Faith’s Checkbook

Fear Has Its Place

Happy is the man that feareth alway.

~ Prov 28:14

The fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness.

He is happy who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong. Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves. It is afraid of error, afraid of neglecting duty, afraid of committing sin. It fears ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy. This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happiness. The watchful sentinel is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post. He who foreseeth evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and is destroyed.

Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, “No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon.” Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle, which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world. Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness. Let us not repeat his trial but abide by his verdict.

Are You There?

I cannot hide from you.

~ Psalm 139:11-12 [NLT]

Are you searching for God but cannot tell if He is answering you? Remember, He is always waiting for you with grace and forgiveness. The question is: are you ready to open the door and invite Him into your life? If you’re not sure, try asking yourself if you wish your parents or siblings were saved by Him. If you wish the most meaningful people in your life were saved, it may be a hidden sign of your own faith in God. 

Faith’s Checkbook

A Name Guarantee
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,
~ John 14:13

It is not every believer who has yet learned to pray in Christ’s name. To ask not only for His sake, but in His name, as authorized by Him, is a high order of prayer. We would not dare to ask for some things in that blessed name, for it would be a wretched profanation of it; but when the petition is so clearly right that we dare set the name of Jesus to it, then it must be granted.

Prayer is all the more sure to succeed because it is for the Father’s glory through the Son. It glorifies His truth, His faithfulness, His power, His grace. The granting of prayer, when offered in the name of Jesus, reveals the Father’s love to Him, and the honor which He has put upon Him. The glory of Jesus and of the Father are so wrapped up together that the grace which magnifies the one magnifies the other. The channel is made famous through the fullness of the fountain, and the fountain is honored through the channel by which it flows. If the answering of our prayers would dishonor our Lord, we would not pray; but since in this thing He is glorified, we will pray without ceasing in that dear name in which God and His people have a fellowship of delight.

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Law in the Heart

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

~ Ps 37:31

Put the law into the heart, and the whole man is right. This is where the law should be; for then it lies, like the tables of stone in the ark, in the place appointed for it. In the head it puzzles, on the back it burdens, in the heart it upholds.

What a choice word is here used, “the law of his God”! When we know the Lord as our own God His law becomes liberty to us. God with us in covenant makes us eager to obey His will and walk in His commands. Is the precept my Father’s precept? Then I delight in it.

We are here guaranteed that obedient-hearted man shall be sustained in every step that he takes. He will do that which is right, and he shall therefore do that which is wise. Holy action is always the most prudent, though it may not at the time seem to be so. We are moving along the great highroad of God’s providence and grace when we keep to the way of His law. The Word of God has never misled a single soul yet; its plain directions to walk humbly, justly, lovingly, and in the fear of the Lord are as much words of wisdom to make our way prosperous as rules of holiness to keep our garments clean. He walks surely who walks righteously.

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A Sound Heart

Let my heart be sound in thy statues: that I be not ashamed.

~ Ps 119:80

We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.

See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart toward the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!

Many will be ashamed in the last great day, when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the Lord; but he who believed what the Lord taught and did what the Lord commanded will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day.

Let us pray the prayer of our text, and we may be sure that its promise will be fulfilled to us. If the Lord makes us sound, He will keep us safe.

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Surefootedness

The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hind’s feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. 

~ Hab 3:19

This confidence of the man of God is tantamount to a promise, for that which faith is persuaded of is the purpose of God. The prophet had to traverse the deep places of poverty and famine, but he went down hill without slipping, for the Lord gave him standing. By and by he was called to the high places of the hills of conflict; and he was no more afraid to go up than to go down.

See! The Lord lent him strength. Nay, Jehovah Himself was his strength. Think of that: the almighty God Himself becomes our strength!

Note that the Lord also gave him surefootedness. The hinds leap over rock and crag, never missing their footholds. Our Lord will give us grace to follow the most difficult paths of duty without a stumble. He can fit our foot for the crags so that we shall be at home where apart from God we should perish.

One of these days we shall be called to higher places still. Up yonder we shall climb, even to the mount of God, the high places where the shining ones are gathered. Oh, what feet are the feet of faith, by which, following the hind of the morning, we shall ascend into the hill of the Lord!

