Thursday, August 17, 2017

Who Has The Majority?

Horses and chariots and a great host shut up the prophet in Dothan. 

His young servant was alarmed. 

How could they escape from such a body of armed men?

But the prophet had eyes which his servant had not, and he could see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding him from all harm.

Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh, and chariots of fire are far preferable to chariots of iron.

Even so is it at this hour. 

The adversaries of truth are many, influential, learned, and crafty; and truth fares ill at their hands; and yet the man of God has no cause for fearing. 

Agencies, seen and unseen, of the most potent kind, are on the side of righteousness. 

God has armies in ambush which will reveal themselves in the hour of need.

The forces which are on the side of the good and the true far outweigh the powers of evil. 

Therefore, let us keep our spirits up, and walk with the gait of men who possess a cheering secret, which has lifted them above all fear. 

We are on the winning side.

The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end.

Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority: "They that be with us are more than they that be with them."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Before And During The Call

Isa 65:24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Quick work this! The LORD hears us before we call and often answers us in the same speedy manner.

Foreseeing our needs and our prayers, He so arranges providence that before the need actually arises He has supplied it...

Before the trial assails us He has armed us against it. 

This is the promptitude of omniscience, and we have often seen it exercised. 

Before we dreamed of the affliction which was coming, the strong consolation which was to sustain us under it had arrived. 

What a prayer-answering God we have!

The second clause suggests the telephone. 

Though God be in heaven and we upon earth, yet He makes our word, like His own word, to travel very swiftly, 

When we pray aright we speak into the ear of God. 

Our gracious Mediator presents our petitions at once, and the great Father hears them and smiles upon them.

Grand praying this! Who would not be much in prayer when he knows that he has the ear of the King of kings?

This day I will pray in faith, not only believing that I shall be heard, but that I am heard...

Not only that I shall be answered, but that I have the answer already. 

Holy Spirit, help me in this!

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jacob in Despondency!

Gen 42:36  And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

It did seem so indeed. Joseph, his best and dearest son, had long been lost.
 

Simeon was kept behind in Egypt.

And now they wanted to take Benjamin away...Benjamin, his youngest son, the child of his old age, and next to Joseph, his best beloved son.

Yet by the very things that looked so dark - God was about to bring him peace and comfort in his latter days.

All things were even now working together for his good.

Simeon was to be restored to him.
 

Benjamin must indeed go away but he would come safe back.

And Joseph, the long-lost Joseph, would be found again...happy and prosperous, a great man in Egypt, but the same in heart as ever, his dutiful and loving son.

Little did Jacob know what all that was taking place, meant.

Little did he know the goodness of God toward him, when he said in his despondency, "All these things are against me!"

We too are sometimes disposed to say the same.

There are times when all things seem against us.

One trouble comes upon another.

We can see no help and no hope.

Nothing but trouble seems around us...
 

Nothing but trouble seems before us...

We feel quite broken-hearted.

All these things are against me! exactly expresses the state of our minds.

But is it the truth?

It was not the truth in Jacob's case.
 

All things seemed against him but they were not really against him.

So it is in many other cases.

Things are not so bad as they seem.
 

Nay, perhaps when all seems as bad as can be - at that very time a happy change may be just about to come...and by means of the very things that look so dark!

When Jacob had found his long-lost son and was happily settled in the land of Egypt and lived there in peace and plenty and honor, free from anxiety and with all his children round him...then perhaps then he remembered his own desponding words, "All these things are against me!"

If so, what must he have thought of them then?

If we look at things with no eye to God then we shall often be ready to say, "All these things are against me!"

But if we remember God then surely we cannot say so...at least if we have any knowledge of Him, any faith in Him, any love to Him.

Put aside the thought of God, and forget for a moment the end of Jacob's history, and how dark do his circumstances appear at the time of his using these words!

On the other hand, remember God...see His hand in all that had happened from the first sad loss of Joseph, all through the ups and downs of Joseph's life in Egypt...

And all through the famine in the land of Canaan, up to the very moment when Jacob's heart failed him, but when God was just about to make him happy.

See all in this light and how different does it look!

