Daily Word of God

Silence Not Denial

But he answered her not a word.

~ Matt 15:23

There is something very remarkable in this silence of Christ. Usually He was quick to hear every request made to Him by a sufferer. Scarcely ever had any one to ask twice for a favour. His heart was sensitive, as is a mother’s heart to her child’s cries, and instantly responded to every petition for help. Yet now He stood and listened to this woman’s piteous pleading and answered her not a word. Like a miser with hoards of gold, at whose gates the poor and suffering knock, but who, hearing their cries of need and distress, keeps his gates locked and is deaf to every entreaty, so Jesus stood unmoved by this woman’s cries, though He had all power in His hands.

Why was He thus silent? It was not because He could not help her, for His arm was never weak. The best of us have our weak hours, our days of emptiness, when we have nothing wherewith to help; but His fullness was never exhausted. It was not because He was so engrossed in His own approaching sorrows that He could think of no other one’s sorrow, for even on the cross He forgot Himself to show kindness to others. Evidently the reason for silence was to try this mother’s faith, and to draw it out into still greater strength. He was preparing her to receive in the end a better blessing than she could have received at the beginning.

Our Lord sometimes yet seems to be silent to His people when they cry to Him. To all their earnest supplications He answers not a word. Is His silence a refusal? By no means. Ofttimes, at least, it is meant only to make the suppliants more earnest, and to prepare their hearts to receive richer and greater blessings. So when Christ is silent to our prayers, it is that we may be brought down in deeper humility at His feet, and that our hearts may be made more fit to receive heaven’s gifts and blessings.

Daily Word of God

One Thing Needful

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life

~ John 6:27

We should call a man very foolish who, in building a great and costly house, should look only after the outside, spending large amounts of money in exterior decoration, while he left the interior in a rough, unfinished state, the walls unplastered, the rooms filled with rubbish and without furniture or decorations of any kind. No one can get comfort from a beautiful exterior in his home and from fine grounds, if within all is bare and rude. The wise man will think more of the inside than of the outside of the house in which he is to live. He will provide beauty, warmth, and comfort, and thus make a true home for himself, in which he may dwell in peace and in real enjoyment.

Still more foolish is the man who thinks only of the needs of his physical nature, and gives no thought to the needs of his immortal soul. He is looking after the outside, and neglecting the inner life. He is providing for his body, which will soon perish, and giving no care to his soul, which will endure for ever. He is planning only for the present, and neglecting the interests that are eternal. How pitiable is such a life, deliberately turning away from all the best, holiest, most beautiful, and most enduring things, and seeking only the poor, miserable, worthless things that are only loads, impediments, not enriching him who has them!

Our Lord’s counsel is, that we should look first after our spiritual necessities. It is a fearful mistake to toil all one’s days for bread and raiment, or for wealth and honour, and never do anything for the inner life. At the end there will be nothing left to show for all the toil and pain and sacrifice. If we look after the interests of our souls, then when this life is ended we shall find ourselves in possession of eternal life. A good motto for life is, “Live for the immortal things.”

Daily Word of God

He  … took the five loaves.
~ Matt 14:9

We are not surprised that a disciple asked, of the five loaves and two fishes, “What are these among so many?” What a little way they will go in feeding such a multitude! Why bring out this poor, paltry store at all? Surely Christ can feed the hungry people without these poor little black loaves.

Still, Jesus bade the disciples bring the loaves to Him, and He used them. Is it not strange that the mighty Christ should need us and our little barley-loaves to feed people’s hunger? Yet He does: He wants our gifts; and then He wants our ministry in dispensing the gifts. He passed the bread to the multitude through the hands of the disciples: He passes salvation through His saved ones to the unsaved.

Only one talent small,  
  Scarce worth to be named:  
Truly he hath no need of this,  
  O soul, art thus ashamed?  
He gave that talent first:  
  Then use it in his strength;  
  
Thereby—thou know’st not—he may work  
  A miracle at length a miracle at length.

Many the starving souls,  
  Now waiting to be fed,  
Needing, though knowing not their need  
  Of Christ, the living Bread.  
Oh! hast thou known his love? 
  To others make it known;  
Receiving blessings, others bless!  
  No seed abides alone.

And when thine eyes shall see,  
  The holy, ransomed throng  
In heavenly fields, by living streams,  
  By Jesus led along,  
Unspeakable thy joy shall be,  
  And glorious thy reward, reward  
If by thy barley-loaves one soul,  
 Has been brought home to God.

Daily Word of God

Daily Word of God

Herodia’s Revenge

The daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

 ~ Matt 14:6

It was deemed disgraceful even in that country and in those days for a woman to show herself at all in a hall of revelry and carousal. Then to perform such a dance in such a place for the entertainment of the revellers was regarded as a most debasing and shameful act. The dance was indecent, and only those who had lost all sense of modesty and womanly propriety would so debase themselves. That a mother should send her own daughter into such a scene to perform such a part, seems almost incredible. The act reveals the kind of home life and the ideas of womanly purity that prevailed in the court of Herod; also the strength of Herodians’s passion for revenge upon John. She would even send her own daughter to play this shameful part, in order to accomplish her purpose.

