Posted in Daily Devotionals

Some Features of Christ’s Working

Today our devotional is a gentle reminder of what we ought to be doing with our time here in this world from Devotional Sermons by George H. Morrison.

My Father worketh hitherto, and I work — John 5:17

Christ Taught That Work Is Honorable
It is characteristic of the Christian Gospel that its Savior should be a worker. In the old world, it was hardly an honorable thing to work. It was a thing for slaves and serfs and strangers, not for freeborn men. Hence work and greatness rarely went together; and nothing could be more alien to the genius of paganism than a toiling God. Jesus has changed all that. He has made it impossible for us to think of God as indolent. It was a revolution when Jesus taught “God loves.” But it was hardly less revolutionary when He taught “God works.”
And He not only taught it, He lived it too. Men saw in Christ a life of endless toil, and “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Had Jesus lived and taught in the quiet groves of some academy, it would have made all the difference in the Christian view of work, and all the difference in the Christian view of God. But Jesus was a carpenter. And Jesus stooped to the very humblest tasks till He became the pattern and prince of workers. I want to look, then, at some features of His work, for He has left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

The Magnitude of His Aim
Looking back, then, upon the work of Jesus, what strikes me first is the magnitude of His aim compared with the meanness of His methods.
It is a great thing to command an army. It is a great thing to be a master of a fleet. It is a great thing to be a minister of state and help to guide a people towards their national destiny. But the aims of general and of admiral and of statesman, great in themselves, seem almost insignificant when we compare them with the purposes of Jesus. He claims a universal sovereignty. He runs that sovereignty out into every sphere. He is to be the test in moral questions. He is to shape our law and mould our literature. He is the Lord of life. He is the King and Conqueror of death. These are the purposes of Jesus, far more stupendous than man had ever dreamed of in his wildest moments. Will He not need stupendous methods if He is ever to achieve an aim like that?

The Meanness of Christ’s Methods
And it is then the apparent meanness of His methods strikes us. Had He a pen of fire? He never wrote a line, save in the sand. Had He a voice of overmastering eloquence? He would not strive, nor cry, nor lift up His voice in the streets. Was there unlimited wealth at His command?—”The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Were His first followers men of influence?—”Simon and Andrew were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.” Or would He use the sword like Mohammed?—”Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” It seems impossible that in such ways Christ should achieve His purpose. It is the magnitude of His aim compared with the meanness of His methods that arrests me first.
It should be so with every Christian toiler. It is a simple lesson for every man and woman who seeks to serve in the true Christian spirit. Meanly surrounded, he should be facing heavenwards. Meanly equipped in all things else, he should be mightily equipped in noble hope. If I am Christ’s, I cannot measure possibilities by methods. My heaven is always greater than my grasp. If I am Christ’s, I cherish the loftiest hope and am content to work for it in lowliest ways.

Difference between a Visionary and a Christian
And it is there the difference comes in between a visionary and a Christian. A visionary dreams his dreams and builds his castles in the air, and they are radiant and wonderful and golden, and the light of heaven glitters on every minaret. And then, because he cannot realize them now and cannot draw them in all their beauty down to earth, the visionary folds his hands, does nothing, and the vision goes. But the true Christian, with hopes as glorious as any visionary’s because they are the hopes of Jesus Christ, carries the glory of them into his common duty and into the cross-bearing of the dreary day. And though the generations die, and the purposes of God take a thousand years to ripen, he serves and is content—

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Doth his successive journeys run.

Untiring Labor with Unruffled Calm
Once more, as I look back upon the work of Jesus, I find there untiring llabor joined with unruffled calm.
There never was a ministry, whether of man or angel, so varied, so intense, or so sustained as was the public ministry of Jesus. He preaches in the synagogue at Nazareth. He preaches on the hill and on the sea. With infinite patience and unexhausted tenderness He trains the twelve. And all that we know of Him is not a thousandth part of what He said and did. Charged with that mighty task and with only three short years to work it out, shall we not find Christ anxious, and will we not light on hours of feverish unrest? There is no trace of that. With all its stir, no life is so restful as the life of Jesus. With all its incident and crowding of event, we are amazed at the supreme tranquillity of Christ. There is time for teaching and there is time for healing. There is time for answering and time for prayer. Each hour is full of work and full of peace. No day hands on its debts to tomorrow. Jesus can cry, “It is finished,” at the close. Here for each worker is the supreme example of untiring labor and unruffled calm.
Let us remember that. It is the very lesson that we need today. There are two dangers that, in these bustling times, beset the busy man. One is that he be so immersed in multifarious business that all the lights of heaven are blotted out. The calm and quietness that are our heritage as Christians are put to flight in the unceasing round. Life lacks its unity, loses its central plan, becomes a race and not a stately progress, slackens its grasp upon eternal things, till we grow fretful in the constant pressure; and men who looked to us, as followers of Jesus, for a lesson, find us as worried and anxious as themselves. That is the one extreme; it is the danger of the practical mind. But then there is the other; it is the mystic’s danger. It is that, realizing the utter need of fellowship with God, a man should neglect the tasks that his time brings him and should do nothing because there is so much to do. All mysticism tends to that. It is a recoil from an exaggerated service. It is the shutting of the ear to the more clamorous calls that we may hear more certainly the still small voice.
But all that is noblest in the mystic’s temper and all that is worthiest in the man of deeds, mingled and met in the service of our Lord. Here is the multitude of tasks. Here is the perfect calm. And that is the very spirit that we need to rebaptize our service of today. God in the life means an eternal purpose. And work achieved on the line of an eternal purpose is work without friction and duty without fret. God in the life means everlasting love. And to realize an everlasting love is to experience unutterable peace.

