Our Daily Walk

The Eager Householder

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

~ Matt 20:1

Our Lord, beneath the veil of this parable, tells us what God is like. The heart of God our Father yearns over the perishing souls of men. For some reason, at present withheld, He must have the co-operation of men to reach the hearts of men, and therefore at every stage of life He approaches us, saying, “Go work! During what remains of life’s brief day, go work in My vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. I need you to help in the salvation of the myriads of souls, whose redemption I am seeking with blood and tears.”

He comes to you, dear children, in the dawn of your life. The dew is still in the grass, the birds are only just awaking from their dreams, life is yet the spring, and God’s voice comes to you, saying: “I want you to help Me in my great Vineyard. The ground needs weeding, the vines require watering and pruning, there is much to do and few to do it, and I have a tiny plot for you to cultivate. Make haste, and come.”

He comes to you, young men and women. Three hours have passed, and is yet you are standing idle, and have not chosen your life-work. Are you going to be a Missionary, or Minister, a Doctor, or School-teacher; does art, Music, or Commerce appeal to you? Whatever sphere you choose, yet it be subordinated to the one great purpose of helping God to save the world.

He comes to you who are in the meridian or late afternoon of life. Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to make a competence, and need not toil as formerly. To you the Master comes, saying, “Go, work in My vineyard. Administer your money, time, influence for Me.” Even though it be but an hour before sunset, the same urgent appeal rings out; though you have been unemployed all the days, He seeks your help. Oh, that the urgency of God’s compassions may touch and move us! Will you listen to the call of the great Husbandman, and now answer in your heart, “Here am I, send me”?

O God, we have heard Thy call! Wilt Thou accept our hands to labour for Thee, and our lips to speak for Thee. Send us into Thy Vineyard, and use us in Thy holy service, amen.

Our Daily Walk

Life’s Balance Sheet

What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

~ Mark 8:36

Simon Peter had been urging our Lord to spare Himself the suffering to which He had referred, but He answered that this could not be for Himself, or for any other who would follow in His footsteps. Proceeding from His own deep experience, He went on to show that in the same measure every one must deny his own choice and will and pleasure, in order that he may reach the highest life for himself and others.

It is not necessary for any man to make a cross; it is our part simply to take up that which God has laid down for us. The cross is no exceptional piece of asceticism, but it is the constant refusal to gratify our self-life; the perpetual dying to pride and self-indulgence, in order to follow Christ in His redemptive mission for the salvation of men. And it is in proportion as men live like this that they realize the deepest and truest and highest meaning of life. When we live only to save ourselves, to build warm nests, to avoid every discomfort and annoyance, to make money entirely for our own use and enjoyment, to invent schemes for our own pleasure, we become the most discontented and miserable of mankind. How many there are who have given themselves up to a life of selfishness and pleasure-seeking, only to find their capacity for joy has shrivelled, and their lives plunged into gloom and despair. They have lost their souls!

If a fire is raging, and a millionaire saves his palace from destruction, but in so doing loses his own life, does it pay? And are there not many who are building for themselves palaces of wealth and pleasure, but are losing the power of enjoyment because they are destroying all the finest sensibilities of their nature. Our Lord asks, what does it profit to gain the whole world, and forfeit one’s own soul?

But not to adopt the policy of the world is certain to bring upon us dislike and hatred, before which many have been daunted; and yet to refuse Christ’s policy of life, and to be ashamed of acknowledging that we are His followers, will mean ultimately our rejection. For how can our Lord use us in any great schemes of the future, if we have failed Him in the limited sphere of our human life?

O God, we have been disappointed because the cisterns that we have hewn out for ourselves have not given the water needed to quench our thirst. Fountain of Living Water, of Thee may we drink! Bread of Life, of Thee may we eat! Light of Life, shine upon our hearts, that we may walk in Thy light. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

Practical Christianity

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is. dead also.

~ Jas 2:26

James is described as “the Lord’s brother” in Gal 1:19. He was surnamed “the Just,” and was much respected beyond the limits of the Christian Church for his saintly life. While St. Paul deals specially with doctrine, James is concerned with practice; Paul expounds the wonderful significance of Christ’s death and resurrection; James expounds the teaching of our Lord, especially in the Sermon on the Mount. Paul insists on faith as the means of justification before God; James lays stress on the works to which faith must lead.