We who know the history to its end, and how God was ordering all for good, and how soon the happy discovery was to be made...can hardly bear to hear Jacob say, "All these things are against me!"
 

We do indeed feel for the aged man in his distress and despondency...but we know that all is on the point of turning out happily.

A little more waiting in anxious fear, and Jacob will feel and speak very differently:

Joseph my son is yet alive! I will go and see him before I die."

Oh! How different it is, to see and to believe.

Jacob was full of comfort when the happy end was come and we can think of him with pleasure all through his troubles because we know the end that was to be.

But this is sight, not faith.

If we walked by faith and not by sight, and if our faith were strong...then we would find comfort and encouragement even before deliverance came.

For we know that without our Father, not a sparrow falls to the ground.

And have we no words of His to encourage us, no promises, sure and steadfast?

Why do we not believe, even when we cannot see?

Why are we so downcast, when circumstances seem against us, though all the while we profess to believe in God as ordering all things and as hearing prayer?

How weak is our faith, and how prone to fail!

How apt are we to let dark appearances obscure all the light of God's Word!

If we could see then we would believe.
 

True faith believes even when it cannot see.

There is a sentence in the Book of God which alone should keep the believer from ever feeling as Jacob did.

It is this: Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

One of the most striking instances of the truth of these words was the very man who said, "All these things are against me!"

The words themselves seem to show that often the things do not seem as if they were for good.

We know...as if it were said, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary...yet we know.

And again, "that God causes all things to work together for good"...as if many of the things seemed in themselves to be working for evil, but were, nevertheless, joining in with other things and making up with them the whole design of God, and thus would turn to good in the end.

Thus, even in this most comforting verse there is room for faith.

Indeed, without some measure of faith.. we cannot get comfort from the Word of God at all.

It is the believer's happy privilege to know that, even when all things seem against him...they are not so really.
 

For he has committed himself and all his concerns into his Father's hands and He is all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving, and has promised that He will never fail those who trust in Him.

He will surely keep His word.

He will...never forget them, never overlook them, and never cease to care for them.

He will...watch over them for good, preserve them from all real evil, and bless them continually.

Things may look dark at times, but it is only the outside of things that we can see.

However things may look, the same unchanging God and Father is still ordering all...

Nothing can happen without Him, and He does all things well!

Let us keep fast hold of this truth, and we shall never say, "All these things are against me!"

Rather, in the darkest trouble we shall see some light, some tokens of the hand of love that is doing all, some gracious sign that God has not forsaken us.

And we shall gratefully join in the words of the Psalmist, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Christian! When all things seem against you, believe that God is thus dealing with you in order to humble you and lead you to Himself.

He pities you even while you are far off from Him.

He would bring you near.

Perhaps these very troubles are God's appointed means to restore you.

Seek Him from the very midst of them, from the very depth of pain, sorrow, anxiety, and fear.

Seek Him in earnest prayer.

Seek His mercy, His pardon, His grace.
Plead the Name of Jesus.

Approach the mercy-seat through Him.
 

Ask that His blood may take away your guilt.

Cast yourself upon the mercy of God in Christ and then beseech Him to help you in every trouble.

Will He refuse your prayer?

Surely not!

All His Word says that He will hear and answer and bless His redeemed people.

If trouble is thus the means of bringing you to God...then it will prove your greatest blessing.

Then you will never say, All these things are against me, but rather, Before I was afflicted I went astray but now have I kept Your word!

It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn Your statutes."

Francis Bourdillon, 1864


Monday, August 7, 2017

For A Rational Man To Be So Attached To A Bubble, Is A Most Irrational Thing!

Worldliness is an undue attachment to this world. 

It is living for this world...its riches, its honor, its joys and its cares. 

It is living by the principles of this world: greed, covetousness, deceit and lust.

Nothing is more dangerous to the souls of men than the love of the world.
 

Nothing more effectually chokes out the influence of the gospel in a man's heart than the cares of this world.
 

Nothing is more difficult to avoid than an undue attachment to this world.

Therefore, John sets these four words up as a beacon. 


They stand in blazing letters to warn us of great danger: "LOVE NOT THE WORLD!"

Beloved, this world and all that it offers, is no more than a bubble that soon must burst!