He Had a Mission with a Message
Again, as I look back upon Christ’s work, there is another feature of it that strikes me. I find in it a mission for all, joined with a message for each.
Times without number we find Jesus surrounded by a multitude. Christ is the center of many crowds. Wherever He is, the crowd is sure to gather. And how He was stirred and moved and filled with compassion for the multitude, ail readers of the Gospel story know. Every chord of His human heart was set vibrating by a vast assembly. The common life of congregated thousands touched Him, true man, to all His heights and depths. He fed them, taught them. This was His parting charge, “Go ye into all the world and preach!” Yet for all this—the wide sweep of His mission—no teacher ever worked on so minute a scale as Jesus Christ. Did any crowd ever get deeper teaching than Nicodemus when he came alone? And was the woman of Samaria despised because she was companionless? How many sheep did the shepherd go to seek when the ninety-and-nine were in the fold? How many pieces of silver had been lost? How many sons came home from the far country before the father brought out his robes and killed the calf? Christ did not work on the scale of a thousand or on the scale of ten, but on the scale of one. Companionless men were born, and companionless they must be born again.

Jesus Insists on Quality, Not Quantity
We cannot afford, in these days, when all the tendency is toward the statistics of the crowd—we cannot afford to despise that great example. It is true, there is a stimulus in numbers. There is an indescribable sympathy that runs like an electric thrill through a great gathering; and heights of eloquence and song and prayer are sometimes reached where the crowd is that never could have been reached in solitude. But for all that, all Christlike work is on the scale of one. Jesus insists on quality, not quantity. And when the books are opened and the strange story of the past is read, some voices that the world never heard, as of a mother or a sister or a friend, shall be found more like Christ’s than others that have thrilled thousands by their eloquence. Pray over that sweet prayer of the Moravian liturgy: “From the desire of being great, good Lord, deliver us.” A word may change a life. It did for the Philippian jailer. A look may soften a hard heart. It did for Peter. To sanctify life’s trifles, to redeem the opportunities for good which the dullest day affords, never to go to rest without some secret effort to bring but a little happiness to some single heart—men who do this, unnoticed through the unnoticed years, grow Christlike; men who do this shall be amazed to waken yonder and find that they are standing nearer God than preacher or than martyr, if preaching and if martyrdom were all.

Seeming Failure and Singular Triumph
Lastly, as I look back upon that life of Christ, I see another feature. I see in it seeming failure joined with signal triumph. If ever there was a life that seemed to have failed, it was the life of Jesus. For a time it had looked as if triumph had been coming. The people had been awakened. The national hope had begun to center round Him. A little encouragement, and they would have risen in enthusiasm for Messiah. But when Jesus went to His death, all that was changed. The people had deserted Him. His very disciples had forsaken Him and fled. His hopes were shattered and His cause was lost. His kingdom had been a splendid dream, and Jesus had been the king of visionaries. Now it was over. The cross and the grave were the last act in the great tragedy. Jesus had bravely tried, and He had failed. Yes! so it seemed. Perhaps even to the nearest and the dearest so it seemed. God’s hand had written failure over the work of Jesus, when lo! on the third day, the gates of the grave are burst, and Jesus rises. And then the Holy Ghost descends on the apostles, and they begin to preach. And the tidings are carried to the isles and pierce the continents. And a dying world begins to breathe again: and hope comes back, and purity and honor, and pardon and a new power to live, and a new sense of God; and it all sprang from the very moment when they wagged their heads and said, “He saved others, himself he cannot save.” Failure? Not failure—triumph! It was a seeming failure in the eyes of man; it was a signal triumph in the plans of God.

