"Redeeming the time" (Eph. v. 16).
Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are
translated "ton kairon" in the revised version, "Buying up for
yourselves the opportunity." The two words ton kairon mean,
literally, the opportunity.
They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of
time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and
quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before
it has passed away.
It is intimated that there are not many such moments of opportunity,
because the days are evil; like a barren desert, in which, here and
there, you find a flower, pluck it while you can; like a business
opportunity which comes a few times in a life-time; buy it up while
you have the chance. Be spiritually alert; be not unwise, but
understanding what the will of God is. "Walk circumspectly, not as
fools, but as wise, buying up for yourselves the opportunity."
Sometimes it is a moment of time to be saved; sometimes a soul to be
led to Christ; sometimes it is an occasion for love; sometimes for
patience: sometimes for victory over temptation and sin. Let us
"I will cause you to walk in My statutes" (Eze. xxxvi. 27).
The highest spiritual condition is one where life is spontaneous and
flows without effort, like the deep floods of Ezekiel's river, where
the struggles of the swimmer ceased, and he was borne by the
current's resistless force.
So God leads us into spiritual conditions and habits which become
the spontaneous impulses of our being, and we live and move in the
fulness of the divine life.
But these spiritual habits are not the outcome of some transitory
impulse, but are often slowly acquired and established. They begin,
like every true habit, in a definite act of will, and they are
confirmed by the repetition of that act until it becomes a habit.
The first stages always involve effort and choice. We have to take a
stand and hold it steadily, and after we have done so a certain
time, it becomes second nature, and carries us by its own force.
The Holy Spirit is willing to form such habits in every direction of
our Christian life, and if we will but obey Him in the first
steppings of faith, we will soon become established in the attitude
of obedience, and duty will be delight.
"Watch and pray" (Matt. xxvi. 41).
We need to watch for prayers as well as for the answers to our
prayers. It needs as much wisdom to pray rightly as it does faith to
receive the answers to our prayers.
We met a friend the other day, who had been in years of darkness
because God had failed to answer certain prayers, and the result had
been a state bordering on infidelity.
A very few moments were sufficient to convince this friend that
these prayers had been entirely unauthorized, and that God had never
promised to answer such prayers, and they were for things which this
friend should have accomplished himself, in the exercise of ordinary
The result was deliverance from a cloud of unbelief which was almost
wrecking a Christian life. There are some things about which we do
not need to pray, as much as to take the light which God has already
Many persons are asking God to give them peculiar signs, tokens and
supernatural intimations of His will. Our business is to use the
light He has given, and then He will give whatever more we need.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not" (Ps. i. 1).
Three things are notable about this man:
His company. "He walketh
not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of
sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful."
His reading and thinking.
"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he
meditate day and night."
His fruitfulness. "And he
shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that
bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not
wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
The river is the Holy Ghost; the planting, the deep, abiding life in
which, not occasionally, but habitually, we absorb the Holy Spirit;
and the fruit is not occasional, but continual, and appropriate to
each changing season.
His life is also prosperous, and his spirit fresh, like the unfading
leaf. Such a life must be happy. Indeed, happiness is a matter of
spiritual conditions. Put a sunbeam in a cellar and it must be
bright. Put a nightingale in the darkest midnight, and it must sing.
"I know him that he will do the law" (Gen. xviii. 19).
God wants people that He can depend upon. He could say of Abraham,
"I know him, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham all that He hath
spoken." God can be depended upon; He wants us to be just as
decided, as reliable, as stable. This is just what faith means. God
is looking for men on whom He can put the weight of all His love,
and power, and faithful promises. When God finds such a soul there
is nothing He will not do for him. God's engines are strong enough
to draw any weight we attach to them. Unfortunately the cable which
we fasten to the engine is often too weak to hold the weight of our
prayer, therefore God is drilling us, disciplining us, and training
us to stability and certainty in the life of faith. Let us learn our
lessons, and let us stand fast.
God has His best things for the few
dare to stand the test;
has his second choice for those
will not have His best.
Give me, O Lord, Thy highest choice,
others take the rest.
good things have no charm for me,
I have got Thy best.
"The body is not one member, but many" (I. Cor. xii. 14).
We have a friend who has a phonograph for his correspondence. It
consists of two parts. One is a simple and wonderful apparatus,
whose sensitive cylinders receive the tones and then give them out
again, word for word, through the hearing tube. The other part is a
common little box that stands under the table, and does nothing but
supply the power through connecting wires.
