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.

Daily Word of God

Quiet Resting-Places

He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while

~ Mark 6:31

How thoughtful Jesus is for the comfort of His disciples! He never wants to overwork them. He provides seasons and places of rest for them all along the way. One of these “quiet resting-places” is the night, coming after each day of toil. Then our emptied life-fountains are refilled. Another resting-place is the Sabbath, after the week of anxious battle and strife. Then it is that we should seek the renewal of our spiritual life by communing with God, by lying on our Lord’s bosom. The Lord’s Supper is another resting-place. The Master leads us into the upper room to sit with Him at His table, to feast our souls on the provisions of His love and grace.

Then there are many other quiet places to which our Lord invites us to come apart with Him to rest a while, — the sweet hours of prayer, alone, or in the house of God, the communings with friends, the sacred hours we spend in home joys. Sometimes the Master calls us to rest a while in a sick-room, away from the noise and struggle of the busy world. It may be in pain or in suffering, and there may be no bodily rest; but our souls are resting, and we are learning lessons we never could have learned in the midst of life’s exciting toil.

One thing about all these “rests” to which Jesus invites us, is that we are to rest with Him. He never says, “go ye apart and rest,” but ever His word is, “Come ye apart.” The resting is always to be with Him. It is His loving presence that makes the blessedness of the rest. There is no true soul-refreshing for us anywhere, even in the most sacred ordinances, if we do not find Christ there. It is lying on His bosom when we are tired or sorrowing or penitent that rests us. Rest apart from Christ brings no refreshing. So we must be sure that we go apart with the Master.

Today With God

The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.

~ Rom 10:8

Many people never find what they seek, because they do not seek it where it is. They travel far to look for something, which is waiting at their very feet.

They want to find Christ in their needs and heart–hungers, and they strain their eyes looking for Him in the heavens, while all the time He is close to them, closer than the air. “Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down)… The word is nigh thee.” Always Christ is nigh, and we never need to look for Him far off.

A monk was praying for a vision of Christ. A little child came to his door and cried for help, but the monk had no time for the child – he was watching for the vision, which did not appear. At the close of the day he learned that Christ came in the little child, called, sobbed, was refused, and went away.

We should look close to ourselves always for the thing we seek. We need only to listen any moment to hear the voice we want to hear.

Daily Word of God

Joy in the Lord

Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?.

~ Mark 2:19

This was our Lord’s answer to those who thought His religion was too sunny and joyous — that it had not fast-days enough in it. They thought that religion was genuine only when it made people sad, and that its quality was just in proportion to its gloom. But Christ’s reply showed that mournful faces are no essential indicators of heart-piety. Should His disciples be mournful and sad when He was with men, filling their lives with the gladness of His presence? Should Christians profess to be heavy-hearted, wearing the symbols of grief, when they are really filled with joy, and when there is no occasion for sorrow? Why should one who has been saved by the Lord Jesus, and who is rejoicing in full assurance to hope, go about in sackcloth and ashes? Is there any piety in a sad face? Does God love to see his children always in mourning? Is human joy displeasing to our Father?

All these questions are answered here in our Lord’s words. He does not wish His disciples to go mourning and fasting when they have no occasion for such exercises. His words are a defence of Christian joyfulness. Christ wants His friends to be glad. There is an utter incongruity in a sad and mournful Christian life. But its very nature true religion is joyous. Our sins are forgiven. We are adopted into God’s family. We are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. The covenant of love arches its shelter over us all the while. All things in this world work together for our good, and then glory waits for us beyond death’s gate. With all this blessed heritage, why should we be mournful and sad? While we enjoy the smile of Christ, the consciousness of his love, the assurance of his forgiveness, and the hope of heaven and eternal life, what should make us sad? We should have radiant faces.

Daily Comfort

“A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man.”

~ Prov 12:2

It is certainly worth while to have the Lord’s favor. If we know that he is smiling upon us, we need not much mind what the world thinks. Christ’s commendation sweetens even the bitterest of unjust blame. It was very comforting for Mary when the disciples were finding fault, to have Jesus say, “She has wrought a good work.” This approval healed the hurt the disciples’ unfit words had caused.

A good man obtains God’s favor. A good man is one who loves God and does his will. The Scripture does not say a great man, a rich man, a strong man, a man of rank. If any of these were the qualification required, there would be very many people who never could obtain the divine favor; for not many of us are either great, rich, strong, or noble. The qualification is a “good” man. Goodness is within the reach of all of us. If only we are good, it matters little what our condition in other regards may be.

