Our Daily Walk

Love’s Confidence!

His sisters sent unto Him saying, Lord, behold he whom Thou lovest is sick. 

~ John 11:3

The lapse of years made it possible for the Apostle to draw aside the veil which curtained the happy friendship and fellowship of Christ in the home at Bethany. It was the one green oasis in the rugged wilderness through which He passed to the Cross!

There were diversities in that home, Martha, practical, energetic, and thoughtful for all that could affect the comfort of those she loved and served; Mary, gifted with spiritual insight and tender sympathy; Lazarus, probably a man of few words, quiet and unobtrusive, but Jesus loved each one (Joh 11:5).

The sisters never doubted that Christ would speed at all hazards to save Lazarus after the breathless messenger had brought the tidings of his sickness. Anything less than infinite Love would have rushed instantly to the relief of those troubled hearts; Divine Love alone could hold back the impetuosity of the Saviour’s tender heart until the Angel of Pain had finished her work. He wanted to teach His disciples never-to-be-forgotten lessons, and also He was eager for the spiritual growth of the faith of the sisters.

This chapter might be more truly known as “The Raising of Martha,” for our Lord enabled her, matter-of-fact and practical as she was, to realize that He was the Resurrection and the Life. He insisted that her faith was an essential condition in the raising of her brother to life. The emphasis is on the word “thou” (Joh 11:40). Our Lord always needs the co-operating faith of some true heart to be with Him when He works a miracle, and He chose the least likely of the two sisters to supply the pivot on which He could rest the lever of His Divine help. As she withdrew her objection to the removal of the stone, her faith suddenly became capable of claiming the greatest of Christ’s miracles.

He calls to us also to help our brethren. In many cases those who have received life from Christ are still bound about with grave-clothes, old habits and evil associations cling to them and impede their progress, and He bids us “Loose him and let him go.” He asks for our co-operation in the emancipation of those who have been held fast in the power of the Evil One.

O God, we rejoice that we can turn to Thee in the midst of great anxiety, and commit all our troubles to Thy sure help. As Thou art with us in the sunlight, be Thou with us in the cloud. Sustain us by Thy near presence and let the comforts which are in Jesus Christ fill our hearts with peace. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

The Child Heart

He called to Him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

~  Matt 18:2-3

Our Lord bids us seek the child-heart! Not to be childish, but childlike! It is recorded of the illustrious soldier, Naaman, that after he had washed in the Jordan waters, his flesh came to him as that of a little child. It is a noble combination—the stature and strength of the full-grown man united with the winsome purity and sweetness of a little child. It is not possible for any one of us to attain these two qualities unless we are prepared to pay the price. The orders of rank in the Kingdom of Heaven are diametrically opposed to those of our earthly kingdoms. Here men are ever striving to rise above their fellows; but in Christ’s Kingdom they stoop to serve, and in stooping become crowned!

The King of Glory girded Himself with a towel, and kneeling down washed the feet of His disciples, and the nobles in His Kingdom are those who have become willing to be the servants of all!

Simplicity, humility, and freedom from self-consciousness are the natural traits of early childhood; alas! that they so quickly learn from us to seek for notice, patronage, and the first place! How happy that little one was as he nestled to the Saviour’s heart! Three times over in this chapter the Master speaks about “these little ones.” How dearly He loved the children, and each time must have pressed the child closer to Himself! It was thus that like came to like!

It is the childlike hearts that agree on earth in the symphony of prayer. One may go East and the other West, but beneath the touch of the Spirit of Love, they will be of one accord, i.e. in attuned fellowship with each other and with Christ (Mat 18:19-20). The child-spirit, also, will be willing to forgive and forget (Mat 18:15, Mat 18:21, Mat 18:22).

Grant, O Lord, that I may become as a little child in Thy kingdom. May my heart be filled with Thy love, my lips with gentle, helpful words, and my hands with kind, unselfish deeds. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

The Morning Cometh

And the evening and the morning were the first day.

~ Gen 1:5

Six times these words are repeated, and the one lesson that rings out is that God counts His periods, not as man does from night to night, but from evening till morning. ‘ Not first the light, and after that the dark; but first the dark, and after that the light.” God saw that each night would end in daylight, and that the end of all the nights and all the days would be the eternal day in which there can be no darkness at all. This is what St. John saw: “There shall be no night there, for the Lord God giveth them light” (Rev 22:5). The sun of materialism sets in a black ocean, unlit by the star of hope. But as long as God is, we believe that He will make a new heaven and new earth; and from out of what seems disappointing and hopeless He will bring a fairer creation than before. Creation shall participate in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Watchman what of the night? The morning cometh! The darkness will finally pass away before the radiance of the dawn, and this because God is God; He is Love and Light and His Word creates.