Now, the little box might insist upon being the phonograph, and
doing the talking; but if it should, it would not only waste its own
life but destroy the life of its partner.
Its sole business is to supply power to the phonograph, while the
latter is to do the talking. So some of us are called to be voices
to speak for God to our fellow-men, others are forces to sustain
them, by our holy sympathy and silent prayer. (Some of us are little
dynamos under the table, while others are phonographs that speak
aloud the messages of heaven.)
Let each of us be true to our God-given ministry, and when the day
comes our work will be weighed and the rewards distributed.
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from stumbling" (Jude 24).
This is a most precious promise. The revised translation is both
accurate and suggestive. It is not merely from falling that He wants
to keep us, but from even the slightest stumbling.
We are told of Abraham that he staggered not at the promise. God
wants us to walk so steadily that there will not even be a quiver in
the line of His regiments as they face the foe. It is the little
stumblings of life that most discourage and hinder us, and most of
these stumblings are over trifles. Satan would much rather knock us
down with a feather than with an Armstrong gun. It is much more to
his honor and keen delight to defeat a child of God by some flimsy
trifle than by some great temptation.
Beloved, let us watch, in these days, against the orange peels that
trip us on our pathway, the little foxes that destroy the vines, and
the dead flies that mar, sometimes, a whole vessel of precious
ointment. "Trifles make perfection," and as we get farther on, in
our Christian life, God will hold us much more closely to obedience
in things that seem insignificant.
"It is I, be not afraid" (Mark vi. 50).
Someone tells of a little child with some big story of sorrow upon
its little heart, flying to its mother's arms for comfort, and
intending to tell her the story of its trouble; but as that mother
presses it to her bosom and pours out her love, it soon becomes so
occupied with her and the sweetness of her affection that it forgets
to tell its story, and in a little while even the memory of the
trouble is forgotten. It has just been loved away, and she has taken
its place in the heart of the little one.
This is the way God comforts us Himself. "It is I, be not afraid,"
is His reassuring word. The circumstances are not altered, but He
Himself comes in their place, and satisfies every need of our being,
and we forget all things in His sweet presence, as He becomes our
all in all.
I am breathing out my sorrow
Thy kind and loving breast;
in Thy joy and comfort,
in Thy peace and rest.
I am breathing out my longings
Thy listening, loving ear;
am breathing in Thy answer,
every doubt and fear.
"Not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matt. xxvi. 39).
"To will and do of His good pleasure" (Phil. ii. 13).
There are two attitudes in which our will should be given to God.
First. We should have the surrendered will. This is where we must
all begin, by yielding up to God our natural will, and having Him
But next, He wants us to have the victorious will. As soon as He
receives our will in honest surrender, He wants to put His will into
it and make it stronger than ever for Him. It is henceforth no
longer our will, but His will. And having yielded to His choice and
placed itself under His direction, He wants to put into it all the
strength and intensity of His own great will and make us positive,
forceful, victorious and unmovable, even as Himself. "Not My will,
but Thine be done." That is the first step. "Father, I will that
they whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me." That is the second
attitude. Both are divine; both are right; both are necessary to our
right living and successful working for God.
"Charity doth not behave itself unseemly" (I. Cor. xiii. 5).
In the dress of a Hindu woman, her graceful robe is fastened upon
her person entirely by means of a single knot. The long strip of
cloth is wound around her person so as to fall in graceful folds
like a made garment, and the end is fastened by a little knot, and
the whole thing hangs by that single fastening. If that were loosed
the robe would fall. And so in the spiritual life, our habits of
grace are likened unto garments; and it is also true that the
garment of love, which is the beautiful adorning of the child of
God, is entirely fastened by little nots.
If you will read with care the thirteenth chapter of I. Corinthians,
you will find that most of the qualities of love are purely
negative. "Love envieth not, love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed
up, doth not behave herself rudely, seeketh not her own, is not
provoked, thinketh no evil." Here are "nots" enough to hold on our
spiritual wardrobe. Here are reasons enough to explain the failure
of so many, and the reason why they walk naked, or with rent
garments, and others see their shame. Let us look after the nots.
"Hold fast till I come" (Rev. ii. 25).
The other day we asked a Hebrew friend how it was that his
countrymen were so successful in acquiring wealth. "Ah," said he,
"we do not make more money than other people, but we keep more."