It seems likely that James had seen Paul’s Epistles, for he uses so many of the same phrases and examples, and probably set himself to combat those who abused the teaching of the great Apostle. There were plenty in his time who believed about Christ, and prided themselves in the orthodoxy and accuracy of their creed; and James maintains that this is not sufficient to save the soul.

As far as orthodoxy goes, no creed can be more absolutely orthodox than that held by evil spirits. Repeatedly, during our Lord’s life, they acknowledged that He was the Holy One of God, but their belief had no effect on their character; it only filled them with fear and dread Jam 2:19).

“Faith without works is dead.” It is good to test ourselves. We must see to it that our heart is pure and our way absolutely transparent. In our dealings with those around us, we must always seek to realize our highest conceptions of love and duty. Even when our efforts of goodwill and affection are not reciprocated, we must never lower the high standard of our action, but always keep before us the conception of our Saviour’s life in the Home at Nazareth. Be merciless to yourself, but always merciful to others, always bearing the burdens of those around you, always moderating your pace to the weak and weary, as Greatheart did for the pilgrims. Even Rahab was justified by a faith which wrought itself out in beautiful and unselfish action (Jam 2:25; Heb 11:31). Remember our Lord’s words in Mat 7:20-21.

Prayer

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

Our Daily Walk

God’s Providential Care

Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

~ Luke 12:29-31

At the time when our Lord spoke these words, the fields of Palestine were carpeted with wild flowers, and the air was redolent with their fragrance, bespangling the pastures, clustering in the hedge-rows, and hiding in the woodland glades. Theirs was as careless a life as that of the birds which were flying overhead. “They toil not, neither do they spin.” For some plants, like the exotics of the greenhouse and nurseries, there must be extreme care and expense in their cultivation, in the provision of heat and the experienced skill of the horticulturist. But our Lord was not alluding to these, but to the flowers of the grass, which grow amid the wilds of nature, or in the gardens of the poor, and to Him these were very beautiful.

This prodigious growth teaches us that God loves beautiful things, and expends thought and skill in their production. He might have made the world without a daisy, and human life without the beauty of childhood. But since He clothed with beauty the short-lived flowers of the wilds; the ephemeral insects of a summer day; the shells of the minute creatures that build up the solid fabric of the rocks—surely this prodigality, this lavishness, this prolific superabundance of creativeness, must mean that He can and will withhold no good thing from them that trust Him.

Of course we must fulfil our part! We are not to be careless and improvident; we must certainly sow and reap, and toil and spin; but when we have done all, we must rely upon our Heavenly Father whose good pleasure it is to give, believing that it is vain for us to rise up early, and sit up late, and to eat the bread of sorrows, for our God will give us all that we need, even whilst we sleep. He will not allow His trusting children to starve, or to go unsheltered, unclothed, and unshod. “Fear not, little flock,” says the comforting voice of the Good Shepherd, “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Gracious Lord, grant to me, Thy poor needy creature, sometimes at least to feel, if it be but a small portion of Thy hearty affectionate love; that my faith may become more strong, my hope in Thy goodness may be increased, and that love, once kindled within me, may never fail. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

The Voice Of God In Nature And Revelation

The Heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.

~ Ps 19:1

Verses (Psa 19:1-6): Those whose hearts are in tune with God can hear voices in Nature which are inaudible to the ordinary man. The poet Blake says: “When the morning sun ascends the eastern sky, you may behold only a light yellow disc, whereas I shall see and hear the infinite multitude of the heavenly host, crying, Holy, Holy, Holy!” Yet, though there is no speech nor language, is it not true that “their words are gone forth to the end of the world”? There is no nation of men that has not heard the voice of Nature speaking of God (Act 14:16-17; Rom 1:20-21).

