Monday, August 25, 2014

The Privilege of Prayer Part#1

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
- Matthew 14:23
Through nature and revelation, through His providence, and by the influence of His Spirit, God speaks to us. But these are not enough; we need also to pour out our hearts to Him. In order to have spiritual life and energy, we must have actual..[communion] with our heavenly Father. Our minds may be drawn out toward Him; we may meditate upon His works, His mercies, His blessings; but this is not, in the fullest sense, communing with Him. In order to commune with God, we must have something to say to Him concerning our actual life.

Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.

When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.

Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, "in all points tempted like as we are;" but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.

Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God's heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Confession Part#1

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
- Proverbs 28:13

The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.

The apostle says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." James 5:16. Confess your sins to God, who only can forgive them, and your faults to one another. If you have given offense to your friend or neighbor, you are to acknowledge your wrong, and it is his duty freely to forgive you. Then you are to seek the forgiveness of God, because the brother you have wounded is the property of God, and in injuring him you sinned against his Creator and Redeemer. The case is brought before the only true Mediator, our great High Priest, who "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," and who is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities," and is able to cleanse from every stain of iniquity. Hebrews 4:15.

Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of, and have not with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit confessed our sins, abhorring our iniquity, we have never truly sought for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought, we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we do not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth. Explicit instruction is given concerning this matter. Confession of sin, whether public or private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed. It is not to be urged from the sinner. It is not to be made in a flippant and careless way, or forced from those who have no realizing sense of the abhorrent character of sin. The confession that is the outpouring of the inmost soul finds its way to the God of infinite pity. The psalmist says, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18.

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gracious Words

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye May know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6.

Courtesy is one of the graces of the Spirit. It is an attribute of Heaven. The angels never fly into a passion, never are envious or selfish. No harsh or unkind words escape their lips. If we are to be the companions of angels, we too must be refined and courteous.

The truth of God is designed to elevate the receiver, to refine his taste and sanctify his judgment. No man can be a Christian without having the spirit of Christ; and if he has the spirit of Christ, it will be manifested in a refined, courteous disposition. His character will be holy, his manners comely, his words without guile. He will cherish the love that is not easily provoked, that suffers long and is kind, that hopes all things and endures all things....

Those who profess to be followers of Christ and are at the same time rough, unkind, and uncourteous in words and deportment have not learned of Jesus.... The conduct of some professing Christians is so lacking in kindness and courtesy that their good is evil spoken of. Their sincerity May not be doubted, their uprightness May not be questioned; but sincerity and uprightness will not atone for a lack of kindness and courtesy. The Christian is to be sympathetic as well as true, pitiful and courteous as well as upright and honest....

True courtesy blended with truth and justice makes the life not only useful but beautiful and fragrant. Kind words, pleasant looks, a cheerful countenance, throw a charm about the Christian that makes his influence almost irresistible. In forgetfulness of self, in the light and peace and happiness that he is constantly bestowing on others, he finds true joy.

Let us be self-forgetful, ever on the watch to cheer others, to lighten their burdens by acts of tender kindness and deeds of unselfish love. Leave unspoken that unkind word; let that selfish disregard of the happiness of others give place to loving sympathy. These thoughtful courtesies, beginning in the home and extending far beyond the home circle, go far to make up the sum of life’s happiness, and the neglect of them constitutes no small share of life’s misery.
 This devotional is from In Heavenly Places, by Ellen G. White.
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Sinners Need Of God Part 3

It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." Job 14:4. " The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart ; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.


       The Saviour said, " Except a man be born from above," unless he shall receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, leading to a new life, " he cannot see the kingdom of God" ( John 3:3, margin ). The idea that is necessary only to develop the good that exists ( Spiritualism) in man, by nature, is a fatal deception.  " The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him : neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14. " Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:7. Of Christ it is written, " In Him was life; and the life was the light of men"... There is no other " name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" ( John 1:4; Acts 4: 12 ).


