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Morning, July 25      

 

"He left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out."

-Genesis 39:12

 

In contending with certain sins there remains no mode of victory but by flight. The ancient naturalists wrote much of basilisks, whose eyes fascinated their victims and rendered them easy victims; so the mere gaze of wickedness puts us in solemn danger. He who would be safe from acts of evil must haste away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant. Who would wantonly enter the leper's prison and sleep amid its horrible corruption? He only who desires to be leprous himself would thus court contagion. If the mariner knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious pilots have no desire to try how near the quicksand they can sail, or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the midst of a safe channel.

 

This day I may be exposed to great peril, let me have the serpent's wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me to-day than the jaws of a lion. It is true I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I had better leave my cloak than lose my character; it is not needful that I should be rich, but it is imperative upon me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashings of talent, no shafts of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to flee from sin. The devil I am to resist and he will flee from me, but the lusts of the flesh, I must flee, or they will surely overcome me. O God of holiness preserve thy Josephs, that Madam Bubble bewitch them not with her vile suggestions. May the horrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil, never overcome us![1]

 

Evening, July 25

 

"In their affliction they will seek me early."

-Hosea 5:15

 

Losses and adversities are frequently the means which the great Shepherd uses to fetch home his wandering sheep; like fierce dogs they worry the wanderers back to the fold. There is no making lions tame if they are too well fed; they must be brought down from their great strength, and their stomachs must be lowered, and then they will submit to the tamer's hand; and often have we seen the Christian rendered obedient to the Lord's will by straitness of bread and hard labour. When rich and increased in goods many professors carry their heads much too loftily, and speak exceeding boastfully. Like David, they flatter themselves, "My mountain standeth fast; I shall never be moved." When the Christian groweth wealthy, is in good repute, hath good health, and a happy family, he too often admits Mr. Carnal Security to feast at his table, and then if he be a true child of God there is a rod preparing for him. Wait awhile, and it may be you will see his substance melt away as a dream. There goes a portion of his estate-how soon the acres change hands. That debt, that dishonoured bill-how fast his losses roll in, where will they end? It is a blessed sign of divine life if when these embarrassments occur one after another he begins to be distressed about his backslidings, and betakes himself to his God. Blessed are the waves that wash the mariner upon the rock of salvation! Losses in business are often sanctified to our soul's enriching. If the chosen soul will not come to the Lord full-handed, it shall come empty. If God, in his grace, findeth no other means of making us honour him among men, he will cast us into the deep; if we fail to honour him on the pinnacle of riches, he will bring us into the valley of poverty. Yet faint not, heir of sorrow, when thou art thus rebuked, rather recognize the loving hand which chastens, and say, "I will arise, and go unto my Father."[2]

 

July 25th

Am I blessed like this?

Blessed are ... Matthew 5:3-10 .

When we first read the statements of Jesus they seem wonderfully simple and unstartling, and they sink unobserved into our unconscious minds. For instance, the Beatitudes seem merely mild and beautiful precepts for all unworldly and useless people, but of very little practical use in the stern workaday world in which we live. We soon find, however, that the Beatitudes contain the dynamite of the Holy Ghost. They explode, as it were, when the circumstances of our lives cause them to do so. When the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance one of these Beatitudes we say-‘What a startling statement that is!' and we have to decide whether we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words. That is the way the Spirit of God works. We do not need to be born again to apply the Sermon on the Mount literally. The literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is child's play; the interpretation by the Spirit of God as He applies Our Lord's statements to our circumstances is the stern work of a saint.

The teaching of Jesus is out of all proportion to our natural way of looking at things, and it comes with astonishing discomfort to begin with. We have slowly to form our walk and conversation on the line of the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations: it is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting His way with us.[3]

 

July 25

Do thou that which is good

      2 Kings 10:5

Keep as few good intentions hovering about as possible. They are like ghosts haunting a dwelling. The way to lay them is to find bodies for them. When they are embodied in substantial deeds they are no longer dangerous.

William Arnot[4]

 

July 25

" Ingratitude "

Ingratitude-an ugly trait? Especially when it is directed against someone who has made sacrifices for us and done many good things for us. Our ingratitude can hurt such people deeply. What sorrow there is in Jesus' words when only one of the ten lepers that were healed came back to thank Him. "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Luk_17:18.

But today our ingratitude is even more serious, because we actually do not appreciate the gift that surpasses all understanding-Jesus' forgiveness and His vicarious atonement for us. His sacrifice for us reveals that we as sinners need the redemption of Jesus and that we in no way have deserved love from God. Because everything we receive from God is undeserved, including what He lets other people give us, it should be a matter of course for us to thank Him. But, if we do not give thanks for His grace and undeserved gifts, we are like parasites and we should not be amazed when the wrath of God comes upon us.

Ingratitude is a serious sin. The Holy Scriptures say that it is one of the characteristics of the antichristian spirit of the last times 2Ti_3:2. It will be judged severely by God. Therefore, we have to overcome all the ingratitude in our hearts if we are to belong to Jesus in eternity. We have to see what an ugly trait it is. We must be resolute and not tolerate it any longer, because it hurts the Father's heart so deeply and provokes His wrath against us.

How can we overcome our ingratitude? Here too we must first recognize the root. Just like many other sins, its root lies in pride. The proud take it for granted that people will give them things. Consciously or unconsciously they think they have a right to receive gifts. Their eyes are blind towards all the good things that the heavenly Father gives them. In their pride they think, even when they are not consciously aware of it, that they have the right to enough, or more than enough, nourishment, clothing and everything else they need for body and soul in this life. But if they do not have sufficient goods of this life, all of a sudden they remember God and accuse Him for not giving them what they need. Their attitude towards God is like that of a person who has a lawful claim upon someone else. The ungrateful do not see that it is grace, pure grace, when God gives them what they need. So we have to humble ourselves before God and ask Him to forgive us for our pride, which kept us from thanking Him. And we have to ask for a deeper repentance over our proud ingratitude.

Then we have to take the next step by beginning to record all the good things we receive, either every day or every week. That means not only realizing this in our hearts, but bringing the Father a song or prayer of thanksgiving. It also helps when we have a special "thanksgiving booklet" in which we write down everything we receive. Then at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, either alone or with our family, we can give thanks to God. In this way our hearts practise seeing what good things we have received, from other people as well as God.



[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.