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Morning, August 16  


"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name."

-Psalm 29:2


God's glory is the result of his nature and acts. He is glorious in his character, for there is such a store of everything that is holy, and good, and lovely in God, that he must be glorious. The actions which flow from his character are also glorious; but while he intends that they should manifest to his creatures his goodness, and mercy, and justice, he is equally concerned that the glory associated with them should be given only to himself. Nor is there aught in ourselves in which we may glory; for who maketh us to differ from another? And what have we that we did not receive from the God of all grace? Then how careful ought we to be to walk humbly before the Lord! The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High. Shall the insect of an hour glorify itself against the sun which warmed it into life? Shall the potsherd exalt itself above the man who fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the tempest? Give unto the Lord, all ye righteous, give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto him the honour that is due unto his name. Yet it is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence-"Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be glory." It is a lesson which God is ever teaching us, and teaching us sometimes by most painful discipline. Let a Christian begin to boast, "I can do all things," without adding "through Christ which strengtheneth me," and before long he will have to groan, "I can do nothing," and bemoan himself in the dust. When we do anything for the Lord, and he is pleased to accept of our doings, let us lay our crown at his feet, and exclaim, "Not I, but the grace of God which was with me!"[1]


Evening, August 16


"Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit."

-Romans 8:23


Present possession is declared. At this present moment we have the first fruits of the Spirit. We have repentance, that gem of the first water; faith, that priceless pearl; hope, the heavenly emerald; and love, the glorious ruby. We are already made "new creatures in Christ Jesus," by the effectual working of God the Holy Ghost. This is called the firstfruit because it comes first. As the wave-sheaf was the first of the harvest, so the spiritual life, and all the graces which adorn that life, are the first operations of the Spirit of God in our souls. The firstfruits were the pledge of the harvest. As soon as the Israelite had plucked the first handful of ripe ears, he looked forward with glad anticipation to the time when the wain should creak beneath the sheaves. So, brethren, when God gives us things which are pure, lovely, and of good report, as the work of the Holy Spirit, these are to us the prognostics of the coming glory. The firstfruits were always holy to the Lord, and our new nature, with all its powers, is a consecrated thing. The new life is not ours that we should ascribe its excellence to our own merit; it is Christ's image and creation, and is ordained for his glory. But the firstfruits were not the harvest, and the works of the Spirit in us at this moment are not the consummation-the perfection is yet to come. We must not boast that we have attained, and so reckon the wave-sheaf to be all the produce of the year: we must hunger and thirst after righteousness, and pant for the day of full redemption. Dear reader, this evening open your mouth wide, and God will fill it. Let the boon in present possession excite in you a sacred avarice for more grace. Groan within yourself for higher degrees of consecration, and your Lord will grant them to you, for he is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we ask or even think.[2]


August 16th

Does He know me

He calleth ... by name. John 10:3.

When I have sadly misunderstood Him? (John 20:17.) It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus. The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine out steps intimate touch with Jesus. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine was no more to Mary than the grass under her feet. Any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could not ridicule out of her was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her; yet His blessings were nothing in comparison to Himself. Mary "saw Jesus standing and knew not that it was Jesus ..."; immediately she heard the voice, she knew she had a past history with the One who spoke. "Master!"

When I have stubbornly doubted? (John 20:27.) Have I been doubting something about Jesus-an experience to which others testify but which I have not had? The other disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus, but Thomas doubted-"Except I shall see ..., I will not believe." Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When His touches come, or how they come, we do not know; but when they do come they are indescribably precious. "My Lord and my God!"

When I have selfishly denied Him? (John 21:15-17 .) Peter had denied Jesus Christ with oaths and curses, and yet after the Resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter alone. He restored him in private, then He restored him before the others. "Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee."

Have I a personal history with Jesus Christ? The one sign of discipleship is intimate connection with Him, a knowledge of Jesus Christ which nothing can shake.[3]


August 16

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ

      1 Cor. 11:1

When in the Mexican war the troops were wavering, a general rose in his stirrups and dashed into the enemy's line, shouting, "Men, follow!" They seeing his courage and disposition, dashed on after him, and gained the victory.

What men want to rally them for God is an example to lead them. All your commands to others to advance amount to nothing so long as you stay behind. To effect them aright, you need to start for Heaven yourself, looking back only to give the stirring cry of "Men, follow!"

