our children to be so. God grant that our
answer may ever be, “We and our children.” The last suggestion of the
enemy is that we should leave our cattle, that it is necessary for us to
conduct our business according to the spirit of the age. The final
answer of the Christian is ever that which declares that not a hoof shall
be left behind. G. Campbell Morgan in ‘The Message of Exodus’.
1120. As a servant of Jesus Christ, God wants you to bind yourself to
everything good, to whatever is inherently right and worthy. That task
requires the use of discernment. With the help of God and His Word,
you must carefully evaluate everything and thoughtfully decide what to
reject and what to cling to (1 Thess. 5:21-22).
As you separate yourself from worldly things and saturate yourself
with Scripture, that which is good will increasingly replace that which is
evil. Then, you will fulfill Paul’s message to the Romans: “Do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect
will of God” (Romans 12:2). John MacArthur
1121. To bear genuine fruit, you must get as close to the true Vine,
our Lord Jesus Christ, as you can. Strip away all the things of the
world. Put aside the sins that distract you and sap your energy, and
everything that robs you of a deep, personal, loving relationship with
Jesus. Stay in God’s Word. Having done all that, don’t worry about
bearing fruit. It is not your concern. Get close to Jesus Christ, and His
energy in you will produce fruit. John MacArthur
1122. You often can’t gauge the impact your life has on others. But
you can be sure that as you develop godly attitudes, godly actions will
result, and that God’s kingdom will continue to be enriched by your
spiritual fruit according to His perfect will. John MacArthur
1123. There’s no room for lethargy in the Christian life. Such a
posture not only prevents you from doing good, but it sometimes
means that you’ve actually allowed evil to prosper. For weeds to
flourish, the gardener need only leave the garden alone. John
MacArthur
1124. Let this be your one vow, your one prayer, ‘God helping
me, I will do His work, because it is His work. God helping me, I
will preach His truth, because it is His truth. I will not be
discouraged by failure; I will not be
elated by success. The success and the failure are not my
concern, but
His. God helping me, I will help my brothers and sisters in Christ,
because they are my brothers and sisters. Do they spurn my
advances? Or
do they welcome my message? What then? It shall make no
difference in me
and my work. They and I alike are in God's hands.’ J. B. Lightfoot
1125. Visions And Tasks (2 Chronicles 34:1-11)
Josiah “began to seek after God.” The other day I saw a young art
student copying one of Turner’s pictures in the National Gallery. His
eyes were being continually lifted from his canvas to his “master.” He
put nothing down which he had not first seen. He was “seeking after”
Turner!
And thus it was with Josiah. His eyes were “ever toward the Lord!”
He studied the “ways” of the Lord, in order that he might incarnate
them in national life and practice. Wise doings always begin in clear
seeing. We should be far more efficient in practice if we were more
diligently assiduous in vision. It is never a waste of time to “look unto
Him.” Looking is a most needful part of our daily discipline. “What I
say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!”
And because Josiah saw the holiness of the Lord he saw the
uncleanness of the people. He had a vision of God’s holy place, and
he therefore saw the defilement of the material worship.
“In the twelfth year he began to purge Judah.” Yes, that is the
sequence. The reformer follows the seer. We shall begin to sweep
the streets of our own city when we have gazed upon the glories of the
holy city, the New Jerusalem. John Henry Jowett