Your money, your farms, your houses, your influence, your families...everything here is temporary. 

It will all vanish away!

We laugh at the small child who cries when the bubbles he is playing with burst. 


But, for a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

What fools they are who love and seek this world!


I cannot warn you enough of the danger of worldliness...of loving, seeking, and living for this world!

Are you God's child?


Are you risen with Christ?

Do you live in the hope of eternal glory?

Then count this world to be a dead thing.
 

Live no longer for this world.
 

Set your heart on things above.
 

Live above this pile of rubbish that must soon burn!
 

Live to do the will of God, seek the glory of Christ, further the gospel of the grace of God, and serve the people of God. 

Quit seeking those things for which unbelieving men live...

And seek those things which are above...life, immortality, and glory.

~Don Fortner~

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Faith Awaits God's plans

                                                                                
It came to pass, after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched that dwindling brook;

Often tempted to stagger through unbelief, but refusing to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God.

Unbelief sees God through circumstances, as we sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays through the smoky air;

But faith puts God between itself and circumstances, and looks at them through Him.

And so the dwindling brook became a silver thread;

And the silver thread stood presently in pools at the foot of the largest boulders;

And then the pools shrank.

The birds fled; the wild creatures of field and forest came no more to drink; the brook was dry.

Only then, to his patient and unwavering spirit, "the word of the Lord came, saying."

Arise, get thee to Zarephath.

Most of us would have got anxious and worn with planning long before that.

We should have ceased our songs as soon as the streamlet caroled less musically over its rocky bed;

And with harps swinging on the willows we should have paced to and fro upon the withering grass, lost in pensive thought.

And probably, long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised some plan, and asking God's blessing on it, would have started off elsewhere.

Alas! we are all too full of our own schemes, and plans, and contrivings.

And if Samuel does not come just when we expect, we force ourselves, and offer the burnt-offering (i Sam. xiii.12).

This is the source of untold misery.

We sketch out our programme, and rush into it;

And only when we are met by insuperable obstacles do we begin to reflect whether it was God's will, or to appeal to Him.

He does often extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever;

But if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth;

And we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame.

One of the formative words for all human lives, and especially for God's servants, was given by God to Moses, when He said: See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount (Heb. viii. 5).

Moses was eager to do God's work, and the best skill amongst the people was at his command; but he must not make a single bell, or pomegranate, or tassel, or fringe, or curtain, or vessel, except on God's pattern, and after God's ideal.

And so he was taken up into the mount, and God opened the door into his own mind, where the tabernacle stood complete as an ideal;

And Moses was permitted to see the thing as it lived in the thought and heart of God.

Forty days of reverent study passed by; and when he returned to the mountain-foot, he had only to transfer into the region of actual fact that which had been already shown to him, in pattern, on the mount.

Surely some such thought as this must have been in the mind of our blessed Lord, when He said: "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do" (John v. 19).

So utterly had He emptied Himself that He had abandoned even His own schemes and plans;

He lived a planless life, accepting each moment the plan which His Father unfolded before Him;

And being confident that that plan would lead Him on to greater and ever greater works, until the world should marvel at the splendor of the results—rising from Gethsemane and Calvary, through the broken grave, to the Ascension Mount, and the glory of His second Advent.

Oh, mystery of humiliation, that He who planned all things should will to live a life of such absolute dependence!

And yet, if He lived such a life, how much more will it become us;

How much anxiety it will save us; and to what lengths of usefulness and heights of glory will it bring us!
 

Would that we were content to wait for God to unveil His plan, so that our life might be simply the working out of His thought, the exemplification of His ideal!

Let this be the cry of our hearts: Lord, show me Thy way; teach me to do Thy will:

Show me the way wherein I should walk, for unto Thee do I lift up my soul.

~F. B. Meyer~


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bow Down; Be Lifted Up

This is tantamount to a promise: if we will bow down, the LORD will lift us up. 

Humility leads to honor; submission is the way to exaltation. 

That same hand of God which presses us down is waiting to raise us up when we are prepared to bear the blessing. 

We stoop to conquer. 

Many cringe before men and yet miss the patronage they crave...

