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Morning, October 22

 

"I will love them freely."

-Hosea 14:4

 

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word "freely." This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: "I will love them freely." Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, "I will love you freely." We complain, "Lord, my heart is so hard." "I will love you freely." "But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish." "I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely." "But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire." Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when he said, "He that believeth on him is not condemned." It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! "I will love them freely." These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such-"I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely." Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father's face.[1]

 

Evening, October 22

 

"He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."

-John 16:15

 

There are times when all the promises and doctrines of the Bible are of no avail, unless a gracious hand shall apply them to us. We are thirsty, but too faint to crawl to the water-brook. When a soldier is wounded in battle it is of little use for him to know that there are those at the hospital who can bind up his wounds, and medicines there to ease all the pains which he now suffers: what he needs is to be carried thither, and to have the remedies applied. It is thus with our souls, and to meet this need there is one, even the Spirit of truth, who takes of the things of Jesus, and applies them to us. Think not that Christ hath placed his joys on heavenly shelves that we may climb up to them for ourselves, but he draws near, and sheds his peace abroad in our hearts. O Christian, if thou art to-night labouring under deep distresses, thy Father does not give thee promises and then leave thee to draw them up from the Word like buckets from a well, but the promises he has written in the Word he will write anew on your heart. He will manifest his love to you, and by his blessed Spirit, dispel your cares and troubles. Be it known unto thee, O mourner, that it is God's prerogative to wipe every tear from the eye of his people. The good Samaritan did not say, "Here is the wine, and here is the oil for you"; he actually poured in the oil and the wine. So Jesus not only gives you the sweet wine of the promise, but holds the golden chalice to your lips, and pours the life-blood into your mouth. The poor, sick, way-worn pilgrim is not merely strengthened to walk, but he is borne on eagles' wings. Glorious gospel! which provides everything for the helpless, which draws nigh to us when we cannot reach after it-brings us grace before we seek for grace! Here is as much glory in the giving as in the gift. Happy people who have the Holy Ghost to bring Jesus to them.[2]

 

October 22nd

The witness of the Spirit

The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit ... Romans 8:16 (R.V.).

We are in danger of getting the barter spirit when we come to God, we want the witness before we have done what God tells us to do. ‘Why does not God reveal Himself to me?' He cannot; it is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won't abandon absolutely to Him. Immediately you do, God witnesses to Himself; He cannot witness to you, but He witnesses instantly to His own nature in you. If you had the witness before the reality, it would end in sentimental emotion. Immediately you transact on the Redemption and stop the impertinence of debate, God gives you the witness. As soon as you abandon reasoning and argument, God witnesses to what He has done, and you are amazed at your impertinence in having kept Him waiting. If you are in debate as to whether God can deliver from sin, either let Him do it, or tell Him He cannot. Do not quote this and that person, try Matthew 11:28-"Come unto Me." Come, if you are weary and heavy laden; ask if you know you are evil (Luke 11:13).

The simplicity that comes from our natural commonsense decisions is apt to be mistaken for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature and to the work of Redemption, never to our reason. If we try to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder we are in darkness and perplexity. Fling it all overboard, trust in God, and He will give the witness.[3]

 

October 22

Flee into Egypt

      Matt. 2:13

Why? Because there is a cruel king who will seek the young child's life.

Is Christ born in thee? Is thy life like that manger-precious as a casket, because of what it holds? Then have a care; for, craftier and more unscrupulous than Herod, the destroyer of souls will seek to destroy thee.

There is a day coming when they shall say, "They are dead which sought the young child's life." Grace shall survive the foe, and we shall yet return to enjoy the comforts of life, with no Herod to threaten us. After all, it is sin which is short-lived, for goodness shall flourish when the evil one is chained up forever.

Thos. Champness[4]

 

October 22

" Lying: Secretiveness "

"... all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone" Rev_21:8. Perhaps we are amazed at this verdict. But how could it be otherwise, for Satan is the "father of lies" Joh_8:44? So all those who lie will come into his kingdom. That is why Jesus says to the Pharisees, whom He accused of lying, "How are you to escape being sentenced to hell?" Mat_23:33. If Jesus places so much weight upon the sin of lying, if it will bring us into the kingdom of Satan, then we have to fight against it to the point of shedding blood and not give it any right to exist in our lives. It is a matter of being alert at the onset of the sin, when we begin to lie by twisting the facts, or exaggerating, or not wanting to bring our mistakes into the light and trying to cover them with silence or pretences. Covering up the facts begins when we only say half-truths, trying to protect our reputation.

