Daily Word of God

Magnificat

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

~Luke 1:46

No wonder that Mary sang that day. At the shut gate of the garden of Eden there was a promise given of a Saviour, a Saviour — who should be “the seed of the woman.” Ever after that, all along the line of the covenant, each woman hoped that she might be the mother of this Saviour. Centuries passed, and generations of disappointed hearts saw their hopes fade. At length one day a heavenly messenger came to this lowly Nazarite maiden, and announced to her that she should be the mother of this long-expected Messiah. What a glorious honour! No wonder she rejoiced. One strain of her song was, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” We cannot make God any greater; He needs nothing from us. Can the candle add to the glory of the sun’s noon-day splendour? Yet we can so tell others of God that He will seem greater to them. It was said in praise of a distinguished preacher that in his sermons he made God appear very great. We can declare God’s goodness and grace. Then we can so live ourselves as to honour Him, and thus magnify His name.

Retzsch, a German sculptor, made a wonderful statue of the Redeemer. For eight years it was his dream by night, his thought by day. He first made a clay model, and set it before a child five or six years old. There were none of the usual emblematical marks about the figure, no cross, no crown, nothing by which to identify it. Yet, when the child saw it he said, “The Redeemer! the Redeemer!” This was a wonderful triumph of art. We should exhibit in our life and character such a reproduction of the nobleness and beauty of Christ that everyone who looks upon us may instinctively recognize the features, and say, “Behold the image of our Redeemer!” There is no other way of magnifying the Lord that so impresses the world.

Daily Word of God

Rejecting Christ

He came unto his own, Christ and his own received him not.

~ John 1:11

The picture represents Christ coming with infinite grace to those He loved, and to His own people, only to be rejected by them and turned away from their doors. This was one of the saddest things about the Savior’s mission to this world. He was the God of glory and of life. He came to bring heaven to earth, but when He stood at men’s doors and knocked, the doors were kept closed upon Him, and He had to turn and go away again, bearing back in His hands the precious gifts and blessings He had brought and wished to leave.

We say the Jews, “his own,” were very ungrateful to treat their Messiah in this way; and also that their rejection was a terrible wrong to themselves for they thrust away in Christ the most glorious things of heaven and eternity. But how is it with ourselves? Christ comes to us. He is continually coming. His hands are full of blessings. He has eternal life to bestow. Do we receive Him? Is it not true of us that He comes unto His own, and His own receive Him not?

Do we really take from the hand of Christ all that He offers to us? Do we not daily grieve Him and rob ourselves of blessings by declining what He brings? Especially do we reject Christ often when He comes to us in the garb of pain or sorrow. Many times the blessings He brings to us then are the very richest and the most precious in all His store. But how many of us receive Christ as gladly, and take the gifts from His hand as cheerfully and gratefully, when He comes in grief or suffering, as when He comes in the garb of joy or worldly prosperity? Why should we not do so? Can we not trust His love and wisdom? He never sends pain unless pain is best. He never chastens unless there is a blessing in chastening.

Daily Comfort

“Returning the third time, he said to them, Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners!”

~ Mark 14:41

We need to learn the importance of timeliness in duty. There are many things which if done today, will prove untold blessings–but which tomorrow, it will not be worthwhile to do. It is today the sick neighbor needs your visit, your help; tomorrow he may be well, or others shall have ministered to him, or he may be dead. It is today that the tempted one needs your cheer; tomorrow he may be defeated, lying in the dust of shame. Tomorrow is a fatal word; countless thousands of hopes have been wrecked on it.

Daily Word of God

Prize Present Blessings

Their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

~ Luke 24:31

All along the way Jesus had walked with these disciples, pouring the warmth of His spirit upon them; but they did not recognize Him until the moment of His vanishing out of their sight. It is the same with us and many of our best blessings. We do not recognize them till they are taking their flight. We do not prize health till it is broken. Our common privileges we do not value till something deprives us of them. Our homes appear old-fashioned till we are thrown upon the world homeless.

It is the same with our friends. We do not see the beauties of their character, not perceive their real worth, until in some way we have lost them. This is specially true of the friends who are nearest to us in our own households. They seem to us commonplace, because they are always moving before us. Their help is so perpetual, and their ministry is so unbroken, that we do not learn their value to us. But some day one of these friends vanishes out of our sight. The familiar form is seen no more. The voice of tender love is heard no more. The quiet, gentle ministry ceases. To-morrow we miss the friend; then in the vanishing we learn what he was to us. Very sadly one has sung,

And she is gone, sweet human love is gone!  
‘Tis only when they spring to heaven that angels  
Reveal themselves to you; they sit all day  
Beside you, and lie down at night by you,  
Who care not for their presence: muse or sleep,  
And all at once they leave you. Then you know them!  
We are so fooled, so cheated.

Should we not get a lesson here in these closing days of the year? Shall we not try to prize our blessing while we have them? The vacant chair should not be the first revealer of a loving friend.

Daily Comfort

“He who is righteous–let him do righteousness still.”

~ Rev 22:11

The life in the eternal world–will not be different from the life here. The same good things we have learned to do here–we shall continue to do there. Those who have learned here to do righteousness shall continue, in the other life, to do righteousness. We shall still obey God there, and do his will; only we shall be more obedient than we have been here, and shall do his will better–perfectly! We shall love God there with all our heart, and love each other as ourselves; our life there shall be a perfect brotherhood, and heaven shall be a perfect home. It will still be more blessed there to give than to receive. They will still be chief there, who shall serve. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, meekness, gentleness, goodness, truth–will still be fruits of the Spirit there–as they are here.

