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.

Today With God

Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves.

~ 1 Pet 4:8

We call John the Apostle of Love, but the other New Testament writers give equal emphasis to the duty of Christian love. The most wonderful chapter ever written in order to extol love is by Paul – the matchless thirteenth of First Corinthians.

Then Peter also exhorts that “above all things,” that is, even above prayer, we are to be fervent in our love among ourselves, for love covereth a multitude of sins. That is, love overlooks even a multitude of faults and flecks and sins in others.

This lesson cannot be repeated too often. We do not naturally love people – it is something we have to learn to do. If Paul’s definition is to be regarded as the standard, most of us have a good deal yet to learn about loving before we reach it. Peter also makes the lesson strong, exhorting us to be fervent – that is, warm, tender, affectionate in our loving of each other.

The only way to get such Christian love into our lives is to let Christ’s own love into our hearts.

Today With God

Her sins, which are many, are forgiven.

~ Luke 7:47

The love of Christ has power to change the worst sinner into the whitest saint. The woman we see wetting the feet of Jesus with her tears, and anointing them with ointment, was a poor outcast a little while ago.

One writer represents her as going along the street that day in her gay attire, and getting a glimpse of Jesus through the window of the house where He was being entertained by the Pharisee. That look shrivelled her to nothingness; her old self was dead and gone forever.

The same instant a new woman sprang up in her, in place of the old, and a moment later she was at the feet of her Saviour. Her tears told of her penitence. Her ointment, costly and fragrant, told of honor, of love, and gratitude. It represented her best – all she had she gave to Him who had rescued her. It was what was left of the old life, and she gave it to her new Master.

We all need the blessing, which this woman got, and we can get it if we come with penitence to Christ’s feet.

Today With God

Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
~ Mark 5:8

Jesus met the fierce demons that no man had been able to control, and they yielded to Him without resistance.

There is no power of evil, which is not subject to His sway. This ought to be a comfort to us in our effort to save wicked men. We cannot change them, but Christ can. This is the faith that makes missionaries confident as they go among the heathen. Christ can save the worst of them, changing them into quiet, peaceable, and gentle Christians.

Some people say they have such bad tempers that they cannot learn self–control. If they will only put their ungovernable tempers into the hands of Christ, He can tame them, as He tamed the demoniac.

The people of that neighborhood seem to have been angry because they lost their swine. They would rather have had the demon remain in the man than to have given their swine to have the man cured.

We ought to be glad to see such a man freed from the power of evil, whatever the cost may be to us.

Today With God

We labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.
~ 2 Cor 5:9

The Christian should always be a worker for his Master.  

“We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us.” The mission of every one who believes and is saved is to be a winner of other souls. Our life itself should be a gospel of divine grace, so full of love that every one who comes under our influence, even casually, shall hear a silent message, pleading, “Be ye reconciled to God.”

The life must always be such an ambassador, first, before we speak a word. The most eloquent pleading will have no effect in winning others to Christ unless the love of Christ be first shown in our life.

“God loves you and I love you,” is the only evangel that will reach our hearts. You cannot kindle fire with ice. A selfish man cannot preach a gospel of love to others. The love of God, which we declare, must be interpreted in human love, which we show in our own eager interest in others.

We must bear the cross in our own life, or we need not talk about the cross on Calvary.

Today With God

Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to them that were set down.
~ John 6:11

We ought to pray continually that Christ’s touch may be upon us and upon the things we are doing.

It is instructive to think of the responsibility of the disciples that day. If they had merely fed themselves with what Jesus gave into their hands, the hungry thousands would not have been fed.

It is just as important that we, into whose hands Christ gives the blessings of the gospel, shall pass them on to those who are round us. If we only feed ourselves, take the comfort and the grace for our own lives, and do not pass on the broken bread, we have disappointed Christ and have failed in our duty as His helpers and co–workers.

Or if the disciples had begun feeding the people with what they had, without bringing it to the Master, it would not have gone far. We must bring our paltry resources to Christ, and put them into His hands. When we have done this, no one can tell the measure of good which may be wrought.

Today With God

For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth.
~ Prov 3:12

We are apt to put it just the other way.  

“My father does not love me, or he would not be so severe with me,” a boy says. Then he points to another boy whose father lets his son do as he pleases, and never restrains or corrects him. “That father loves his boy, and is always kind to him,” he says.

So it may seem just at the time. But to be left without discipline, to have no chastening, no correction, no restraining or withholding, is not proof of love. A father who does this with his son is letting him go to destruction unhindered. The one who corrects and chastens is intent on saving his son. Chastening is, therefore, a proof of love. God chastens us because He wants to save us and make something of us.

It should be a comfort to us to know, when we have trials or afflictions, that instead of being a proof that God does not love us, it is just the reverse – a new assurance of our heavenly Father’s tender affection and deep interest in us.

Today With God

We cannot but speak the things, which we have seen and heard.
~ Acts 4:20

One of the Beatitudes is, “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you.” The first Christians very soon had opportunity to receive this blessing. Their behaviour in persecution has its lessons for us. One is that we should give to Christ the honor of all that we do.

Another lesson is, that we should always take our commands from Christ and from no other. The apostles were bidden to speak no more in Christ’s name. Their answer was heroic: “We cannot but speak.”

We may find it hard sometimes to obey Christ – it is easier to keep silent than to speak for Him. But we have no choice if we would remain loyal to Him.

We have also here a lesson in prayer. The apostles did not pray to be delivered from suffering. They prayed that they might have power to speak the word with boldness. We should not pray to be kept from suffering, but that we may be brave and loyal in His service.