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Morning, February 28          

 

"My expectation is from him."

-Psalm 62:5

 

It is the believer's privilege to use this language. If he is looking for aught from the world, it is a poor "expectation" indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his wants, whether in temporal or spiritual blessings, his "expectation" will not be a vain one. Constantly he may draw from the bank of faith, and get his need supplied out of the riches of God's lovingkindness. This I know, I had rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds. My Lord never fails to honour his promises; and when we bring them to his throne, he never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at his door, for he ever opens it with the hand of munificent grace. At this hour I will try him anew. But we have "expectations" beyond this life. We shall die soon; and then our "expectation is from him." Do we not expect that when we lie upon the bed of sickness he will send angels to carry us to his bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint, and the heart heaves heavily, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us, and whisper, "Sister spirit, come away!" As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be amongst the multitude of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord-for "We shall see him as he is." Then if these be thine "expectations," O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify him from whom cometh all thy supplies, and of whose grace in thy election, redemption, and calling, it is that thou hast any "expectation" of coming glory.[1]

 

Evening, February 28

 

"The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah."

-1 Kings 17:16

 

See the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this woman had daily necessities. She had herself and her son to feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a constant supply. Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it remained the same. You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God's grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack. For three long years, in this widow's days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never was hungry, but always joyful in abundance. So shall it be with you. You shall see the sinner's hope perish, for he trusts his native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee's confidence totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall find that your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks: "Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure." Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.[2]

 

February 28th

Do ye now believe?

By this we believe ... Jesus answered, Do ye now believe? John 16:30-31 .

‘Now we believe.' Jesus says-‘Do you? The time is coming when you will leave Me alone.' Many a Christian worker has left Jesus Christ alone and gone into work from a sense of duty, or from a sense of need arising out of his own particular discernment. The reason for this is the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. The soul has got out of intimate contact with God by leaning to its own religious understanding. There is no sin in it, and no punishment attached to it; but when the soul realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and produced for himself perplexities and sorrows and difficulties, it is with shame and contrition he has to come back.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus much deeper down, to get into the habit of steadily referring everything back to Him; instead of this we make our commonsense decisions and ask God to bless them. He cannot, it is not in His domain, it is severed from reality. If we do a thing from a sense of duty, we are putting up a standard in competition with Jesus Christ. We become a ‘superior person,' and say-‘Now in this matter I must do this and that.' We have put our sense of duty on the throne instead of the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to walk in the light of conscience or of a sense of duty, but to walk in the light as God is in the light. When we do anything from a sense of duty, we can back it up by argument; when we do anything in obedience to the Lord, there is no argument possible; that is why a saint can be easily ridiculed.[3]

 

February 28

Forgetting those things which are behind ... I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus

      Phil. 3:13, 14

It is not by regretting what is irreparable that true work is to be done, but by making the best of what we are. It is not by complaining that we have not the right tools, but by using well the tools we have. What we are and where we are, is God's providential arrangement-God's doing, though it may be man's misdoing. Life is a series of mistakes, and he is not the best Christian who makes the fewest false steps. He is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes.

F. W. Robertson[4]

 

February 28

" Pleasing People: Conformity "

"If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ" Gal_1:10. With this statement, the Apostle Paul has touched upon a cancerous growth in life, especially among Christians. Because our human hearts are infected with sin, we seek the favour of our fellow men and not the favour of God. That is why it hurts us so much to lose the favour, love and recognition of men, especially of those whose favour is important to us. So we make every effort to please others. But then we are in danger of losing God's favour and Jesus will no longer look upon us as His servants and disciples.

This is an "either/or" situation. And it is especially important during this time of apostasy. If we are now seeking to please men, how quickly we could go over to the side of those who deny Jesus! In past years we have seen shocking examples of this among us Christians, and we have already seen something of the judgment such people reaped, who conformed because they were afraid.

In the face of all this the Lord is asking us, "What is the motive behind your talking, your behaviour?" Perhaps we are friendly towards strangers, but within our own family we are annoyed and grumpy. Our ulterior motive, although we may not be aware of it, is that we want the good opinion of strangers, their respect, their love and recognition, while we take this for granted in our own family. But if we were interested in God's favour and pleasure, we would be especially friendly at home, for God's sake. Another danger is that "when in Rome, we do as the Romans do". At work and elsewhere we conform to the people around us and do whatever they do, whether it involves gossiping with them, telling dirty jokes, accepting their opinions, conforming to their way of dress. All this because, as we say, we do not want to be "different".

Perhaps we even have other pretences: we do not want to offend people. If so we will not be able to tell them anything about our faith. But in reality we simply do not want to lose their favour. No matter what it costs, we want to avoid having any opponents. So we cater to men and do things we cannot justify. If we wanted to give a testimony of Jesus under these conditions, no one would believe us.

We are not at peace, but are tormented by our fear of others. We are afraid of what they may think of us. But how foolish this is! We are afraid of men and not afraid of God, who is really to be feared. Jesus says, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" Mat_10:28. Yes, we should be afraid of losing God's favour, by trying to gain the favour of man. For if God is no longer for us, we are lost, that is, God no longer uses His power for us and contends on our behalf. Yes, we are lost, if God's judgment is upon us. If we wish to please men, we cannot be His servants, neither here nor in eternity. He has power to deliver us up to Satan's kingdom. What good will recognition and favour from men do us, if we are separated from the Source of life, God Himself, and one day have to hear Him say, "You do not belong to Me!"?

No matter what it costs, our goal must be that we stand on God's side and that we have His good pleasure, Therefore, we must make a decision. We must denounce seeking to please people, so that we may obtain God's pleasure. Our fate for eternity depends upon this. Let us picture the baptism of Jesus and His transfiguration and listen to the Father's tender words of love, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" Mat_3:17; Mat_17:5. Then we will sense that it is worth everything to receive God's commendation and will seek to please Him alone. Then we will partake fully of the love of God, which is actually our deepest longing. Moreover people cannot give us this much love and we will never be fully satisfied by them alone.

If we please God, He will love us and honour us, and one day this will be manifested to all mankind. This is quite certain, whereas we can never be sure of getting love from people when we seek to please them. Tomorrow it may bring about our downfall. Human love is like dew, like a cloud that passes away. Perhaps the situation will change and tomorrow they will no longer be interested in taking care of us and being ready to help us. There is only one Person we can rely on; we can count on His love and all the gifts He has to give us. That is our LORD and GOD. What should we do, if God no longer counts us among His servants, if He is not for us? We cannot allow that to happen-in time or in eternity.

Jesus is exhorting us; "Choose Me; choose My way". In everything that we do and say we ought to please God. Let us make this commitment. It is a commitment to the cross, for it is painful when people withdraw their favour and we are no longer loved and respected by them. They may even reject us and be hostile to us. But then we will receive love from God and from those who are close to Him. That is always the case. The closer we are to the Lord and the more we seek to please Him, the more at one we are with those who are close to Him. Isn't that worth suffering for?



[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.