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      Steps To Christ



Monday, May 26, 2014

The Sinner's Need of God Part 2

In his sinless state, man held joyful communion with Him " In whom are hid all the treasures of  wisdom and knowledge" ( Colossians 2:3 ). But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God. Such is still the condition of the unrenewed heart.  It is not in harmony with God, and finds no joy in communion with Him. The sinner could not be happy in God's presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings. Could he be permitted to enter heaven, it would have no joy for him. The spirit of unselfish love that reigns there- every heart responding to the heart of Infinite love - would touch no answering chord in his soul. His thoughts, his interests, his motives, would be alien to those that actuate the sinless dwellers there. He would be a discordant note in the melody of heaven. Heaven would be to him a place of torture; he would long to be hidden from Him who is its light, and the center of its joy. It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.


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Saturday, May 24, 2014

God’s Test of Loyalty

The Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments. Deuteronomy 26:18.

God has a test for us, and if we come up to the standard we shall be a peculiar people. The Sabbath draws a separating line between us and the world, not faintly but in plain, distinct colors. To those who have received the light of this truth the Sabbath is a test; it is not a human requirement, but God’s test. It is what will distinguish between those who serve God and those who serve Him not, and upon this point will come the last great conflict between truth and error. All who profess to keep God’s law should stand united in the sacred observance of His holy Sabbath....

When the destroying angel was about to pass through the land of Egypt and smite the first-born of both man and beast, the Israelites were directed to bring their children into the house with them and to strike the doorpost with blood; and none were to go out of the house, for all that were found among the Egyptians would be destroyed with them.

We should take this lesson to ourselves. Again the destroying angel is to pass through the land. There is to be a mark placed upon God’s people, and that mark is the keeping of His holy Sabbath. We are not to follow our own will and judgment and flatter ourselves that God will come to our terms.... That which looks unimportant to you May be of the highest consequence in God’s special plans for the preservation of your life or the salvation of your soul. God tests our faith by giving us some part to act in connection with His interposition in our behalf. To those who comply with the conditions His promise will be fulfilled....

We are faithfully to teach our children God’s commandments; we should bring them into subjection to parental authority; and then by faith and prayer to commit them to God, and He will work with our efforts, for He has promised it. And when the overflowing scourge shall pass through the land, they, with us, May be hidden in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion.
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This devotional is from In Heavenly Places, by Ellen G. White.

The Sinner's Need of God part 1

Are we innately good who just happen to turn bad when we do something bad, or we innately bad and need help to be good?  We read and see in our world,that when someone who appears to be a good person,  suddenly do something that is so bad, that it shocks the community, and should I dare say the world. What has gone wrong, especially when people come forward in defense of some of these individuals and recall their upbringing and their education, which should have been a safe guard against anything that is "bad". Let us take a journey into a world that many would dare not venture because of this notion" it just can't be true", especially when it cuts across all that we have been taught and what society holds to be true.


Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. But through disobedience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love ( Genesis 2 & 3 ). His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan( the real enemy), and would have remained so forever had not God specially interposed. It was the tempter's purpose to thwart the divine plan in man's creation, and fill the earth with woe and desolation. And he would point to all this evil as the result of God's work in creating man.



Monday, May 12, 2014

The Victorious Life Part#1

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
- Psalm 46:10

This message is for you, and not for you only, but also for other faithful souls who are troubled by doubts and fears regarding their acceptance by the Lord Jesus Christ. His word to you is, "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou are Mine." You desire to please the Lord, and you can do this by believing His promises. He is waiting to take you into a harbor of gracious experience, and He bids you, "Be still, and know that I am God." You have had a time of unrest; but Jesus says to you, "Come unto Me,... and I will give you rest." The joy of Christ in the soul is worth everything. "Then are they glad," because they are privileged to rest in the arms of everlasting love.

Put away your distrust of our heavenly Father. Instead of talking of your doubts, break away from them in the strength of Jesus, and let light shine into your soul by letting your voice express confidence and trust in God. I know that the Lord is very nigh to give you victory, and I say to you, Be helped, be strengthened, be lifted out of and away from the dark dungeon of unbelief. Doubts will rush into your mind, because Satan is trying to hold you in captivity to his cruel power; but face him in the strength that Jesus is willing to give you, and conquer the inclination to express unbelief in your Saviour.