Seeming Failure Is Often True Success
O heart so haunted by the sense of failure, remember that. O worker on whose best efforts, both to do and be, failure seems stamped, remember that. If I have learned anything from the sacred story, it is this, that seeming failure is often success. When John the Baptist lay in his gloomy prison, it must have seemed to him that he had failed. Yet even then, a voice that never erred was calling him the greatest born of women. When Paul lay bound in Rome, did no sense of failure visit him? Yet there, chained to the soldier, he penned these letters that run like the chariots of Christ. God is the judge of failure, and not you. Leave it to Him, and go forward. Successes here are often failures yonder, and failures here are sometimes triumphs there.

One of our Scottish ministers and poets has a short piece he names, “A Call to Failure“-

Have I no calls to failure,
Have I no blessings for loss,
Must not the way to the mission
Lie through the path to the Cross?

But one of our English ministers and poets has a short piece that is a call to triumph: “He always wins who sides with God, no chance to him is lost.” And is the one false, and the other true? Nay, both are true.

Posted in Daily Devotionals


Just a quick reminder not to fret or worry that comes from Our Daily Walk by H.B. Meyer.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” — Psalm 37:7.

IT IS a mistake to be always turning back to recover the past. The law for christian living is not backward, but forward; not for experiences that lie behind, but for doing the will of God, which is always ahead and beckoning us to follow. Leave the things that are behind, and reach forward to those that are before, for on each new height to which we attain, there are the appropriate joys that befit the new experience. Don’t fret because life’s joys are fled. There are more in front. Look up, press forward, the best is yet to be!

Fret not because your ideals appear to mock you. Every ideal which we cherish is the herald and precursor of a reality which, in a better form than ever we dreamed, shall one day come to our possession. The ancient alchemists spent their lives in the pursuit of the Philosopher’s Stone, which they thought would turn every substance it touched to gold. They never discovered it, but they laid the foundations of modern chemistry, which has been more fruitful in its blessing to our race than the famous magic-stone would have been. Who shall say that those old explorers were deceived? Was not God leading them on, by a way that they knew not, to better things than they dreamed?

Fret not because the future seems dark. After all, the troubles we anticipate may never really befall. It is a long lane without a turning, and the dreariest day has some glint of light. In any case, worrying will not help matters; it can alter neither the future nor the past, though it will materially affect our power in dealing with troubles. It will not rob to-morrow of its difficulties, but it will rob your brain of its clear-sightedness, and your heart of its courage. Let us turn to God with faith and prayer, looking out for the one or two patches of blue which are in every sky. And if you cannot discover any where you are, dare to anticipate the time when God shall make all things work together for good to them that love Him.

Heavenly Father, we have been careful and troubled about many things. Forgive us, and breathe into our hearts a great faith in Thee, that doubts and fears may not be able to break in on our peace. Fence us around to-day as with a wall of fire; let us hear Thy voice saying: Fear not, I am with thee. AMEN.

Posted in Daily Devotionals

More on God’s Children by God’s Promises

Continuing our theme from yesterday about being children of God through God’s promise, once again I am sharing from Bob Hoekstra’s Day by Day by Grace.

Those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son” . . . Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise . . . As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Galatians 4:28; and Colossians 2:6)

Once again, our verses reveal a God of promises, who brings forth spiritual children of promise. This truth not only dictates how we enter the family of God, it also determines how we are to live as the children of God.
Ishmael could not be counted as the true seed of Abraham, because he was the product of fleshly ingenuity. “Those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God. ” Only Isaac could be called the true seed. “But the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” This is true concerning us as well. We became God’s children through faith in the promise of the gospel. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). We could not be saved by any fleshly provision: “Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Isaac was born through faith in the promises of God. “For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son’.” We also were born again through faith in the promises of God. “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.”
Children of promise are spiritually birthed by promise and spiritually developed by promise. Now that we have been born into God’s family by faith in His promises, we are to live day by day in the same way that we became His children. “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. “ The parallel is simple and straightforward: “As . . . so. ” As we were saved, so we are to walk. We started out with the Lord by faith in the life-giving promise of the gospel “And this is the promise that He has promised us – – eternal life” (1John 2:25). We are to live each day by faith in the life-developing promises that are inherent to the gospel. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).

Heavenly Father, thank You for making me a child of promise – – born again through faith in Your life-giving promises. O Lord, teach me to live day by day in this same manner – – sustained and transformed by trusting in Your life-developing promises, Amen.

Posted in Daily Devotionals

God’s Children by God’s Promises

We are God’s children thru God’s promise, we know it is certain for God’s promises are always true.  Devotional from Day by Day by Grace by Bob Hoekstra.

