Today With God

We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

~ Eph 5:30

Nothing in this world means more to God than a beautiful home of love and prayer.

Our chapter for today is given to suggestions as to the making of a home. Each member of the family has a share. There is the husband’s part. He must love his wife and give himself to her, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. This is a high order of love. The wife has a part. She is to love her husband and live for her home. There is a part also for parents. They live for their children. They care for them. They train and teach them. They show them how to live. They are the revealers and interpreters of God to them. There is a part also in the home–making for the children. They are to obey their parents.

People sometimes say facetiously that in these days the commandment runs, “Parents, obey your children.” Where this is the interpretation, it is an unhappy reversal.

The true Christian home is one in which love rules, and where each one fills his own place.

Daily Word of God

The Prodigal’s Return

He was yet a great way off, his father saw him.~  Luke 15:20

The boy had, in the far-away country, a vision of his old home. As he sat there and thought of his dishonour and his ruin, there flashed before him a picture which made him very home-sick. The vision brought back the old home in all its beauty and blessedness. There was plenty there, while here the once happy, favoured son was perishing with hunger.

It was a blessed moment for the prodigal. It was God’s message to him, inviting him to return home. When a child is stolen away from a lovely and tender household, it may be kept among wandering gypsies or savage Indians even to old age, but there are always broken fragments of sweet memories that hang over the soul like trailing clouds in the sky — dim, shadowy memories of something very lovely, very pure, reminiscences of that long-lost, long-forgotten past, when the child lay on the mother’s arms, and was surrounded by beauty and tenderness. So there is something in the heart of every one who has wandered from God that ever floats about him, even in sin’s revels — a fair, ethereal vision, dim and far away mayhap, but splendid as the drapery of the sunset. It is the memory of lost innocence, of the Father’s love, the vision of a heavenly beauty possible of restoration to the worst.

When the prodigal reached home he found his vision realized. His father was watching for him — had long been watching for him. It is a picture of the heavenly Father’s loving welcome of every lost child of His that comes back home. Thus He receives the worst who comes penitently. Our sweetest dreams of God’s love are a thousand times too poor and dim for the reality. A great way off God sees the returning prodigal, and runs to meet him. No matter how far we have wandered, there is a welcome waiting for us at home.

Daily Word of God

The Beggar’s Escort

The beggar died, and, was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.

~ Luke 16:22

Nothing is said about his funeral — of course it was only a pauper’s. Earth had no honour for the beggar, no splendid coffin, no flowers; but the angels came, and were his bearers and escort to glory. Notice also that nothing is said about what became of his body; but little matter, for the man himself was no longer in that old, worn-out, battered frame. He was soon far away in a realm of brightness. While the body was dropped, the beggar, the real man, was carried away to heaven; and we see him there, a beggar no longer, enjoying blessedness.

There is still another thought here. We dread death. It seems the end of existence. But really to the Christian it is only an incident in his life. It is just a moment’s passage through an experience we never can understand; and then — glory. One minute this poor beggar lies at the gate, despised, suffering, hungry; the next, a strange sensation passes over him, and all is confusion; then he awakes flying through the air with angel-escort, and in a little time is inside the gate of pearl, and lives on. There is no break in his life.

Death came also to the rich man. His riches could not save him from that. No doubt he had a splendid funeral. There would be a long procession, many mourners, great waste of perfumes, every show of honour. But who would not rather have the beggar’s escort after death than the finest funeral earth ever gave to mortal? There have been funerals of rich men at which there was genuine sorrow, where those who had been blessed by their benevolence came and wept by their coffins. But in this case there were no sincere mourners, for the man had allowed the needy to lie hungry at his gates. He had lived for himself only and no one really missed him when he was gone.

Daily Word of God

The Home of Bethany

A certain man was sick … Lazarus, of Bethany.

~ John 11:1

This home at Bethany was wondrously favoured. The family seems to have been wealthy. It was a loving home, the three members named being bound together by very close and tender ties. This we know from the fact that Jesus found it such a congenial home for Himself. He surely would not have chosen a quarrelsome household for His own abiding-place. He could not have found a refuge there if it had been anything but a home filled with love’s sweetness.