Personal note:
I learned early in my walk with the Lord the truth of this principle. I
got it from something I read on spotting counterfeit money. It’s said
that the Canadian Mounted Police learn to spot counterfeit money by
one method only. They study only the real thing, only legitimate
money. They become so familiar with the authentic that they instantly
recognize the counterfeit.
I believe this is a lesson that we desperately need to get into our
hearts in our day. I believe we have to walk so closely with God and
be so familiar with His Word that we instantly recognize the things that
go counter to His revealed will for our lives and for this world as a
whole.
I would encourage you not to follow so easily the spirit of our age.
Learn to spot and reject the things that we come in contact with that do
not honor the God we say we believe in. If we really do love Him we
must keep His commandments. We must not be disobedient to the
heavenly vision. Mike Wilhoit
1126. The preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil; the
preaching of Christ is the thunderbolt, the sound of which makes all
hell shake. Let us never be silent then; we shall put to confusion all
our foes, if we do but extol Christ Jesus the Lord. “Master, rebuke Thy
disciples!” Well, there is not much of this for Jesus Christ to rebuke in
the Christian Church in the present day. There used to be—there used
to be a little of what the world calls fanaticism. A consecrated cobbler
once set forth to preach the gospel in Hindustan. There were men who
would go preaching the gospel among the heathen, counting not their
lives dear unto them. The day was when the church was so foolish as
to fling away precious lives for Christ’s glory. Ah! she is more prudent
now-a-days. Alas! alas! for your prudence. She is so calm and so
quiet—no Methodist’s zeal now—even that denomination which did
seem alive has become most proper and most cold. And we are so
charitable too. We let the most abominable doctrines be preached,
and we put our finger on our lip and say, “There’s so many good
people who think so.” Nothing is to be rebuked now-a-days. Brethren,
one’s soul is sick of this! Oh, for the old fire again! The church will
never prosper till it comes once more. Oh, for the old fanaticism, for
that indeed was the Spirit of God making men’s spirits earnest! Oh, for
the old doing and daring that risked everything and cared for nothing,
except to glorify Him who shed His blood upon the cross! May we live
to see such bright and holy days again! The world may murmur, but
Christ will not rebuke. Charles H. Spurgeon
1127. John Kerry said this at the 2004 Democratic Convention:
When I am President, the government I lead will enlist people of
talent, Republicans as well as Democrats, to find the common ground
—so that no one who has something to contribute will be left on the
sidelines. And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign,
we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of
what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to
say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But
faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this
day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our
side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on
God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The
measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for
others and for our country.
He received quite a round of applause after that. It bothers me that
apparently all you have to do is talk a good game in America right
now. In reality, how much you believe in God is told by how diligent
you are in your search for Him. It shows in how hungry and thirsty you
are for righteousness. It shows in how you accept the fact that when
God says something in His Word, then that settles it. For instance,
things like killing unborn children are not open for discussion if you are
truly seeking God's side on the issue. That's only one instance, there
are countless others where we are clearly not aware of God's stand
and thus continue to do what's right in our own eyes. This got Israel in
trouble far too many times. God's greatest judgment on them was
when He let them run things on their own.
My prayer is that since we are coming to the realization that we must
be on God's side for this journey through life to end in a satisfactory
conclusion, that we'll do this as a nation: Dig into His Word diligently
and learn what's in there. Then we must be obedient. That's the only
way we're going to truly be on God's side. Mike Wilhoit
1128. In the book of Exodus, which deals with the founding of the
nation, we find the declaration “Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of
priests, and an holy nation,” and there we discover the idea which the
phrase “the Kingdom of heaven” suggested to the Hebrew. The
peculiarity of the nation consisted in the fact that it was a Theocracy, a
people with no king other than God Himself. It was a nation under the
Kingship of God. It was a holy nation, a kingdom of priests, the
Kingdom of heaven. When therefore these people heard John the
Baptist and Jesus say “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of heaven is at
hand” they understood them to mean that they were not living in
accord with the underlying principle of their national life, and that it was
necessary for them to repent in order to the restoration of the lost ideal.
The simple meaning of the phrase then is that it refers to the
establishment in the world of the heavenly order, the submission of
every king to God, the overturning of all save that which results from
the recognition of the abiding throne of God. The Kingdom of heaven
is the establishment of the Divine order on earth, the supremacy of the
will of God in the affairs of men. The teaching of this Gospel then is
that the only hope of humanity is in the establishment of the Kingdom
of heaven, and that this can only be secured by submission to the
throne of God. When men talk about the Kingdom of heaven as
though it could be set up by human action, by the parliaments of men,
or by a godless social propaganda, they are proving their blindness;
and when they attempt the enterprise they are attempting to build
without a foundation. The Kingdom of heaven is the reign of God over
humanity. This Gospel (Matthew) proclaims that fact. G. Campbell
Morgan
1129. If I were a Christian and a fisherman, I would like to catch more
fish than anybody else. If I were a Christian and a shoeblack, I would
desire to clean people’s boots so that they shone better than any other
shoeblack could make them shine. If I were a Christian employer, I
would desire to be the best employer, and if a Christian employee the
best employee. Our Christianity, I think, shows itself more, at any rate
to the world, in the pursuits of daily life than it does in the engagements
of the house of God. Charles H. Spurgeon
1130. If our hearts are set in obedience to the command, the farther
we go on the path of obedience, the easier the command will appear,
and to try to do it is to ensure that God will help us to do it. Alexander
MacLaren
1131. A sociologist who’s an agnostic has written a book on the
condition of the church. He concludes this about Christians: “Far from
living in the ‘other world’ [the heavenlies], the faithful are remarkably
just like the secular world…In practice, they are not the way they are
supposed to be in their theology…The culture has trampled over
them…Talk of hell, damnation and even sin has been replaced by non-
judgmental language of understanding and empathy.” C.S. Lewis said
something similar decades ago: “The greatest enemy to the church is
‘contented worldliness.’” David Wilkerson
1132. Genesis is both the book of beginnings and the book of
dispensations. You know what use Paul makes of Sarah and Hagar,
of Esau and Jacob, and the like. Genesis is, all through, a book of
instructing the reader in the dispensations of God towards man. Paul
saith, in a certain place, “which things are an allegory,” by which he did
not mean that they were not literal facts, but that, being literal facts,
they might also be used instructively as an allegory. So may I say of
this chapter. It records what actually was said and done; but at the
same time, it bears within it allegorical instruction with regard to
heavenly things. The true minister of Christ is like this Eleazar of
Damascus; he is sent to find a wife for his Master’s Son. His
