Days of Heaven Upon Earth

God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

[Col 1:27 NET]

How great the difference between the old and the new way of deliverance! One touch of Christ is worth a lifetime of struggling. A sufferer in one of our hospitals was in danger of losing his sight from a small piece of broken needle that had entered his eye.

Operation after operation had only irritated it, and driven the foreign substance farther still into the delicate nerves of the sensitive organ. At length a skilful young physician thought of a new expedient. He came one day without lancet and probes, and holding in his hand a small but powerful magnet, which he kept before the wounded eye, as close as it could bear. Immediately the piece of steel began to move toward the powerful attraction, and soon flew up to meet it and left the suffering eye completely relieved, without an effort or a laceration. It was as simple as it was wonderful. By a single touch of power the organ was saved and a dangerous trouble completely cured.

It is thus that God delivers us, by the simple attraction of Christ’s life and power.

Blessings

But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head.

[Eph 4:15 NET]

Sincerity lies at the root of all gracious profession. If a man is not sincere he is nothing. God makes a man sincere by planting his truth in his heart; and whenever God does make a man sincere, the truth which he has implanted will grow. Truth does not lie in a man’s soul dead and motionless, like a stone in the street; it is a living, active, expansive principle. If the truth is in the soul, it will be ever pushing out error, because the two principles cannot exist together; and as Isaac thrust out Ishmael, and Jacob proved stronger than Esau, so will simplicity and godly sincerity be ever mightier than craft and deception.

The truth of God in the heart will not wither and die, but will be shined upon by the Sun of righteousness, and sunned into fruitfulness by the smiles of God; and as truth becomes day by day more and more precious, so will error and evil become day by day more and more hateful. A sincere soul stands “girt about with truth;” and truth forms its shield and shield.

But how does this Christian sincerity prove the soul’s safeguard from error? By putting it ever on the watch tower, looking out and looking up for the teaching of God and the light of his countenance. A soul made spiritually sincere takes nothing upon trust; it requires the seal of God on all it receives, and the witness of the Spirit to all that it feels. He who is sincere sees the rocks ahead on which others concerning faith make shipwreck; and being well ballasted with temptations, afflictions, and trials, he is not easily tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. His desire to be right keeps him right; his fear to be wrong preserves him from wrong. The light of God in his soul makes him see; the life of God in his heart makes him feel; the fear of God in his conscience makes him honest; the love of God in his affections makes him love; and all this gives truth such a firm place in him that there is no room for error.

The Apostle adds, therefore, “in love.” It is not enough to be “sincere;” we must be “sincere in love.” Mark that. It is not receiving God’s truth as a certain orderly system; it is not furnishing our heads with a sound doctrinal creed and well-ordered Calvinistic scheme which will avail us in the trying hour; but it is to have the truth of God brought into our soul by a divine power, and realizing such unutterable sweetness in it as communicates a firm abiding love, both to the truth itself, and to Him of whom it testifies and from whom it comes. It is thus we are made “sincere in love.”

The fear of God creates the sincerity, the application of the truth with power creates the love to it. And when we are thus made “sincere in love” we are brought out of the childish state in which we are carried about with every wind of doctrine, and in danger of being entrapped by the cunning craft of every deceiver. We know the truth, love the truth, and become established in the truth.

Word of God

External Rites

Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

[Matt 3:10 NET]

The picture is very suggestive. The axe lying at the tree’s root, or raised in the woodman’s hand to strike, shows that judgment impends, hangs ready to fall. Any moment the tree may be cut down. The axe lying at the tree’s root unused tells of patience in the husbandman; he is waiting to see if the fruitless tree will yet bear fruit, The axe leaning quietly against the tree is very suggestive, The meaning is very plain. God waits long for impenitent sinners to return to him; he is slow to punish or to cut off the day of opportunity; he desires all to repent and be saved. Yet we must not trifle with the Divine patience and forbearance. We must remember that while the axe is not lifted to strike, still there is not a moment when it is not lying close, ready to be used; when the summons may not come, “Hasten to judgment.” The axe of death really lies all the while at the root of every life. There is not a moment when it is not true that there is but a step between us and death.

