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.

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.

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.