While this picture is before them, young girls should learn hat they cannot be too careful of their behaviour and bearing in public. A young woman’s reputation is a precious jewel, which she should prize above all wealth or pleasure. If she lose it, neither wealth nor pleasure will be of much avail to her afterward. Her name once sullied, never can be altogether white again.

Sometimes young girls think their parents unreasonable in the restraints which they put upon them with regard to appearance or conduct in public; but some day they will see how wise and loving is such restraint. It may very fairly be questioned whether young ladies can take part in certain fashionable dances of to-day, and not pass beyond the bounds of pure womanly delicacy and propriety. At least, heart-purity is so holy a thing, and so easily tarnished, and the harm when done is so irreparable, that one had better deny one’s self many a fascinating pleasure rather than risk the loss of anything so precious.

Daily Word of God

What are the Thorns

Some fell among thorns, and thorns grew up , and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

~ Mark 4:7

The thorns had been chopped off, but their roots were still in the ground. Then as the seed began to grow, so did the thorns; and growing faster and more rankly than the wheat, they soon choked it out, so that it came to nothing in the end. What are these thorns? Our Lord says they are “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches.” “Cares” are anxieties, distractions, worries. Martha was in danger of having the good seed in her heart choked out by her distracting thoughts about her household affairs. Many a promising Christian life has been dwarfed and stunted from the same cause. “The deceitfulness of riches:” thousands of spiritual lives have been starved into ghostly leanness by the desire for riches. “The lust of other things entering in, choke the word.” We have all seen people who began well; but as cares multiplied or riches increased, their zeal waned. We need, however, to look to our own hearts, and we shall probably have enough to do if we keep out all the thorns and weeds in the one little garden committed to us.

Jesus did not say these people are not Christians, but that they “bring no fruit to perfection.” The distractions of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of others things, entering in, choke the spiritual life, stunting its graces. They lose the sweet comforts of a healthy faith. The fruits of the Spirit in them are shrivelled. They may go on working in the church, preaching, teaching, praying; but the life is wanting. What is the lesson? This: we need to watch without ceasing these hearts of ours, and let no weed or brier grown there for a day. Sometimes God himself does the weeding. He lifts out of the bosom the earthly object that is absorbing all the heart’s love. The process is sore, but the results are full of blessing.

Daily Word of God

Two Roads and Two Gates

Enter ye in at the strait gate.

~ Matt 7:13

All truly valuable things cost much. Such a glorious privilege as the Christian’s, therefore, cannot be gotten without effort. To open the way, and to purchase for us the privilege of becoming children of God, the Son of God had to come from heaven in condescending love and give His own life. Jesus said, too, that any who would reach the glory of His kingdom must go by the same way of the cross by which He went. He said that he who “will save his life”  that is, keep it from self-denial and sacrifice  shall loose it;” and that only he who “will lose his life for my sake,”  gives it out in devotion to God and to duty,  “shall save it.”

In one of His parables Jesus speaks of salvation as a treasure hid in a field, and a man who learns of the treasure and its hiding-place sells all that he has and goes and buys the field. In another parable our Lord presents the same truth under the figure of a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, finding one pearl of great price, sells all he has and buys it. We must, in a very deep sense, give up all we have to get Christ and the blessings that come with Him.

Here the truth is put in another way. There are two roads through this world, and two gates into the future world. One of these ways is broad and easy, with descending grade, leading to a wide gate. It is not hard to go on this way. The other road is strait, and leads to a narrow gate. To go this way one has to leave the crowd and go almost alone, and leave the broad, easy way, and go on a hard, rugged path, and enter by a gate too small to admit any bundles of worldliness, or self-righteousness, or any of the fashionable trappings of the old life. If we would get to heaven, we must make up our minds it can be only by this narrow way of self-denial. all the world is not flowing into heaven; the crowds are going somewhere else.

Daily Word of God

Promises and Prophecies

Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 

– Matt 5:18

Christ referred here primarily to the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament. There are thousands of blossoms on the trees in the spring-time that never become fruits; but there are no lost blossoms on the Old Testament tree. The exact fulfillment of prophecy is an irrefutable evidence of Christianity. But the assurance of these words refers also to every promise of the Scripture. Not the smallest of these shall ever fail any one who trusts them. “No word He hath spoken shall ever be broken.” Every pledge God has made He will surely keep. Whenever we find a divine word we may lay hold of it with perfect confidence, and know that we are clinging to a rock that never can be shaken. “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

This is true also of the divine threatenings against sin. Not one of these shall fail to be accomplished upon those who reject God’s words of grace and mercy. Christ said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;” and that word will prove true to every one who receives it. But He said also in the same sentence, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him;” and this word shall just as surely be fulfilled as the other.