We know that it was an affectionate household, also, from the sorrow of the sisters when their brother was dead. As we read the matchless story we are sure it was no ordinary tie that bound the family together. In too many homes brothers and sisters are not to each other what they might be. Ofttimes there is at least a lack in the showing of the love. Brothers and sisters should not only love one another, but they should be kindly and affectionate in their intercourse together.

Then it was a favoured home, also, because it was the one which Jesus chose to be the resting-place for His heart in the still evenings after the fierce strifes with His enemies in the temple. It was His love for the members of this family, and the honour He put upon their home, by which the little town of Bethany was immortalized.

Yet, highly favoured as was this home in these ways, sickness came into it. We get some lessons. No home can be made which will shut sickness out of its chambers. Wealth cannot keep it away, love cannot. Yet we learn, also, that sickness in our home is no proof that Christ does not love us. Into the households that are dearest to Him pain and sorrow come; but we shall see that in the end blessing to the family and glory to God come from the trial. These thoughts should comfort us when sickness comes into our households.

Daily Comfort

“What do you see now?” he asked. I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each one having seven spouts with wicks.”

~ Zech 4:2

A lampstand suggests light. Every Christian should be a light-bearer. God wants us to shine. The world is dark, and we are to pour light into its darkness. Our character must shine. That means, to put it very simply, that we must be holy.

To be holy, is to be first pure in heart. A little child said she liked best of all the beatitudes, the one about a pure heart, because if she had that blessing she would have all the others too. A pure, holy, loving heart–will make a life shine. “God is love,” and we are like God just so far as we are loving. That means love to God first, and then love to all men. We are therefore to be obedient, trustful, and reverent toward God–and gentle, unselfish, patient, thoughtful, kindly and helpful toward men.

We will find that it is not always easy, to shine with love’s light. The candle wastes, burns itself up, in shining. So does life. It costs to be unselfish, patient, thoughtful, and useful. We have to be forgiving, to bear injuries sweetly, to deny ourselves and make personal sacrifices, continually, in order to be gentle, patient, and kind when others are crude to us. It costs to shine; nevertheless we are to shine. Christ gave his blessed life–to be consumed on the candlestick of divine love, to light the world.

Daily Word of God

The Good Shepherd

He calleth his own sheep by name.

~ John 10:3

There is a great difference between the care which the owner gives and that which a servant or hireling gives. There is a difference between the way a true mother looks after her child and the way a hired nurse does it. This is seen especially when the child is sick or in danger. The nurse serves for pay; the mother serves for love. Christ the Good Shepherd is the owner of His sheep.

There is something very sweet in the thought that Christians are Christ’s own. It suggests how dear they are to Him. “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” The thought also brings with it the assurance of love and care. His will is that “his own,” shall be with Him in heaven forever. The thought suggests also much about our duty to Christ. If we are of “his own,” He has the entire right to the disposal of our lives and our services.

There is something very wonderful in the thought that Christ calls His sheep by their individual names. There are some pastors who do not know their people by name when they have but a few hundred to know. Christ has millions scattered over all the world; it is hard for us to realize that every one of these He knows personally by name. The Bible tells us that He calleth the stars by their names, but then the stars are so big that it does not seem so strange. But here is a poor widow, one of “his own,” living in a desolate garret in the heart of a great city, amid thronging thousands. Does He know her name? Here is a little orphan child, one of “his own,” left with no human friend to protect. Does He know this little one? Certainly He does. This ought to be a very precious truth to everyone who loves Christ and belongs to Him. He knows if any of “his own” are suffering or in need, or if they are in danger; and He will never neglect even the least of “his own.”

Daily Word of God

Passing By

By chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

~ John 8:34

We must not suppose that all priests were thus cold and heartless. Ministers are generally warm-hearted men; they ought all to be so; they ought to set the people the example of kindness and sympathy; they ought to be like Christ — and He was always ready to help anybody in trouble. No doubt many of the Jewish priests were kind and generous; but here was one who was not. This shows us that being a priest or a minister does not make any one tender-hearted; one may occupy a very sacred place, and yet have a cold and hard heart. But it is very sad when it is so.

This priest did not even stop to look at the sufferer, or to ask him how he came to be injured, or to inquire what he could do for him. He kept as far to the other side of the road as he could get; perhaps he even pretended not to see the wounded man. No doubt he had excuses ready in his own mind. He was in a great hurry, or he was very tired, or he could not do anything for the poor man if he should stop, or he was very tender-hearted and could not bear to look on blood.