Beloved, let us look out this day for spiritual pickpockets and
spiritual leakage. Let us "lose nothing of what we have wrought, but
receive a full reward"; and, as each day comes and goes, let us put
away in the savings bank of eternity its treasures of grace and
victory, and so be conscious from day to day that something real and
everlasting is being added to our eternal fortune.
It may be but a little, but if we only economize all that God gives
us, and pass it on to His keeping, when the close shall come we
shall be amazed to see how much the accumulated treasures of a well
spent life have laid up on high, and how much more He has added to
them by His glorious investment of the life committed to His
Oh, how the days are telling! Oh, how precious these golden hours
will seem sometime! God help us to make the most of them now.
"Ask and it shall be given you" (Matt. vii. 7).
We must receive, as well as ask. We must take the place of
believing, and recognize ourselves as in it. A friend was saying, "I
want to get into the will of God," and this was the answer: "Will
you step into the will of God? And now, are you in the will of God?"
The question aroused a thought that had not come before.
The gentleman saw that he had been straining after, but not
receiving the blessing he sought.
Jesus has said, "Ask and ye shall receive." The very strain keeps
back the blessing. The intense tension of all your spiritual nature
so binds you that you are not open to the blessing which God is
waiting to give you. "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life
He tells me there is cleansing
every secret sin,
a great and full salvation
keep the heart within.
I take Him in His fulness,
all His glorious grace,
He says it is mine by taking,
I take just what He says.
"Thou shalt be to him instead of God" (Ex. iv. 16).
Such was God's promise to Moses, and such the high character that
Moses was to assume toward Aaron, his brother. May it not suggest a
high and glorious place that each of us may occupy toward all whom
we meet, instead of God?
What a dignity and glory it would give our lives, could we uniformly
realize this high calling! How it would lead us to act toward our
fellow-men! God can always be depended upon. God is without
variableness or shadow of turning. God's word is unchangeable, and
we can trust Him without reserve or question. Oh, that we might so
live that men can trust us, even as God!
Again, God has no needs or wants to be supplied. He is always
giving. "Rich unto all that call upon Him." The glory of His nature
is love, unselfish love, and beneficence toward all His creatures.
The Divine life is a self-forgetting life, a life that has nothing
to do but love and bless.
Let us so live, representing our Master here, while He represents us
before the Throne on high.
"Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. iv.
God loves us so well that He will not suffer us to take less than
His highest will. Some day we shall bless our faithful teacher, who
kept the standard inflexibly rigid, and then gave us the strength
and grace to reach it, and would not excuse us until we had
accomplished all His glorious will.
Let us be inexorable with ourselves. Let us mean exactly what God
means, and have no discounts upon His promises or commandments. Let
us keep the standard up, and never rest until we reach it. "Let God
be true and every man a liar." If we fail a hundred times don't let
us accommodate God's ideal to our realization, but like the brave
ensign who stood in front of his company waving the banner, and when
the soldiers called him back he only waved it higher, and cried,
"Don't bring the standard back to the regiment, but bring the
regiment up to the colors."
Forward, forward, leave the past behind thee,
forth unto the things before;
the Land of Promise lies before thee,
has greater blessings yet in store.
"As ye have received Christ Jesus so walk in Him" (Col. ii. 6).
It is much easier to keep the fire burning than to rekindle it after
it has gone out. Let us abide in Him. Let us not have to remove the
cinders and ashes from our hearthstones every day and kindle a new
flame; but let us keep it burning and never let it expire. Among the
ancient Greeks the sacred fire was never allowed to go out; so, in a
higher sense, let us keep the heavenly flame aglow upon the altar of
It takes very much less effort to maintain a good habit than to form
it. A true spiritual habit once formed becomes a spontaneous
tendency of our being, and we grow into delightful freedom in
following it. "Let us not be ever laying again the foundation of
repentance from dead works, but let us go on unto perfection; and
whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let
us mind the same things."
Every spiritual habit begins with difficulty and effort and
watchfulness, but if we will only let it get thoroughly established,
it will become a channel along which currents of life will flow with
divine spontaneousness and freedom.
"Prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God"
(Rom. xii. 2).
There are three conditions in which the water in that engine may be.
First, the boiler may be full and the water clean and clear; or,
secondly, the boiler may not only be full but the water may be hot,
very hot, hot enough to scald you, almost boiling; thirdly, it may
be just one degree hotter and at the boiling point, giving forth its
vapor in clouds of steam, pressing through the valves and driving
the mighty piston which turns the wheels and propels the train of
cars across the country.
