August 1st. So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it Isaiah lv. 11.
SOMETIMES it looks as if God's servants ^ fail. When Herod beheaded John the Baptist, it looked as if John's mission was a failure. But was it? The voice that rang through the valley of the Jordan rings through the whole world to-day. You can hear its echo upon the mountains and the valleys yet, "I must decrease, but He must increase." He held up Jesus Christ and introduced Him to the world, and Herod had not power to behead Him until His life-work had been accomplished.
Stephen never preached but one sermon that we know of, and that was before the Sanhedrim; but how that sermon has been preached again and again all over the world! Out of his death probably came Paul, the greatest preacher the world has seen since Christ left this earth. If a man is sent by Jehovah, there is no such thing as failure.
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shall be a blessing.—Genesis xii. 2.
■"THERE is no name in history so well known
as the name of Abram. Even Christ is not more widely known, for the Mohammedans, the Persians, and the Egyptians make a great deal of Abram. His name has been for centuries and centuries favorably known in Damascus. God promised him that great men should spring from his loins. Was there ever a nation that has turned out such men? Think of Moses, and Joseph, and Joshua, and Caleb, and Samuel, and David, and Solomon, and Elisha. Think of Elijah, and Daniel, and Isaiah, and all the other wonderful Bible characters that have sprung from this man! Then think of John the Baptist, of Peter, of James, and John, and Paul, a mighty army. No one can number the
multitude of wonderful men that have sprung from this one man called out of the land of the Chaldeans, unknown and an idolater, probably, when God called him; and yet how literally God has fulfilled His promise that through him He would bless all the nations of the earth. All because he surrendered himself fully and wholly to let God bless him.
August 3th. And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.—Mark ii. 4.
''THESE four friends were terribly in earnest.
They let the bier, on which the man was lying, down into the room. They laid their friend right at the feet of Jesus Christ; a good place to lay him, was it not?
Perhaps you have a sceptical son or an unbelieving husband, or some other member of your family, that scoffs at the Bible and sneers at Christianity. Lay them at the feet of Jesus, and He will honor your faith.
August 4th. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. Ecclesiastes xii. 8.
'THE worship of pleasure is slavery. (Solomon tried pleasure, and found bitter disappointment, and down the ages has come the bitter cry, "All is vanity.")
There is no rest in sin. The wicked know nothing about rest. The Scriptures tell us the wicked " are like the troubled sea that cannot rest." Man, like the sea, has no rest. He has had no rest since Adam fell, and there is none for him until he returns to God again, and the light of Christ shines into his heart.
Rest cannot be found in the world, but thank God the world cannot take it from the believing heart! Sin is the cause of all this unrest. It brought toil and labor and misery into the world.
August 5th. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.—1 Corinthians vi. 9, 10.
NOTICE that the covetous are named between thieves and drunkards. We lock up thieves, and have no mercy on them. We loathe drunkards, and consider them great sinners against the law of God as well as the law of the land. Yet there is far more said in the Bible against covetousness than against either stealing or drunkenness.
Now tahen the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them t» continue in the grace of God.—Acts xiii. 43.
LJOW much would Paul and Barnabas have accomplished if they had pronounced the benediction and sent these people home? It is a thing to weep over that we have got thousands and thousands of church-members who are good for nothing toward extending the kingdom of God. They understand bazaars, and fairs, and sewing-circles; but when you ask them to sit down and show a man or woman the way into God's kingdom, they say:
"Oh, I am not able to do that. Let the deacons do it, or some one else."
It is all wrong. The Church ought to be educated on this very point. There are a great many church-members who are just hobbling about on crutches. They can just make out that they are saved, and imagine that is all that constitutes a Christian in this nineteenth century. As far as helping others is concerned, that never enters their heads. They think if they can get along themselves, they are doing amazingly well. They have no idea what the Holy Ghost wants to do through them.
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.— Matthew vii. 22, 23.
TT has been said that there will be three things which will surprise us when we get to heaven—one, to find many whom we did not expect to find there; another, to find some not there whom we had expected; a third, and perhaps the greatest wonder, to find ourselves there!
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.—John iii. 8.
"yOU might just as well tell me that there is no such thing as wind, as tell me there is no such thing as a man being born of the Spirit. I have felt the Spirit of God working in my heart just as really and as truly as I have felt the wind blowing in my face. I cannot reason it out. There are a great many things I cannot reason out, but which I believe. I never could reason out the creation. I can see the world, but I cannot tell how God made it out of nothing. But every man will admit there was a creative power.
August 9th. Awake thou that skepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.—Ephesians v. 14.