Do not talk of your inefficiency and your defects. When despair would seem to be sweeping over your soul, look to Jesus, saying, He lives to make intercession for me. Forget the things that are behind, and believe the promise, "I will come to you," and "abide with you."

God is waiting to bestow the blessing of forgiveness, of pardon for iniquity, of the gifts of righteousness, upon all who will believe in His love and accept the salvation He offers. Christ is ready to say to the repenting sinner, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." The blood of Jesus Christ is the eloquent plea that speaks in behalf of sinners. This blood "cleanseth us from all sin."
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Self-Denia​l

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
(Philippians 2:5-7)

Jesus emptied Himself, and in all that He did self did not appear. He subordinated all things to the will of His Father. When His mission on earth was about to close, He could say, "I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." And He bids us, "Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself"; let self be dethroned, and no longer hold the supremacy of the soul.

He who beholds Christ in His self-denial, His lowliness of heart, will be constrained to say, as did Daniel when he beheld One like the sons of men, "My comeliness was turned in me into corruption." . . . Human nature is ever struggling for expression, ready for contest; but he who learns of Christ is emptied of self, of pride, of love of supremacy, and there is silence in the soul. Self is yielded to the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Then we are not anxious to have the highest place.

We have no ambition to crowd and elbow ourselves into notice; but we feel that our highest place is at the feet of our Saviour. We look to Jesus, waiting for His hand to lead, listening for His voice to guide. The apostle Paul had this experience, and he said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
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Monday, April 28, 2014

The Anxiety of Many

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
- Hebrews 11:24
The great anxiety of men and women of today is to be held in high esteem by the lordly ones of earth. The religion of Jesus seems to be considered of no special value, and the children of men have set their hearts to seek pleasure rather than to know the will of God. The attainment of wealth is considered by many sufficient reason for sacrificing their hope of Heaven; but Moses had been instructed in regard to the final reward to be given to the humble and obedient servants of God, and worldly gain sank to its proper insignificance in comparison. The magnificent palace of Pharaoh, and the monarch's throne, were held out as an inducement to Moses; but he knew that the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in its lordly courts. He looked beyond that gorgeous palace, beyond a monarch's crown, to the high honors that will be bestowed on the saints of the Most High God in a kingdom untainted by sin. He saw by faith an imperishable crown that Christ would place on the brow of the overcomer. This faith led him to turn away from the lordly ones of earth and join the humble, poor, despised nation who had chosen to obey God rather than to serve sin.

Moses felt that it would pay to make this great sacrifice for the right, to be on the side of God and the loyal angels, and to enjoy the eternal reward at last. Even in this life it brought him peace and blessing, and in contemplation of the certain riches of eternity, his sacrifice seemed a trivial one.

Moses was a man of like passions with ourselves, and his character is described that we may learn lessons from his noble example. What God did for Moses, he will do for us, if we are as faithful; and we have not only the same God to go to, the same Mediator to intercede for us, but the same mighty incentives of love to urge us to be obedient to all God's requirements. We have clearer light, and the examples of those who sinned. Their crimes are plainly stated and their punishments depicted. The commendation of God is for the obedient today as then; for God is no respecter of persons, and whoever worketh righteousness is accepted of him in every nation; but if we lack in character, in meekness, in humility, in faith in placing a true estimate upon the eternal riches, and in willingness to suffer reproach for the truth's sake, we shall be left without excuse.

Christ has presented before us the greatest inducement that could be offered to mortals. It is not only the gift of eternal life and everlasting joy, but a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the kingdom of God. Those who feel the importance of taking God's word as the rule of their life and conduct, will have respect unto the recompense of reward.

But in order that we may appreciate heavenly things, we must have our minds taken away from the things of earth. We must, like Moses, esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world. You must suffer with Christ, if you shall also reign with him. Your talents of ability, and means, and influence are all the Lord's to be used for his glory; but how apt men are to forget their obligations to their Creator, when they are prospered in the things of this world! Moses devoted all his energies to the service of God, and made every earthly consideration subservient to the advancement and success of his cause. He honored God, and God honored him. God opened before him the plan of salvation, and called him to lead out his chosen people.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cure for Guilt and Depression

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
- Matthew 18:12-13

The Lord wills not that any soul should perish. His mercies are without number, and He will not leave His purchased possession that He has given His own life to ransom to become the sport of Satan's temptations. All Heaven is given to all those who believe in Jesus Christ as their present personal Saviour, and no soul can dishonor God more than claiming to believe the truth and yet wearing the garments of mourning as though he were an orphan. . . .