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God Finished His Work

The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.
~ Ps 138:8

He who has begun will carry on the work which is being wrought within my soul. The Lord is concerned about everything that concerns me. All that is now good, but not perfect, the Lord will watch over, preserve, and carry out to completion. This is a great comfort. I could not perfect the work of grace myself. Of that I am quite sure, for I fail every day and have only held on so long as I have because the Lord has helped me. If the Lord were to leave me, all my past experience would go for nothing, and I should perish from the way. But the Lord will continue to bless me. He will perfect my faith, my love, my character, my lifework. He will do this because He has begun a work in me. He gave me the concern I feel, and, in a measure, He has fulfilled my gracious aspirations, He never leaves a work unfinished; this would not be for His glory, nor would it be like Him. He knows how to accomplish His gracious design, and though my own evil nature and the world and the devil all conspire to hinder Him, I do not doubt His promise. He will perfect that which concerneth me, and I will praise Him forever. Lord, let Thy gracious work make some advance this day!

Faith’s Checkbook

An Expert Searcher

For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

~ Ezek 34:11

This He does at the first when His elect are like wandering sheep that know not the Shepherd or the fold. How wonderfully doth the Lord find out His chosen! Jesus is great as a seeking Shepherd as well as a saving Shepherd. Though many of those His Father gave Him have gone as near to hell-gate as they well can, yet the Lord by searching and seeking discovers them and draws nigh to them in grace. He has sought out us: let us have good hope for those who are laid upon our hearts in prayer, for He will find them out also.

The Lord repeats this process when any of His flock stray from the pastures of truth and holiness. They may fall into gross error, sad sin, and grievous hardness; but yet the Lord, who has become a surety for them to His Father, will not suffer one of them to go so far as to perish. He will by providence and grace pursue them into foreign lands, into abodes of poverty, into dens of obscurity, into depths of despair; He will not lose one of all that the Father has given Him. It is a point of honor with Jesus to seek and to save all the flock, without a single exception. What a promise to plead, if at this hour I am compelled to cry, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep!”

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This Body Fashioned Anew

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.

~ Phil 3:21

Often when we are racked with pain and unable to think or worship, we feel that this indeed is “the body of our humiliation,” and when we are tempted by the passions which rise from the flesh we do not think the word vile at all too vigorous a translation. Our bodies humble us; and that is about the best thing they do for us. Oh, that we were duly lowly, because our bodies ally us with animals and even link us with the dust!

But our Savior, the Lord Jesus, shall change all this. We shall be fashioned like His own body of glory. This will take place in all who believe in Jesus. By faith their souls have been transformed, and their bodies will undergo such a renewal as shall fit them for their regenerated spirits. How soon this grand transformation will happen we cannot tell; but the thought of it should help us to bear the trials of today and all the woes of the flesh. In a little while we shall be as Jesus now is. No more aching brows, no more swollen limbs, no more dim eyes, no more fainting hearts. The old man shall be no more a bundle of infirmities, nor the sick man a mass of agony. “Like unto his glorious body.” What an expression! Even our flesh shall rest in hope of such a resurrection!

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Lead the Way

The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail.

~ Deut 28:13

If we obey the Lord, He will compel our adversaries to see that His blessing rests upon us. Though this be a promise of the law, yet it stands good to the people of God; for Jesus has removed the curse, but He has established the blessing.

It is for saints to lead the way among men by holy influence: they are not to be the tail, to be dragged hither and thither by others. We must not yield to the spirit of the age, but compel the age to do homage to Christ. If the Lord be with us, we shall not crave toleration for religion, but we shall seek to seat it on the throne of society. Has not the Lord Jesus made His people priests? Surely they are to teach and must not be learners from the philosophies of unbelievers. Are we not in Christ made kings to reign upon the earth? How, then can we be the servants of custom, the slaves of human opinion?

Have you, dear friend, taken up your true position for Jesus? Too many are silent because diffident, if not cowardly. Should we allow the name of the Lord Jesus to be kept in the background? Should our religion drag along as a tail? Should it not rather lead the way and be the ruling force with ourselves and others?