TF the lost are to be reached by the gospel of the Son of God, Christianity must be more aggressive than it has been in the past. We have been on the defensive long enough; the time has come for us to enter on a war of aggression. When we as children of God wake up and go to work in the vineyard, then those who are living in wickedness all about us will be reached; but not in any other way. You may go to mass meetings and discuss the question: "How to reach the masses," but when you have done with discussion you have to go back to personal effort. Every man and woman who loves the Lord Jesus Christ must wake up to the fact that he or she has a mission in the world, in this work of reaching the lost.
August 10th. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this.—John xii. 7.
T CAN imagine that Mary thought that if she waited until Jesus was dead she might not have a chance to anoint His body, and so she came before His death to anoint Him.
There is a lesson there. How very kind and thoughtful we are to a family that has lost some member, and what kind words are said after the person is dead and gone! Would it not be better to say a few of those good things before they go? Wouldn't it be well to give some of your bouquets before a man dies, and not go and load down his coffin?
August I ith. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.—Daniel i. 8.
T CAN imagine men saying to Daniel,
"Look here, young man, you are too puritanical. Don't be too particular; don't have too many religious scruples. Bear in mind you are not now in Jerusalem. You will have to get over these notions, now you are here in Babylon. You are not now surrounded by friends and relatives. You are not a Jerusalem prince now. You have been brought down from your high position. You are now a captive. And if the monarch hears about your refusing to eat the same kind of meat that he eats, and to drink the same kind of wine that he drinks, your head will soon roll from off your shoulders. You had better be a little politic."
But this young man had piety and religion deep down in his heart; and that is the right place for it; where it will grow; where it will have power; where it will regulate the life. Daniel had not joined the company of the faithful few in Jerusalem because he wanted to get into "society," and attain a position: it was because of the love he had toward the Lord God of Israel.
August 12th. And Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.—Genesis xxviii. 16, 17. \ 17HEN people come into the house of God * v they put on a sober appearance. They act as if there was something very strange about the house of God.
I would not say a word to detract from the holiness of the house of God. But let us bear in mind that every place ought to be holy to a child of God; that in every place we ought to be true to God. We ought to be as true to Him in our place of business as we are in the Church. When Jacob said," This is the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven," he was under the canopy of high heaven. That was where God met him; and God will meet us in the street as well as in the place of worship. He will meet us at home. He is also with us in our closets.
Any place where God is is holy, and this putting on another air and a sanctimonious look when we come into the house of God, and laying it aside when we go out, thinking that this is going to be acceptable to God, is all wrong. Every place ought to be holy to a true child of God.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.—1 Corinthians ii. 9, 10.
IT is said by travellers that in climbing the Alps the houses of far distant villages can be seen with great distinctness, so that sometimes the number of panes of glass in a church window can be counted. The distance looks so short that the place to which the traveller is journeying appears almost at hand, but after hours and hours of climbing it seems no nearer. This is because of the clearness of the atmosphere. By perseverance, however, the place is reached at last, and the tired traveller finds rest. So sometimes we dwell in high altitudes of grace; heaven seems very near, and the hills of Beulah are in full view. At other times the clouds and fogs caused by suffering and sin cut off our sight. We are just as near heaven in the one case as we are in the other, and we are just as sure of gaining it if we but keep in the path that Christ has pointed out.
And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.—Judges vii. 7.
IT would be a good thing for the Church of
God if all the fearful and faithless ones were
to step to the rear, and let those who are full
of faith and courage take their empty pitchers
and go forward against the enemy. The little
band of three hundred men who were left with
Gideon routed the Midianites, but it was not
their own might that gave them the victory. It
was "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon."
If we go on in the Name of the Lord, and
trusting to His might, we shall succeed.
These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.— John xv. 11.
PEOPLE should look for joy in the Word, and not in the world. They should look for the joy which the Scriptures furnish, and
then go to work in the vineyard; because a joy that don't send me out to some one else, a joy that don't impel me to go and help the poor drunkard, a joy that don't prompt me to visit the widow and the fatherless, a joy that don't cause me to go into the Mission Sunday-school or other Christian work, is not worth having, and is not from above. A joy that does not constrain me to go and work for the Master, is purely sentiment and not real joy.
Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.—Acts i. 8.
TF these early Christians had gone out and * commenced preaching then and there without the promised power, do you think that scene would have taken place on the day of Pentecost? Peter would have stood up and beat against the air, while the Jews would have gnashed their teeth and mocked at him. But they tarried in Jerusalem; they waited ten days.
"What!" you say, " with the world perishing and men dying! Shall I wait?"
Do what God tells you. There is no use in running before you are sent; there is no use in attempting to do God's work without God's power. A man working without this unction, a man working without this anointing, a man working without the Holy Ghost upon him, is losing time after all. We shall not lose anything if we tarry till we get this power.