No matter about his motives; it is more to our purpose to avoid repeating his fault. Do we never pass by human wants that we know well we ought to stop to relieve? Do we never keep out of the way of those whose needs strongly appeal to us? Do we never have trouble hunting up excuses to satisfy our own clamorous consciences because we have passed by some one we ought to have helped? Some people look the other way when they are passing a blind man on the wayside. Ministers have refused to go to see sick people because they were weary. Persons have stayed away from church because there was to be an appeal for money for a needy cause. This verse is an ugly mirror, isn‘t it? It shows us blemishes that we didn‘t know we had.

Daily Word of God

Experience the Best Evidence

Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him before before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

~ John 7:51

Nicodemus asked justice for Jesus, and pleaded that He should not be condemned without a fair hearing. the same principle of justice should appeal now to men who are uttering hostile opinions of Christ. His enemies are never really those who have by experience proved His promises unworthy of confidence. The world has never yet known of a true follower of Christ who has honestly made experiment of Christ’s salvation and has been disappointed.

All who have trusted Him have found every word true on which He caused them to hope. No one that has tried Him as Saviour, Deliverer, Helper, and Friend has ever become His enemy. Those who oppose Christ are they who know nothing about Him by experience. They judge Him before they hear Him. But is this just? Is it right to condemn any man if we really have no knowledge of the facts alleged against Him? Would it be right to condemn a book we had never read, or of which we had no actual knowledge?

Surely no one has any right to be an enemy of Christ without having honestly and conscientiously examined Christ’s claims and then proved them untrue and unworthy of confidence. No one should put away Christ until he find something better than Christ — something that will do more for him, that will bring him better help in trouble, a better salvation in his lost condition, that will make a better man of him, lifting him up to nobler heights of holiness and beauty.

The best evidence of Christianity always is experience. “Come and see,” was all the eager disciple asked, when the man invited doubted. “Come and see” is better always than argument. If we can only get people to try Christ’s religion for themselves, there is no danger that they will condemn it.

Daily Comfort

“So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat from her supply of flour and oil for many days.”

~ 1 Kgs 17:15

Had not the prophet come to the widow’s door, she and her household would probably have perished in the famine. Or had the woman refused the prophet’s request, saying, “I cannot spare anything for a stranger; charity begins at home, and I must look first after my own,” she and her son would have starved before the rain fell. The meal wasted not, because she shared it with another.

The lesson is plain. There is a withholding that tends to poverty; there is a giving that enriches. The way to make sure of spiritual blessing is–to seek to be a blessing. If your love is growing cold, help someone, and it will become warm again. We cannot afford to shut our doors in the face of those whom God sends to us for sympathy and for the ministries of love. Such serving brings to us blessings which we must not miss.

Daily Word of God

Christ Walking on the Sea

When they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out.

~ Mark 6:49

It seems strange to us that the disciples should ever have been afraid of their own Master. They had been in great distress all the night because He was not with them. There was nothing they had desired so much all those long dark hours as that He would come to them. Yet now, when He came, they were in terror at the sight of Him. It was because they did not know it was He that His presence so affrighted them.

It is ofttimes just so with us. We are in some need or danger, and Jesus does not come to us. We call upon Him, and most earnestly desire His coming; yet He comes not. At length He comes, but it is not as we expected, in lovely visage and gentle mien, but in the form of terror. It is in some great trial that He comes. Death enters our door and carries away a loved one. We experience some loss or some misfortune, at least it seems to us loss or misfortune. We cry out in terror. We do not know it is the Christ, veiled in the dark robe, that has come. We do not know that this is the answer to our prayer for His presence and His help. We are affrighted at the form that moves over the waters in the dark night. We think it is new danger, when really it is the very divine love and divine help for which we have been longing and pleading.

We ought to learn that Jesus is in every providence that comes to us. He does not come in the sunshine only; quite as frequently it is in the shadow that He draws nigh. It is our duty as Christians to train ourselves to see Christ in each event. Then, whether it be sorrow or joy that knocks at our door, we shall give it like loving welcome, knowing that Jesus himself is veiled in whatever form it is that enters. Then we shall find that when we welcome Him in the sombre garments of pain, He has always a rich blessing for our lives.