Category Archives: Daily Devotional Guide

December—3 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb the mount of God.—1 Kings 19:7, 8.

How blessed is it to observe, in the several instances of God’s people, that the Lord measures out strength in proportion to their wants, and fits every back for the burden. The prophet was obliged to flee from the king’s court, but the King of kings will give him a table in the wilderness. Elijah shall be taught at one time, how to live by faith, when fed by ravens! and at another, how to go forty days and forty nights without food, when sustained by grace in going to Horeb. My soul! canst not thou find, in thy experience, similar exercises of faith; if not so splendid, yet at least no less profitable? Hath not Jesus many a time fed thee at his banqueting house, and made thy cup run over, when telling thee, in some sweet communion visit, either at his table or thine own, either in the Church or in the closet, how suited his grace is for thee, and that his strength is perfected in thy weakness? And hath not Jesus, as in the instance of Elijah, touched thee a second time, yea, and a third, and many a time, and laid in refreshments for thee, against the coming hour of trial, when the journey of spiritual exercises, that were to follow, would otherwise have been too great for thee? Knowest thou nothing of these things? Surely, in such trainings as these, the Lord is as much leading on his people now, as he did of old. Doth he come in a full tide of glory, and show himself to be Jesus, and open to our spiritual sight his pierced hands, and his side? Doth he come into the soul as the King of glory, openly manifesting his refreshing, his comforting, his strengthening, his loving presence; and, at the same time, opening our eyes and hearts to receive him; so that the soul is made joyful, and brought as into the very suburbs of heaven?—Mark what follows: perhaps, as in the case of the prophet, a long abstinence is to follow. Jesus hath therefore laid in a store of comforts. He hath victualled the ship. He hath fortified the garrison. “The just shall live by faith.” Precious Jesus! give me to live on thee, when all outward comforts fail. In fulness or in famine, in life or death, if I have thee, I have enough to live upon, and in thy strength to go forty days and forty nights; yea, for ever, to the mount of God in glory![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 335–336). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

December 3 Knowing What You Believe

But speak thou the things which become sound.
(Titus 2:1)

You may not think doctrine is important, but it is. Pilots fly by the laws of aerodynamics, and surgeons operate by the doctrines of medical science. Aren’t you glad they think doctrine is important?

Let me illustrate what I mean. A psychology student in the army was given kitchen duty, so he decided to test the response of the different groups of soldiers to apricots. First he took the negative approach: “You don’t want apricots, do you?” Ninety percent of then said, “No!” Then he tried the positive approach: “You do want apricots, don’t you?” Over half said, “Yes.” With the third group he tried the either/or technique: “Would you like one dish of apricots or two?” In spite of the fact that most of them didn’t like apricots, 40% took two dishes, and 50% took one. The point is, if you have no doctrine of your own, you are at the mercy of everybody else’s.

Now listen to Paul’s challenge to Timothy—and you: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine…” (2 Timothy 4:2–3, NIV). When your feelings won’t sustain you, your beliefs will, for one is built on emotion, and the other is founded on the eternal Word of God.

 

Get into the Book.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 337). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

December 3 In Tragedies and Triumphs

Genesis 50:20

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

One of the greatest assets Joseph had was his sensitivity to every situation. In both his triumphs and tragedies, Joseph was able to see through his circumstances and see God at work behind the scenes.

Joseph always seems to be conscious of God in his life. He refused the invitation of Potiphar’s wife because he recognized that it would be “a sin against God.” He refused to exalt himself when interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, instead insisting that “God shall give Pharaoh an answer.” Now he refuses to take vengeance upon his brothers for selling him as a slave, since he now knows the Lord had it in mind all along. Joseph made God part of every aspect of his life.