To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.—Isaiah viii. 20.
A NY man, any woman who comes to us with *^ any doctrine that is not according to the law and the testimony, let us understand that they are from the evil one, and that they are enemies of righteousness. They have no light in them. You will find these people who are consulting familiar spirits, first and last, attack the Word of God. They don't believe it.
There is another passage which reads, "And when they shall say unto you, seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter: Should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" What is that but table-rapping, and cabinet-hiding? If it was a message from God, do you think you would have to go into a dark room and put out all the lights? In secret my Master taught nothing. God is not in that movement, and we want, as children of God, to keep ourselves from this evil.
August 18th. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.—John i. 46.
A FTER all, we do not gain much by discus**■ sion. Let objectors or inquirers only get one personal interview with the Son of God, and that will scatter all their darkness, all their prejudice, and all their unbelief. The moment that Philip succeeded in getting Nathanael to Christ, the work was done.
August 19th. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.—Johniii. 3.
~WOU may see many countries; but there is * one country—the land of Beulah, which John Bunyan saw in vision—you shall never behold, unless you are born again, regenerated by Christ. You can look abroad and see many beautiful trees; but the tree of life you shall never behold, unless your eyes are made clear by faith in the Saviour. You may see the beautiful rivers of the earth, you may ride upon their bosoms; but bear in mind that your eye will never rest upon the river which bursts out from the Throne of God and flows through the upper Kingdom, unless you are born again. You may see the kings and lords of the earth; but the King of kings and Lord of lords you will never see except you are born again. When you are in London you may go to the Tower and see the crown of England, which is worth thousands of dollars, and is guarded by soldiers; but bear in mind that your eye will never rest upon the crown of life, except you are born again.
You may hear the songs of Zion which are sung here; but one song—that of Moses and the Lamb—the uncircumcised ear shall never hear: its melody will only gladden the ear of those who have been born again. You may look upon the beautiful mansions of earth; but bear in mind the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare you shall never see unless you are born again. It is God who says it. You may see ten thousand beautiful things in this world ; but the city that Abraham caught a glimpse of— and from that time became a pilgrim and sojourner—you shall never see unless you are born again. (Heb. xi. 8, 10-16.) You may often be invited to marriage feasts here; but you will never attend the marriage supper of the Lamb except you are born again. It is God who says it.
August 20th. Let him that thirtieth he standeth, take heed lest he fall.—1 Corinthians x. 12.
HTWENTY-FIVE years ago—and for the first five years after I was converted—I used to think that if I were able to stand for twenty years I need fear no fall. But the nearer you get to the Cross the fiercer the battle. Satan aims high. He went amongst the twelve, and singled out the treasurer, Judas Iscariot, and the chief apostle, Peter.
Most men who have fallen have done so on the strongest side of their character. I am told that the only side upon which Edinburgh Castle was successfully assailed was where the rocks were steepest, and where the garrison thought themselves secure. If any man thinks that he is strong enough to resist the evil at any one point he needs special watch there, for the tempter comes that way.
August 21st. They brought young children to Him, that He should touch them : and His disciples rebuked those that brought them.—Mark x. 13.
T HAVE no sympathy with the idea that our children have to grow up before they are converted. Once I saw a lady with three daughters at her side, and I stepped up to her and asked her if she was a Christian. "Yes, sir."
Then I asked the oldest daughter if she was a Christian. Her chin began to quiver, and the tears came into her eyes, and she said:
"I wish I was."
The mother looked very angrily at me and said," I don't want you to speak to my children on that subject. They don't understand." And in great rage she took them away from me. One daughter was fourteen years old, one twelve, and the other ten, but they were not old enough to be talked to about religion! Let them drift into the world and plunge into worldly amusements, and then see how hard it is to reach them. Many a mother is mourning to-day because her boy has gone beyond her reach. In those early days when his mind was tender and young, she might have led him to Christ.
August 2 2d. Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.—Ezekiel xviii. 4.
O UPPOSE there was a law that man should ^ not steal, but no penalty was attached to stealing, some man would have my pocketbook before the day was over. If I threatened to have him arrested, he would snap his fingers in my face. He would not fear the law, if there was no penalty. It is not the law that people are afraid of; it is the penalty for transgression.
Do not suppose God has made a law without a penalty. What an absurd thing it would be! The penalty for sin is death: "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." If I have sinned I must die, or get somebody to die for me. If the Bible doesn't teach that, it doesn't teach anything. And that is where the atonement of Jesus Christ comes in.
August 23d. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues :yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.—John xvi. 1, 2.