So there are three kinds of Christians. The first we will call cold
water Christians, or, perhaps better, clean water Christians.
Secondly, there are hot water Christians. They are almost at the
One degree more, we come to the third class of Christians, the
boiling water Christians. The difference is a very slight one; it
simply takes one reservation out, drops one "if," eliminates a
single touch, and yet it is all the difference in the world. That
one degree changes that engine into a motive power, not now a thing
to be looked at, but a thing to go.
"It is God which worketh in you" (Phil. ii. 13).
God has not two ways for any of us; but one; not two things for us
to do which we may choose between; but one best and highest choice.
It is a blessed thing to find and fill the perfect will of God. It
is a blessed thing to have our life laid out and our Christian work
adjusted to God's plan. Much strength is lost by working at a
venture. Much spiritual force is expended in wasted effort, and
scattered, indefinite and inconstant attempts at doing good. There
is spiritual force and financial strength enough in the hands and
hearts of the consecrated Christians of to-day to bring the coming
of Christ, to bring about the evangelization of the world in a
generation, if it were only wisely directed and utilized according
to God's plan.
Christ has laid down a definite plan of work for His Church, and He
expects us to understand it, and to work up to it; and as we catch
His thought, and obediently, loyally fulfil it, we shall work to
purpose, and please Him far better than by our thoughtless,
reckless, and indiscriminate attempts to carry out our ideas, and
compel God to bless our work.
"That take and give for Me and thee" (Matt. xvii. 27).
There is a beautiful touch of loving thoughtfulness in the account
of Christ's miracle at
Capernaum in providing the tribute money.
After the reference to Peter's interview with the tax collector, it
is added, "When he came into the house Jesus prevented him," that
is, anticipated him, as the old Saxon word means, by arranging for
the need before Peter needed to speak about it at all, and He sent
Peter down to the sea to find the piece of gold in the mouth of the
So our dear Lord is always thinking in advance of our needs, and He
loves to save us from embarrassment, and anticipate our anxieties
and cares by laying up His loving acts and providing before the
emergency comes. Then with exquisite tenderness the Master adds:
"That take and give for Me and thee." He puts Himself first in the
embarrassing need and bears the heavy end of the burden for His
distressed and suffering child. He makes our cares His cares, our
sorrows His sorrows, our shame His shame, and "He is able to be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities."
"Prove me now herewith" (Mal. iii. 10).
We once heard a simple old colored man say something that we have
never forgotten. "When God tests You it is a good time for you to
test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him
just as much as your trials have rendered necessary."
There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try
to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other
is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger
blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an
opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of Divine grace.
Thus even the adversary becomes an auxiliary, and the things that
seem to be against us turn out to be for the furtherance of our way.
Surely, this is to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Blessed Rose of Sharon
upon our heart,
us with Thy fragrance,
us as Thou art.
Thy life will make us
Thy sweetness, sweet.
"Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of" (Luke ix. 55).
Some one has said that the most spiritual people are the easiest to
get along with. When one has a little of the Holy Ghost it is like
"a little learning, a dangerous thing"; but a full baptism of the
Holy Spirit, and a really disciplined, stablished and tested
spiritual life, makes one simple, tender, tolerant, considerate of
others, and like a little child.
James and John, in their early zeal, wanted to call down fire from
heaven on the Samaritans. But John, the aged, allowed Demetrius to
exclude him from the church, and suffered in
for the kingdom and with the patience of Jesus. And aged Paul was
willing to take back even Mark, whom he had refused as a companion
in his early ministry, and to acknowledge that he was profitable to
him for the ministry.
I want the love that cannot help but love;
like God, for very sake of love.
spring so full that it must overflow,
fountain flowing from the throne above.
"Now abideth faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love."
"Pray without ceasing" (I. Thess. v. 17).
An important help in the life of prayer is the habit of bringing
everything to God, moment by moment, as it comes to us in life. This
may be established as a habit on the principle on which all habits
are formed, of repeated and constant attention, moment by moment,
until that which is at first an act of will, becomes spontaneous and
If we will watch our lives we shall find that God meets the things
that we commit to Him in prayer with special blessing, and often
allows the best things that we have not committed to Him to be
ineffectual, simply to remind us of our dependence upon Him for
everything. It is very gracious and mindful of Him thus gently to
compel us to remember Him and to hold us so close to Him that we
cannot get away even the length of a single minute from His
all-sustaining arm. "In everything ... let our requests be made
known unto God."