The lying of the axe at the root suggests that its use is not pruning but cutting down. God has two axes. One he uses in pruning his trees, removing the fruitless branches, and cleansing the fruitful branches that they may bring forth more fruit. The work of this axe is not judgment or destruction, but mercy and blessing. It is the good, the fruitful tree that feels its keen edge. Then God has another axe which he uses only in judgment, in cutting down those trees which after all his culture of them bring forth no fruit. Life is all very critical. There is not a moment in any day on which may not turn all the destinies of eternity. It certainly is an infinitely perilous thing for an immortal soul to rest an hour with the axe of judgment waiting to strike the blow that will end for ever the day of mercy. Only supremest folly can be blind to duty in such a case.

Mornings With God

Joab said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me, you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you, I will come to your rescue.

[2 Sam 10:11 NET]

Here we get a good lesson on the duty of helping each other.

If one army saw that the battle was too much for their brethren in another division, they were to hasten to their help. The duty is the same always. If I am strong and you are struggling in weakness, I must hasten to your help.

Loving our neighbor as ourself means helping him when he is in trouble. There is a Christian communism, which uses its abundance of whatever kind to supply the lack in others.

“If I should see

A brother languishing in sore distress,

And I should turn and leave him comfortless,

When I might be

A messenger of hope and happiness

How could I ask to have what I denied,

In my own hour of bitterness supplied?”

Jesus Calling

I AM WITH YOU. These four words are like a safety net, protecting you from falling into despair. Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience. But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go. Sometimes you may feel as if you are in a free fall, when people or things you had counted on let you down. Yet as soon as you remember that I am with you, your perspective changes radically. Instead of bemoaning your circumstances, you can look to Me for help. You recall that not only am I with you; I am holding you by your right hand. I guide you with My counsel, and afterward I will take you into Glory. This is exactly the perspective you need: the reassurance of My Presence and the glorious hope of heaven.

[ZEPHANIAH 3:17; PSALM 73:23–26]

Strength For Daily Needs

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [or “trials”], knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

[Jas 1:2-3 WEB]

For patience, when the rough winds blow!

For patience, when our hopes are fading,

When visible things all backward go,

And nowhere seems the power of aiding!

God still enfolds thee with His viewless hand,

And leads thee surely to the Fatherland.

~ N. L. FROTHINGHAM ~ (from the German)

We have need of patience with ourselves and with others; with those below, and those above us, and with our own equals; with those who love us and those who love us not; for the greatest things and for the least; against sudden inroads of trouble, and under our daily burdens; disappointments as to the weather, or the breaking of the heart; in the weariness of the body, or the wearing of the soul; in our own failure of duty, or others’ failure toward us; in every-day wants, or in the aching of sickness or the decay of age; in disappointment, bereavement, losses, injuries, reproaches; in heaviness of the heart; or its sickness amid delayed hopes. In all these things, from childhood’s little troubles to the martyr’s sufferings, patience is the grace of God, whereby we endure evil for the love of God.

~ E. B. PUSEY ~

Prayer Guide

I will seek the lost and bring back the strays; I will bandage the injured and strengthen the sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them – with judgment!

[Ezek 34:16 NET]

It is not much

To give a gentle word or kindly touch

To one gone down

Beneath the world’s cold frown,

And yet who knows

How great a thing from such a little grows?

O, oftentimes,

Some brother upward climbs

And hope again

Uplifts its head, that in the dust had lain,

Gives place to morning’s light.

~ E. H. Divall ~

Prayer

My Father, may I not sorrow so that I fail to comfort the sorrowing, and may I not be so happy that I fail to see that others need to be glad. I thank thee for thy providences. May I serve thee in helping others to brighter lives. Amen.