The other side of this proverb is also instructive: “but the LORD condemns a crafty man.” Again, it is not poverty, nor ignorance, nor commonplace condition, which misses the Lord’s favor–but a bad heart, one full of deceit, scheming, and evil designs against others. If we would have God’s favor–we must keep a sincere and pure heart.

Daily Word of God

Faithless Fear

They awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

~ Mark 4:38

These words imply that the disciples thought Jesus was indifferent to them in their danger — that He was neglecting them by sleeping while they were exposed to such peril. But how unjust was this reproach! They were never safer than they were that moment, in the midst of the wild tempest. The bark that bore the Lord could not sink in the sea. Faith should have trusted in the darkness.

Yet do we never, at least in our hearts, make the same complaint of our Lord? When we are in some sore trial, and the trial grows very sore, and He does not come to deliver us; when we seem about to be engulfed by the waves of adversity, and no relief comes down from Him,  do we never say, “Jesus does not care though I perish”? When we pray long and with importunity for the lifting away of some heavy cross, or the lightening of some sore burden, and no answer comes, does the thought never arise in our minds that Jesus does not hear us, or that he does not come to us?

But such complaint is never just. Sometimes he may seem not to care. The disciples had some lessons to learn. One was, how helpless they were in themselves in the world’s dangers. Another was, that Christ alone could deliver them. They could not learn these lessons save in the storm with the Master asleep. So there are similar lessons that we never can learn until Christ withholds his help for a time. And sometimes He hides Himself for a season just to teach us faith. But He is never indifferent to us. He never neglects nor forgets us. His heart ever wakes and watches, and at the right moment He comes and brings deliverance. We should learn to trust our Lord so confidently that in any hour of danger we can nestle down in his bosom, without fear or anxiety, and let Him take care of us.

Today With God

Finding disciples, we tarried there seven days.

~ Acts 21:4

We get a lesson on wayside ministry.  

Some people travel a good deal, stopping at certain places. If they are eager to be helpful to others, they can find opportunities, to do much good in these pauses. When the ship called at Tyre, Paul improved the opportunity to look up the Christians that were there.

Again at Ptolemais he saluted the brethren. It never will be known how much good he did to the Christians at these places.

Paul’s friends, when they learned what awaited him, begged him not to go on. He refused to listen to their pleadings, but no doubt their appeals made it harder for him to go forward to do God’s will.

Peter would have held Jesus from going on to death, but Jesus told him he was acting the part of Satan, tempting Him. When our friends have a hard duty we should encourage them to loyalty, not to faintheartedness. The true follower of Christ should be ready to endure any cost or sacrifice for the name of Christ.

Daily Comfort

“The Lord … who had appeared unto him twice.”

Matthew Henry says: “God keeps account of the gracious visits he makes to us, whether we do or not. He knows how often he has appeared to us, and for us, and will remember it against us, if we turn from him.” Every such gracious visit to us, adds to our responsibility for obedience and holy service.

~ 1 Kings 11:9

When Solomon had seen the Lord in vision, he should have been forever a consecrated man. The eyes which had looked upon the Lord, should never have lusted after earth’s pleasures. The hands which had fashioned a temple for God, should never have built chapels and altars for heathen deities. Solomon’s sins were far greater, because of the special favors God had granted to him. Seeing Christ should set us apart forever for holy living.

Daily Wisdom

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

~ 1 John 1:9

Has the Lord made sin your burden? Has he ever made you feel guilty before him? Has he ever pressed down your conscience with a sight and sense of your iniquities, your sins, your backslidings? And does the Lord draw, from time to time, honest, sincere, unreserved confession of those sins out of your lips? What does the Holy Spirit say to you? What has the blessed Spirit recorded for your instruction, and for your consolation? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”

Not merely on a footing of mercy; still less because you confess them. It is not your confessing them, but it is thus—your confessing them is a mark of divine light; your confessing them springs from the work of grace upon your heart. If, then, you possess divine life, if you have grace in your soul, you are a child of God, Jesus obeyed for you—Jesus suffered for you—Jesus died for you—Jesus has put away your sin. And, therefore, you being a child of God, and Jesus having done all these things for you, God is now “faithful” to his promise that he will receive a confessing sinner; and “just” to his own immutable and truthful character. And thus, from justice as well as mercy, from faithfulness as well as compassion, he can, he will, and he does—pardon, forgive, and sweetly blot out every iniquity and every transgression of a confessing penitent.