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Morning, December 1           

 

"Thou hast made summer and winter."

-Psalm 74:17

 

My soul begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that he keeps his covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that he will also keep that glorious covenant which he has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to his Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world, will not prove unfaithful in his dealings with his own well-beloved Son.

 

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: he casteth forth his ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, he is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

 

How we prize the fire just now! how pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to him, and in him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of his promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.[1]

 

Evening, December 1

 

"O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."

-Psalm 107:8

 

If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies-common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise him that we are not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise him, in fact, for everything which we receive from his bounteous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But, beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. God's redeeming acts towards his chosen are for ever the favourite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross of Christ-our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou be silent? Awake, awake, ye inheritors of glory, and lead your captivity captive, as ye cry with David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Let the new month begin with new songs.[2]

 

December 1st

The law and the gospel

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10.

The moral law does not consider us as weak human beings at all, it takes no account of our heredity and infirmities, it demands that we be absolutely moral. The moral law never alters, either for the noblest or for the weakest, it is eternally and abidingly the same. The moral law ordained by God does not make itself weak to the weak, it does not palliate our shortcomings, it remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we do not realize this, it is because we are less than alive; immediately we are alive, life becomes a tragedy. "I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." When we realize this, then the Spirit of God convicts us of sin. Until a man gets there and sees that there is no hope, the Cross of Jesus Christ is a farce to him. Conviction of sin always brings a fearful binding sense of the law, it makes a man hopeless-"sold under sin." I, a guilty sinner, can never get right with God, it is impossible. There is only one way in which I can get right with God, and that is by the death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the lurking idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience-which of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!

We only realize the power of the moral law when it comes with an ‘if.' God never coerces us. In one mood we wish He would make us do the thing, and in another mood we wish He would leave us alone. Whenever God's will is in the ascendant, all compulsion is gone. When we choose deliberately to obey Him, then, with all His almighty power, He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist us.[3]

 

December 1

Without Christ

      Eph. 2:12

Without a hope to cheer, a Pilot to steer, a Friend to counsel, grace to sustain, Heaven to welcome us, and God to console!

Selected[4]

 

December 1

" Sin: An Old-Fashioned Concept or our Enemy? "

Before I go into the specific sins, let me say a word about the world-wide significance of fighting our personal battle of faith against sin.

We are living in a period when sin is no longer given any meaning. It has become unimportant; it no longer counts. Today the existence of sin and Satan is being negated. The concept of "sin" has been thrown out of modern man's vocabulary, because people say that sin does not exist at all. That is why they do not have to fight against it, but rather can give it room so that it can flourish. But the reality of our times is proof that Satan does exist, that sin is a satanic power and that the results of sin are misfortune and destruction. In criminality, the increasing suicide rate and drug addiction, we can see this reality and its disastrous consequences wherever we look.

God is giving us today more visual instruction in the dreadful effects of sin than ever before. Today there is hardly anything else that we can turn our attention to other than sin. In our age it is especially true that the misfortune, destruction, criminality and decay of morality will only be hindered, if we hate sin and break with it. Above all we Christians have to take sin more seriously than ever before. For sin provokes judgment. And His Word tells us that judgment begins with the household of God 1Pe_4:17, that is, with us.

We Christians of today will be held especially responsible for our attitude towards sin, and will be judged according to much more severe standards, because we have received more, namely the clear directives of the will of God and at the same time the redemption from all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever we do not bring our sins to the cross of Jesus, confess them and turn away from them, they begin to work in our personal lives. We lose peace and joy, because our sin separates us from God. But even worse, our sin brings us a terrible harvest for all eternity. We will have to suffer for it, because it will be judged very severely in the next world. The Apostle Paul tells us that even Christians must "appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body" 2Co_5:10.

The sensible ones today are those who measure their sins according to the Holy Scriptures and fight a battle of faith against them in their personal lives. Whoever does this also has to take a stand against false brotherly love, which often tolerates sin. People see the main cause for all social ills and needs (for instance, slums, prisons, homosexuals and drug addicts) in the social and political conditions, in the "structure of society". And they try to do something about them through "social activism". The facts, however, prove that it is not the social conditions that are at fault for the spreading of sin. We see that the increase of crime, all the misery of the personality and of the life of a nation, is found most in socially well-off countries like the United States, West Germany and Britain. Such an avalanche of addiction and criminality, which leads to misery and corruption, can only be caused by sin. And sin is spreading, because people do not want to confront it, let alone punish it. Instead they give it free reign.

But whenever we make other people's sins seem harmless through false brotherly love, whenever we support this attitude, the reason is ultimately that we do not want to fight against our own sin, and to break with it. That means that we have gone over to the enemy's camp. For sin and Satan belong together. Jesus, who loves sinners so much, hates sin, because it is the ruin of the sinner. He has condemned it by taking it upon Himself for us, and showing us by His death that whoever sins actually deserves death.

Jesus demands that we proceed categorically against sin. "Pluck out your eye!" Do not grant it any right to live, for, "it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell" Mat_5:29. Time and again He tells us unmistakably that sin will be judged by God and that the unforgiven sin of the individual or nation will bring them misfortune here on earth and deliver them into the kingdom of darkness and horror after death. And this kingdom of hell which Jesus always talks about is a reality.



[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.