But he that humbles himself under the hand of God shall not fail to be enriched, uplifted, sustained, and comforted by the ever-gracious One. 

It is a habit of Jehovah to cast down the proud and lift up the lowly.

Yet there is a time for the LORD's working. 


We ought now to humble ourselves, even at this present moment; 

And we are bound to keep on doing so whether the LORD lays His afflicting hand upon us or not. 

When the LORD smites, it is our special duty to accept the chastisement with profound submission. 

But as for the LORD's exaltation of us, that can only come "in due time," and God is the best judge of that day and hour. 

Do we cry out impatiently for the blessing? 

Would we wish for untimely honor?

What are we at?

Surely we are not truly humbled, or we should wait with quiet submission. 

So let us do. 

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

At Home With GOD

Rev 7:14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev 7:15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

Rev 7:16  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

Rev 7:17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Happy, happy place!

Happy, happy people!

All happy...perfectly happy, happy forever!

They are "before the throne of God"...

They see Him but they are not afraid, for He loves them — and they love Him.

They have no sin now to make them afraid nor even the fear that they may sin...for they cannot sin now.

All sin is gone forever!

There is no such thing in that place... none in their hearts, none in any around them.

Are they afraid?

No!

They rejoice to be before the throne of God.

To be with God is their happiness.

Heaven itself would be no place of happiness to them, without God.

To be with Him, to see Him face to face, to love Him perfectly, and to rejoice in His love to them...this is their eternal bliss!

Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

They knew that in a measure before but now they know it fully.

They are not idle there.

They serve God.

But that service is not like service on earth, in which there is usually difficulty and fatigue.

Whatever God gives them to do...that they do.

They love to do it and they can do it; for He gives them both the will and the power.

They are never unwilling, never tired, never weak.

All that they have to do they do with joy and gladness.

Adoring and praising and singing and serving...it is all happiness.

They serve Him day and night.

They need no sleep. No one sleeps there.

Indeed, there is no night, such as we have on earth;

And probably "day and night" only means always, without leaving off, as we now leave off our work when night comes and we need sleep.

In His temple.

Not that we are to think there is any temple or church there, such as we have here below.

Heaven will be all one great temple of God and the saints will n

But serving God "in His temple" seems to show what kind of service it is...nothing worldly, like work upon earth, but all holy and spiritual.

And He who sits on the throne shall dwell among them.

He will always be with them and they will always be with Him.

That is now their eternal home.

They have arrived at the Father's house, of which Jesus spoke: In My Father's house are many mansions.

I am going to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).

They have reached their Father's house now.

They used often to think of it and perhaps to long for it and now they have reached it, and they find it better than all their hopes!

Many of them were poor in this world but they are not poor now.

They used to suffer from hunger, perhaps...but now "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more.

They went through many hardships of different kinds but all their hardships and troubles are over now!

Neither shall the sun strike them, nor any heat.

They have one who will take care of them and supply all their needs.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.

The Lamb - the Lamb of God - the Lord Jesus Christ, He will take care of them!

He was slain for them, like a lamb - as an atoning sacrifice!

He will take care of them, like a shepherd.

Nothing shall ever hurt them.

The good Shepherd is with them.

He will feed them...that is, He will give them all they need or desire.

He will "lead them unto living fountains of waters" - that is, He will refresh them and cheer them and make them eternally happy.

They are safe in the fold now...the Heavenly fold.

They had sorrows upon earth, perhaps many and great sorrows...but they will never sorrow more.

They used often to weep-but they will never weep again, for God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Not a tear will they ever shed-not a sorrow will ever distress their hearts-not one painful thought of past trouble will come to interfere with their perfect happiness.

God Himself will comfort them.

God Himself will dry their tears.

God Himself will make them happy.

How did they get to that blessed place?

Not by their own goodness, their own holiness, their own sufferings, their own patience.

Not by anything whatever of their own.

They "washed their robes-and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God!

Not one of them got there in any other way.

Christ was their Savior.

He redeemed them by His blood and they through grace, believed and were saved.

There is no other way to Heaven.

He said Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life...No man comes unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).

He is the way for us all-the only way.