The Lord does not leave His wounded and bruised sheep to the power of Satan to be torn in pieces. He is ever strengthening His own when they are weak. He delivers the tried and tempted ones from the enemy's power. The Lord Jesus never forsakes any soul that puts his trust in Him. And those who claim to be sons and daughters of God must trust in Jesus always. To do otherwise is to disown that He loves us, and, by going [about] depressed, covering ourselves with garments of heaviness and mourning, we make a very bad representation of Christ. We virtually say that our Lord is a hard, tyrannical Master. This is lying against the precious Saviour, who gave His own life that He might make it possible for all to believe in Him, and confide in His interest and love for sinful man. . . .

You do great injustice to my Saviour when you walk as though in the shadow of darkness. You are never to walk in the fire and sparks of your own kindling, subject to feelings and emotions.

Jesus said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Now if you are following another leader than Christ, who is Light and Truth and Life, leave that leader and follow Jesus the Light of the world. Is the Lord pleased to have you tossed about as the restless waves of the sea? No! No! I tell you He bids you be strengthened, stablished, rooted and grounded and built up in the most holy faith. Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price which cannot be estimated. Then your owner is God, the mighty God, and for the price paid look to the cross of Calvary. This fluctuating between hope and fear grieves the heart of Christ, who hath given you unmistakable evidence of His love and hath chosen you.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

They That Mourn - Part 3

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
- Isaiah 61:2

God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace.

Think of this, children of suffering and sorrow, and rejoice in hope. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4.

Blessed are they also who weep with Jesus in sympathy with the world's sorrow and in sorrow for its sin. In such mourning there is intermingled no thought of self. Jesus was the Man of Sorrows, enduring heart anguish such as no language can portray. His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men. He toiled with self-consuming zeal to relieve the wants and woes of humanity, and His heart was heavy with sorrow as He saw multitudes refuse to come to Him that they might have life. All who are followers of Christ will share in this experience. As they partake of His love they will enter into His travail for the saving of the lost. They share in the sufferings of Christ, and they will share also in the glory that shall be revealed. One with Him in His work, drinking with Him the cup of sorrow, they are partakers also of His joy.

It was through suffering that Jesus obtained the ministry of consolation. In all the affliction of humanity He is afflicted; and "in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 2:18. In this ministry every soul that has entered into the fellowship of His sufferings is privileged to share. "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:5. The Lord has special grace for the mourner, and its power is to melt hearts, to win souls. His love opens a channel into the wounded and bruised soul, and becomes a healing balsam to those who sorrow. "The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort . . . comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4.
 
 
 
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

They That Mourn - Part 2

To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.
- Job 5:11

The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized.

Our heavenly Father is never unmindful of those whom sorrow has touched. When David went up the Mount Olivet, "and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot" (2 Samuel 15:30), the Lord was looking pityingly upon him. David was clothed in sackcloth, and his conscience was scourging him. The outward signs of humiliation testified of his contrition. In tearful, heartbroken utterances he presented his case to God, and the Lord did not forsake His servant. Never was David dearer to the heart of Infinite Love than when, conscience-smitten, he fled for his life from his enemies, who had been stirred to rebellion by his own son. The Lord says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Revelation 3:19. Christ lifts up the contrite heart and refines the mourning soul until it becomes His abode.

But when tribulation comes upon us, how many of us are like Jacob! We think it the hand of an enemy; and in the darkness we wrestle blindly until our strength is spent, and we find no comfort or deliverance. To Jacob the divine touch at break of day revealed the One with whom he had been contending--the Angel of the covenant; and, weeping and helpless, he fell upon the breast of Infinite Love, to receive the blessing for which his soul longed. We also need to learn that trials mean benefit, and not to despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when we are rebuked of Him.