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise . . . Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Gal_4:22-23, Gal_4:28)

Our God is a God of promises. He characteristically works by making and fulfilling promises. We are His children. We are children of promise. We were birthed spiritually into God’s family through faith in His promises. Two sons of Abraham (Ishmael and Isaac) provide a vivid contrast that attests our sonship by promise.
God had promised to make Abraham a mighty nation, through which would come the Messianic seed that would bless all nations. “I will make you a great nation . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen_12:1-2). Yet, the years passed by, and Abraham was still without a son. Eventually, he implied to God that his servant would have to be the beginning of this promised seed. “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house (Eliezer, his servant) is my heir! ” (Gen_15:3). However, the Lord clarified His promise to give Abraham a true son, sired from his own body. “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir” (Gen_15:4). As time passed, the aging couple decided that they would have to come up with another alternative for God. “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children . . . So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived” (Gen_16:1-2, Gen_16:4). Thus, Ishmael was born as the result of Abraham’s and Sarah’s ingenuity: “he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh.
Thereafter, the Lord reiterated His promise of a son. “My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year” (Gen_17:21). As God promised, so He did. “And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken” (Gen_21:1). Thus, Isaac was birthed as a result of God’s promises. This is a picture of the only possible way that we could ever have become God’s children, by His fulfilling of His promises. “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

Dear Father, the God of promises, I praise You for promising salvation to all who would believe. I rejoice in being a child of promise. Lord, no effort or ingenuity of my flesh could have ever given me a place in Your family. Please teach me to live by Your promises, Amen.

Posted in Daily Devotionals

The Woman of Samaria

Tonight was the last evening of VBS at the Church where I my husband and I work.  I worked with the 2’s and 3’s and while having nine little ones is exhausting (similar to trying to heard roosters) it is also filled with precious moments of blessing.  Such as when a three year old’s eyes light up and he listens hungrily to every word of the story of Jesus’ birth as our Savior.  Or when a little girl seems to understand more of the importance of the crucifixion than the teenaged helper in the room.  Or when a child barely talking yet is singing about Jesus’ love for us and his sacrifice and our desperate need as they lift their arms in praise.  Those fleeting brief moments are worth the long hours and weary back because in them I saw the sowing of seeds for the kingdom.  God blessed me so richly this week allowing to bring the word of his love, grace and mercy to these little ones.  Now my prayer is that he will bring the increase in their lives and their families.

I am sharing this devotional from George H. Morrison’s Devotional Sermons as it sort of brought the week home for me as I saw the Samaritan woman in those sweet faces, in the eyes of their parents many of whom are not yet true believers.  Notice I say yet, for God is God of the impossible!

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water — John 4:10

Scenes by Wells
It is remarkable how many of the choicest scenes of Scripture should be associated with wells. It was by a well that Abraham’s servant met with the destined bride of Isaac in that loveliest story of the Book of Genesis. It was by the well that Jacob first cast his eyes on Rachel. It was at a well that one of the crises in the life of Moses came, when he stood up and rescued the daughters of Reuel from the shepherds. And all the memories and meetings of these Oriental wells are crowned by this story of the woman of Samaria. It was the hour of sultry noon, and the whole land was weary, and Jesus shared in the weariness of noonday. And then a woman of Samaria came to draw, thinking, remembering, dreaming as she came, and all so busy with her woman’s heart that she hardly spied the dusty traveler till He spoke. So do we stumble on life’s greatest moments. So coming to the well a thousand times unaltered, we come one day and everything is changed. Life’s crises often come unheralded. God is not pledged to warn of their approach. They wear the garments of the common hours and come in the multitude of common duties, when lo! we are at the parting of the ways, and all things shall be different forever.

Christ Disregards Prevailing Prejudices
Now what struck the writer of this story first was the disregard that Jesus showed for the most cherished prejudices of His day. Christ was a Jew after the flesh, and the woman with the pitcher was Samaritan, and for long centuries, and notably since the rebuilding of the Temple, Jew and Samaritan had been so ripening in mutual spite that now they would not speak to one another. But Jesus sweeps these prejudices off. He bids defiance to conventionality. Behind the sinner and back of the Samaritan, He hears the cry of a soul that can be saved. Everything else becomes as threads of gossamer before His burning passion to redeem her. Now there are some men who scorn conventionalities just because they want to seem original. But there are other men so filled with a burning purpose that in the heat of it common prejudices die. That is a right noble disregard; it is the disregard of Jesus by the well.

Christ First Asks for a Favor
It is remarkable that the first words of Christ are an appeal. “Give me to drink,” He said. It was the first time in all her life that she had ever been asked a favor by a Jew, and to be asked a favor by those whom we are certain would despise us, produces a strange revulsion in the heart. I do not know if even on the cross the humility of Christ is more apparent than in these humble pleadings that fell on this Samaritan’s ears and still are calling to our hearts today. We, too, may feel certain that Jesus will despise us. We may think ourselves very loathsome in His sight. Yet He is pleading with us as a brother pleads and calling to us as a brother calls, and He is holding out His death to us and offering us His pardon and His power. Nay, more, whenever we give a cup of water to a little one in Jesus’ name, then like the woman of Samaria we are giving Christ to drink. And in every kindly deed we ever did, we are responding to this pleading of the Master. In every face of pain, every distorted limb, every moan and sigh, and all the sobbing of the helpless children, Christ still is saying, “Give me to drink.” And we had better cease to worship Him as Lord than fail to respond to such a pleading.