If ever we would join those blessed ones above, if ever we would stand before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in our hands...then we too must wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb!

We must cast away all self-righteous hopes and go to Jesus as our Savior, mourning for our sins, feeling our lost estate, and placing our whole hope and trust in Him who died upon the cross.

He Himself has said, "Him that comes to Me I will never cast out!" John 6:37

My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish...ever!

No one will snatch them out of My hand! John 10:27-28

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Rom 8:36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Rom 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Rom 8:39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

~Francis Bourdillon, ~1864

Saturday, July 22, 2017

This Good, Old Couple!

                                                                                                             
It is a beautiful thing which we read of this good, old couple, Zacharias and Elisabeth-that they were righteous before God.

Some people appear to men to be righteous...who before God have no such record.

Real character is what our hearts are-our hearts make us. 


We ought not to be satisfied only doing well, the things which men can see. 

We ought to work and live ever for God's eye.

Sometimes we say that it is does not matter how we do certain things, because nobody will see them. 


But we should remember that God will see them-and surely we should never do careless, faulty work for His eye.

The word "commandments" suggests that the holiness of these people was of a very practical kind.

Some people's religion is chiefly emotional


They talk about loving God-but they pay little heed to His commandments.

God is pleased with ardent devotions, but He wants us to prove our religion by obedience-doing the things which He gives us to do.


~J. R. Miller~

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Natural Will Or The Will Of GOD?

 

A comparison is made with Israel in the wilderness as being an example of those who set out but who never finished the race.

What was the matter with them?

There is a reference which perhaps touches the secret core of their failure...“A generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God”

Psa 78:8  And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

This seems to indicate a breakdown in the matter of the will. 

It is true that the Hebrews may have been stumbled by the natural mind and natural emotions, but the main point of failure seems to have been, like Israel of old, in the realm of the will.

Whether this natural will is regarded as weak or strong, it has a treacherous effect on spiritual life.

There can only be real progress as this natural will is set aside in favor of the will of God.

It was on this basis that the great Author of our faith set out on His race...“I am come… to do thy will, O God”.

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

What a battle...He had to remain true to the will of God!

Even with Him there was that which had to be brought under or set aside, and His was a perfect nature.

Our natures are far from perfect; so clearly we shall need to be conquered by the will of God if we are to make progress in the race.

We should remember that the opportunity to know this all-embracing fullness of Christ only comes to us because of His infinite capacity for letting go.

But for that, He would never have come to us at all.

But for that, He would never have put up with life here on earth for one single day.

The story of the laying aside of His glory, the emptying of Himself, His humiliation, His death on the cross, would never have been written if it had not been that He was able at all points to let go and accept the will of God.

Php 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

~T. Austin Sparks~

Friday, July 14, 2017

Burdens Cast on Him

                                                                            
Psa 55:22  Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

It is a heavy burden; roll it on Omnipotence.

It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the LORD takes it, He will make nothing of it.

If thou art called still to bear, "he will sustain thee."

It will be on Him and not on thee.

Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a blessing.

Bring the LORD into the matter, and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down.

Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the LORD will never suffer.

If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing.

In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.

What about the present moment?

Art thou going forth to this day's trial alone?

Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load?

Be not so foolish.

Tell the LORD all about thy grief and leave it with Him.

Don't cast your burden down and then take it up again; but roll it on the LORD and leave it there.

Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wait For The LORD

1Ki 17:7  And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Week after week,with an unwavering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched the brook dwindle and finally dry up.


Often tempted to stumble in unbelief, he nevertheless refused to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God.

Unbelief looks at God through the circumstances, just as we often see the sun dimmed by clouds or smoke. 

But faith puts God between itself and its circumstances, and looks at them through Him.
 

Elijah’s brook dwindled to only a silver thread, which formed pools at the base of the largest rocks.

Then the pools evaporated, the birds flew away, and the wild animals of the fields and forests no longer came to drink, for the brook became completely dry. 

And only then, to Elijah’s patient and faithful spirit, did the word of the Lord come and say, “Go at once to Zarephath”

1Ki 17:9  Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

Most of us would have become anxious and tired, and would have made other plans long before God spoke. 

Our singing would have stopped as soon as the stream flowed less musically over its rocky bed.

