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Morning, April 24     

 

"And because of all this we make a sure covenant."

-Nehemiah 9:38

 

There are many occasions in our experience when we may very rightly, and with benefit, renew our covenant with God. After recovery from sickness when, like Hezekiah, we have had a new term of years added to our life, we may fitly do it. After any deliverance from trouble, when our joys bud forth anew, let us again visit the foot of the cross, and renew our consecration. Especially, let us do this after any sin which has grieved the Holy Spirit, or brought dishonour upon the cause of God; let us then look to that blood which can make us whiter than snow, and again offer ourselves unto the Lord. We should not only let our troubles confirm our dedication to God, but our prosperity should do the same. If we ever meet with occasions which deserve to be called "crowning mercies" then, surely, if he hath crowned us, we ought also to crown our God; let us bring forth anew all the jewels of the divine regalia which have been stored in the jewel-closet of our heart, and let our God sit upon the throne of our love, arrayed in royal apparel. If we would learn to profit by our prosperity, we should not need so much adversity. If we would gather from a kiss all the good it might confer upon us, we should not so often smart under the rod. Have we lately received some blessing which we little expected? Has the Lord put our feet in a large room? Can we sing of mercies multiplied? Then this is the day to put our hand upon the horns of the altar, and say, "Bind me here, my God; bind me here with cords, even for ever." Inasmuch as we need the fulfilment of new promises from God, let us offer renewed prayers that our old vows may not be dishonoured. Let us this morning make with him a sure covenant, because of the pains of Jesus which for the last month we have been considering with gratitude.[1]

 

Evening, April 24

 

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

-Song of Solomon 2:12

 

Sweet is the season of spring: the long and dreary winter helps us to appreciate its genial warmth, and its promise of summer enhances its present delights. After periods of depression of spirit, it is delightful to behold again the light of the Sun of Righteousness; then our slumbering graces rise from their lethargy, like the crocus and the daffodil from their beds of earth; then is our heart made merry with delicious notes of gratitude, far more melodious than the warbling of birds-and the comforting assurance of peace, infinitely more delightful than the turtle's note, is heard within the soul. Now is the time for the soul to seek communion with her Beloved; now must she rise from her native sordidness, and come away from her old associations. If we do not hoist the sail when the breeze is favourable, we shall be blameworthy: times of refreshing ought not to pass over us unimproved. When Jesus himself visits us in tenderness, and entreats us to arise, can we be so base as to refuse his request? He has himself risen that he may draw us after him: he now by his Holy Spirit has revived us, that we may, in newness of life, ascend into the heavenlies, and hold communion with himself. Let our wintry state suffice us for coldness and indifference; when the Lord creates a spring within, let our sap flow with vigour, and our branch blossom with high resolve. O Lord, if it be not spring time in my chilly heart, I pray thee make it so, for I am heartily weary of living at a distance from thee. Oh! the long and dreary winter, when wilt thou bring it to an end? Come, Holy Spirit, and renew my soul! quicken thou me! restore me, and have mercy on me! This very night I would earnestly implore the Lord to take pity upon his servant, and send me a happy revival of spiritual life![2]

 

April 24th

The warning against wantoning

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you. Luke 10:20.

As Christian workers, worldliness is not our snare, sin is not our snare, but spiritual wantoning is, viz.: taking the pattern and print of the religious age we live in, making eyes at spiritual success. Never court anything other than the approval of God, go "without the camp, bearing His reproach." Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have the commercial view-so many souls saved and sanctified, thank God, now it is all right. Our work begins where God's grace has laid the foundation; we are not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God's sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and that will be God's witness to us as workers. God brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.

Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to meetings. Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever Our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced it with an ‘IF,' never with an emphatic assertion-‘You must.' Discipleship carries an option with it.[3]

 

April 24

The love of Christ constraineth us

      2 Cor. 5:14

The love of Christ is too large for any heart to hold it. It will overflow into others' hearts: it will give itself out, give itself away, for the enriching of other lives. The heart of Christ is a costly thing for anyone to have. It will lead those who have it where it led Him. If it cost Him the cross, it will cost them no less.

J. M. Campbell[4]

 

April 24

" Disrespect: Negation of Authority "

Why is it so difficult for us to respect people who deserve to be respected? Why is it especially true in our times, even among Christians, that people take such a stand against respect and authority? Why is it difficult for us to recognize the words of Scripture and to regard them as binding for us in our everyday life: "Outdo one another in showing honour" Rom_12:10 and "Count others better than yourselves" Phi_2:3? Yes, why? Because we are so filled with our own importance and our own honour. The proud cannot humble themselves easily. When I respect someone else, I humble myself before him in spirit. Then I have taken the lower position; I have to honour the other person, because he is above me, because he is more mature or older, because he has attained more, because he is my superior, or because he is my parent.

Only the humble can give respect. But because we often lack humility, we refuse to respect others. And only the humble will accept the truth that because they are younger, they often do not have the same degree of maturity, the same wisdom, the same rights and privileges that an older person has. Children will see that because they are like children, needing education, they are not yet old enough to take on the responsibilities and privileges of parents. Employees will see that they are not the boss, and therefore have to accept and obey the current rules, which, of course, does not mean that we should ignore our sense of responsibility. It is a matter of accepting these things. If I respect God, I also have to respect those whom He has appointed to be above me, in spite of their deficiencies and mistakes.

That would be obvious to all of us, if, yes if, the sin of pride were not in us. Satan incites it with his arguments which we like so much to hear. For instance, "We all have the same rights", or, "No one should have a position of authority above anyone else". Satan, the fallen Lucifer, has to argue like this. He fell, because he did not want to respect God; he wanted to be equal with Him. Now he ants to pull us men after him. He wants to make us fall also, so that we will be his prey. He does not want to let us choose Jesus' way, being humble and giving respect to others. He does not want us to become like God and reach the great glory that he lost.

Therefore, the enemy works feverishly to incite us to rebel against authorities, because he knows that then we will join him in the rebellion against God, the highest authority. Satan's poison makes us want to be equal with others, to have equal rights and equal respect. He does not want us to recognize that there are rules and superiors, that the Kingdom of God is a hierarchy, a hierarchy of reverent love. If we do not want to admit this fact, because we are exceedingly proud, we will fall into Satan's hands and fall away from God just as he did. The Word of God tells us very clearly that we must be reverent, respectful and subject to others. "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ" Eph_5:21. "Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another" 1Pe_5:5.



[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.