If we can come to a place in our spiritual walk where we can see God at work in both our triumphs and tragedies, we’ll find new peace in our souls. We don’t always understand or particularly like what God arranges, but we understand the fact that He is in charge, and we bow to His sovereignty. That’s called living with an eternal perspective, and it’s exactly what Joseph does. He has confidence that God is at work on His master plan, regardless of how the immediate circumstances appear.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 354). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

December 3 Thoughts for the quiet hour

Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost

2 Peter 1:21

The Bible is the writing of the living God. Each letter was penned with an almighty finger. Each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips. Each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Albeit that Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen. It may be that David touched his harp, and let sweet psalms of melody drop from his fingers; but God moved his hands over the living strings of his golden harp. Solomon sang canticles of love and gave forth words of consummate wisdom; but God directed his lips, and made the preacher eloquent. If I follow the thundering Nahum, when his horses plough the waters; or Habakkuk, when he sees the tents of Cushan in affliction; if I read Malachi, when the earth is burning like an oven; if I turn to the smooth page of John, who tells of love; or the rugged chapters of Peter, who speaks of fire devouring God’s enemies; if I turn aside to Jude, who launches forth anathemas upon the foes of God everywhere I find God speaking; it is God’s voice, not man’s; the words are God’s words; the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of ages. This Bible is God’s Bible; and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, “I am the Book of God. Man, read me. I am God’s writing. Study my page, for I was penned by God. Love me, for He is my Author, and you will see Him visible and manifest everywhere.”

Spurgeon[1]

 

[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

December 3 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 3.—Morning. [Or November 3.]
“It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.”

IN the epistle to the church at Colosse Paul had to deal with many dangerous errors and mischievous practices, hence it is more distinguished for earnest warning than for those tender expressions which abound in the epistle to the Philippians.

Colossians 1:1–20

1, 2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3–6 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.

7, 8 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. (It is delightful thus to hear one servant of God praise another. There is far too little of this in our day. True soldiers of Christ set high store by their comrades and are glad to advance their repute. Paul does not point out the failings of Epaphras to the Colossians; this would have been destructive of the influence of that worthy brother, and so would have injured the cause of Christ.)

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (The Colossian church needed understanding as much as that of Philippi needed unity; the brethren were too easily duped and decoyed from the gospel. We need in these days to know the gospel well, and hold it firmly; for many deceivers are abroad who will mislead us if we permit them to do so.)

10, 11 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (To labour, to suffer, and in both to rejoice, is the peculiar mark of a Christian. For this we need the all-sufficient grace of God; nothing short of the glorious power of God can create a Christian, or maintain him when created.)

12–14 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Now that the apostle has touched this string we may expect sweet music, for never is his master-hand so much at home as when he is magnifying the Lord Jesus. Hear how he sounds forth the praises of the Son of God.)

15–18 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.

19, 20 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (If Jesus be not indeed God, such language as this is far-fetched, not to say blasphemous. What more could be said? Is not language put to its utmost tension to set forth the Redeemer’s glories? Blessed be his name, he is all in all to us. We adore him as Creator, Head, Fulness, and Peacemaker; and let others say what they will of him, we shall never cease to sing his praises. Happy will the day be when all those in heaven and earth for whom the Saviour died shall join in one happy band around his throne, united in one body through the atoning sacrifice. Even now we anticipate their victorious song, and sing, “Worthy the Lamb.”)

December 3.—Evening. [Or November 4.]
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

PAUL continues to glorify the Lord Jesus, and to stir up his brethren to faithfulness. He shows how the death of Jesus has reconciled us to each other and to God.

Colossians 1:21–29

21, 22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Thus the work of grace produces in us the highest degree of holiness: to be unblameable in man’s sight is much, but to be unblameable even in the sight of God is absolute perfection. This will be the condition of every believer when the Lord’s designs are accomplished in him.)

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Steadfastness in the faith is an essential of true religion: a tree often transplanted cannot thrive. Since the gospel is assuredly the truth of God, it is foolishness in the extreme to be enticed from it by the novel teachings of men. Paul gloried in being a minister of the old unchanging gospel.

