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Morning, December 5           

 

"Ask, and it shall be given you."

-Matthew 7:7

 

We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it. Whoever the traveller may be, he has but to knock at the door of St. Cross Hospital, and there is the dole of bread for him. Jesus Christ so loveth sinners that he has built a St. Cross Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to knock and have his wants supplied. Nay, he has done better; he has attached to this Hospital of the Cross a bath; and whenever a soul is black and filthy, it has but to go there and be washed. The fountain is always full, always efficacious. No sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away his stains. Sins which were scarlet and crimson have all disappeared, and the sinner has been whiter than snow. As if this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the Cross a wardrobe, and a sinner making application simply as a sinner, may be clothed from head to foot; and if he wishes to be a soldier, he may not merely have a garment for ordinary wear, but armour which shall cover him from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. If he asks for a sword, he shall have that given to him, and a shield too. Nothing that is good for him shall be denied him. He shall have spending-money so long as he lives, and he shall have an eternal heritage of glorious treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord.

 

If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at mercy's door, O my soul, knock hard this morning, and ask large things of thy generous Lord. Leave not the throne of grace till all thy wants have been spread before the Lord, and until by faith thou hast a comfortable prospect that they shall be all supplied. No bashfulness need retard when Jesus invites. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold-heartedness should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.[1]

 

Evening, December 5

 

"And the Lord shewed me four carpenters."

-Zechariah 1:20

 

In the vision described in this chapter, the prophet saw four terrible horns. They were pushing this way and that way, dashing down the strongest and the mightiest; and the prophet asked, "What are these?" The answer was, "These are the horns which have scattered Israel." He saw before him a representation of those powers which had oppressed the church of God. There were four horns; for the church is attacked from all quarters. Well might the prophet have felt dismayed; but on a sudden there appeared before him four carpenters. He asked, "What shall these do?" These are the men whom God hath found to break those horns in pieces. God will always find men for his work, and he will find them at the right time. The prophet did not see the carpenters first, when there was nothing to do, but first the "horns," and then the "carpenters." Moreover, the Lord finds enough men. He did not find three carpenters, but four; there were four horns, and there must be four workmen. God finds the right men; not four men with pens to write; not four architects to draw plans; but four carpenters to do rough work. Rest assured, you who tremble for the ark of God, that when the "horns" grow troublesome, the "carpenters" will be found. You need not fret concerning the weakness of the church of God at any moment; there may be growing up in obscurity the valiant reformer who will shake the nations: Chrysostoms may come forth from our Ragged Schools, and Augustines from the thickest darkness of London's poverty. The Lord knows where to find his servants. He hath in ambush a multitude of mighty men, and at his word they shall start up to the battle; "for the battle is the Lord's," and he shall get to himself the victory. Let us abide faithful to Christ, and he, in the right time, will raise up for us a defence, whether it be in the day of our personal need, or in the season of peril to his Church.[2]

 

December 5th

The temple of the Holy Ghost

Only in the throne will I be greater than thou. Genesis 41:40.

I have to account to God for the way in which I rule my body under His domination. Paul said he did not "frustrate the grace of God"-make it of no effect. The grace of God is absolute, the salvation of Jesus is perfect, it is done for ever. I am not being saved, I am saved; salvation is as eternal as God's throne; the thing for me to do is to work out what God works in. "Work out your own salvation"; I am responsible for doing it. It means that I have to manifest in this body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mystically, but really and emphatically. "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." Every saint can have his body under absolute control for God. God has made us to have government over all the temple of the Holy Spirit, over imaginations and affections. We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to inordinate affections. Most of us are much sterner with others than we are in regard to ourselves; we make excuses for things in ourselves whilst we condemn in others things to which we are not naturally inclined.

"I beseech you," says Paul, "present your bodies a living sacrifice." The point to decide is this-‘Do I agree with my Lord and Master that my body shall be His temple?' If so, then for me the whole of the law for the body is summed up in this revelation, that my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.[3]

 

December 5

Belshazzar the king made a great feast

      Dan. 5:1

There was one Guest not invited, but He came, and the work of His finger glowed upon the wall.

Selected[4]

 

December 5

" So We Are Not A New Creation After All? "

If we look at Jesus, the Crucified Lord, in faith, eternal divine life will flow into us. That is what Scripture says. Jesus is waiting for us to call upon Him, the Crucified Lord, and say, "Your blood that was shed for the redemption of the world has power to put to death my natural man, to free me from the chains that are binding me!" Yes, we may call upon the Lamb of God and rely upon the fact that Jesus has broken the power of sin of our natural man with all its urges, desires, bitterness and bondage to earthly things, people, etc. When we look at the Crucified Lord in faith, the natural man will decrease and make room for the spiritual man to grow and become mature to the point of perfection.

But this does not mean looking at Jesus only once and taking one deep prayerful sigh, "Set me free?" As soon as an Israelite who had been bitten by a snake turned his glance away from the serpent that was lifted up, the poison from the bite killed him. Here it is a matter of enduring and keeping faith for life. That means that we have to be fascinated by Jesus and His victorious power so much, that we constantly have to look away from our poisoned condition and continually look towards Him, our Redeemer, and say, "You will be victorious in the end!" If the bondage is strong, the battle of faith will take years. But if we fight to the point of shedding blood, we will experience that Jesus has conquered our greatest weakness and our strongest bonds. We have to proclaim the victory of Jesus day by day. I have already mentioned that I have done this every day during a set period of prayer. I proclaimed His victory over my specific sinful bondages. When I do this I have to expect that something will really happen. Jesus has suffered too much; He has sacrificed too much for me, for each one of us, not to see something of the fruit of His redemption in us.

But even if we try to "put to death the deeds of the body" and fight the battle of faith, trusting in the redemption of Jesus, the spiritual man will still not be victorious. The Scriptures clearly speak of a third "must" if we want to reach the sanctification of God and let the old man be put to death and the new man come to maturity. It is God's chastening. It brings our natural desires to death. So God chastens a person, for instance, who is very much bound to another person, by letting him be disappointed in this person time and again. He seeks to free him by this means. Whoever accepts this chastening by saying, "Yes, Father," will receive help in his fight against his bondages. Or a person can be hit by a serious illness which frees him from his bondage to his work or to lust. If his soulish love is crucified, there will be a free place in his heart where the Spirit of God can pour in and love for Jesus can fill more room. Then his joy in Jesus will increase. We find that this spiritual law works every time, if we love the new man and hate the old man. Then we will praise God's chastening. It helps the natural man be put to death so that the life of the spiritual man can be developed.

As we have seen, the victory of the new man, true deliverance and change in our lives will come about, if we

(1) take measures against ourselves Rom_8:13; Gal_5:4

(2) but above all, fight the battle of faith by looking towards Jesus and using the weapons that He has given us for this fight Heb_12:1 b, Heb_12:2 a) and

(3) at the same time accept the chastenings God gives Heb_12:10 f ).

These are the prerequisites for everything that is written in the following pages. I cannot give thanks enough for all the changes that have already taken place in people-among my spiritual daughters as well-who have lived according to this advice and fought the battle of faith according to these rules.



[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.