We would have hung our harps on the willows nearby and begun pacing back and forth on the withering grass, worrying about our predicament. 

And probably, long before the brook actually dried up, we would have devised some plan, asked God to bless it, and headed elsewhere.

God will often extricate us from the mess we have made, because “his love endures forever”

1Ch 16:34  O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 

Yet if we had only been patient and waited to see the unfolding of His plan, we would never have found ourselves in such an impossible maze, seeing no way out.

We would also never have had to turn back and retrace our way, with wasted steps and so many tears of shame.

Wait for the Lord.

Psa 27:14  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Patiently wait! 

~F. B. Meyer~

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dangerous Ground!

A very striking account is given by Dr. Livingstone of the way in which some of the African tribes catch their prey. 

A trap is made, which is called the hopo. 

It is formed somewhat in this way: two fences of great length are placed in the form of the letter V. 

The opening at the extremities of the two hedges is about a mile apart, and at the place where the two meet, a large deep pit is dug, secured on all sides and covered with green bushes.

Hunters then scour the country, and drive the animals into this hopo. 

With shouting and cries and brandishing of spears they drive them on further and further, and before danger is perceived their escape becomes impossible: 

They are forced on in the direction of the pit, and at length they fall in and are thus taken and killed.

This account has often seemed to me as a sort of parable. 

It reminds us of the craft and power of our enemy;

It shows the peril in which many poor souls are placed, before they know it; it teaches the reason why so many fall and perish and are lost forever...

They know not the trap which has been set for them; they are beguiled into a fatal security; 

They know not how danger is closing them in on every side; 

They think that at any time they can easily turn round, while every moment it is becoming more difficult to do so; 

They see not the fatal pit to which their sins are bringing them, and where soon they will be overwhelmed in utter and hopeless ruin.

Consider the path of Herod Antipas

He has taken pleasure in hearing the Baptist preach, he has done many things that he taught...

But he will not give up his adulterous passion for Herodias. 

Hence he is within the fatal fence

He is hurried along an evil course; the early dawn of religious impressions fades away; 

The faithful preacher is no longer heard, but is cruelly imprisoned. 

But he is driven on still further: 

Satan has a fresh temptation prepared. 

On his birthday he makes a great supper, and the daughter of Herodias dances before him. 

He is intoxicated with the draught of vanity and pleasure, and she draws from him a foolish promise: 

He will give her all she desires, though it were up to the half of his kingdom. 

She asks for the head of the Baptist; 

And then he becomes a murderer, yes, and a murderer of one of God's faithful servants! 

Still further does he tread the same path...he becomes a mocker of the Lord Jesus, and then shares with Pilate and the Jews the guilt of His crucifixion. 

Nor have we any reason to think that he ever turned again into the path of holiness and life.

Dear young reader, as you value your peace of mind, as you value your happiness in this life, above all, as you value your eternal salvation...let me most affectionately entreat you to keep away from dangerous ground!  

Do not mingle, more than you can possibly help, in the society of the careless and ungodly. 

Make friends of those who are the friends of Jesus. 

Walk not in the way of the wicked...join not their company, nor take pleasure in their conversation.

To follow this rule will save you from many a dangerous pitfall. 

Avoid very carefully, scenes and places where you may be tempted to evil...the theater, the concert-hall, the dancing-room, and the like. 

Probably Herod would never have slain the good faithful man who had sought his salvation so earnestly, unless he had been dazzled and bewildered by the feasting and the dancing. 

Keep away from such scenes altogether if you would be safe.

You may imagine you can go without any mischief, but you don't know the treachery or depravity of your own heart. 

Not a few, but thousands of young people have been drawn aside at such places from the plain path of peace and virtue...it has been step by step. 

The safe-guard of the fear and dread of evil has been broken down...

Dress and vanity and display have taken the lead, Christ and His words have been forgotten...

The corrupt passions of the heart have been excited and then at Satan's convenient season, temptation has come...

And the young sister whose course might have been so bright and happy and useful, forfeits her birthright and her blessing, and gains instead a harvest of shame and sorrow!

Whatever you may think about it, such places are dangerous ground, and it is safer far to avoid them altogether. 