24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (All the body must suffer in order to have sympathy with the Head; and in order to gather in all the Lord’s chosen the church must undergo a measure of suffering and persecution; in this Paul was glad to take his share. The atoning sufferings of Jesus were finished long ago, his sufferings in his mystical body are not for the expiation of sin, but arise out of our conflict with the powers of evil.)

25–27 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

PAUL a second time declares his call to the ministry.

Colossians 2:1–7

1–3 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

What wisdom, therefore, it is to know Christ: however simple the gospel may appear to be, it is in very truth far superior in wisdom to all the systems of philosophy, or schools of “modern thought.”

4, 5 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

6, 7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (May the Lord grant us so to do. The gospel which has saved us will do to live by and to die by. To turn from it would be to forsake fulness for emptiness, the substance for the shadow, and the truth for falsehood. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead us yet further into the knowledge of Christ crucified, and never may we in any degree cease from earnest belief of the truth, or lose our thankfulness for it.)

I rest upon thy word,

The promise is for me;

My succour and salvation, Lord,

Shall surely come from thee.

But let me still abide,

Nor from my hope remove,

Till thou my patient spirit guide

Into thy perfect love.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 716–717). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 3, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

10[14] In fulfillment of the great OT covenants, particularly the Abrahamic covenant, this section anticipates full kingdom blessing in the messianic era. Then “many [Gentile] nations” (v. 11) will become the people of God, but the Lord’s special favor will continue to rest on “the holy land” (v. 12). The section begins with a call to joy, followed by the reason for such jubilation (cf. 9:9). The reason given is the personal coming of God himself to live among his people in Jerusalem (Zion). This language is ultimately messianic—indirectly or by extension from God in general to the Messiah in particular.

One of the four major categories of messianic prophecy is indirect messianic prophecy (the other three being direct, typical, and typical-prophetical). Indirect messianic prophecy refers to passages that can be literally and fully realized only through the person and work of the Messiah—e.g., passages that speak of a personal coming of God to his people, as in v. 10 and 9:9 (cf. also Isa 40:9–11; Mal 3:1). The same is true of references to the expression “the Lord reigns or will reign,” characteristic of the so-called Enthronement Psalms (e.g., 93; 95–99). These “eschatologically Yahwistic” psalms are probably best labeled theocratic (“rule-of-God”) psalms. The point is that all passages that speak of a future coming of the Lord to his people or to the earth, or that speak of a future rule of the Lord over Israel or over the whole earth, are ultimately messianic—indirectly or by extension; for to be fully and literally true, they require a future, literal messianic kingdom on the earth.

“The verb ‘dwell’ [NIV, ‘live’] (šākan [GK 8905], from which is derived ‘shekinah’) recalls the making of the tabernacle (miškān) ‘that I may dwell in their midst’ (Ex. 25:8)” (Baldwin, 111). She continues: “This same purpose attached in turn to the Temple (1 Kings 6:13), and when Ezekiel looked forward to the new Temple he saw the coming of the glory of the Lord (43:2, 4) and His acceptance of the Temple as the place of His throne (verse 7) for ever (verse 9).” For further biblical development of the theological theme of God’s dwelling or living among his people, see vv. 11–13 and 8:3 (cf. also Jn 1:14; 2 Co 6:16; Rev 21:3).[1]


Ver. 10.—Sing and rejoice. The Jews released from Babylon, and the whole Jewish nation, are bidden to exult in the promised protection and presence of the Lord. Lo, I come; Septuagint, ἰδοὺ ἒγὼ ἔρξομαι. So Christ is called, ὁ ἐρξόμενος, “he that cometh” (Matt. 11:3). I will dwell in the midst of thee (ch. 8:3; 9:9). Not merely the rebuilding of the temple is signified, and the re-establishment of the ordained worship (though without the Shechinah), but rather the incarnation of Christ and his perpetual presence in the Church. Κατασκηνώσω ἐν μέσῳ σου (Septuagint), which recalls John 1:14, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt (ἐσκήνωσεν) among us” (comp. Isa. 12:6; Ezek. 43:9; 48:35; Mal. 3:1).[2]


