Today With God

But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him.

~ Luke 24:16

There is a picture of a woman in great sorrow. She is sitting beside the sea, looking out upon the dark waters, which have swallowed down her heart’s treasures. Close behind her is an angel with his harp, whose strings he is gently touching. But the woman is not aware of the angel’s presence and is uncomforted by the music of the celestial harp.

So it ofttimes is with mourners when Jesus Himself comes to give them consolation. In their grief they are unaware of His presence and deaf to His words of love.

We go afar in quest of Christ, while all the time He is close beside us. “Sir Launfal wandered over all the earth in search of the Holy Grail; and when at last, after long years had flown, he returned aged and bent to his old home, lo! there under his own castle walls did he find the object of his search.

So often we will find close by us, in the Scriptures we already possess, in the circumstances in which we are placed, the help we are seeking and the truth we need.”

Today With God

But whom say ye that I am?

~ Matt 16:15

It really does matter what one thinks about Christ.  

For example, if we consider Him as only a man, we may admire His personal character and His teachings, but we cannot trust Him as our Saviour. A mere man could not by His death make atonement for our sins. A man could not deliver us in temptation, nor help us in weakness, nor guide us in the tangled paths of life.

But if we believe in Christ as a divine being, all this is changed. His death was of sufficient value to atone for all sin. He is able to defend, deliver, and save His people. An important question is what is Christ to us personally? Is He only in our creed, or is He our personal Saviour, our friend, our Lord? It is this form of the question that most concerns us.

There is only one person for whose opinions and beliefs we are individually responsible, and that is – our–self. Then mere opinions are not enough; we must have a personal, living faith in Christ if we would be saved.

Today With God

He shall separate them one from another.

~ Matt 25:32

Our Lord’s parable of the Judgement is wonderfully suggestive.  

There will be a great separation on that day of days. Men’s relation to Christ will determine their destiny. Great crimes are not charged against those who are assigned to the King’s left hand – the charge is that they have failed to be kind to those who needed kindness. They are condemned for not doing.

This is a startling truth. We sin against Christ when we pass by those who are suffering or are in need of help.

Another wonderful revelation here is that Christ puts Himself in the place of His friends in this world, so that what we do to them we do to Him, and when we neglect one of His, even the lowliest, we neglect Him. “I was hungry, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink.”

This should make us kind to every needy or suffering one who comes before us. It may be Christ. It will be very sad if we turn Him hungry from our doors.

Today With God

These are the things which defile a man.

~ Matt 15:20

It is right to have clean hands, but it is more important to have a clean heart. Some people are most punctilious about minute ceremonies, while they pay small heed to the moralities of their lives. It is the inner life that makes character. A bad heart defiles everything; it is a nest of unholy things.

A lady took a dead child’s photograph and touched it with her brush until the little one seemed to live in the picture. But in a day or two the face was covered with blotches. There was something on the paper on which the picture had been taken which worked up through the colors and spoiled it. So in many a life there are bad qualities which work up through all outside manners and refinements, and spoil the beauty.

The Syrophenician woman knew she was in the presence of One who could heal her child, and she simply would not go away till she got her plea; her importunity prevailed upon Him. We give up too easily when the answer is slow in coming.

Today With God

Bring him hither to Me.

~  Matt 17:17

Visions are given to prepare for tasks. At the foot of the Transfiguration Mount a father was waiting with his distressed boy to have him healed. While we are sitting in rapture at the Lord’s Supper somebody is outside with a great need. We do not know how often we fail to help those in need or trouble because we have not enough faith. Jesus is the strong Son of God, and there is nothing He cannot do.

We ought to make the most we can of our life and do all the good we can. It is wrong for any of us, with our splendid abilities, to stay in “contented insignificance.” The Master wants us to be great and to do great things. But there are mistaken opinions about what it is to be great. Jesus’ disciples thought if they held high positions in the world they would be great. Jesus told them that childlikeness was the highest greatness. We are greatest when we are not aware of being great at all. Simplicity, trust, the absence of ambition, contentment – these are marks of greatness.