T. Dewitt Talmage[4]


August 16

" Self-Righteousness: Self-justification "

The self-righteous proclaim that they are righteous and that everything they say and do is right. There is one thing they cannot bear to hear: others questioning whether their behaviour was right. That is why they rebel and defend themselves, usually by adding that others do not understand them and do them wrong. They immediately turn the point of the sword around, by accusing others and keeping them from telling them the truth about themselves. The self-righteous put on a suit of armour so that no criticism can ever hit them. The self-righteous do not think it is necessary to fight against sin, since they are perfect. And so they will never make any inroads in any areas of their sinful disposition. On the contrary, all the other sins are nourished; they can grow and flourish. That is the terrible result of a life of self-righteousness. Man remains a slave to his sins and is separated from Jesus, no matter how pious he may appear to be, for he is living in a lie and is clinging to it. However, only truth, if we listen to it and accept it, can set us free. When the self-righteous reject the truth, they are rejecting Jesus, who is Truth.

If in our self-righteousness, we have rejected the warning voice of God, the voice of truth, even when it has come through another person, it is questionable whether the warning will come to us again. We have chased it away. But one day it will reach us-the day when we appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Then there will be a terrible judgment of those who were "hardened", who did not want to accept God's voice, His warnings, admonitions and judgments, even through other people. Because sin spreads, we will reap an evil harvest in eternity. Then it will be too late to repent.

Self-righteousness is probably the most serious sin; it is the root of all other sins, and they cannot be broken as long as we have not begun to fight against this sinful root. This sin is the root of the hot-tempered, who lash out immediately; of the irritated, who always have to have the last word; of the inhibited, who cannot move about freely, because they do not want to do anything wrong; of the silent, who do not say anything, because they do not want to say anything wrong; of the depressed, who cannot bear to be the way they are or to act the way they do; of the bitter, because they cannot admit that they are the ones who caused their bitter situation through their own sin. Self-righteousness has its effects in every sinful disposition.

In addition self-righteousness is one of the main sins that nailed Jesus to the cross. People did not want to hear His message, "Repent!", because they did not want to admit that as sinful men they needed a Saviour. Therefore, they cried out, "Crucify Him". If we do not hate this sin above all other sins and fight a battle to the point of shedding blood, we will be lost. Then the door to Jesus' kingdom of truth will be closed to us. For the self-righteous, who do not want to hear the truth about themselves and who often become untruthful when they defend themselves, are living in a lie and therefore they belong to Satan, who was a liar from the very beginning. But who realizes that his self-righteousness has made him a slave to Satan and a member of his kingdom? As a Christian he is perhaps convinced that he is a disciple of Jesus and belongs to His kingdom. But Jesus speaks these very hard words to the self-righteous, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men (because, according to their own statements, everything is all right) is an abomination in the sight of God" Luk_16:15.

How terrible these words are which Jesus says to the self-righteous! God abhors them, or, in other words, on the day of judgment God will hurl them into darkness. Why? Because the self-righteous are so proud and are not prepared to admit that anything in their words and actions is not right. It would humiliate them to do that. Only the humble could do it. The proud and self righteous, who pretend that they are blameless, are called hypocrites by Jesus, just like the Pharisees, because they live a lie. The Lord hurls this terrible question at them, "How are you to escape being sentenced to hell?" Mat_23:33.

We have to be redeemed from our self-righteousness no matter what the cost. We have to make every effort to be freed from bondage. The first step (which hypocrites also have to take, since hypocrisy and self-righteousness usually belong together) is to ask for light. For the self-righteous must hear Jesus saying to them, "Now that you say, `We see', your guilt remains" Joh_9:41. The self-righteous are blind about themselves; they do not want to see their sins.

If someone says to us, "You are so self-righteous" and we cannot accept it, we have to cry to God daily, "Send Your light and Your truth-Reveal everything that is not pure in Your light-Place my unknown sins in the light of Your countenance." And God who has promised to answer such prayers, because they are according to His will, will give us light. For Jesus has come to give sight to the blind, as it is written in Luk_4:18. If He has given sight to the physically blind, how much more will He prove His might to give sight to our souls for our sins. His love wants to do this. He is Light and Truth and wants to send us His Spirit of truth. He has redeemed us so that we could become children of light and recognize the truth about ourselves, which will make us free Joh_8:32. We will certainly discover this, if we earnestly beg for 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.