In Psa 19:7-11 the Psalmist describes the effect of the Word of God when the Spirit of Truth works through it and by it on the soul. There are many ways of reading the Bible—as a history, as a revelation of man’s gropings after God, as a piece of great literature; but the best way is to ask the Divine Spirit to make it a medium through which He may approach our innermost nature. Listen to God’s voice speaking within you. Be still, that you may hear. The Spirit searches into the deep things of God, and reveals them to our spirit (1Co 2:10). All that God has ever said or been to others, He will say and be to you, if only your heart is lowly and contrite. “Speak to me, Lord, by Prophet and Psalmist, by lyric and prose, by narrative and appeal. Speak through Thy Word to restore my soul, to rejoice my heart, and to enlighten mine eyes!” When to the quiet and waiting soul God uses His own Word thus, it is more to be desired than fine gold, and is sweeter than the taste of honey from the comb.

The effect of God’s Word, when used by the Holy Spirit, is very remarkable (Psa 19:11-14). It convinces of sin. Just as linen is shown to be discoloured against freshly-fallen snow, so we realise our errors and cry to be cleansed from hidden and secret sins.

David knew little of the glory and wonder of the Cross, where God spared not His own Son, but in Him stooped to reconcile man to Himself. The starry heavens, telling of the glory of God, and even the Law itself, are not able to tell us what the Cross of Jesus does, of Love that matched itself against hate, and of Grace that would not be turned away by human sin.

Prayer

I pray Thee, gracious Lord, that I may not miss any of those lessons which Thou art desirous of teaching me by Thy Spirit, Thy Word, and Thy Providence. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

The Silver Lining In The Dark Cloud

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

~ Ps 42:5,11

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

~ Ps 43:5

These two Psalms are evidently one. See how the same refrain rings through them both! They are generally allocated to that sad time in David’s history, when the rebellion of his favourite son, Absalom, drove him as an exile beyond the Jordan (2Sa 15:14). But amid the great sorrows that rolled over his soul, there was one glad ingredient. Thrice over the Psalmist encourages himself to Hope! For many a sorrowful soul, this is a true emblem. Amid all the disappointment and despair of life, there is always one chord of Hope—God! We may stand amid the wreck of our earthly hopes. Through misconduct or mistake, as the result of folly or sin, we may have reduced ourselves and those dear to us to the last degree of misery; but the soul may always turn from its low estate to God, sure that He will have mercy, will abundantly pardon, and will turn again the adverse pressure of the tide.

See how the broken-hearted may still speak of God! This man had grievously sinned. He seemed to have forfeited all claim on God’s recognition and care. He had brought shame and disgrace on the cause of religion. All down the years the story of his wrong-doing would give the enemies of truth abundant reason to blaspheme. And yet see how he dares to speak of God! He describes Him as the God of his life, as his Rock, as the Health of his countenance, the God of his strength, and the Gladness of his joy. This is a great lesson! We may change, but God changes never. We may turn our face from Him, or allow some evil thing to loom between ourselves and the clear shining of His face. But he shines on, and when we confess our sins, and put them away, we find ourselves afresh in the clear shaft of His illuminating rays. You may have lost all hope in yourself, your friends, your circumstances, but you must never lose your hope in God.

The past, which can only be viewed with repentance, is forgiven; the present, in which God is willing to be All-in-all; the future, when again the soul shall praise Him with joyful lips. Hope looks into the future. “I shall yet praise Him.”

Prayer

Our Father, forgive, we pray Thee, our murmuring and discontent, our perverseness and waywardness. Teach us to discern the silver edge of the lowering clouds, and to trust Thy love, which is leading us safely and by a right way to our home. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

God’s Heritage In Humanity

The Lord’s portion is His people.

~ Deut 32:9

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. 

~ Eph 1:4

We do not become God’s property when we consecrate ourselves to Him, but only awake to see that we are already His, and assume that manner of life which they should live who are not their own, but have been bought with a price (1Co 6:19-20). The three symbols of God’s care of His own, as enumerated by Moses in his Song, are exquisitely beautiful.

“He kept him as the apple of his eye” (Deu 32:10). Almost instinctively we raise our hand to protect the eyes if anything threatens us, and it is thus with God’s care to us. How carefully the eye is preserved from impurity and evil by the strong bony socket in which it is set, by the eyebrows and lashes which catch the dust and grit, by the eyelid closing over, and the tear-water washing it. Thus the soul which God loves may pass through the evil of the world without taint or soil, because of His gracious keeping power.