10. He continues the same subject. The meaning is, that God begins nothing which he does not determine to bring to its end. Since then he had already begun to gather his people, that they might dwell in the Holy Land, it was a work in progress, at length to be completed; for the Lord’s will was not to be a half Redeemer. This is the purport of what the Prophet says.

But he now exhorts Sion to rejoice, as though the happiness which he predicts was already enjoyed. This mode of speaking, as we have seen elsewhere, is common among the Prophets. When they intended to animate God’s servants to a greater confidence, they brought them as it were into the midst of what was promised, and dictated a song of thanksgiving. We are not wont to congratulate ourselves before the time. When, therefore, the Prophets bade the Church to sing to God and to give thanks, they thus confirmed the promises made to them; as though the Prophet had said, that as yet indeed the brightness and glory of God was in a great measure hid, but that the faithful were beyond the reach of danger, and that therefore they could boldly join in a gong of thanks to God, as though they were already enjoying full redemption; for the Lord will perfect what he begins.

Rejoice then and exult, thou daughter of Sion,—Why? For I come. God had already come; but here he expresses the progress of his favour, by declaring that he would come; as though he had said, “I have already given you obscure tokens of my presence; but you shall find another coming which will be much more effectual to confirm your faith.” Though, then God had already appeared to the Jews, yet he says that he would come, that is, when Christ would come forth, in whom dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in whom God’s perfect glory and majesty shines forth. And hence also does it more evidently appear what I have already said, that this address cannot be applied without perversion to the Prophet, nor be suitably applied to the person of the Father. It then follows that Christ speaks here: but he does not speak as a man or an angel; he speaks as God the Redeemer. We hence see that the name Jehovah is appropriated to Christ, and that there is no difference between the Father and the Son as to essence, but that they are only to be distinguished as to their persons. Whenever then Christ announces his own divinity, he takes the name Jehovah; but he also shows, that there is something peculiar and distinct belonging to him as the messenger of the Father. For this reason, and in this respect, he is inferior to the Father; that is, because he is sent as a messenger, and executes what has been entrusted to him. These things do not militate the one against the other, as many unlearned and turbulent men think, who entangle themselves in many vain imaginations, or rather in mere ravings, and say, “How can it be, that there is one eternal God, and yet that Christ, who is distinct from the Father, and is called his angel, is a true God?” So they imagine that the origin of divinity is God the Father, as though the one true God had begotten, and thus produced another God from himself, as by propagation. But these are diabolical figments, by which the unity of the Divine essence is destroyed. Let us then bear in mind what the Prophet teaches here clearly and plainly,—that Christ is Jehovah, the only true God, and yet that he is sent by God as a Mediator.

Behold I come, he says, and I will dwell in the midst of thee. God dwelt then among the Jews, for the building of the temple had been begun, and sacrifices had been already offered; but this dwelling was typical only. It hence follows, that some new kind of presence is here pointed out, when God was to reveal himself to his people, not under ceremonial figures and symbols, but by dwelling, at the fulness of time, substantially among them; for Christ is the temple of the Godhead, and so perfectly unites us to God the Father, that we are one with him. And it ought further to be carefully borne in mind, that the Prophet does here also make a distinction between the ancient types of the law and the reality, which was at length exhibited in Christ; for there is no need now of shadows, when we enjoy the reality, and possess the completion of all those things which God only shadowed forth under the law.[3]