Christ Was Impressed by the Samaritan Woman’s Ignorance
I note, too, that what roused the compassion of Jesus for this woman was her ignorance. “Ah! woman, if you only knew the gift of God: if you only knew who was speaking to you!” In Sychar the honest neighbors rather shunned this woman, not because she was ignorant, but because she knew too much. They hated her. They tattled of her. She was a bold and an unprincipled woman. Only Jesus in the whole wide world pitied her from the bottom of His heart. She was so ignorant for all she knew. She had so missed the prize for all her unhallowed grasping! O heart of Christ, so infinite in pity, teach us again the ignorance of passion, and make us pitiful to the men and women who have missed the mark, because they have not known God’s gift of love!

Christ Offers Something Superior and of Permanent Value to the Inner Man
So Jesus gently deals with the Samaritan, reading her heart and showing her what she was and leading her upward from the well of Jacob to the wellsprings that are found in Jacob’s God. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Two features of this promised gift arrest us. (a) The first is that he that drinketh of the living stream shall never thirst again. But do we not find the Psalmist saying, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God”? Is every longing of the soul satisfied forever when we have tasted of the wells of God? Nay, God forbid. The more we drink of holiness, the more we thirst for it. The more we drink of purity, the more we crave it. The more we taste of God, the more we long for Him. But under the power of this new affection, sinful affections gradually die; and baser cravings that dominated once sink slowly in this newborn life in God until at last the very craving is forgotten, and having tasted God, we thirst no more. (b) And then this fountain is within our heart. This poor Samaritan had to take her pitcher and run the gauntlet of the village street whenever she wanted a draught of Jacob’s well. But the gladness and the peace are within us when we have truly met with Jesus Christ. There is a sense in which a Christian is dependent. There is another sense in which a Christian is the most independent man alive. He can go singing under the dullest skies; he can have royal fellowship in crowded streets, for he carries his heaven in his heart, and heaven in the heart is heaven on earth.

Posted in Daily Devotionals

Once More on God’s Faithfulness and His Promises

How I cherish the promise given to us in this passage pondered in this devotional from Day by Day by Grace from Bob Hoekstra.  I know I will be preserved blameless until Jesus calls me home, which may be very soon.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1Thessalonians 5:23-24)

This magnificent benedictory prayer closes with another proclamation of God’s faithfulness, coupled with a strategic promise from the Lord. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” What has our faithful God called us to, and what is He promising to do?

The Lord has called us to sanctification and blamelessness (that is, a life of increasing personal righteousness). “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (1Thessalonians 4:3-4). It is the will of God that His children grow in a sanctified life (that is, be set apart increasingly for the glory, honor, and use of God). The particular issue in view here was sexual purity: “that you should abstain from sexual immorality.

Another term for this godly goal is blamelessness. “May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As we live unto the Lord day by day (awaiting His return), He wants us to develop in Christlikeness. He desires that there be less and less reason for people to point a finger of blame at us: “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phillipians 2:15).

How is this desire of the Lord to be accomplished? It is to be done by the work of our faithful God, who promises to do such. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” What is the Lord’s means in advancing this process? It is His word. Jesus revealed this in His prayer for us as He approached the cross. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Our Lord wants to unleash in our lives the power of His word, changing the way we think and act. He wants to use His word to set our lives apart for Himself. The Apostle Paul wrote of this powerful spiritual process in referring to Jesus’ intentions for His church: “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26). Will we humbly and dependently cooperate with our Lord in this desire of His heart for us?


Lord God of holiness, I long to be set apart more and more for Your glory, honor, and use. I yearn for more godliness in my daily life. I humbly ask You to transform my heart and mind by the power of Your holy word. You are faithful! Please do it, Lord!

Posted in Daily Devotionals

The Three Centers of Love

Such an eye opening heart pondering selection today from Devitional Sermons by George H. Morrison.

God so loved the world — John 3:16
Christ also loved the church — Ephesians 5:25
The Son of God, who loved me — Galatians 2:20

John’s Assurance of God’s Love for the World
We have first the love of God for the whole world, or, as we should put it, for all the human race. The world of John is not the world of nature, but the teeming world of sinful men and women. Now, the extraordinary thing is this, that such a statement should fall from Jewish lips. The ancient Hebrew was the true aristocrat looking with proud disdain on every Gentile. And it was because this Jew had companied with Christ and drunk deep of His spirit, that there had come to him the rich assurance that the love of God was for the world. Born of a Jewess, made under the law, Christ was the Son of man. For all mankind He lived and taught and died. He was the light of the world. It was in following Him and brooding on His mystery, that the eyes of John were opened by the Spirit to recognize the worldwide love of God.