A young man who was condemned to death for murder was asked how he entered upon a course of crime: 

He gave a very short account of it. He said, "I gave up prayer, I gave up reading my Bible; I took to bad company." 

Be sure these are doors to the pit of Hell...be wise and walk in an opposite direction.

There is another very dangerous spot I would mention...By-path Meadow

I mean that it is wise to watch against the beginnings of anything wrong

Questionable courses, thoughts and feelings and habits that may not seem very decidedly contrary to that which is commanded, but yet are likely to lead you astray...such things are perilous to souls. 

I would name such a habit as loitering near the door or the gate, and wasting, perhaps five or ten minutes, which ought to have been otherwise employed. 

Or, again, taking something from another that you had no right to, or with an idea of restoring it when you had opportunity;

Or asking in a friend to a mistress's house, or going to some other place which you knew was not allowed. 

Things of this kind which you feel are questionable, and make you uncomfortable and afraid of being straightforward with those about you.

Or, again, I might name the danger of yielding to a sullen and discontented spirit, like King Ahab, when Naboth refused him his vineyard. 

Such things as these are like the little thieves which creep in at the window and open the door for the greater ones that follow.

Avoid also, as most dangerous ground, any place of worship where anything is taught contrary to the plain doctrines of God's Word. 

Such places may be very attractive, the singing may be very cheerful and pleasant, but you may there learn to believe that which may ruin your soul. 

Whatever cannot be plainly proved by Holy Scripture, is not to be believed as necessary to salvation. 

There is great peril in looking upon the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, as so holy that you must bow your head to them; or in thinking you must confess your sins to a priest before you can be forgiven. 

These are only human traditions...do not believe them for a moment. 

By all means go to the Lord's Supper, go in true penitence and faith; you will feed on Christ in your heart, and will find it a precious means of grace. 

But do not regard the bread and wine with superstitious reverence, as if they were the body and blood of Christ. 

Christ's body is in Heaven and not on earth. It is in your heart by faith, and not with your mouth that you can partake of Him. 

Then, as to confession, it ought to be to your great High Priest, Jesus Christ. 

Tell Him all your sins, and He will at once blot them out through His precious blood. 

He has not told His ministers to hear confessions, but their office is to declare and pronounce forgiveness of sins to all those who truly repent and believe.

In all these matters, my young friend, be sure your only safety is to read and search the Scriptures, and receive nothing beside that which they teach you.

If thus you do, the Spirit of God will be your teacher: 

He will guide you into all truth, and your feet will stand firm on the Rock of God's truth which can never be shaken.

Oh, watch young friend, against all these various perils. 

You may be within the hopo before you know it; and when the first step has been taken, it is not easy to retrace it. 

God only knows the terrible end to which it may lead you.

Before I leave the subject, I would address a few words to any who may have been drawn aside, more or less, into crooked paths, and would now gladly return into the way of peace.

Whatever be your present condition, and whatever be your sins, remember there is a Savior, a mighty Savior, who can help and deliver you. 

The trap set for your overthrow may have been well laid. 

Satan, like Nimrod of old, may be a mighty hunter, experienced in catching and destroying his prey; 

Your own efforts to escape the meshes and toils of the snare may be utterly unavailing: but Jesus can save to the uttermost. 

He can open a way of escape...

He can break down the highest fence that your spiritual foes have raised to obstruct you; 

He can raise up a friend to help you; 

He can give you a praying heart; 

He can reveal to you His great readiness to forgive and cleanse you; 

He can overcome your bad habits; 

He can dispose you to think and speak and act aright; 

He can work in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.

Only arise and look to Him for grace. 

Be really in earnest: be willing to take pains and trouble. 

Watch and pray, that you enter not afresh into temptation or yield to old sins. 

Trust only in Him, and He will surely deliver you. 

Your cheerful song shall be that of David: 

Psa 124:6  Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

Psa 124:7  Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

Psa 124:8  Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 

From the arts that would allure us,  From the toils that would ensnare, 

You, who slumber not, secure us  By your ever watchful care;
And if e'er from You we roam, Fetch, oh fetch, Your wanderers home!

~George Everard~