Wisdom

For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”

[Rom 1:17 NET]

A life of faith in Christ is as necessary to our present and experimental salvation, as his death upon the cross was to our past and actual salvation. If you are alive to what you are as a poor fallen sinner, you see yourself surrounded by enemies, temptations, sins, and snares; and you feel yourself utterly defenseless, as weak as water, without any strength to stand against them. Pressed down by the weight of unbelief, you see a mountain of difficulty before your eyes, sometimes in providence and sometimes in grace. You find, also, that your heart is a cage of unclean birds, and that in you, that is, in your flesh, there dwells no good thing; neither will nor power have you in yourself to fight or flee.

How then shall this mountain become a plain? How shall you escape the snares and temptations spread in your path? How shall you get the better of all your enemies, external, internal, infernal, and reach heaven’s gate safe at last? If you say, “By the salvation already accomplished,” are you sure that that salvation belongs to you? Where is the evidence of it, if you have no present faith in Christ? How can that past salvation profit you for present troubles unless there be an application of it? It is this application and manifestation of salvation which is being saved by his life (Rom. 5:10).

See how it works; and what a suitability is in it. You are all weakness, and he is and has all strength, which he makes perfect in your weakness. You are all helplessness against sin, temptation, and a thousand foes. But help is laid upon Christ as one that is mighty; he therefore sends you help from the sanctuary and strengthens you out of Zion (Psalm 20:2), that these sins and enemies may not get the better of you.

Evening Prayer

WORK IN THE HARVEST

[Ecclesiastes 11:6; Matthew 9:38; 1 Timothy 5:13]

I pray that you will not be an idle person, going around aimlessly from place to place. Instead, I pray that you will live each day with purpose and produce good fruit. I pray that you will ask our Lord, the Lord of the harvest, to send you out into His harvest field. May God open your eyes to people’s unmet needs, and move you to meet their needs. May you sow seeds of goodness that will reap a harvest of righteousness. Be fruitful today!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Blessings

How blessed are those who find their strength in you, and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! As they pass through the Baca Valley, he provides a spring for them. The rain even covers it with pools of water.

[Ps 84:5-6 NET]

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

they make it a place of springs;

the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,

until each appears before God in Zion.”

[Psalm 84:5-7]

David casts a glimpse here at those pilgrims who were taking their upward journey to worship God in Zion. He marks their road, and takes occasion to spiritualize it; for he says, “In whose heart,” in whose experience, in whose soul, “are the ways” of these pilgrims Zionward.

What are these “ways?” It is this, that “passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a well.” This valley of Baca appears to have been a very perilous pass, through which pilgrims journeyed toward Jerusalem; and on account of the difficulties, dangers, and sufferings that they met with, it was named “the valley of Baca,” or “the valley of weeping,” “the valley of tears.”

But the Psalmist says, “Blessed is the man in whose heart are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well.” Here is the distinctive character of the true pilgrim. Not that he is journeying merely through the “valley of Baca;” not that his eyes are drowned in tears; not that his heart is filled with sorrows; not that his soul is cut with temptations; not that his mind is tried by suffering. But this is his distinctive feature—he “makes it a well.” This the ungodly know nothing of; this the professing world, for the most part, are entirely unacquainted with; but this is the secret which “no fowl knows, and which the vulture’s eye has not seen.”

One feature of the “valley of Baca” was, that the burning sun above, and the parched ground beneath, at the time of year when the pilgrims traveled, made the whole valley arid and dry. But “they made it a well.” There were wells dug in this valley of Baca for the pilgrims to slake their thirst at. And David, looking at these wells dug for the pilgrims, applies them spiritually to the refreshment that the Lord’s people meet with in their course Zionward. “Make it a well;” that is, there are from time to time sweet refreshments in this valley of tears; there are bubblings up of divine consolation; there are fountains of living waters, streams of heavenly pleasures.

I remember a friend of mine telling me, that once while journeying through one of the deserts in Asia, he and his companions came to a well; and their disappointment when they found the well was dry he said no language could depict; their grief and trouble when, after hours of traveling, they came at night to encamp by the well, and found that the sun had dried it up, were indeed most acute. As, therefore, none but pilgrims through the dry and parched valley could adequately feel the sweetness of the natural well; so none but spiritual pilgrims, afflicted, exercised, and harassed, can appreciate the sweetness of the “pure water of life” with which the Lord at times refreshes the soul.

Prayer Guide

May I hear about your loyal love in the morning, for I trust in you. Show me the way I should go, because I long for you.

[Ps 143:8 NET]

Could we by a wish

Have what we will and get the future now,

Would we wish aught done undone in the past?

So, let him wait God’s instant men call years;

Meantime hold hard by truth and his great soul,

Do out the duty! Through such souls alone

God stooping shows sufficient of his light

For us i’ the dark to rise by. And I rise.

~ Robert Browning ~

Press not thy purpose on thy Lord,

Urge not thy erring will,

Nor dictate to the Eternal mind

Nor doubt thy Maker’s skill.

~ Lydia H. Sigourney ~

My Father,

Help me to see that in my portion of work thou hast entrusted me to help further thy kingdom. Correct me if I am wrong in interpreting thy way. May I concentrate my mind and make my heart and hands do the work which thou hast given for me to do.

Amen.

Today With God

But I found that he had done nothing that deserved death, and when he appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him.

[Acts 25:25 NET]

Paul had been assured that he would witness for Christ at Rome. But the way to Rome was a long one for him. He was kept in prison, and prevented from reaching his destination promptly. But we may be sure that no time was really lost.

God’s plans often move slowly, and if we try to hurry them we only do harm.

The Roman courts were the shelter divinely provided for Paul in those days. His appeal to Caeser saved him. If he had been in the hands of the Jews, he would have been killed. But Roman justice was a wall about him which shielded him. Paul’s mission was to go Rome as a missionary, and Rome carried him there.

God’s hand moves in all the world’s events. Paul’s affairs filled a large place in men’s thoughts in those days. The Jews kept clamouring at the door of Festus for his death. But Festus found that they had no charge against him worthy of attention. So Paul’s appeal to Caesar protected him from his enemies.