"Happy is the man whom God correcteth: . . . He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee." Job 5:17-19. To every stricken one, Jesus comes with the ministry of healing. The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence.
 
 
 
 
 
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

They That Mourn - Part 1

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted
- Matthew 5:4

The mourning here brought to view is true heart sorrow for sin. Jesus says, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." John 12:32. And as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfulness of humanity. He sees that it is sin which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory. He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion. He has forsaken his best Friend and abused heaven's most precious gift. He has crucified to himself the Son of God afresh and pierced anew that bleeding and stricken heart. He is separated from God by a gulf of sin that is broad and black and deep, and he mourns in brokenness of heart.

Such mourning "shall be comforted." God reveals to us our guilt that we may flee to Christ, and through Him be set free from the bondage of sin, and rejoice in the liberty of the sons of God. In true contrition we may come to the foot of the cross, and there leave our burdens.

The Saviour's words have a message of comfort to those also who are suffering affliction or bereavement. Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. God "doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men." Lamentations 3:33. When He permits trials and afflictions, it is "for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness." Hebrews 12:10. If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him!

The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waiting Upon God

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.
- 1 Kings 18:41

It was not because of any outward evidence that the showers were about to fall, that Elijah could so confidently bid Ahab prepare for rain. The prophet saw no clouds in the heavens; he heard no thunder. He simply spoke the word that the Spirit of the Lord had moved him to speak in response to his own strong faith....

Having done all that was in his power to do, he knew that Heaven would freely bestow the blessings foretold. The same God who had sent the drought had promised an abundance of rain as the reward of rightdoing; and now Elijah waited for the promised outpouring. In an attitude of humility, "his face between his knees," he interceded with God in behalf of penitent Israel....

Six times the servant returned with the word that there was no sign of rain in the brassy heavens. Undaunted, Elijah sent him forth once more; and this time the servant returned with the word, "Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand."

This was enough. Elijah did not wait for the heavens to gather blackness. In that small cloud he beheld by faith an abundance of rain; and he acted in harmony with his faith. . . . As he prayed, his faith reached out and grasped the promises of Heaven, and he persevered in prayer until his petitions were answered. He did not wait for the full evidence that God had heard him, but was willing to venture all on the slightest token of divine favor. And yet what he was enabled to do under God, all may do in their sphere of activity in God's service....

Faith such as this is needed in the world today--faith that will lay hold on the promises of God's word and refuse to let go until Heaven hears. . . .

With the persevering faith of Jacob, with the unyielding persistence of Elijah, we may present our petitions to the Father, claiming all that He has promised. The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word.
 
 
 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bible Principles of Mind Cure

My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
- Psalm 121:4-5

We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. "Let him take hold of My strength," says the Mighty One, "that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." Isaiah 27:5. Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.

If in our ignorance we make missteps, the Saviour does not forsake us. We need never feel that we are alone. Angels are our companions. The Comforter that Christ promised to send in His name abides with us. In the way that leads to the City of God there are no difficulties which those who trust in Him may not overcome. There are no dangers which they may not escape. There is not a sorrow, not a grievance, not a human weakness, for which He has not provided a remedy.

None need abandon themselves to discouragement and despair. Satan may come to you with the cruel suggestion, "Yours is a hopeless case. You are irredeemable." But there is hope for you in Christ. God does not bid us overcome in our own strength. He asks us to come close to His side. Whatever difficulties we labor under, which weigh down soul and body, He waits to make us free.

He who took humanity upon Himself knows how to sympathize with the sufferings of humanity. Not only does Christ know every soul, and the peculiar needs and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that chafe and perplex the spirit. His hand is outstretched in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. Those who suffer most have most of His sympathy and pity. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and He desires us to lay our perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there...

When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ's love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ's grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.
 
 

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Right Choice

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
- Hebrews 11:24-25

In the schools of Egypt, Moses received the highest civil and military training. Of great personal attractions, noble in form and stature, of cultivated mind and princely bearing, and renowned as a military leader, he became the nation's pride.

All who occupied the throne of the Pharaohs must become members of the priestly caste; and Moses as the heir apparent,was to be initiated into the mysteries of the national religion. . . .

