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Morning, July 17      

 

"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."

-1 Thessalonians 1:4

 

Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by "looking unto Jesus." If you desire to ascertain your own election;-after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Tell him that he has said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God's chosen ones; but if you stop and say, "I want to know first whether I am elect," you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him." Christ was at the everlasting council: he can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be-"I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.

 

"Sons we are through God's election,

Who in Jesus Christ believe."[1]

 

Evening, July 17

 

"Let not one of them escape."

-1 Kings 18:40

 

When the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, "Let not one of them escape." He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins-they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon his own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end. If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, he is a consuming fire; he will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in his sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek, in his strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.[2]

 

July 18th

The mystery of believing

And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? Acts 9:5.

By the miracle of Redemption Saul of Tarsus was turned in one second from a strong-willed, intense Pharisee into a humble, devoted slave of the Lord Jesus.

There is nothing miraculous about the things we can explain. We command what we are able to explain, consequently it is natural to seek to explain. It is not natural to obey; nor is it necessarily sinful to disobey. There is no moral virtue in obedience unless there is a recognition of a higher authority in the one who dictates. It is possibly an emancipation to the other person if he does not obey. If one man says to another-‘You must,' and ‘You shall,' he breaks the human spirit and unfits it for God. A man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is a recognition of a holy God. Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ. But woe be to me if when I see Him I say-‘I will not.' He will never insist that I do, but I have begun to sign the death-warrant of the Son of God in my soul. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say-‘I will not,' He will never insist; but I am backing away from the re-creating power of His Redemption. It is a matter of indifference to God's grace how abominable I am if I come to the light; but woe be to me if I refuse the light (see John 3:19-21 ).[3]

 

July 18

Sow beside all waters

      Isa 32:20

Never mind whereabouts your work is. Never mind whether it be visible or not. Never mind whether your name is associated with it. You may never see the issues of your toils. You are working for eternity. If you cannot see results here in the hot working day, the cool evening hours are drawing near, when you may rest from your labors and then they will follow you. So do your duty, and trust God to give the seed you sow "a body as it hath pleased Him."

Alexander Maclaren[4]

 

July 17

" Envy "

In our blindness we do not see that when we are filled with envy we will come under God's serious judgement. For envy is one of the sins that can exclude us from the Kingdom of God according to the Holy Scriptures Gal_5:20 f. For the envious this means a devastating fate in the future. They will be denied entrance into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, even if they are Christians. In the face of eternity we cannot tolerate envy at any price. This poisonous, sinful root has to be eradicated if we wish to be with Jesus forever. Because the Word of God speaks so clearly about envy, we have to take the Apostle Peter's admonition seriously: "So put away all malice and envy" 1Pe_2:1.

Now it is a matter of making every effort to get rid of this sin. But how? First we have to pay homage to the truth and admit that we are envious because another has something we do not have. We have to record such feelings and thoughts soberly as sins. The judgement of God is upon them. Then we will be frightened and abhor this sin and will let ourselves be shown the roots of envy. The main roots are usually in our selfishness or in our cravings, whether they be for physical or spiritual goods. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, "Are we willing to surrender our selfishness and our claims on possessions and talents to Jesus and to be poor with Him in the way of material goods, abilities, love and respect? Are we willing to believe that God will always endow the poor and that they are the ones who are really rich?"

The second root of envy is mistrust against God. It is comparing ourselves with others, as though the Father in heaven had been unjust when He distributed His gifts and burdens. Therefore, it is a matter of renouncing our rebellious, mistrustful thoughts. Instead we must trust that God, because He is Love, always gives us what is best for us. He always leads us the best way. If He had a better way for us, He would have chosen it.

No matter how He leads us, whether He gives us something or not, it is always best for us, because it comes from the hands of the Father who loves us. We must believe that firmly. Besides, we can never judge the pleasures and burdens of others, because we cannot see the background! Perhaps we envy someone for something that is merely a difficult task for them.

The third root of envy is ingratitude. Therefore we must begin to give thanks for everything that we have received, and then there will be no more room for envy. If we give thanks to God for the gifts that others receive, the poison of envy must yield. No matter what it costs, Jesus wants to free us from envy, if we will take the first step as a sign of our willingness and surrender our envious desires to Him. He has come to burst our chains. His blood is sufficient to heal this sinful ailment. He wants to transform us until we can remain at peace in situations where, formerly, our envy would have torn us to pieces. Yes, until we can even rejoice when others have more talents than we do. When we are redeemed from this tormenting envy, we will become happy and able to taste His kingdom of peace and joy here, and one day we will dwell there eternally. Therefore, "fight the good fight of faith!" It is worth it.



[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). Morning and evening: Daily readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster.

[2] Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). Morning and evening: Daily readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster.

[3] Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

[4] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.