“As an eagle” (Deu 32:11). When the young eaglets are able to fly, but hover about their nest, unwilling to venture from the cliff, the mother-bird breaks up their aerie home, drives the fledglings forth on to the air, compels them to use their wings, flutters beneath to catch them if they are inclined to fall, and bears them up on her strong wings until they can fly alone. So it is in life that sometimes God has to break up the happy conditions to which we have been accustomed from our birth, and drive us forth. But it is for our good since only so can we acquire the glorious powers of sustained flight on the wings of the wind.

Divine leading (Deu 32:12). God teaches us to go as a mother her little child; His hand leads and guides our tottering steps (Hos 11:3-4).

The Epistle to the Ephesians gives us a list of the blessings, like a string of pearls, which God our Father, the Owner and Lover of our souls, heaps upon us, and is waiting for us to appropriate and use (Deu 1:3). His love to us is no passing fancy, but the carrying out of an eternal purpose. He redeems us from the love and power of sin; He abounds towards us with the riches of His grace; we are kept and sealed by the Holy Spirit; and ultimately shall be presented before Him, without blemish, to the praise of His glory.

Prayer

What can I lack if I have Thee, Who art all Good? Verily, the heart is restless, until it rest in Thee alone. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign.

~ 1 Cor 15:24

Whither is God moving? When we speak of the eternal progress of the Almighty, it must be remembered that we are adopting human speech, because God lives in the eternal present. He is Jehovah—“I am!”

God is moving to the supreme exaltation of our Saviour. Christ must and will reign, and the Father’s power is even now engaged in putting all things under His feet. He has given Him the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. It is true that we see not yet all things put under Him, but God is even now engaged in hastening the fulfilment of His eternal plan. The rise and fall of rulers and kingdoms within the last few years; the clamour for new methods of government has menaced the ancient order; the vortex of elections; the babel of voices; the rivalry of statesmen and parties! What of these? They are the clouds of His feet, the movement of His pieces on the board, the successive stages in the unfolding of His plan. Watch the Divine strategy! God raises up one, and puts down another; there is not an item in the newspaper, nor a change on the map, nor a revolution among the people, however obscure, that is not contributing to that final scene, when the Son of Man shall come to the Ancient of Days, and there shall be given Him dominion and glory, and a Kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages shall serve Him!

There is need for us all to know God’s movements, especially in this momentous era, because only so can we enter into His Rest. We can look out calmly on a world in confusion when once we have learnt to understand the Divine programme of gathering up all things in Christ, who is the Head. To the careless world His way is in the sea, and His paths in the deep waters, and His footsteps are not known, but to those who love and follow Him. The heavens may depart, the hills be removed; but His kindness shall not depart, neither shall the covenant of His peace be removed.

Hasten the coming of Thy Kingdom, O Lord, the fulfilment of Thy purpose. Keep us watchful and alert, that at any moment we may discern the movement of Thy hand, and detect Thy will and guidance in the providence of little things. Amen.

Daily Light on The Daily Path

Consolation in Christ, … comfort of love, … fellowship of the Spirit.

~ Phil 2:1

Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.—My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

The Father … shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name.—Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Job 14:1-2, Ps 73:26, John 14:16, John 14:26, 2 Cor 1:3-4, 1 Thess 4:14, 1 Thess 4:17-18

Devotional

John 3:9-21

LOVE’S GREAT GIFT: RECEIVED OR REJECTED 

Though physically on earth, our Lord was spiritually in touch with the heavenly realities. He was living among them and bore witness to them. Notice that must, Joh 3:14. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and the divine purpose of redemption would fail unless He fulfilled His part in the eternal compact. That which had been resolved upon before the foundations of the hills were laid must be carried out in all its terrible detail. He must be accounted as a sin offering, and go forth as a scapegoat. He must tread the winepress alone, and pour out His soul unto death. Yet He was not rebellious, nor did He turn back. He rejoiced to do the Father’s will. For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the Cross.

Redemption originated in God’s great love. Notice the pairs in Joh 3:16: God and the Son; loved and gave; the world and whosoever; believe and have; not perish but have life. The judgment is already in process, and the turning point with each who has known the gospel will be his attitude toward the light he has enjoyed. Evil men avoid the light, as an inflamed eye the sun. No true heart fears Christ, and on coming to Him it discovers that unconsciously it has been wrought upon by God.