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Morning, October 19

 

"Babes in Christ."

-1 Corinthians 3:1

 

Are you mourning, believer, because you are so weak in the divine life: because your faith is so little, your love so feeble? Cheer up, for you have cause for gratitude. Remember that in some things you are equal to the greatest and most full-grown Christian. You are as much bought with blood as he is. You are as much an adopted child of God as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child of its parents as is the full-grown man. You are as completely justified, for your justification is not a thing of degrees: your little faith has made you clean every whit. You have as much right to the precious things of the covenant as the most advanced believers, for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth, but in the covenant itself; and your faith in Jesus is not the measure, but the token of your inheritance in him. You are as rich as the richest, if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession. The smallest star that gleams is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light has affinity with the great orb of day. In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father's heart as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you. You are like the smoking flax; a rougher spirit would say, "put out that smoking flax, it fills the room with an offensive odour!" but the smoking flax he will not quench. You are like a bruised reed; and any less tender hand than that of the Chief Musician would tread upon you or throw you away, but he will never break the bruised reed. Instead of being downcast by reason of what you are, you should triumph in Christ. Am I but little in Israel? Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places. Am I poor in faith? Still in Jesus I am heir of all things. Though "less than nothing I can boast, and vanity confess." yet, if the root of the matter be in me I will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the God of my salvation.[1]

 

Evening, October 19

 

"God, my maker, who giveth songs in the night."

-Job 35:10

 

Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest or sends home a loaded argosy. It is easy enough for an Aeolian harp to whisper music when the winds blow-the difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring. It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skilful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by-who sings from his heart. No man can make a song in the night of himself; he may attempt it, but he will find that a song in the night must be divinely inspired. Let all things go well, I can weave songs, fashioning them wherever I go out of the flowers that grow upon my path; but put me in a desert, where no green thing grows, and wherewith shall I frame a hymn of praise to God? How shall a mortal man make a crown for the Lord where no jewels are? Let but this voice be clear, and this body full of health, and I can sing God's praise: silence my tongue, lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God's high praises, unless he himself give me the song? No, it is not in man's power to sing when all is adverse, unless an altar-coal shall touch his lip. It was a divine song, which Habakkuk sang, when in the night he said, "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Then, since our Maker gives songs in the night, let us wait upon him for the music. O thou chief musician, let us not remain songless because affliction is upon us, but tune thou our lips to the melody of thanksgiving.[2]

 

October 19th

The unheeded secret

My kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36.

The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day is the conception of practical work that has not come from the New Testament, but from the systems of the world in which endless energy and activities are insisted upon, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; ... for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you," a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives in the shop window. It is the innermost of the innermost that reveals the power of the life.

We have to get rid of the plague of the spirit of the religious age in which we live. In Our Lord's life there was none of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so highly, and the disciple is to be as his Master. The central thing about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to Himself, not public usefulness to men. It is not its practical activities that are the strength of this Bible Training College, its whole strength lies in the fact that here you are put into soak before God. You have no idea of where God is going to engineer your circumstances, no knowledge of what strain is going to be put on you either at home or abroad, and if you waste your time in over-active energies instead of getting into soak on the great fundamental truths of God's Redemption, you will snap when the strain comes; but if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in God on the un-practical line, you will remain true to Him whatever happens.[3]

 

October 19

The Lord set a mark upon Cain

      Gen. 4:15

We speak of the mark of Cain as if it was the mark of a curse. In reality it was the mark of God's mercy, a defense against his enemies.

D. J. Burrell[4]

 

October 19

" Love of Power: Desire to Dominate "

"We do not want this man to reign over us!" Luk 19:14. This was the reason why we people killed Jesus. We wanted to reign by ourselves and not be subject to anyone else. Envy and the love of power are the main sin which nailed Jesus to the cross. This is the worst thin that could be said about any sin. The lust for power is murderous. It tramples down everyone who tries to stand in its way. Whoever persists in this sin will come under God's severe judgment, because every time we want to rule we are actually rebelling against God and His dominion. We do not leave Him any room in our lives, just as the people of Israel and its authorities did not. They excluded their Lord and Creator from their midst-just as we do when we want to have power-although His dominion was pure love and still is today.

The love of power is connected with pride and conceit. It is the characteristic of bad rulers. Domineering is expressed by bossing others around and insisting upon having our own way. It shows that we do not have any humility at all. For when we try to rule over others, we have taken a position that does not belong to us. With our love of power we set ourselves up on a throne, high above all others and rule them with our words and our deeds. But we do not realize that our attitude is just the opposite to God's attitude. For God reigns in a different way, through serving love, as Jesus practised it among men. Jesus' power was not violent; the authority of His dominion rested on humble serving love. "I am among you as one who serves" Luk_22:27. That is why divine radiance rested upon Jesus and why it rests upon His followers who live their lives in humble, serving love. They have true power according to Jesus' words, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit (and rule) the earth" Mat_5:5.

But because Jesus, the Son of God, went the way of humble, meek love, of serving others and submitting Himself, in order to redeem us from our sins, the love of power is an especially serious sin.

We are particularly vulnerable to this sin when we have a position of leadership, when we are responsible for others, even if it is the responsibility of parents for their children. Children defy their parents, rebel against them and even leave home. How often is this caused by parents who wanted to rule over them! That is why the Apostle Paul says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" Col_3:21. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" Eph_6:4. Certainly parents, teachers and superiors cannot avoid making rules and making sure that things are right and if they are not, putting them back in order. But it is especially the leaders who make the Gospel unbelievable when they begin to thirst for power. The Apostle Paul admonishes the elders of the Church, "Tend the flock of God. . . not as domineering over those in your charge . . . Clothe yourselves with humility" 1Pe_5:2-3; 1Pe_5:5 b.

We have to choose. Do we want to follow Satan, who wanted to usurp God's throne, even though he was created by Him? Or do we want to follow Jesus? The outcome of each of these ways is clear. Being Jesus' disciple is incompatible with thirst for power. So we have to get rid of this sin, if we wish to be counted followers of Jesus and not be excluded from His kingdom one day.

First of all, we must ask the Holy Spirit to show us our desire to rule, if we have not recognized it yet. We should ask our neighbours if we make life hard for them by our domineering attitude. If they say we do, we must accept it.

Second, we should ask for a repentant heart, for "godly sorrow" because of this malicious sin, which is such a strong contrast to Jesus' humility. Besides this we have made life difficult for those around us, yes we can even make life hell for them! Third, we must meditate much on Jesus, the humiliated Lord, crowned with the crown of thorns, who had love power, and pray: "I want to stand here by You and from now on choose Your place of humble, meek love. I want others to rule over me at home and at work, and be subject to them and even give up some of my special positions and privileges."

Then we will find that our sceptre of domination will crumble in our hands and one day it will completely disappear, if, yes, if we daily entreat Jesus to free us from this sinful bondage. When we pray for this, we should constantly look at the picture of the humble, lowly Lord who was scourged and crowned with a crown of thorns.  He has paid the ransom and has gone the way of lowliness to draw us into His nature of humility. Just as we all have sinned in Adam, because as his children we partake of his sinful nature-including the love of power-so we have all been united with Jesus and His nature of humility through His redemption. Then we will find out how much authority humility has!



[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.