Let us bring our least petitions,
the incense beaten small,
our cares, complaints, conditions
loves to bear them all.
"His wife hath made herself ready" (Rev. xix. 7).
There is danger in becoming morbid even in preparing for the Lord's
coming. We remember a time in our life when we had devoted ourselves
to spend a month in waiting upon the Lord for a baptism of the Holy
Ghost, and before the end of the month, the Lord shook us out of our
seclusion and compelled us to go out and carry His message to
others; and as we went, He met us in the service.
There is a musty, monkish way of seeking a blessing, and there is a
wholesome, practical holiness which finds us in the company of the
Lord Himself not only in the closet and on the mountain-top of
prayer, but among publicans and sinners, and in the practical duties
It seems to us that the practical preparation for the Lord's coming
consists, first, of a very full entering into fellowship with Him in
our own spiritual life, and letting Him not only cleanse us, but
perfect us in all the finer touches of the Spirit's deeper work, and
then, secondly, getting out of ourselves and living for the help of
others and the preparation of the world for His appearing.
"I know a man in Christ" (II. Cor. xii. 2).
It is a great deliverance to lose one's self. There is no heavier
millstone that one can be compelled to carry than
self-consciousness. It is so easy to get introverted and coiled
round one's self in our spiritual consciousness. There is nothing
that is so easy to fasten on as our misery; there is nothing that is
more apt to produce self-consciousness than suffering, until it
becomes almost a settled habit to hold on to our burden, and pray it
unceasingly into the very face of God, until our very prayer
saturates us with our own misery, instead of asking for power to
drop ourselves altogether, and leave ourselves in His loving hands
and know that we are free, and then rise into the blessed liberty of
His higher thoughts and will, and His love and care for others.
The very act of letting go of ourselves really lifts us into a
higher plane, and relieves us from the thing that is hurting. This
habit of prayer for others, and especially for the world, brings its
own recompense, and leaves upon our hearts a blessing like the
fertility which the Nile deposits upon the soil of
Egypt, as it flows through to its
"Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. x. 8).
When God does anything marked and special for our souls, or bodies,
He intends it as a sacred trust for us to communicate to others.
"Freely ye have received, freely give."
It has pleased the Master in these closing days of the dispensation
to reveal Himself in peculiar blessing to the hearts of His chosen
disciples in all parts of the Christian Church; but this is intended
to be communicated to a still wider circle, and every one of us who
has been brought into these intimate relations with God, becomes a
trustee, or witness for these higher truths to every one we can
If God has revealed Himself to us as our Sanctifier, it is that we
may help others to know Him as a Sanctifier.
If He has become our Healer, it is because there are sick and
suffering lives to whom we can bring some blessing.
In like manner, if the hope of the Lord's coming has become precious
to us, it would be worse than ingratitude for us to hide our
testimony to this truth, and hold it only for our own personal
"Hold fast that which is good" (I. Thess. v. 21).
It is a great thing to be able to receive new truth and blessing
without sacrificing the truths already proved, and abandoning
foundations already laid.
Some persons are always laying the foundations, and they present at
last, the appearance of a lot of abandoned sites and half
constructed buildings, and nothing is ever brought to completion.
The fact that you are abandoning to-day for some new truth the
things that a year ago you counted most precious and believed to be
divinely true, should be sufficient evidence that you will probably
a year from to-day abandon your present convictions for the next new
light that comes to you.
God is ever wanting to add to us, to develop us, to enlarge us, to
teach us more and more, but it is ever in the line of things which
He has already taught us, and in which we have been established.
While we are to "prove all things," let us "hold fast that which is
good," and "whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the
same rule, let us mind the same thing."
"I called him alone and blessed him" (Isa. li. 2).
When we were in the East we noticed the beautiful process of raising
rice. The rice is sown on a morass of mud and water, ploughed up by
great buffaloes, and after a few weeks it springs up and appears
above the water with its beautiful pale green shoots. The seed has
been sown very thickly and the plants are clustered together in
great numbers, so that you can pull up a score at a single handful.
But now comes the process of transplanting. He first plants us and
lets us grow very close to some of His children, and in great
clusters in the nursery or the hothouse, but when we reach a certain
stage we must be transplanted, or come to nothing. He calls us out
by His Spirit and
into situations where we have to lean directly on Him, where He puts
upon us a weight of responsibility and service so great that we have
an opportunity of developing and are thrown upon the great resources
of His grace.