A MAN said to me some time ago: "Mr. *^ Moody, now that I am converted, have I to give up the world?"
"No," said I, " you haven't to give up the world. If you give a good ringing testimony for the Son of God, the world will give you up pretty quick; they won't want you."
August 24th. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.—1 Corinthians xv. 19.
'"TO deny the resurrection is to say that we will never see more of the loved ones whose bodies have been committed to the clay. If Christ has not risen, this life is the only one, and we are as the brutes.
How cruel it is to have any one love you if this be true! How horrible that they should let the tendrils of your heart twine around them, if, when they are torn away in death, that is to be the end! I would rather hate than love if I thought there would be no resurrection, because then I would feel no pangs at losing the hated thing. Oh, the cruelty of unbelief! It takes away our brightest hopes.
And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.—1 Samuel xv. 22.
T~\ID you ever notice all but the heart of man obeys God? If you look through history, you will find that this is true. In the beginning God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. "Let the waters bring forth," and the water brought forth abundantly. And one of the proofs that Jesus Christ is God is that He spoke to nature, and nature obeyed Him. At one time He spoke to the sea, and the sea recognized and obeyed. He spoke to the fig-tree, and instantly it withered and died, it obeyed literally and at once. He spoke to devils, and the devils fled. He spoke to the grave, and the grave obeyed Him and gave back its dead. But when He speaks to man, man will not obey Him. That is why man is out of harmony with God, and it will never be different until men learn to obey God. God wants obedience, and He will have it, else there can be no harmony.
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what men can do unto me.—Psaims lvi. 11.
TF God has hid me in the secret pavilion, let men slander me and abuse me if they like! If I can say that God is my Father, Jesus is my Saviour, and heaven is my home: let the world rail, let the flesh do what it pleases, I will not be afraid of evil tidings, for my trust is in God! Is not that a good footing for eternity? "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall not pass away." If you get your feet fair and square on the rock, let the waves beat if they will. A Christian once said that he trembled sometimes, but the foundation never did: he had his feet upon the rock.
August 27th. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.—Acts xvii. 27.
DHILOSOPHERS are agreed that even the most primitive races of mankind reach out beyond the world of matter to a superior Being. It is as natural for man to feel after God as it is for the ivy to feel after support. Hunger and thirst drive him to seek for food, and there is a hunger of the soul that needs satisfying, too. Man does not need to be commanded to worship, as there is not a race so high or so low in the scale of civilization but has some kind of a god. What man needs is to be directed aright in his worship.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer Him.— Psalm xci. 15.
T ISTEN to the prodigal: « Father, I have *~* sinned!" That was enough; the father took him right to his bosom. The past was blotted out at once.
Look at the men on the day of Pentecost. Their hands were dripping with the blood of the Son of God; they had murdered Jesus Christ. And what did Peter say to them ?" It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Look at the penitent thief. It might have been that when a little boy, his mother taught him that same passage in Joel, "It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." As he hung there on the cross, it flashed into his mind that this was the Lord of glory, and though he was on the very borders of hell, he cried out, " Lord, remember me," and the answer came right then and there, "This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise." In the morning, as black as hell could make him; in the evening, not a spot or wrinkle. Why? Because he took God at His word. Why will men doubt Him?
Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.—Matthew ix. 29.
T REMEMBER a man telling me he preached * for a number of years without any result. He used to say to his wife as they went to church that he knew the people would not believe anything he said j and there was no blessing. At last he saw his error; he asked God to help him, and took courage, and then the blessing came.
"According to your faith it shall be unto you." This man had expected nothing, and he got just what he expected. Let us expect that God is going to use us. Let us have courage and go forward, looking to God to do great things.
August 30th. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.—Matthew v. 17, 18.
TESUS never condemned the law and the ^ prophets, but He did condemn those who did not obey them. Because He gave new commandments it does not follow that He abolished the old. Christ's explanation of them made them all the more searching. In His Sermon on the Mount He carried the principles of the commandments beyond the mere letter. He unfolded them and showed that they embraced more, that they are positive as well as prohibitive. The Old Testament closes with these words:
"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Does that look as if the law of Moses was becoming obsolete?
These all died in faith, not having received the premises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.— Hebrews xi. 13.
\A/E ought in these days to have far more faith than Abel, or Enoch, or Abraham had. They lived away on the other side of the Cross. We talk about the faith of Elijah, and the patriarchs and prophets; but they lived in the dim light of the past, while we are in the full blaze of Calvary and the resurrection. When we look back and think of what Christ did, how He poured out His blood that men might be saved, we ought to go forth in His strength and conquer the world. Our God is able to do great and mighty things.