great desire is, that many shall be presented unto Christ in the
day of His appearing, as the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Charles H.
Spurgeon in a sermon on Genesis 24
1133. Then follows the story of Kadesh-Barnea and the disaster that
overtook them there. The spies were sent, the minority and majority
reports were submitted; and as is almost invariably the case, the
minority report was the true one. The majority declared the land to be
fair and beautiful but impossible of possession, because of the giants
and the walled cities. The men of the minority also saw the giants, and
the walled cities, but they saw God. The majority had lost the clear
vision of God, and therefore were filled with fear by the Anakim and the
walled cities. With the loss of clear vision there was the loss of perfect
confidence.
The secrets of this failure were mixed motives and mixed multitudes.
Murmuring is the expression of selfishness. Selfishness is due to a
lack of singleness of motive. Had these people perfectly appreciated
the fact that they were being created a nation to fulfill the purpose of
God in the world, and had they been utterly abandoned to that as the
one single motive, there had been no murmuring. When they
murmured, it was for the fleshpots, for “the leeks and the onions and
the garlic.” They attempted compromise between being a nation of
Jehovah, and a people seeking their own comfort. G. Campbell
Morgan on The Message of Numbers
1134. The patience of God is the supreme revelation of the book.
This patience is not incompetent carelessness, but powerful
carefulness. Its methods are many. He punished the people for wrong-
doing, but always towards the realization of purpose. He placed them
in circumstances which developed the facts of their inner life, until they
knew them for themselves. That is the meaning of the forty years in
the wilderness. They were not years in which God had withdrawn
Himself from the people and refused to have anything to do with them.
Every year was necessary for the teaching of a lesson, and the
revealing of a truth. As Moses declared to them, “Thou shalt
remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty
years in the wilderness, that He might humble thee, to prove thee, to
know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His
commandments or no.” G. Campbell Morgan on The Message of
Numbers
1135. Turning from the individual to the Church; the reason of her
halting is the mixed multitudes. We shall always be paralyzed as long
as we consent to be patronized by worldliness inside the church. We
shall never be strong while into the assemblies, where we consider our
missionary obligation, we admit the counsel of men of sight. G.
Campbell Morgan on The Message of Numbers
1136. The lines of least resistance and greatest popularity are seldom
if ever laid in the direction of Christ’s pathway. And the “peace-at-any-
price” man has no idea what the price will mount up to before it is fully
paid. Personal concern levies an insistent blackmail upon spiritual
loyalty until it utterly bankrupts it. J. Stuart Holden
1137. Look out, then, upon that open door! And get you through it in
fellowship with Jesus Christ! Look at the adversaries through the
opportunity. Don’t make the fatal mistake of looking at the opportunity
through the adversaries. And remember, now and always, that Christ
our Lord does not ask us to do anything that He does not propose to
undertake also with us! “Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ?” Many adversaries? “Nay. In all these things we are more
than conquerors through Him who loves us!” J. Stuart Holden
1138. You tell me that God might have pardoned without atonement.
I answer, that finite and fallible love might have done so, and thus have
wounded itself by killing justice; but the love which both required and
provided the atonement is indeed infinite. God Himself provided the
atonement by freely and fully giving up Himself in the Person of His
Son to suffer in consequence of human sin. Charles H. Spurgeon
1139. “Fear the Lord!” The Lord must be the sovereign thought in my
life. All true and well-proportioned living must begin in the well-
proportioned thought. God must be my biggest thought, and from that
thought all others must take their color and their range.
“Put away the gods.” My supreme homage must not be shared
among many, it must be given to the One. When the Lord is enthroned
as King all usurpers must be banished. When He comes to His own
the others go into exile.
“Serve ye the Lord.” My strength must be enlisted with my loyalty. I
must not merely shout; I must work. I must not merely clap my hands
when the King goes by, I must consecrate those hands in sacrificial
service. John Henry Jowett on Joshua 24:1-15
1140. It is often said that the doctrines we believe have a tendency to
lead
us to sin. I have heard it asserted most positively, that those high
doctrines which we love, and which we find in the Scriptures, are
licentious ones. I do not know who will have the hardihood to make
that
assertion, when they consider that the holiest of men have been
believers in them. I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a
licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or
Calvin, or Whitefield, who in successive ages were the great
exponents
of the system of grace; or what will he say of the Puritans, whose
works
are full of them? Had a man been an Arminian in those days, he would
have been accounted the vilest heretic breathing, but now we are
looked
upon as the heretics, and they as the orthodox. We have gone back to
the
old school; we can trace our descent from the apostles. It is that vein
of free-grace, running through the sermonizing of Baptists, which has
saved us as a denomination. Were it not for that, we should not stand
where we are today. We can run a golden line up to Jesus Christ
Himself,
through a holy succession of mighty fathers, who all held these
glorious
truths; and we can ask concerning them, “Where will you find holier
and
better men in the world?” No doctrine is so calculated to preserve a
man
from sin as the doctrine of the grace of God. Those who have called it
“a licentious doctrine” did not know anything at all about it. Poor
ignorant things, they little knew that their own vile stuff was the most
licentious doctrine under Heaven. If they knew the grace of God in
truth, they would soon see that there was no preservative from lying
like a knowledge that we are elect of God from the foundation of the
world. There is nothing like a belief in my eternal perseverance, and
the immutability of my Father's affection, which can keep me near to
Him
from a motive of simple gratitude. Nothing makes a man so virtuous
as
belief of the truth. A lying doctrine will soon beget a lying practice.
A man cannot have an erroneous belief without by-and-by having an
erroneous life. I believe the one thing naturally begets the other. Of
all men, those have the most disinterested piety, the sublimest
reverence, the most ardent devotion, who believe that they are saved
by
grace, without works, through faith, and that not of themselves, it is
the gift of God. Christians should take heed, and see that it always is
so, lest by any means Christ should be crucified afresh, and put to an
open shame. Charles H. Spurgeon
1141. A zealous Christian will find as truly a cross to carry now-a-
days, as in the days of Simon the Cyrenian. If you will hold your
tongue, if you will leave sinners to perish, if you will never endeavor to
propagate your faith, if you will silence all witnessing for truth, if, in fact,
you will renounce all the attributes of a Christian, if you will cease to be
what a Christian must be, then the world will say, “Ah! that is right; this
is the religion we like.” But if you will believe, believe firmly, and if you
let your belief actuate your life, and if your belief is so precious that you
feel compelled to spread it, then at once you will find that there is no
room for Christ even in the inn of public sentiment, where everything
else is received. Be an infidel, and none will therefore treat you
contemptuously; but be a Christian, and many will despise you. “There
is no room for Him in the inn.” Charles H. Spurgeon
1142. By the same proportion that the Bible is honored or not, light or
darkness, morality or immorality, true religion or superstition, liberty
or tyranny, good laws or bad, will be found in a nation. J. C. Ryle