So it is with the individual. Life may be dark. Sin is darkness; sorrow is darkness; ignorance is darkness, and these three may be part of your daily lot. But the night is far spent, the day is at hand. For you the morning star is in the sky. The education of your soul is like that of a child at school. How hard and difficult those first days, but when the rudiments were mastered; when the discipline had played its part, then were reaped the harvests of sowing, and darkness was turned to day. Be of good cheer! Even in death there is nothing to fear. “That night they caught nothing; but when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore.” The dark waves, as they break around the boat of your life, are bearing you onward to the morning meal upon the golden sands, where you will find that Love has gone before you with its preparations! It shall be evening and morning and lo! the day without night.

O God, the darkness and light are both alike to Thee, and the night shineth as the day. Help us to follow Thee even through the valley of the shadow, and to trust Thee whatever be our lot; until the day dawns, and the shadows flee away. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

Walking In God’s Ways And Paths

Shew me Thy ways, O Lord; Teach me Thy paths.

~ Ps 25:4

He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.

~ Mic 4:2

There is a clear difference between a Way and a Path. The one is filled with the throb and stir of the world’s life; the other is comparatively lonely and unfrequented. The roll of vehicles and noisy traffic fills the one, whilst the other is, for the most part, trodden by the individual, being too narrow and quiet for the crowd. It is a great comfort that God has paths as well as ways.

God’s Ways are the great principles on which He acts, the mighty thoroughfares of Creation, Providence, Revelation, Human History, and final Judgment. On these His goings-forth have ever been of old, even from everlasting. To know them is the passionate desire of the purest and loftiest natures. Moses prayed: “Shew me now Thy ways, that I may know Thee,” and God graciously granted his request, for to Moses He made known His Ways, but to Israel only His Acts. There is need for us all to know God’s Ways, especially in this momentous era; because only so can we enter into His rest. In the Old and New Testaments the same warning is repeated: “they shall not enter into My rest, because they have not known My ways” (Psa 95:11; Heb 3:10). We can look out calmly on this troubled world when once we have learnt to know the divine programme of gathering up all things in Christ, who is the Head; when we walk with Him who is the Way to God (Joh 14:6).

The Paths of the Lord may be taken to describe His personal dealings with the individual, who through sickness, or the care of others, or by lonely duty, is isolated from the ordinary worship of the Church, and shut away from fellowship and Christian Ministry. All such may expect and reckon upon the saving help which will come through God’s private communications.

God is faithful to the soul that utterly trusts Him. He always comes on time, not a moment before, nor a moment too late. Remember that all His Paths are Mercy and Truth. Dare to believe that He is coming along a secret pathway to bring the assurance of His mercy and grace to help in this time of need.

Be with me, Lord, as I step out on the untrodden way of this month. I know not what it may bring of joy or sorrow, of temptation or service; but I humbly commit myself and my way to Thee. Make the best that Thou canst of me for Thy glory. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

God’s Partnership With Man

Come now, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh And God said, I AM THAT I AM: Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

~ Exod 3:10-14

Nothing is more needed to-day than God’s Partnership as a realised fact in Christian experience. Many of us may assent to what is written in these lines, and then put it aside, as a dream which is too ethereal to be of practical service. But when the Apostle said that “our fellowship, i.e. our partnership, is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” it is surely meant that we should enter upon our inheritance. “I am… “ says our great Partner; “fill in your need, and I will meet your demand, according to the riches of My glory in Christ Jesus.” Let us tear out the order-forms from God’s service-register, fill them up, and present them for delivery. Not one of them would be dishonoured. And if it happened that we had wrongly diagnosed our need, He would erase the demand based on our imperfect knowledge, and substitute what we would ask if we knew. There is nothing more certain than that the more we ask of God, the more pleased He is to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.

Our Lord made use of this incident when He was challenged by the Sadducees to adduce proof of the future life from the Books of Moses. He answered by quoting this paragraph of the burning bush, calling special attention to the fact that Moses referred to God as the “God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.” He said that the use of the present tense—I AM—proved that God is not the God of the dead but of the living, and that all live unto Him.

What a comfort there is in this thought, that our beloved who have passed from us are in-breathing the same atmosphere as we are. We all eat the same spiritual meat and all drink the same spiritual drink. We see in a mirror darkly, but they face to face; but this identity of fellowship, of partnership with the “I AM,” the ever-present God who fills heaven and earth, is a proof and a pledge that they have not altered essentially. They are drinking of the same stream higher up and nearer its source: “One family we dwell in him.”

Accomplish thy perfect work in our souls, O Father. As yet we are bound with many chains; we tarry among things seen and temporal, we are exposed to the storms of the outer world, and are wrestling with its ills. But we are not dismayed, for we are more than earth and dust, we are akin to Thee, O Spirit of the Lord, and can experience Thy heavenly influence. Fill us with faith and love and hope. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

God’s Guiding Hand In Our Lives

The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want.