Lies belong to the kingdom of darkness and usually go hand in hand with secretiveness. We usually say and do things secretively when our consciences tell us we should not, and when others would be right in accusing us. Because we do not want to break with our sin, we do not want anyone to discover the bad things we have done. That is why we do them in secret and do not want them to be revealed; we do not want to be judged. Every time we do something in secret, because we do not want others to see what we are doing wrong, we have begun to lie. Then, if we are trapped, we try to get out of it by lying. That is why we should be careful not to do the slightest thing secretively. When we are tempted to do so, we must ask ourselves immediately: "Why should I not do it in front of others?" The answer is probably because there is something wrong about it. When the Jews accused Jesus, He answered, "I have spoken openly to the world. . . I have said nothing secretly" Joh_18:20.

Jesus could say this. He stands before us in His divine majesty. He is Light and Truth, and every true disciple of Jesus ought to be able to say, "Everything that I have said and done in my life can be heard and seen by everyone. I have said and done nothing in secret, because everything I have done was done in the sight of God."

Yes, Jesus is Light. That is His glory. His nature is pure light and truth. He has redeemed us to be children of light so that all our words and actions might be pure and transparent. If we speak and act in the sight of God, we will not do anything secretively, but will only do what can stand in the light of God. On the other hand, Satan is the liar, the lord of the kingdom of darkness. If we speak and act in the dark, secretly, and do not want our words and deeds to come into the light, we belong to Satan. So we are constantly confronted with small, hidden situations that make us decide between light and darkness. Jesus' words are very serious, "For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God" Joh_3:20.

We cannot remind ourselves of this often enough, because Satan in his craftiness always tries to tell us that covering up our sins is harmless. He sees to it that we cover up the truth before God and man, even before ourselves, and so make room for lies. We say we did not mean it that way. When we are criticized we give other motives for our actions but these motives are not the true ones. We repress the true facts and are not conscious of the fact that we are on the way to lying, or that our lives are already riddled with lies. We lie out of fear, out of pride, out of desire to please our fellow men, and for other reasons.

But Jesus has redeemed us from these dark powers of secretiveness and lying and therefore He is waiting for us to claim this redemption and run to attain the prize 1Co_9:24: the City of God.

The City of God is utterly light. Liars will find its doors closed. That is why the apostles always say that we should be children of light and that light does not associate with darkness Eph_5:8-13. Light and darkness, truth and lies are mutually exclusive. If we are untruthful and secretive, we are excluded from the kingdom of light, from the Kingdom of God, as Scripture tells us Rev_21:27. No matter what it costs, we must make a complete break with the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of lies. Otherwise we will lose our inheritance in the Kingdom of God, the fellowship of believers, and above all the fellowship with Jesus.

How do we become free from our disposition and inclination to do things secretively and to lie? The first step is to ask the Lord to show us the extent of this sin, which is satanic by its very nature, and to help us to abhor it. If we do not abhor it, we could very well manage to put up with it, and will not be interested in fighting against it. But we have to fight against it and not let it exist any longer. How can we do this? By unmasking the lies that we speak in haste, we deprive this sin of its powers over us. This happens when we immediately confess them to our own humiliation. Bringing them into the light sentences the sin of lying to death. Light has won and the humiliation has taken us out of Satan's sphere of influence, for he can only attack the proud and the haughty.

We have to apply the same tactics if we have done something secretly. We must unmask it and call it by name. If we have taken something away, we cannot put it back secretly, but, when we put it back, we must admit that we took it. But that's not the end. That only takes care of the sinful act. The sinful trait, lying, covering things up which is deeply rooted in us, will continue to live in us and when the appropriate situation materializes, it will manifest itself again. If we hate everything in us that is untruthful and if we sense that lies separate us from Jesus, we cannot do anything but call upon Jesus day by day-Jesus who is the Truth. Through His sacrificial death on Calvary He did nail the sin of lying to the cross and free us from it. It can no longer rule over us, because He has trodden it under His feet. Jesus, the Truth, reigns in us. "I am redeemed; I have been set free for the truth!" That is how we should begin our battle of faith every day. And what we believe will come to pass. No matter how much we are inclined to lie, if we carry out this battle of faith, Jesus will make us utterly truthful, so that we can enter the city of light as children of light.



[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.