The Universality of God’s Love
The wonder of it deepens when we remember what the world of men is like. The Bible, for all its unconquerable optimism, never gives us a rosy view of man. It is the writer of our text who tells us that the whole world “lieth in the evil one.” Like a precious vessel sunk in a foul stream, it is submerged under a tide of evil. And this is not only the view of the disciple, it is the view of our blessed Lord Himself—”the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” I could understand God loving the world of nature where the sunshine is sleeping on the lake. If the human heart is drawn to hill and meadow, how much more the infinite heart in heaven. But that that heart, knowing every secret, should love the teeming millions of mankind lies on the utmost verge of the incredible. It only becomes credible in Christ. It is a dream but for the Incarnation. Unless God gave His only begotten Son, worldwide love goes whistling down the wind. It was because this writer had learned, from personal contacts, the universality of the unspeakable Gift that he awoke to the worldwide love of God.

God’s Love for the Church
The second center of divine love is the Church—Christ also loved the Church. And at once this question rises in the mind, why should the Church be singled out like that? Well, when you read the story of the prodigal, you feel that the father always loved that son. When he was far away rioting with the harlots, the father was yearning for him night and day. But only when that prodigal came home could the pent-up love be poured upon the child—and the Church is the bit of the world that has come home. The true Church is not an organization. It is not Episcopalian nor Methodist. It is the mighty company of quickened souls who could never rest content among the swine. Drawn by need, hungry and despairing, they have traveled back to “God who is our home,” and found the love that had been always yearning for them. The prodigal was loved in the far country, but there no ring could be put upon his finger. So long as he was there no cry was heard, “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him.” To gain these tokens of unwearying love, the poor rebellious child had to come home—and the Church is the bit of the worm that has come home. That is why the Church, and not the family, is the second center of the love of heaven. Some in the family may still be far away, living in utter heedlessness and sin. But no one in the true Church is in the far land. All are brought nigh by the blood of Christ, and love is able to show itself at last in the ring and in the shoes and in the robe.

God’s Love for the Individual
The third center of divine love is the individual—He loved me, says the apostle. And it is just here that the love of God so infinitely transcends the love of man. No man can love a multitude with the intensity wherewith he loves his child. No patriot can feel towards all his countrymen as he feels towards his little daughter. But the wonder of the love of God is this, that with a compass that encircles millions, every separate soul is loved as if there were no one else in the whole world. Our Lord was moved to His depths by mighty multitudes. He brooded over them with infinite compassion. He came to be the Savior of the world, and He came because He loved the world. Yet, living for mankind, He gave His richest to the one who fell suppliant at His feet, and, dying for mankind, He gave His heart to the one who was hanging by His side. He loved the world—and gave. He loved the Church—and gave. But all would be incomplete could we not add, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” When we are tempted to doubt the love of heaven for the little unit in unnumbered millions, there comes a gentle voice across the darkness, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.”

Posted in Daily Devotionals

The Wind

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.  John 3:8

Now if there is one thing clear and constant it is that of spiritual renewal that is true. There was never a man yet who was born of God who did not feel that it ran into the mysteries. Of course to a certain extent, as with the wind, we can trace back the course of spiritual renewal. Perhaps we can point to a sermon or a prayer or a quiet talk with somebody we trusted; perhaps we can point to a striking and signal providence, or to a terrible illness when we fought with death, or to an open grave when the dull earth that thudded seemed to be falling on our heart. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit. We can trace out the history a little way. We can say it was this or that which changed us to the depths in the unerring providence of God. But when we have said all that, and said it gratefully, then overpowers us the wonder of it all, and saved by grace when we deserved the darkness, we can but whisper, “We know not whence it cometh. “Who can tell—or who shall ever tell—what was behind that hour of decision? What prayers of a mother when we were little children, and she stole in at night and prayed when we were sleeping? And that is many years ago, dear friend, and you have lived a sorry life since then, God knows; but tonight, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come”—yes, come, and thou knowest not whence it cometh. Respond to the infinite love of Christ, and His Holy Spirit will come down and fill you. And you will go out wondering and awed, and crying, “I have got it, and know not whence it came.” But some day when the veil is lifted, you shall know, and you shall find behind it all a Savior’s sacrifice and a mother’s prayers and a minister’s entreaty and a love of God that chose you in eternity.

Excerted from Devotional Sermons by George H. Morrison.

Posted in Savior's Shadow

The Best Wine Last

As I read this teaching from Devotional Sermons by George H. Morrison I thought about how true it is that God saved the best for last.  I remembered now I was in a seemingly endless downward spiral before I came to know my previous Savior, I was caught, trapped, snared in my sin, unable to see the blessings in my life for the darkness I was embracing.  But then I heard my Lord calling, pursuing me relentlessly, offering me hope and promise and love I could never have imagined.  Now I know that the best is yet to come, eternity with the one who gave His everything to give me mine.

Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now  John 2:10

With God, the Best Is at the End
Into the story of this memorable marriage I do not propose to go. Rather, I wish to base what I may have to say on this remark of the ruler of the feast. Why, do you think, did this saying so impress John that it lingered ineffaceable in his memory? Was it merely because of the pleasure it evoked to hear his Master’s handiwork so praised? I think there was a deeper reason. John was by nature an idealist, loving to find the abstract in the concrete. In the particular instance of the moment, he was quick to see the universal law. And it flashed on John, hearing this chairman speak, that he was speaking more wisely than he knew and uttering a truth that had far wider range than the miracle at that wedding of Cana. Was it not true of many an earthly pageant that the best wine was given at the beginning? Was it not true wherever Christ was active that the best wine was kept until the end? In other words, take man apart from God and always it is the worse which follows; but take God in any of His thousand energies, and always the best is kept until the end.
Without God the Last Is the Worse
It is on these two truths I wish to speak. And first on the sadder and more somber of them. Think, then, for a moment of life itself, unsustained by the hope we have in God. Now I am not a pessimist as you all know; nor am I given to painting dark or depressing pictures; yet the fact is too plain to be gainsaid—afterward that which is worse. First comes childhood with its joy and wonder and with its world compact of mystery and charm. Then follows youth with its ideal and vision; then opening manhood with its glowing hopes. And the world is still a very noble place, and the gates of the prison house have not yet closed, and the body, whether for toil or joy, is still a subtle and a powerful instrument. Then come the heat and battle of middle age, and the weakness and the weariness of age, and the years when men say, “I have no pleasure in them,” and when all the daughters of music are brought low; and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail, and they who were strong men once shall bow themselves. Is this the gallant youth of long ago, this bent and tottering and palsied form? Are these the eyes that once were bright with love? Is that the brain that was so clear and keen?
Last scene of all
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Afterward That Which Is Worse
Or think again of life’s relationships on which the blessing of God is never sought. When character is unchastened and unpurified, how often do the years bring disappointment! Think of the tie of fatherhood and sonship. To the little child the father is a hero. No pictured saint wears such a golden halo as does the father in his children’s eyes. His character is flawless and complete above all question and all criticism; it is the image in the childish mirror of the dim and shadowy character of God. Happy the child who, when its eyes are opened, still finds a character that it can reverence! But if the father is living without God, who is swifter to see it than the growing boy? And all that revelation of unworthiness, with occasional glimpses of what is darker still, makes the cup bitter which was once so sweet. And then the words were spoken at a marriage. Are they never true of that most sacred tie? Are there no wives or husbands who are whispering, “Afterwards that which is worse”? They remember a day when life was full of courtesy and of little attentions that were better than gold and of a charity that suffered long and of a kindness that was the breath of heaven. Where has it fled to, that kindness of the morning? Who set by the hearth these irritable, tempers? Is that cold voice the voice that was so tender in the gentle and sweet days of long ago? Unguarded by the consciousness of God, unchastened by the discipline of watchfulness, unwatered by the kindly dew of prayer, unhelped by the strength made perfect in our weakness; how many homes there are that know too well—afterward that which is worse.
Sin Gives the Best in the Beginning
Once more you will think how true this is of sin. It is indeed the masterpiece of evil. It is the token and the triumph of all sin that it always gives the best wine at the start. That is why men of open and generous natures are often those most bitterly assailed. They do not calculate nor look ahead nor reckon seriously with the morrow. And sin is so fair and pleasant at the outset and hides its afterward with such consummate mastery that the reckless heart becomes an easy prey. Do you not think, now, if all the miseries of drunkenness were to meet a man upon the verge of drinking—do you not think he would cry out for help and turn from his accursed vice and flee? But drunkenness does not begin like that. It begins in the social hour and happy comradeship, and only afterwards there are the blighted prospects and the shattered body and the ruined home. Let any young man see what I as a minister have seen of the worse-than-death that follows social sin, and he will fall on his knees in prayer to God for strength to keep himself unspotted from the world. But sin is cunning and conceals all that; it sets on the table a delicious vintage; and only afterwards—but always afterwards—that which is worse.
Sin Conceals the Worse
And I cannot leave this darker side of things without asking, must all that stop at death? I wish most passionately I could believe it did; but I see no reasonable ground for that assurance. You tell me that you don’t believe in hell. If you take hell to be a red devil with a fork, I don’t believe in it either. But I believe in law; I believe in immortality; I believe in the momentum of a life. And if the momentum of a life be downward, and be unchecked by the strong arm of God, how can we hope that it will be arrested by the frail and yielding harrier of the grave? I hesitate to dwell upon that thought. All I wish to say to you is this. If sin conceals the worse behind tomorrow, may it not conceal the worse behind the grave? Sum up the issues of sin that you have known; the bitterness, the tears, the vain regret; think of its darkened homes, its blighted lives, its wreckage everywhere of broken hearts; then go, and as you gaze into a lost eternity, say, “Afterwards, that which is worse.”
