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Morning, August 18  


"Strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the Lord's house."

-Jeremiah 51:51


In this account the faces of the Lord's people were covered with shame, for it was a terrible thing that men should intrude into the Holy Place reserved for the priests alone. Everywhere about us we see like cause for sorrow. How many ungodly men are now educating with the view of entering into the ministry! What a crying sin is that solemn lie by which our whole population is nominally comprehended in a National Church! How fearful it is that ordinances should be pressed upon the unconverted, and that among the more enlightened churches of our land there should be such laxity of discipline. If the thousands who will read this portion shall all take this matter before the Lord Jesus this day, he will interfere and avert the evil which else will come upon his Church. To adulterate the Church is to pollute a well, to pour water upon fire, to sow a fertile field with stones. May we all have grace to maintain in our own proper way the purity of the Church, as being an assembly of believers, and not a nation, an unsaved community of unconverted men.


Our zeal must, however, begin at home. Let us examine ourselves as to our right to eat at the Lord's table. Let us see to it that we have on our wedding garment, lest we ourselves be intruders in the Lord's sanctuaries. Many are called, but few are chosen; the way is narrow, and the gate is strait. O for grace to come to Jesus aright, with the faith of God's elect. He who smote Uzzah for touching the ark is very jealous of his two ordinances; as a true believer I may approach them freely, as an alien I must not touch them lest I die. Heart searching is the duty of all who are baptized or come to the Lord's table. "Search me, O God, and know my way, try me and know my heart."[1]


Evening, August 18


"And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not."

-Mark 15:23


A golden truth is couched in the fact that the Saviour put the myrrhed wine-cup from his lips. On the heights of heaven the Son of God stood of old, and as he looked down upon our globe he measured the long descent to the utmost depths of human misery; he cast up the sum total of all the agonies which expiation would require, and abated not a jot. He solemnly determined that to offer a sufficient atoning sacrifice he must go the whole way, from the highest to the lowest, from the throne of highest glory to the cross of deepest woe. This myrrhed cup, with its soporific influence, would have stayed him within a little of the utmost limit of misery, therefore he refused it. He would not stop short of all he had undertaken to suffer for his people. Ah, how many of us have pined after reliefs to our grief which would have been injurious to us! Reader, did you never pray for a discharge from hard service or suffering with a petulant and wilful eagerness? Providence has taken from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke. Say, Christian, if it had been said, "If you so desire it, that loved one of yours shall live, but God will be dishonoured," could you have put away the temptation, and said, "Thy will be done"? Oh, it is sweet to be able to say, "My Lord, if for other reasons I need not suffer, yet if I can honour thee more by suffering, and if the loss of my earthly all will bring thee glory, then so let it be. I refuse the comfort, if it comes in the way of thine honour." O that we thus walked more in the footsteps of our Lord, cheerfully enduring trial for his sake, promptly and willingly putting away the thought of self and comfort when it would interfere with our finishing the work which he has given us to do. Great grace is needed, but great grace is provided.[2]


August 18th

Have you ever been expressionless with sorrow?

And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. Luke 18:23.

The rich young ruler went away expressionless with sorrow; he had not a word to say. He had no doubt as to what Jesus said, no debate as to what it meant, and it produced in him a sorrow that had not any words. Have you ever been there? Has God's word come to you about something you are very rich in-temperament, personal affinity, relationships of heart and mind? Then you have often been expressionless with sorrow. The Lord will not go after you, He will not plead, but every time He meets you on that point He will simply repeat-"If you mean what you say, those are the conditions.'

"Sell all that thou hast"-undress yourself morally before God of everything that might be a possession until you are a mere conscious human being, and then give God that. That is where the battle is fought-in the domain of the will before God. Are you more devoted to your idea of what Jesus wants than to Himself? If so, you are likely to hear one of His hard sayings that will produce sorrow in you. What Jesus says is hard, it is only easy when it is heard by those who have His disposition. Beware of allowing anything to soften a hard word of Jesus Christ's.

I can be so rich in poverty, so rich in the consciousness that I am nobody, that I shall never be a disciple of Jesus; and I can be so rich in the consciousness that I am somebody-that I shall never be a disciple. Am I willing to be destitute of the sense that I am destitute? This is where discouragement comes in. Discouragement is disenchanted self-love, and self-love may be love of my devotion to Jesus.[3]


August 18

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness

      2 Cor. 12:9

God's way of answering His people's prayers is not by removing the pressure, but by increasing their strength to bear it. The pressure is often the fence between the narrow way of life and the broad road to ruin; and if our Heavenly Father were to remove it, it might be at the sacrifice of Heaven. Oh, if God had removed that thorny fence in answer, often to earnest prayers, how many of us would now be castaways! How the song of many a saint now in glory would be hushed! How many a harp would be unstrung! How many a place in the mansions of the redeemed would be unfilled! If God answered all the prayers we put up to Heaven, we should need no other scourge. Blessed it is that we have One who is too loving to grant what we too often so rashly ask.