In these days, when so many people hold loose views of God’s Word, it is well that we fix it deeply in our minds that whatever God says in the Holy Scriptures He says with authority, that His promises are sure as His own eternity, and that every sentence of His is absolutely irrepealable. “Only words,” we sometimes say, as if words were unreal and unsubstantial; but the words of God are more real and substantial than even earth’s great mountains.

Daily Word of God

Immediately Made Whole

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole.

~ John 5:8-9

The man might have said, “Why, I cannot rise. That is the very thing which I have not been able for thirty-eight years. Take up my bed! Why, I could not lift a feather; and as for walking, I could as easily fly. I cannot do these things until I am cured.”

We have all heard people talk thus about starting in the Christian life. They plead their helplessness as reason for their delay. There is a fine lesson for such in this man’s obedience. The moment he heard the command he made the effort to rise, and as he made the effort the strength was given. New life came with his simple obedience. Christ never commands an impossibility. When He bids us rise out of our sin and helplessness and begin the Christian walk, He means to give grace and strength to enable us to do it.

The same is true of all that Christ requires of us in His service. People think it “humility” to be timid about duty and about accepting responsibility at Christ’s call; but it is not humility at all, it is unbelief and sin. We lie on our poor rugs and say, “I have no strength for this, no wisdom for that,” while if we simply arose to obey every call of Christ, He would use us for noble service.

This man showed his faith by immediately exerting himself to do what Christ had bidden him do. Had he not done this he would not have been healed. There are many who lie spiritually paralyzed, year after year, just because they are waiting to be healed before they try to rise and walk. There are many who never do any worthy service for Christ, and lie in a condition of uselessness through years, because they think themselves unequal to the duties to which they are called. It is time we learned to step forward instantly, to do whatever Christ bids us do. When we begin to do this we shall find ourselves strong.

Daily Word of God

While they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near…

~ Luke 24:15

The Walk to Emmaus

These two friends, as they walked along with heavy hearts, had only one theme: they were talking of their sore loss and of Him whom they had lost. They were so intensely absorbed in their sorrow as they talked of it that they were not aware of the near approach of a stranger until He had drawn up to them and joined them. Jesus always draws near when His friends are talking of Him. In an Old Testament book it was said that when the Lord’s people come together and speak of sacred things, the Lord listens, and keeps a book of remembrance.

Here is something more. Two of Christ’s friends talk of Him, and He comes and joins them. How much those Christian people miss who meet and pass hours together, and have no theme of conversation but the silly gossip of society, filled with backbitings and bits of malicious criticism and mischievous scandal, but without one single word about Christ! Does any one suppose that the Lord hearkens to such conversation, or puts it down in His book of remembrance? Of course He hears every word of the talk, and every word goes down in a book of remembrance, and we must give account for every idle word. But He does not listen and record the conversation in the sense the prophet meant, with loving pleasure. Does any one think Christ will draw near and become one of any such party of Christians as often gather in parlours, deliciously feeding on every bit of fresh gossip, but with never a word about their Redeemer?

What a blessing every hour of conversation would bring if we would only talk together of Christ and His kingdom! He would then draw near and join us, adding the joy of His presence to our hearts. Shall we not talk together more of our Lord?

Word of God

The Traitor

Judas also … knew the place … Judas then, having received a band of men cometh thither.

~ John 18:2,2

Every new line in the story of the betrayal shows new blackness in the heart of Judas. Going out from the supper-table he hastened to the priests, and was quickly under way with his band of soldiers. He probably first hurried back to the upper room, where he had left Jesus; not finding Him there, he knew well where the Master had gone, and hastened to the sacred place of prayer. Then the manner in which he let the officers know which of the company was Jesus shows the deepest blackness of all: he went up to Him as to a dear friend and kissed Him — kissed Him over and over, and with feigned warmth and affection.

Let us remember how the treason grew in the heart of Judas, beginning in greed for money, growing into theft and falseness of life, ending at last in the blackest crime the world ever saw. The lesson is, that we should watch the beginnings of evil in our hearts.

A picture in the royal gallery of Brussels represents Judas wandering about on the night after the betrayal. He comes by chance upon the workmen who have been making the cross on which Christ shall be crucified to-morrow. A fire near by throws its light full on the faces of the workmen, who are sleeping peacefully while resting from their labour. Judas’s face is somewhat in the shade; but it is wonderfully expressive of awful remorse and agony as he catches sight of the cross and the tools used in making it, — the cross which his treachery had made possible. But still, though in the very torments of hell, as it appears, he clutches his money-bag, and seems to hurry on into the night. That picture tells the story of the fruit of Judas’s victory — the money-bag with the thirty pieces of silver in it (and even that he could not long keep), carried off into the night of fiendish despair: that was all.