1143. Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical


religion as
Bible-reading. God has mercifully given us a book which is “able to
make [us] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy
3:15). By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be,
and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace.
Happy is
that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it!
Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it
the
rule of his faith and practice! Nevertheless it is a sorrowful fact
that man has a sad ability to abuse God's gifts. His privileges, and
power,
and abilities, are all ingeniously perverted to other ends than
those for which they were bestowed. His speech, his imagination, his
intellect, his strength, his time, his influence, his money-instead of
being used as instruments for glorifying his Maker-are generally
wasted, or
employed for his own selfish ends. And just as man naturally makes a
bad use of his other mercies from God, so he does of the written Word.
One
sweeping charge may be brought against the whole of Christendom,
and
that charge is neglect and abuse of the Bible. J. C. Ryle

1144. This is the Book to which the civilized world is indebted for
many of its best and most praiseworthy institutions. Few probably are
aware how
many good things that men have adopted for the public benefit, of
which the
origin may be clearly traced to the Bible. It has left lasting marks
wherever it has been received. From the Bible are drawn many of the
best
laws by which society is kept in order. From the Bible has been
obtained
the standard of morality about truth, honesty, and the relations of man
and
wife, which prevails among Christian nations, and which-however
feebly respected in many cases-makes so great a difference between
Christians and heathen. To the Bible we are indebted for that most
merciful provision for the poor working man, the Lord's Day of rest-
Sunday.
To the influence of the Bible we owe nearly every humane
and charitable institution in existence. The sick, the poor, the aged, the

orphan, the insane, the retarded, the blind, were seldom or never
thought of before the Bible influenced the world. You may search in
vain for
any record of institutions for their aid in the histories of Athens
or of Rome. Yes! there are many who sneer at the Bible, and say the
world
would get on well enough without it, who don't think how great are
their own obligations to the Bible. Little does the unbeliever think, as he

lies sick in some of our great hospitals, that he owes all his
present comforts to the very book he despises. Had it not been for the
Bible, he might have died in misery, uncared for, unnoticed and alone.
Truly the world we live in is unconscious of its debts. The day of
judgment,
I believe, will reveal the full amount of benefit conferred
upon mankind by the Bible. J. C. Ryle