10. Sing and rejoice. Imperatives open the second part of the poem as they did the first (verses 6, 7). Only here are these two imperatives put together, though in several places songs of praise for deliverance are introduced by ‘sing’, ‘shout’, ‘cry aloud’ (Isa. 12:6; 44:23; 54:1; Jer. 31:7). The enthronement of the Lord as king in Zion is frequently the setting of exultation (Pss 84:2; 96; 98; 132; Isa. 52:7–10), but most explicitly in Zephaniah 3:14, 15. So the joy is associated with many passages which celebrate the enthronement of the Lord in Zion (cf. 9:9). Daughter of Zion refers to the city of Jerusalem (2:4, 5; 8:3), but also to the population round about (Zeph. 3:14), and by metonymy to a great company far exceeding the population of Jerusalem, as the next verse shows. For lo, I come. As in verses 6, 8 the important disclosure is introduced by ‘for’ (). And I will dwell in the midst of you. The verb ‘dwell’ (šākan, from which is derived ‘shekinah’) recalls the making of the tabernacle (miškān) ‘that I may dwell in their midst’ (Exod. 25:8). This same purpose attached in turn to the temple (1 Kgs 6:13), and when Ezekiel looked forward to the new temple he saw the coming of the glory of the Lord (43:2, 4) and his acceptance of the Temple as the place of his throne (verse 7) for ever (verse 9). Tabernacle and temple were the visible tokens of the presence of the covenant-keeping Lord God who had delivered them from Egypt (Exod. 29:43–46). With the building of the new temple in progress this promise involving continuity of the covenant and the enthroning of the Lord in Zion was a major encouragement.[4]


10. The imperative verbs shout (or even ‘Sing!’, nab, njb) and be glad (or ‘Rejoice!’ neb, nlt) are both exclamations of triumphant joy and expressions of worship (cf. Pss 67:4; 68:3; 92:4; 95:1). The announcement of the imminent coming of the Lord is a repeated theme in the post-exilic prophets (cf. Hag. 2:7; Mal. 3:1). Despite his transcendent holiness, God desires to re-establish his ‘address’, so to speak, among his people. The word live is the same verb used in reference to God’s intention to ‘live’ in the tabernacle (Exod. 25:8). This theme of the divine presence, showcasing the immanence of God, extends throughout Scripture, from the tabernacle of Moses (Exod. 25:8) to the restored creation (Rev. 21:3). God’s declaration to re-inhabit Jerusalem echoes the earlier promise of 1:17. (On the divine oracle speech formula, declares the Lord, see v. 6 above.)[5] 


2:10 — “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord.

When we know that God is with us and that He desires to enjoy intimate fellowship with us, how can we not break out in song and rejoice with all our hearts?[6]


2:10 The instruction to sing and rejoice is paralleled in the Psalms at the conjunction of divine justice (Ps. 35:27; cf. Prov. 29:6) and divine presence (Ps. 90:14). The dramatic return of the Lord to inhabit his rebuilt house is cause for praise for those who have returned to Judah.[7]


[1] Barker, K. L. (2008). Zechariah. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, pp. 749–750). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Zechariah (p. 18). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Vol. 5, pp. 74–75). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Baldwin, J. G. (1972). Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 28, pp. 117–118). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Hill, A. E. (2012). Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary. (D. G. Firth, Ed.) (Vol. 28, p. 145). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Zec 2:10). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1755). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

December 3 Streams in the Desert

Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child?

And she answered, It is well.” (2 Kings 4:26.)

“Be strong, my soul?

Thy loved ones go

Within the veil. God’s thine, e’en so;

Be strong.

“Be strong, my soul!

Death looms in view.

Lo, here thy God! He’ll bear thee through;

Be strong.”

FOR sixty-two years and five months I had a beloved wife, and now, in my ninety-second year I am left alone. But I turn to the ever present Jesus, as I walk up and down in my room, and say, “Lord Jesus, I am alone, and yet not alone—Thou art with me, Thou art my Friend. Now, Lord, comfort me, strengthen me, give to Thy poor servant everything Thou seest he needs.” And we should not be satisfied till we are brought to this, that we know the Lord Jesus Christ experimentally, habitually to be our Friend: at all times, and under all circumstances, ready to prove Himself to be our Friend.