But while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be induced to participate in the worship of the gods. He was threatened with the loss of the crown, and warned that he would be disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence to the Hebrew faith. But he was unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God. . . .

Moses was fitted to take pre-eminence among the great of the earth, to shine in the courts of its most glorious kingdom, and to sway the scepter of its power. His intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of all ages. As historian, poet, philosopher, general of armies, and legislator, he stands without a peer. Yet with the world before him, he had the moral strength to refuse the flattering prospects of wealth and greatness and fame. . . .

Moses had been instructed in regard to the final reward to be given to the humble and obedient servants of God, and worldly gain sank to its proper insignificance in comparison. The magnificent palace of Pharaoh and the monarch's throne were held out as an inducement to Moses; but he knew that the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in its lordly courts. He looked beyond the gorgeous palace, beyond a monarch's crown, to the high honors that will be bestowed on the saints of the Most High in a kingdom untainted by sin. He saw by faith an imperishable crown that the King of heaven would place on the brow of the overcomer.
 
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Happiest People

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11.

Do not think that when you walk with Jesus you must walk in the shadow. The happiest people in the world are those who trust in Jesus and gladly do His bidding. From the lives of those who follow Him, unrest and discontent are banished.... They May meet with trial and difficulty, but their lives are full of joy; for Christ walks beside them, and His presence makes the pathway bright....

When you arise in the morning, rise with the praise of God on your lips, and when you go out to work, go with a prayer to God for help.... Wait for a leaf from the tree of life. This will soothe and refresh you, filling your heart with peace and joy. Fix your thoughts upon the Saviour. Go apart from the bustle of the world and sit under Christ’s shadow. Then, amid the din of daily toil and conflict, your strength will be renewed. It is positively necessary for us to sit down sometimes and think of how the Saviour descended from heaven, from the throne of God, to show what human beings May become if they will unite their weakness to His strength. Having gained renewal of strength by communion with God, we May go on our way rejoicing, praising Him for the privilege of bringing the sunshine of Christ’s love into the lives of those we meet....

Heavenly intelligences are waiting to cooperate with human instrumentalities, that the world May see what human beings May become through a union with the divine. Those who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God’s service will constantly receive a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the life of His life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in mind and heart. Through the grace given us we May achieve victories which, because of our defects of character and the smallness of our faith, May have seemed to us impossible.

To every one who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results.
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Preparatio​n for Future Trials

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
- Matthew 10:19
The servants of Christ are to prepare no set speech to present when brought to trial for their faith. Their preparation is to be made day by day, in treasuring up in their hearts the precious truths of God's Word, in feeding upon the teaching of Christ, and through prayer strengthening their faith; then, when brought into trial, the Holy Spirit will bring to their remembrance the very truths that will reach the hearts of those who shall come to hear. God will flash the knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures into their memory at the very time when it is needed.

When the time of trial shall come there are men now preaching to others who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason. Until thus tested they knew not their great ignorance. And there are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe, but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth.

Now is the time for us to prepare for the final events of earth's history by studying God's Word day by day.

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, [and] gathereth her food in the harvest." Proverbs 6:6-8

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it]. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst." Amos 8:11-13

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5
 
 
 
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Blessed Partnershi​p

And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. . . . And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
- Genesis 39:2, 3

Arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, captain of the king's guard, in whose service he remained for ten years. He was here exposed to temptations of no ordinary character. He was in the midst of idolatry. The worship of false gods was surrounded by all the pomp of royalty, supported by the wealth and culture of the most highly civilized nation then in existence. Yet Joseph preserved his simplicity and his fidelity to God. The sights and sounds of vice were all about him, but he was as one who saw and heard not. His thoughts were not permitted to linger upon forbidden subjects. The desire to gain the favor of the Egyptians could not cause him to conceal his principles. Had he attempted to do this, he would have been overcome by temptation; but he was not ashamed of the religion of his fathers, and he made no effort to hide the fact that he was a worshiper of Jehovah. . . . Potiphar's confidence in Joseph increased daily, and he finally promoted him to be his steward, with full control over all his possessions. . . .