"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the
Lord is; for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters and that
spreadeth out her roots by the rivers."
"This one thing I do" (Phil. iii. 13).
One of Satan's favorite employees is the switchman. He likes nothing
better than to side-track one of God's express trains, sent on some
blessed mission and filled with the fire of a holy purpose.
Something will come up in the pathway of the earnest soul, to
attract its attention and occupy its strength and thought. Sometimes
it is a little irritation and provocation. Sometimes it is some
petty grievance we stop to pursue or adjust. Sometimes it is
somebody else's business in which we become interested, and which we
feel bound to rectify, and before we know, we are absorbed in a lot
of distracting cares and interests that quite turn us aside from the
great purpose of our life.
Perhaps we do not do much harm, but we have missed our connection.
We have got off the main line.
Let all these things alone. Let grievances come and go, but press
forward steadily and irresistibly, crying, as you haste to the goal,
"This one thing I do."
"That my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full"
(John xv. 11).
There is a joy that springs spontaneously in the heart without
external or even rational cause. It is an artesian fountain. It
rejoices because it cannot help it. It is the glory of God; it is
the heart of Christ, it is the joy divine of which He says, "These
things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and
that your joy might be full." And your joy no man taketh from you.
He who possesses this fountain is not discouraged by surrounding
circumstances, but is often surprised at the deep, sweet gladness
that comes without any apparent cause, and even comes most strongly
when everything in our condition and circumstances is fitted to fill
us with sorrow and depression.
It is the nightingale in the heart, which sings at night, and sings
because it is its nature to sing.
It is the glorified and incorruptible joy which belongs to heaven,
and anticipates already the everlasting song. Lord, give me Thy joy
under all circumstances this day, and let my full heart overflow in
blessing to others.
"Send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared" (Neh. viii.
That was a fine picture in the days of Nehemiah, when they were
celebrating their glorious Feast of Tabernacles. "Neither be ye
sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Go your way, eat
the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom
nothing is prepared."
How many there are on every side for whom nothing is prepared! Let
us find out some sad and needy heart for whom there is no one else
to think or care. Let us pray for some one that has none to pray for
him. Let us be like Him who, one Christmas Day, gave His life and
His all, and came to those who would not appreciate His holy gift,
but rejected His blessed Babe, and murdered His only Son.
Let us not be afraid to know something even of the love that is
unrequited and is thrown away on the unworthy. That is the love of
Christ, and God has for such love a rich recompense.
How Christ must almost weep over the selfishness that meets Him from
those for whom He died.
"Cast down but not destroyed" (II. Cor. iv. 9).
How did God bring about the miracle of the Red
Sea? By shutting His people in on every side, so that
there was no way out but the divine way. The Egyptians were behind
them, the sea was in front of them, the mountains were on every side
of them. There was no escape but from above.
Some one has said that the devil can wall us in, but he cannot roof
us over. We can always get out at the top. Our difficulties are but
God's challenges, and He makes them so hard, often, that we must go
under or get above them.
In such an hour, if there is a divine element, it brings out the
highest possibilities of faith and we are pushed by the very
emergency into God's best.
Beloved, this is God's hour. If you will rise to meet it you will
get such a hold upon Him that you will never be in extremities
again, or if you are, you will learn to call them not extremities,
but opportunities, and like Jacob, you will go forth from that night
at Peniel, no longer Jacob, but victorious
Israel. Let us bring to Him our
need and prove Him true.
"Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and
sanctification and redemption" (I. Cor. i. 30).
More and more we are coming to see the supreme importance of getting
the right conception of sanctification, not as a blessing, but as a
personal union with the personal Saviour and the indwelling Holy
Spirit. Thousands of people get stranded after they have embarked on
the great voyage of holiness.
They find themselves failing and falling, and are astonished and
perplexed, and they conclude that they must have been mistaken in
their experience, and so they make a new attempt at the same thing
and again fall, until at last, worn out with the experiment, they
conclude that the experience is a delusion, or, at least, that it
was never intended for them, and so they fall back into the old way,
and their last state is worse than their first.
What people need to-day to satisfy their deep hunger and to give
them a permanent and Divine experience is to know, not
sanctification as a state, but Christ as a living Person, who is
waiting to enter the heart that is willing to receive Him.