George Mueller.

Afflictions cannot injure when blended with submission.

Ice breaks many a branch, and so I see a great many persons bowed down and crushed by their afflictions. But now and then I meet one that sings in affliction, and then I thank God for my own sake as well as his. There is no such sweet singing as a song in the night. You recollect the story of the woman who, when her only child died, in rapture looking up, as with the face of an angel, said, “I give you joy, my darling.” That single sentence has gone with me years and years down through my life, quickening and comforting me.

Henry Ward Beecher.

E’en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;

Death cannot long divide.

For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall

Has blossomed on the other side?

Death doth hide,

But not divide;

Thou art but on Christ’s other side!

Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;

In Christ united still are we.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 345–346). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

December 3 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

3.—Whether our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.—2 Cor. 8:23

What a blessed account is here given of the children of God to all inquiries concerning them. See, my soul! whether thy experience corresponds to it, and mark their character. They are not only brethren to one another, but to Christ also: for we are told that he is not ashamed to call them brethren. Precious condescending Saviour! Moreover, they are the messengers of the churches. What is that? A messenger, in scripture, is called also an Angel. And if the brethren of Jesus do know, and can speak of him as his people should, then are they like angels come down from the court of heaven, to relate what they have seen and know of the king in his beauty, and their hearts glow with a warmth of earnestness to proclaim his glory, and his love to poor sinful creatures here below. Neither is this all. For they are the glory of Christ. Mark this, my soul, and dwell with rapture upon it. A true believer in Jesus is the glory of Jesus. Not only because he gives glory to the Redeemer for his grace, but because Jesus derives glory from his redemption. Not only because the poor sinner hath everlasting happiness from Jesus; but Jesus hath everlasting glory from that poor sinner’s salvation. Never lose sight of this, my soul, when thou goest to Jesus. Indeed, indeed, Jesus is glorified in receiving thee, in pardoning thee, in blessing thee, in giving to thee of his fulness. And the Father is glorified in this great salvation by his Son. Oh! what encouragement is this to faith; what inducement to come to Jesus. Lord! how ought I to blush when I think how little glory I give to thee in not seeing that thy church and thy people are thy glory, in being saved and redeemed by thee![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 296–297). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.

December 2d The D. L. Moody Year Book

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.—1 Corinthians 15:3.

YOU ask me what my hope is. It is that Christ died for my sins, in my stead, in my place, and therefore I can enter into life eternal. You ask Paul what his hope was. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture.” This is the hope in which died all the glorious martyrs of old, in which all who have entered heaven’s gate have found their only comfort. Take that doctrine of substitution out of the Bible, and my hope is lost. With the law, without Christ, we are all undone. The law we have broken, and it can only hang over our head the sharp sword of justice. Even if we could keep it from this moment, there remains the unforgiven past. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.”[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (pp. 214–215). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

December 2 Life-Changing Moments With God

You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

Lord God, You anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. It pleased You that in Him all the fullness should dwell. Of Jesus’ fullness I have received, and grace for grace.

You, Lord God, anoint my head with oil. The anointing which I have received from You abides in me, and I do not need that anyone teach me but as the same anointing teaches me concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught me, I will abide in You.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom You, Father God, sent in Jesus’ name, He will teach me all things, and bring to my remembrance all things that He said to me.

The Spirit also helps in my weaknesses. For I do not know what I should pray for as I ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for me with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Lord God, thank You for Your Spirit who teaches me Your truth, helps me remember what He has taught me, strengthens me in my weaknesses, and prays for me!

1 John 2:20; Acts 10:38; Colossians 1:19; John 1:16; Psalm 23:5; 1 John 2:27; John 14:26; Romans 8:26[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 361). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.