Today With God

Peter, James, and John his brother.

~ Matt 17:1

Jesus had His special friendships. All the apostles belonged to His personal family, but there were three who enjoyed closest intimacy with Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane these three were chosen to be nearest to Him, that by their sympathy they might strengthen Him and thus help Him to endure His sore agony.

There must have been something in these three men which fitted them for the place in the inner circle to which they were admitted. It was not mere blind partiality in Jesus that made them His best beloved. We know that the holiest get nearest to Christ. Faith also brings us near, while doubt and unbelief separate. Purity of heart brings us close – The pure in heart shall see God. Likeness to Christ fits for personal friendship.

Jesus said that those who serve most self–forgetfully are first in His kingdom. Selfishness keeps us far off. It is a comfort to find Peter, though very faulty, was admitted to closest friendship with Christ.

Today With God

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.

~ Mark 12:27

Jesus is the only Teacher whose words concerning the other world we may safely believe. Other men only speculate; Jesus knows the things He declares. There is impenetrable mystery about the grave. Where are the dead? Is there anything after death? The words of Jesus to the Sadducees seem very plain, and they tell us much that we are eager to know. When He says of the dead that they are “as angels in heaven,” He probably has reference only to one matter, that they make up one community, and are not gathered again in separate families, as on earth.

The teaching of Jesus concerning the nature of death itself is far from important. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” That is, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not dead, but living that day at the burning bush. Moses and Elijah were living, too, in Christ’s own time, for they visited Him on the Transfiguration Mount. So our loved ones who believed in Christ are living just as really as ever they lived.

Today With God

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father.
~ 1 Tim 5:1

It takes a great deal of tact to tell others of their faults so that good will come from the telling. Not many people accept reproof or criticism kindly. Many resent any and every suggestion of fault or blame. One would think that children would be glad to have their parents tell them of their mistakes, but even children are too often vexed by words of reproof, however gently given.

If only we could see how we might be benefited by learning of our faults, we should rejoice when anyone points out something in us that is unbeautiful. But most of us are proud, and it hurts us for any person to tell of anything in us that is a blemish. So it requires all the wisdom and delicacy of touch we can command to administer reproof. Some people just blurt it out, without any attempt to do it gently. If we have to give reproof, we would better do it in as kindly a way as possible. Paul suggested that an elder should not be rebuked but exhorted, and that gently.

Tonight With God

The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant.

~ 1 Tim 1:14

Some one has said that to him the greatest wonder in the story of divine grace was that he himself had been saved. Paul seems to have felt the same wonder regarding himself. He had been a blasphemer, a persecutor; yet Christ had chosen him for His service. In this the grace of Christ abounded exceedingly.

Note also that the apostle says as to the reason why he had been thus saved: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief – chief of sinners – might Jesus Christ shew forth all His longsuffering, for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe on Him.” That is, the reason Paul was forgiven and made a preacher was that no other sinner need ever despair. If he could be forgiven, after all he had done against Christ, anybody could be forgiven. Christ saved the chief sinner that lesser sinners ever after might have confidence as they sought mercy. But every one of us may also wonder why we are saved, for not one of us is worthy.

Today With God

This beginning of miracles did Jesus,… and manifested forth His glory.

~ John 2:11

It is said that in doing this beginning of His signs, Jesus “manifested” His glory. The glory was there before, the power to the great things, but not till now was it revealed, manifested, put forth. It is said that He “manifested His Glory.” Glory means power, brightness. This glory seems here to have been only simple kindness. A host, in the midst of his wedding feast, discovered that the wine had run out. We can imagine his dismay and his embarrassment. How could he explain it to his guests? No man wants to seem mean on the occasion of his wedding. Then Jesus came to His friend’s relief and used His “glory,” His divine power, to change the water into wine.

The glory of Christ was shown as truly in the smallest words of comfort, in taking little children in His arms and blessing them, as it was in His raising the widow’s son or Lazarus. So we show just as much love in doing the commonest kindness as if we were to do some great thing.