The marked prosperity which attended everything placed under Joseph's care was not the result of a direct miracle; but his industry, care, and energy were crowned with the divine blessing. Joseph attributed his success to the favor of God and even his idolatrous master accepted this as the secret of his unparalleled prosperity. Without steadfast, well-directed effort, however, success could never have been attained. God was glorified by the faithfulness of His servant. It was His purpose that in purity and uprightness the believer in God should appear in marked contrast to the worshipers of idols--that thus the light of heavenly grace might shine forth amid the darkness of heathenism.

Joseph's gentleness and fidelity won the heart of the chief captain, who came to regard him as a son rather than a slave. The youth was brought in contact with men of rank and learning, and he acquired a knowledge of science, of languages, and of affairs--an education needful to the future prime minister of Egypt.
 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

True to Our Name

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 2:6.

We bear the name of Christian. Let us be true to this name. To be a Christian means to be Christlike. It means to follow Christ in self-denial, bearing aloft His banner of love, honoring Him by unselfish words and deeds. In the life of the true Christian there is nothing of self—self is dead. There was no selfishness in the life that Christ lived while on this earth. Bearing our nature, He lived a life wholly devoted to the good of others.... In word and deed Christ’s followers are to be pure and true. In this world—a world of iniquity and corruption—Christians are to reveal the attributes of Christ. All they do and say is to be free from selfishness....

Said the great apostle to the Gentiles, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). By faith Paul appropriated the grace of Christ, and this grace supplied the necessities of his soul. By faith he received the heavenly gift, and imparted it to souls longing for light. This is the experience we need.... Pray for this faith. Strive for it. Believe that God will give it to you....

Learn of Him who has said, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Learning of Him, you will find rest. Day by day you will gain an experience in the things of God, day by day realize the greatness of His salvation and the glory of a union with Him. Constantly you will learn better how to live Christlike, and constantly you will grow more like the Saviour.

If we will die to self, if we will enlarge our idea of what Christ can be to us and what we can be to Him, if we will unite with one another in the bonds of Christian fellowship, God will work through us with mighty power. Then we shall be sanctified through the truth. We shall indeed be chosen by God and controlled by His Spirit. Every day of life will be precious to us, because we shall see in it an opportunity to use our entrusted gifts for the blessing of others.


 
This devotional is from In Heavenly Places, by Ellen G. White.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Inspired Resolution

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.
- Genesis 49:22

Joseph regarded his being sold into Egypt as the greatest calamity that could have befallen him; but he saw the necessity of trusting in God as he had never done when protected by his father's love.

As the caravan journeyed southward toward the borders of Canaan, the boy could discern in the distance the hills among which lay his father's tents. Bitterly he wept at thought of that loving father in his loneliness and affliction. Again the scene at Dothan came up before him. He saw his angry brothers and felt their fierce glances bent upon him. The stinging, insulting words that had met his agonized entreaties were ringing in his ears. With a trembling heart he looked forward to the future. What a change in situation--from the tenderly cherished son to the despised and helpless slave! . . .

But, in the providence of God, even this experience was to be a blessing to him. He had learned in a few hours that which years might not otherwise have taught him. His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to be corrected. . . .

His thoughts turned to his father's God. In his childhood he had been taught to love and fear Him. Often in his father's tent he had listened to the story of the vision that Jacob saw as he fled from his home an exile and a fugitive. . . . His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God--under all circumstances to act as became a subject of the King of heaven.

He would serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day's experience had been the turning point in Joseph's life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed.
 
 
 
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blinded by Tears

"Happy is the man whom God correcteth: . . . He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee."
- Job 5:17-19

To every stricken one, Jesus comes with the ministry of healing. The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence.

God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace.

Think of this, children of suffering and sorrow, and rejoice in hope. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4.