~ Ps 23:1

When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.

~ John 10:4

Do you need guidance as to your path? Look unto Jesus; it is always possible to discern His form, though partially veiled in mist; and when it is lost, be sure to stand still until He comes back to find and re-establish the blessed connection. Do not look to impressions which often contradict one another, which rise and fall with variable fickleness, and are like eddies upon a flowing current; do not seek for guidance from friends who will differ from each other, and no two of which will give the same advice on the same grounds, but look away to Christ; throw on Him the responsibility of making you know the way you are to take; leave it to Him to make it so abundantly clear that you cannot do other than follow; even tell Him that you will stand still until He puts His arms under you, and carries you where He would have you be. Do not get anxious or flurried. Put the government of your life upon His shoulder, and leave Him to execute His plan.

Sometimes He guides us to the rest of the green pastures, and the quiet of the still waters. In other words, we are left through happy months and years to fulfil the ordinary commonplaces of life, content to fill a little space, and receiving great increments of spiritual force for future service. At other times, we are guided from the lowland pastures up into the hills. The way is sunny, above us the precipitous cliffs, beneath the dark turbid stream; but this is well; we would not always be lying in the pastures or walking softly by the waters. It is good to climb the heights with their far view and bracing air.

In the late afternoon the Shepherd may lead his flock back into the valleys, through the dark woods, where the branches meet overhead and the wild beast lurks in ambush, but we know that in one hand He has the rod or club, with which to belabour anything that may attack; and in the other the crook to drag us out of the hole. He would not lead us into the dark valley which He had not explored, and whose perils He was not prepared to overcome. Darkness, sorrow, or death do not prove that we have missed His guidance, or have taken the wrong path, but rather that He accounts us able to bear the trial by faith in Himself.

Tell us, O Lord, where Thou art leading Thy flock to-day, that we may follow upon Thy track. We do not ask Thee to come our way, but to teach us Thine. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

Now the God of Peace, make you perfect in every good thing to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.
~ Heb 13:20-21

The Greek word here rendered perfect really means “to put in joint, to complete.” In his original creation man’s will was intended to register the Will of God, to say Yes to it, and to pass the divine impulses and commandments to the rest of our being. Sometimes on board ship, before the phone made it possible for the captain to speak to every part of the ocean-liner, I have heard him quietly utter his orders to a subordinate officer beside him, who in turn repeated them in a loud voice through a speaking-trumpet or tube. That intermediary may represent the will which was intended to receive its directions from the Will of God, and pass them throughout the economy of our being. Such was our Lord’s attitude throughout His earthly life. He said: “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me”; “I seek not My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me”; “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

But in the Fall, the dominance of God’s will and the loyal response of man’s will became disorganised; and the human will instead of functioning in harmony with the Will of God, began to obey the will of the flesh in its grosser or more refined forms. Not what God wills, but what “I” will, has become the working principle of the great majority. Thus it has come about that the will, by constant misuse, has become dislocated, warped, “out of joint.” Tennyson says: “Our wills are ours to make them Thine!” Just so, but they are too stubborn for some of us to manage. Hence the suggestion that we should pass the matter over to the “God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus.”

Sometimes at football, or on the ice, a player may lose his balance, or be tripped up, and in the fall his shoulder may become dislocated. His arm is still in the body, but out of joint, so that it hangs useless by his side, until the surgeon by one strong wrench forces the bone back into its proper place. Is not that true of us? We are in the Body of Christ by redeeming grace, but we need to be set, i.e., to be brought into articulated union with the Will of God in Christ Jesus. Let us humbly ask the great Surgeon of souls, by the pressure of His strong and gentle hands, here and now, to joint our wayward wills with the Will of God, and then to work in us and through us that which is well-pleasing in His sight!

Prayer

Gracious Father! I yield to Thee my will and desires, my members and faculties, the life of my body, the thoughts of my heart, and the aspirations of my spirit–perfect, I pray Thee, that which concerneth me. Amen.

Our Daily Walk

Abiding In Christ

I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from Me ye can do nothing.

~ John 15:5

Our savour’s perennial joy was due to His unceasing endeavour to minister help and blessing to others. He saved others; He could not save Himself. He said: “I am the true Vine,” i.e., the vine was made by Him in creation to represent a certain phase or characteristic of Himself. It is the reflection in the waters of materialism of eternal principles deep-seated in His own divine nature. The study of the vine is, therefore, specially precious in its teaching.

Behind the vine, as we know it, there is an immense pressure of energy. In the spring-tide, it seems as though the love of God were pressing for expression in the corn that supports life, in the oil that makes the face to shine, and in the grape that cheers. The vine cannot bear fruit, of itself; it is only the channel along which the energy of God flows in its endeavour to gladden the heart and life of man. So Jesus is the channel through which the life and love of God reach us, that we may pass them on in loving ministry, and in so doing we are creating and storing up for ourselves infinite joy.