1145. A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive
nothing and believe nothing which is not according to the Word. He
must try all
religious teaching by one simple test-Does it square with the Bible?
What
does the Scripture say? I pray to God that the eyes of the
Christians of this country were more open on this subject. I pray to God

that they would learn to weigh sermons, books, opinions, and


ministers,
in the scales of the Bible, and to value all according to their conformity
to the Word. I pray to God that they would see that it matters little who
says a thing. The question is-Is the thing said Scriptural? If it is, it
ought to be received and believed. If it is not, it ought to be refused and
cast aside. I fear the consequences of that submissive acceptance of
everything which “the preacher” says, which is so common among
many Christians. I fear lest they be led where they know not where,
like the blinded Syrians, and awake some day to find themselves in the
power of Rome. (2 Kings 6:20). Oh, that men would only remember for
what purpose the Bible was given to them! I tell
Christians that it is nonsense to say, as some do, that it is arrogant to
judge a minister's teaching by the Word. When one doctrine is
proclaimed in one church, and another in another, people must read
and judge
for themselves. Both doctrines cannot be right, and both ought to
be tried by the Word. I charge them, above all things, never to suppose
that
any true minister of the Gospel will dislike his people measuring
all he teaches by the Bible. On the contrary, the more they read the
Bible,
and prove all he says by the Bible, the better he will be pleased. A
false minister may say, “You have no right to use your private
judgment: leave the Bible to us who are ordained.” A true minister will
say “Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is Scriptural,
do not believe me.” A false minister may cry, “Listen to the Church,”
and “Listen to me.” A true minister will say, “Listen to the Word of
God.” J. C. Ryle

1146. A man must make the Bible his rule of conduct. He must make
its leading principles the compass by which he steers his course
through
life. By the letter or spirit of the Bible he must test every difficult
point and question. “To the law and to the testimony! What does the
Scripture say?” He ought to care nothing for what other people may
think
right. He ought not to set his watch by the clock of his neighbor, but
by the watch of the Word. I charge my readers solemnly to act on the
maxim
I have just laid down, and to adhere to it rigidly all the days of
their lives. You will never repent of it. Make it a leading principle never
to act contrary to the Word. Do not care for the charge of being
overly strict, and a person of needless precision. Remember you serve
a
strict and holy God. Do not listen to the common objection that the rule
you have laid down is impossible, and cannot be observed in such a
world as
this. Let those who make such an objection speak out plainly, and
tell us for what purpose the Bible was given to man. Let them
remember that
by the Bible we will all be judged at the last day, and let them
learn to judge themselves by it here, lest they be judged and
condemned by
it on Judgment Day. J. C. Ryle

1147. Show me a person who despises Bible reading, or thinks little


of Bible
preaching, and I hold it to be a certain fact that he is not yet
“born again.” He may be zealous about forms and ceremonies. He may
be
diligent in attending church and the taking of the Lord's Supper. But if
these things are more precious to him than the Bible, I cannot believe
that
he is a converted man. Tell me what the Bible is to a man and I
will generally tell you what he is. This is the pulse to try-this is the
barometer to look at-if we would know the state of the heart. I have no
notion of the Spirit dwelling in a man and not giving clear evidence of
His
presence. And I believe it to be clear evidence of the Spirit's
presence when the Word is really precious to a man's soul. J. C. Ryle

1148. Love of the Word appears preeminently in our Lord and Savior
Jesus
Christ. He read it publicly. He quoted it continually. He expounded it
frequently. He advised the Jews to “search” it. He used it as His
weapon to
resist the devil. He said repeatedly, “The Scripture must be
fulfilled.” Almost the last thing He did was to “open their minds
[Disciples] so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). I am
afraid that man cannot be a true servant of Christ, who has not
something of
his Master's mind and feeling towards the Bible. J. C. Ryle

1149. It is a blessed thought that there will be “many people” in


Heaven in the end. Few as the Lord's people undoubtedly are at any
one given time
or place,