Blessed are they also who weep with Jesus in sympathy with the world's sorrow and in sorrow for its sin. In such mourning there is intermingled no thought of self. Jesus was the Man of Sorrows, enduring heart anguish such as no language can portray. His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men. He toiled with self-consuming zeal to relieve the wants and woes of humanity, and His heart was heavy with sorrow as He saw multitudes refuse to come to Him that they might have life. All who are followers of Christ will share in this experience. As they partake of His love they will enter into His travail for the saving of the lost. They share in the sufferings of Christ, and they will share also in the glory that shall be revealed. One with Him in His work, drinking with Him the cup of sorrow, they are partakers also of His joy.

It was through suffering that Jesus obtained the ministry of consolation. In all the affliction of humanity He is afflicted; and "in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 2:18. In this ministry every soul that has entered into the fellowship of His sufferings is privileged to share. "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:5. The Lord has special grace for the mourner, and its power is to melt hearts, to win souls. His love opens a channel into the wounded and bruised soul, and becomes a healing balsam to those who sorrow. "The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort . . . comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4.

"Blessed are the meek." Matthew 5:5.
 
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Blessed are the poor in spirit

"A new heart also will I give you. . . . And I will put My Spirit within you."
- Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:26, 27

Jesus had presented the cup of blessing to those who felt that they were "rich, and increased with goods" (Revelation 3:17), and had need of nothing, and they had turned with scorn from the gracious gift. He who feels whole, who thinks that he is reasonably good, and is contented with his condition, does not seek to become a partaker of the grace and righteousness of Christ. Pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of such a person. Those who are rich and honorable in their own eyes do not ask in faith, and receive the blessing of God. They feel that they are full, therefore they go away empty. Those who know that they cannot possibly save themselves, or of themselves do any righteous action, are the ones who appreciate the help that Christ can bestow. They are the poor in spirit, whom He declares to be blessed.

Whom Christ pardons, He first makes penitent, and it is the office of the Holy Spirit to convince of sin. Those whose hearts have been moved by the convicting Spirit of God see that there is nothing good in themselves. They see that all they have ever done is mingled with self and sin. Like the poor publican, they stand afar off, not daring to lift up so much as their eyes to heaven, and cry, "God, be merciful to me the sinner." Luke 18:13, R.V., margin. And they are blessed. There is forgiveness for the penitent; for Christ is "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. God's promise is: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." " A new heart also will I give you. . . . And I will put My Spirit within you." Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

Of the poor in spirit Jesus says, "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This kingdom is not, as Christ's hearers had hoped, a temporal and earthly dominion. Christ was opening to men the spiritual kingdom of His love, His grace, His righteousness. The ensign of the Messiah's reign is distinguished by the likeness of the Son of man. His subjects are the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted for righteousness' sake. The kingdom of heaven is theirs. Though not yet fully accomplished, the work is begun in them which will make them "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." Colossians 1:12.

All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden." Matthew 11:28.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Game of Life

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13
The truth of God obeyed, the living by every word of God, is alone sufficient to make any of us stand in these evil times. Satan is playing the game of life for the soul. . . .

There are opportunities and advantages which are within the reach of all to strengthen the moral and spiritual powers. The mind can be expanded and ennobled and should be made to dwell upon heavenly things. . . . Unless it flows in a heavenward direction it becomes an easy prey to the temptation of Satan to engage in worldly projects and enterprises that have no special connection with God. And all zeal and devotion and restless energy and feverish desire are brought into this work, and the devil stands by and laughs to see human effort wrestling so perseveringly for an object that it will never gain, which eludes its grasp. . . . Schemes and projects which Satan invents ensnare the soul, and poor, deceived human beings go on blindfolded to their own ruin. . . .

There is one safeguard against Satan's deceptions and snares, that is the truth as it is in Jesus. The truth planted in the heart, nourished by watchfulness and prayer, nourished by the grace of Christ, will give us discernment. The truth must abide in the heart, be felt in its power in spite of all the alluring enchantments of Satan, and your experience and mine must be that the truth can purify, guide, and bless the soul. . . .

The enemy is on the track of every one of us, and if we would resist temptations which assail us from without and from within, we need to make sure we are on the Lord's side, that His truth is in our hearts, that it keeps watch in our souls, ready to sound an alarm and summon us to action against every enemy. Without this defense amid unseen foes we shall be like the willow bending to the blast, driven of the wind and tossed. But if Christ abides in the soul we may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.