Let each of us learn to abide in Christ with the heart open to Him on the one hand, and open to men, women and children on the other. Then let us trust Christ to pour His love and grace into our hearts, that the pressure within may lead us to perform acts of tender sympathy and helpfulness of which we would not otherwise have been capable. Let us resolve to let no day pass without doing something at cost to ourselves, to make the burden lighter and the path easier for someone else. Our willingness for Christ to do these things through us will always meet a response from Him; and His Spirit being in us will show us exactly what to say or do. It may be only a smile, a touch of the hand, or a word! Thus life will be filled with joy, and this will be perpetuated surely in that other life, when we shall awake and be satisfied. As we mingle with the throngs of happy spirits who have come out of great tribulation—the martyrs, prophets, apostles, and saints of every age—the greatest wonder of all will be that we are there. “Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or athirst, and gave Thee drink? And He will say, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these.., ye did it unto Me.”

Prayer

May I never forget, O Lord, that the best and happiest life must be lived in communion with the needs, sorrows, and trials of others. Give me closer sympathy with Thyself, who didst not please Thyself, but whose blessed life was perpetually laid down for others. Amen.

Walk With Jesus

IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING

Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?

Matthew 2:2

How far is it from St. Louis to Kansas City? About 200 miles if you’re going in the right direction and about 25,000 miles if you’re not!

Whether the goal is to bake a cake, put together a child’s Christmas toy, or—like the wise men in Matthew 2—find the Christ-child, the need is the same: good directions, and the willingness to follow them carefully.

F. B. Meyer offers this insight into the importance of hearing—and heeding—God’s directions.

WALK WITH F. B. MEYER

“God comes to men in the spheres with which they are most familiar: to the shepherds in the fields, to the wise men by a sign in the heavens.

“God knows just where to find us, and in turn provides all we need to find and worship him.

“When we follow God’s guidance, we may be sure that he will not fail to bring us to our goal. He who brings us out will also bring us in.

“The wise men prostrating themselves before the newborn babe were the first of a great procession down through the centuries who have followed them to the same spot.

“We cannot fathom the mystery, but we, like they, can adore and present our gifts, for indeed he is worthy.”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

The road of life can be a baffling route indeed: smooth at times, sometimes full of potholes … one day a well-marked expressway, the next a maze of detours.

But your heavenly Father has provided a road map—the Bible—to keep you moving in the right direction.

Dotting the pages of the Bible like signposts along the way are promises to encourage you, warnings to protect you and commands to detour you from danger.

By following it daily, you, like the wise men, will come safely to your destination. And you too will fall down and worship.

Our Daily Walk

Jesus As King

Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a King, then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King.

~ John 18:37

Our Lord’s Royalty is suggested by the opening paragraphs of St. Matthew’s Gospel, which emphasizes His descent from David; the wise men asked for Him who is born King of the Jews, and Herod feared His rivalry. All through the Gospel narrative, stress is constantly laid on the fact that He was King of the Jews and King of Israel, and it ends with the regal claim that all power and authority in heaven and earth had been entrusted to Him.

Jesus never abated His claim to Kingship, but always made it clear that His ideal was very different from that which was current among the Jews. His conception of Royalty was borrowed from Psa 72:4, where the King is said to judge the poor of the people, and save the children of the needy. It was the collision between His idea of Kingship and that of the Pharisees, which brought Him to the Cross.

For us the lesson is clear. We must begin with the recognition of the royal claims of Christ to our homage and obedience. He only becomes Saviour, in the fullest meaning of the word, when He has been enthroned as King in our hearts. With invariable precision He is described, first as Prince, then as Saviour, and that order cannot be altered without injury to our soul-life (Act 5:31; Rom 10:9; Heb 7:2). The whole content of the New Testament is altered when we view the Royalty of Christ as the chief cornerstone, not only of that structure, but of the edifice of character.

Let us not be afraid of Christ as King. He is meek and lowly, and full of understanding of the problems of our life. He shared our life, and was so poor that He had to trust in the kind offices of a friend to supply His physical needs, and in the palm branches of the peasant crowd for His palfrey and the carpeting of His royal procession; but as we watch it pass, the lowly triumph swells in proportions until it represents the whole race of mankind; and the generations that preceded His advent, and those that follow, sweep down the Ages of human history, proclaiming and acclaiming Christ as King. (Rev 15:3-4, R.V).

Prayer

O God, may our hearts indite good matter, that our mouth may speak of our King. Whilst we adore Him as Wonderful may He become to us the Prince of Peace. Enable us to put the government of our lives upon His shoulder, and of His government and of our peace let there be no end. Amen.