The Progress of God’s Creation
But now I turn, and I do so very gladly, to the energies and activities of God. Wherever God in Christ is working, the best wine is kept until the end.
Think first for a moment of creation. There was a time, not so long ago, when religion trembled at the assault of science. It seemed as if science, flushed with her many victories and pressing forward to universal conquest, might drive from the field, in ignominious rout, many of the truths of revelation. One hears a great deal less of that today. The combatants have been laying down their arms. They have been learning that the field of battle was divinely meant to be a field of brotherhood. And nowhere have they better learned that lesson than in regard to the method of creation, for Scripture and science are agreed in this, that the best wine was kept until the end. First there was chaos and the formless deep; then light, and the ingathering of the waters. Then the first dawn of life in lowliest form, followed by bird and beast. And always the path was upward, from dull and shapeless horror, to what was better, richer, and more beautiful. And then at last, not at the first, came man, capable of communion with his Maker; greater, by that spark of God within him, than sun and moon and all the host of heaven. And it is in man, so noble though so fallen, so touched with heaven although so soiled with hell, that we discover it is the way of God to keep the best wine until the end.
God’s Revelation Is Progressive
The same is true in the sphere of revelation, the revelation of the divine to man. Not all at once, in sudden burst of glory, did God reveal Himself to human hearts. We speak of revelation as progressive. That is a truth which we insist on now. Only as men are able to receive it will God reveal the riches of His grace. And so from age to age men were led on from the first flush and crimson of the dawn to the perfect radiance of Him who said, “I am the light of the world.” Have you ever wondered why God delayed His coming, why the wheels of His chariot tarried for so long? Compared with all the ages of mankind, it is but a little while since Christ was here. But this is the meaning of that long delay, that the God of creation and of grace is one, and that in both activities alike, He keeps the best wine until the last. You remember how the writer to the Hebrews puts it, “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Precious are the promises of the Old Testament. Precious are the teachings of the prophets. Precious is every gleam that was vouchsafed to the waiting heart of patriarch and psalmist. But it is when we turn to Christ, the Son of God, the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection, that we cry with the ruler of the feast at Cana, “Thou hast kept the best wine until now.
Calvary Was the Best at the Last
I think, too, we may apply this thought to the life of the incarnate Lord Himself. It was all blessed, yet it was most blessed, not in its beginning but its end. I turn to the manger-cradle by the inn when I wish to fathom His humiliation. I turn to His words and to His perfect life when I wish to know the Fatherhood of God. But when I realize I am a sinner and that my deepest need is pardon and release, then it is “Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” Not on the teaching of Christ is the church built, although that teaching shall never pass away. Not on the example of Christ is the church built, though that example be its spur and goal. The church of God is built upon redemption, on pardon and peace that have been won through death; and that is why Christendom has looked to Calvary and said, “Thou hast kept the best wine until now.” If the Sermon on the Mount were the whole Gospel, I confess that I could hardly understand it. It is so unlike all that we know of God to give all that is best at the beginning. But if the Sermon on the Mount be but a step in the ladder that leads upward to the cross, then, in the life and death of Jesus, I am in touch with the ways of the divine. It is that fact—the fact of a redemption—that fills and floods the apostolic page. It is that fact that has made the cross the universal symbol of the Gospel. “And he took the cup …. and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (
Matthew 26:27-28). Ah yes, Thou hast kept the best wine until now.
The Path of the Just Shines More and More
Lastly, and in a word or two, is not this true also of our Christian calling? The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Not all at once does Christ reveal Himself when we go forward determined to be His. And the old life still struggles for the mastery, and we are in heaviness through manifold temptations. But the difference between Christ and the devil is just this, that the devil’s tomorrow is worse than his today; but the morrow of Christ, for every man who trusts Him, is always brighter and better than His yesterday. Every act of obedience that we do gives us a new vision of His love. Sorrow and trial reveal His might of sympathy as the darkness of the night reveals the stars. And when at last the wrestling is over, and like tired children we lie down to sleep, and when we waken and behold His face in the land where there is no more weariness, I think we shall look back upon it all and find new meaning in every hour of it; but I think also we shall cry adoringly, “Thou hast kept the best wine until now.

As always my beloved brethern in Christ may the Father bless and keep you.

Our star study on the Gospel in the Stars will puck back up tomorrow night,I wanted to give everyone a chance to really take it all in