Life in heaven will not be so strange to us as we think, if we have learned to do God’s will in this world. The everlasting life begins the moment we believe on Christ. While we remain on this earthly sphere, it is hindered and hampered by the limitations of earth, but in all true Christian experiences there are intimations of what the full blessedness will be. When we reach heaven the life begun here will go on, only without hindrance, limitation, or imperfection, forever. We are taught to pray that the will of God may be done on earth–as it is in heaven. Thus we are to get ready here for heaven.

Daily Word of God

Go and Tell Peter

Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter.

~ Mark 16:7

Why “and Peter”? Why was Peter named, and none of the other disciples? Had Peter been the most loyal and faithful of all the Master’s friends, that he deserved such a mark of distinction as this? Oh no; we remember how Peter had fallen. The last word that had dropped upon the ear of Jesus from His lips was a bitter word of denial. Peter had acted worse than any other of the disciples.

Why, then, did Jesus send this special word to Peter? It was just because he had sinned. That last look of the Saviour broke his heart, and he went out into the night a penitent man, weeping bitterly. Those had been dark days for him since Jesus died. Not only was he overwhelmed with sorrow at the death of his Lord, whom he truly and most dearly loved, but his grief was made bitter beyond endurance by the remembrance of his own base denial at the very last. Deep must this sorrow have been, and all the deeper because he would never be able to ask forgiveness. How he must have longed to have Jesus back, if but for one moment, to confess his sin and crave pardon!

Jesus left this special word for Peter with the angel at the tomb, because He knew of the bitterness of His disciple’s sorrow. Peter might have been saying, when he heard Jesus had risen, “Perhaps He will not own me any more,” and so Jesus sent this message with Peter’s name in it specially, just to let him know that he was forgiven and would not be cast off. What a world of comfort there is in this “and Peter” for any who have sinned and are penitent! Those who have fallen are the very ones who receive the deepest, tenderest compassion from Jesus, because they need it most, and because He would help them to rise again. The gospel always has its special word for the penitent; Christ still comes to call the sinner.

Mornings With God

He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

~ Luke 13:22

Jesus was always going about doing good. He did a great many miracles, but there is reason to believe that, for every miracle he wrought, He performed a thousand little common kindnesses. Our verse for the day tells the story of we know not how many of these little kindnesses as He went through the hamlets and country places. No doubt each of the villages through which He passed was enriched by His coming. He left sicknesses healed, sorrows comforted, homes brightened, children blessed. For weeks and months the people would talk about His visit and the kindnesses He wrought.

Sometimes Jesus would take a long journey just to help one person. For example, His visit to Nain was made for the purpose of meeting a mother on her way to the grave with the body of her only son. He met the funeral procession and restored the boy to his mother. We should be ready to go leagues just to wipe away a tear or give relief to a sufferer.

Daily Comfort

“I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

~ Phil 1:23-24

Two desires draw upon our hearts if we are living in this world as citizens of heaven. The heavenly life woos us with its visions of bliss, its being with Christ, its tearless joy, its disenthrallment from sin, its realizations of holy hopes. At the same time, earth has its strong hold upon us. It is natural to want to live; any other desire in ordinary conditions is unwholesome. Human affections form a network of chains binding us to this life. So we are all “torn between the two desires.”

Daily Word of God

Watch Unto Prayer

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak

~ Matt 26:41

We must learn both to watch and pray. It is good to watch. There is danger everywhere. An army in an enemy’s country never rests a moment without its encircling line of pickets, keeping watch against danger at every point, and reporting instantly any hostile movement. We are living in the enemy’s country, and cannot safely pass an hour without watching. But watching is not enough; for we are not able to keep ourselves when the danger comes. Hence we need also to pray asking God to keep us. But as watching without praying is not enough, neither is praying without watching. God means us to use our eyes and to keep our wits about us, as well as to cry to Him for help

We must not say that every one who makes a good profession, and then fails, is insincere or a hypocrite. Peter was neither when he made his bold avowal that he would never deny Christ, and that he could die with Him. He loved Christ, and meant to be true to Him. Peter’s spirit was eager and earnest, but he was weak in himself; and because he relied only on himself, he was not able to hold out against the sore temptations which came upon him.

We are all just like Peter. If we are true Christians we mean to be faithful to our Lord. But sincerity is not enough. “The flesh is weak,” and we need to rest continually upon God for help to be true and faithful. If young Christians would learn this lesson they would not fall so easily. If the drunkard who resolves to reform learned it, he would be safer and stronger. No matter how good his intentions are, he is not able of himself to fulfil them. None of us are as good as we want to be and strive to be; and only through the mighty help of Christ can any of us live a true and noble life amid all the world’s temptations and dangers.

Daily Comfort

Unconfessed sins give bitterness. It is written in the old psalm: “When I refused to confess my sin, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

~ Ps 32:3-4

But the moment he made confession, back on the echo of his prayer of penitence came the assurance of pardon, “I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord“ and you forgave the guilt of my sin!”

~ Psalm 32:5

That is always the way. God loves to forgive. The instant he hears the voice of penitence, he speaks the word of remission. So we learn the only way to get clear of our sins we must put them out of our heart, by sincere and humble confession. Then they will trouble us no more forever.

Some people try to flee from their sins–but they can never get away from them. Their sins are a part of themselves. Some people try to hide from God when they have sinned but this also is a vain effort. Adam and Eve tried this, hiding in the garden after their transgression, when they heard the footsteps of God approaching. The only safe flight from sin and from God is to God. In his mercy there is secure and eternal refuge.