F. Whitfield[4]


August 18

" Self-Will "

Only one will can rule, only one will can make the final decision. Either the will of our Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth, which is also revealed to us through the will of our neighbour, or our will. There is no greater example of presumptuousness than when a person, who himself is but a mere creature, seeks to assert his will against the will of his Creator. It is also presumptuousness, when we think that our will, our decisions, our views, our taste are better than those of our fellow men. We are indeed greatly presumptuous, if we insist upon having everything done the way we think it ought to be done. Thus we tell everyone around us that we are the ones to decide everything. Self-will is the expression of great pride, the opposite of humility, which lets us yield our wills to someone else's.

Self-willed people are hard to live with; they ruin community life. On the other hand, people whose wills are at one with God and man are bringers of peace and joy. Self-willed people idolize their own will. They rebel against the will of God and thereby are guilty of witchcraft for "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" 1Sa_15:23. We cannot take the sin of self-will too seriously. Not only does it continually make us sin against our fellow-men, whom we torment when we insist upon having our own way, but it also separates us from God. When we act according to our self-will, we act against the will of God, including the instances where the will of God comes to us through other people.

The Holy Scriptures say that the self-willed are among the cursed children of the last days who will come under God's judgment 2Pe_2:10. That is why we have to get rid of this sin no matter how high the price. There is one small word that will help us fight against this spreading cancer of self-will, which causes so much strife and discord and even ruins many a peaceful fellowship. This one small word is "Yes"; Yes to the will of God. This word has wonderful power. Jesus said it in Gethsemane, at the time when it probably cost Him more than ever before to surrender His will to the Father's. He overcame the trial with just a few words, "My Father, not as I will but as thou wilt" Mat_26:39. Jesus said Yes to God's will ,when it was so incomprehensible to Him. Thus He redeemed us to say Yes to the will of God. This we may claim in faith.

Let us keep the picture of Jesus always in our hearts-Jesus, who yielded like a lamb to the will of the Father. Let the beauty of a will completely yielded to God captivate our hearts and let our prayers become serious, "Thy likeness print on me, Jesus, my Master." The Lord will answer our pleas more and more. Jesus not only surrendered to the will of His Father, but He also let Himself be bound to our malicious wills. Thus He can free us from the bonds of our self-will. Because He let Himself be bound, and surrendered His life on the cross, our chains have to be broken. Day by day claim the promises of God in prayer: "He shatters the doors of bronze, and cuts in two the bars of iron" Psa_107:16. If our self-will is also like iron and we think we will never be able to overcome it, we must continue to count upon this fact: When Jesus surrendered His will, He redeemed us so that we can do the same. We must not give up, but keep fighting the battle of faith. It will end in victory.

We should surrender our wills many times a day to God, beginning every morning by expecting God to let things go against our wills during the course of the day. We must ask Him to grant us the grace to say "Yes"-unless someone demands something against our consciences. By voluntarily deciding to obey someone whom we live or work with, we will learn to break our self-will through his instructions. If we give thanks for all the opportunities we have to let our wills be broken through conditions and situations, we shall make the most of them by always humbling ourselves and asking for forgiveness when our first reaction was displeasure or rebellion. If we admit our sin of self-will to people and humble ourselves, our pride will be broken. If we learn how to join the Lamb of God in saying "Yes, Father, I love Your will", our self-will will no longer receive any nourishment, and will starve to death. In this way our wills will be at one with God's will and this unity will bring us deep joy. The battle against sin is a necessity, because we have an enemy who incites us to sin. The battle of faith, calling upon the name of Jesus and His blood, frees us from the power of this enemy.

Lord Jesus,

Set me free from my self-will, which is enslaving

me. Burst the chains of my ego. You have borne

these chains for me and surrendered Your will to the 

Father's when He asked You to suffer. I believe that

You have redeemed me and that You have put all

self-will under Your feet so that it can no longer 

reign over me.


In remembrance of how much it cost You to yield 

Your will in the Garden of Gethsemane, let this be

my response: "Not my will, but Thine be done!" 

Cross my will, over and over again; take away the 

power and tenacity which it usually uses to assert 

itself. Let me hear the will of God so that I may be 

like a downy feather in His hand, which He can

blow whither He will, and which He can rule with 

His will to the glory of Your redemption, which 

has set me free from bondage to my own will.

[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.