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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

At the Feet of Jesus! # 1

At the Feet of Jesus # 1

Holy Scripture abounds in promises to the humble. With such, Jehovah makes His dwelling place, "For this is what the high and lofty One says - He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isaiah 57:15).

"He exalts the humble and meek."

"He who humbles himself shall be exalted."

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

To take the lowest place, to sit down in the lowest room - is the sure road to true peace on earth and a throne of glory hereafter. By this path our Master went before, and we must endeavor to walk in His footsteps.

For this purpose, let us keep close to the Saviour. For all that we need, let us abide "at His feet." And to assist us, let us consider the example of four who did so. Luke in his gospel tells us of each of them. And as we study the conduct of each, we shall find the same humility, though considerable variety in the other graces which they thus exercised.

1. Let us look at the feet of Jesus, as the place for the Learner. As Saul of Tarsus sat at the feet of Gamaliel and learned much of Jewish lore - the Christian must sit at the feet of Jesus, and he shall become an apt scholar in all the wisdom of the heavenly kingdom. We see this in the story of Mary of Bethany. We read that Martha "had a sister called Mary who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to His teaching." (Luke 10:39). And was there ever a better student in divine knowledge? While her sister was hard at work, desiring to honor Christ by providing for His need - Mary sat quiet and still, calmly drinking in the words of grace and wisdom and love that flowed from His lips. His words sank very deep. She was filled with faith and love and reverence and holy joy and strength of soul. She was prepared for days of sorrow that lay before her. She learned well the lesson of His love, which led her in future days to bring her box of ointment and anoint Him for His burial.

Like Mary, come to the footstool of Jesus. Be a willing pupil in His school. Ever hearken to the voice that speaks to us from God. For the written word is to us, in place of the teachings of the Incarnate Word. In the four gospels we have the storehouse of that wisdom which fell from His lips when on earth. In the Old Testament we have the gospel  in the bud, the grandeur of the divine character, and the source of many of His illustrations. In the Acts and the Epistles we have, in all their fullness, precepts and promises and truths revealed by the Spirit for the edification of the Church in all ages.

And in the study of the Word, nourish a quietness and stillness of spirit as in the very presence of Jesus. Believe it, that Christ is as near to you as to Mary as she sat at His feet. And in the consciousness of this, avoid all hurried, hasty reading. Watch against the mind being preoccupied with business or anything of earth. Realize Christ close beside you, and let this thought calm and refresh your spirit, and prepare you to receive whatever instructions you need.

And as you read be ever looking to Jesus for divine illumination. We can imagine Mary looking up again and again to the Saviour when anything seemed beyond her. Then He would open her understanding, give her some fresh word of explanation, and make it all plain.

And will He not do this for you? When you look up to Him will He not give you the anointing of the Spirit, so that by this heavenly unction you shall know all things needful? Will He not suggest some other passage of the Word, some new view of an old truth, which will remove your difficulty and make your way plain and clear? Only catch the humble, teachable spirit of Mary, and doubtless you shall have Mary's blessing and reward. "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." (Proverbs 8:34).

2. Let us look at the footstool of Jesus as the place of penitence. It is a blessed thing to be with Christ, as a lowly, teachable learner - drinking in the words of eternal life. It is no less blessed to be near to Him as a sinner- humbled for the past, confessing and acknowledging the evil of years gone by, and looking to Him for the free mercy that He loves to give. And have we not an instance of this kind presented to us in Luke 7:37-50? I love to see the spirit of this woman. Far, far away, has she been on the mountains of sin and vanity - but the Good Shepherd has drawn her back by the mighty attraction of His grace. And here is the outcast, the perishing one, at the footstool of the Redeemer of mankind. She "stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears and wipe them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet and anointed them with ointment" (verse 38).

The scornful Pharisee may look on in bitter contempt - he may despise the woman and misjudge the loving Saviour. But the woman does not depart from Him who alone can whisper to her forgiveness, peace and hope. She has no words to utter. Her tears are both her confessions and her prayers. Sobs and sighs are heard, rivers of tears bathe the Saviour's feet, as she waits upon Him for the pardon she seeks.

Forever blessed is such a spirit. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Here we see sincere sorrow, and godly repentance. Here are those sacrifices of a broken and a contrite heart, which God will not despise.

Nourish the same mind. Your sin may have been as great as hers - or you may have been kept free from all open vice. Still you need a deep view of your own vileness as before God. You need a humbled, self-abasing spirit, pleading nothing but your own misery, and God's mercy.

But let us mark here, penitence in the Saviour's presence. It was not remorse hardening itself into unbelief and despair - but it was sorrow casting itself upon a merciful Saviour. It was the silver thread of repentance, intertwined with the golden thread of faith in Christ. She knew she was a great sinner, and she owned and lamented it - but she knew also that Christ was a great Saviour; and herein was her hope and consolation.

Let it be so with you. Open your eyes to see your sin in all its magnitude, in all its hatefulness - but also open your eyes to see your Saviour near to you, ready to heal every wound, ready to forgive every sin. More of His grace is known to you, than to this sinful woman. She knew of His heart of love, and of His words of kindness. But you know the marvels of His great atonement, and all the shame He endured for sinners. Then go by faith into His presence, and believe that you are welcome. Go to His footstool, and tarry there in humility and faith. Look on Him bruised for your iniquities, and wounded for your transgressions. Go near and kiss those feet once nailed to the Cross for your sins.

Go NOT to man; go NOT to human priests, expecting to gain peace and absolution from their lips - but go to Christ Himself. God and stand by Him, and hearken to His forgiving voice. Go and wait before Him until you hear His word of life, "Your sins are forgiven you, go in peace!"

But let us take another step:

~George Everard~

(continued with # 2)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cheerful Counsel for Christians

Cheerful Counsel for Christians

The Epistle to the Philippians is full of cheer and inspiration. Although written in a prison, a sweet song sings through it all. No other of the churches established by Paul, seems to have given him so much comfort - as did this church at Philippi. His cheerful counsels to these church members are golden words for all Christians. The passage begins with an expression of the apostle's love for his people, from whom now he was separated. He speaks to them as beloved and longed for, his joy and crown. No reward that a pastor can have is so great as souls led to Christ and lives helped, built up, and enriched.

The first lesson taught is that of "steadfastness." "Stand fast in the Lord."

Next, he exhorts them to "unity" in spirit and life. It would seem that two women, Euodias and Syntyche, had been estranged in some way, and Paul writes to his yokefellow, urging him to seek a restoration of kindly relations between them. Paul thus sought to realize the Beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God." It is a pleasant thought, that the names of all those who live and work for Christ are in the book of life. They may not be written in the list of those who are distinguished on the earth - but the humblest and lowliest name is down in the register of heaven.

The keynote of Paul's life from the first to last is "joy." We have it here, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!" This word sounds a little strange, coming from a prison. But Paul had in his heart, that which mastered all gloom and depression. Christians ought always to be happy. Of course, this does not mean that they should be foolish. Christian joy is not silly giggling, nor mere light-heartedness. Life is not all fun - it is real and earnest, ofttimes grave and serious, sometimes solemn and tearful. "Rejoice ... always" does not mean that one never is to have a serious thought, is always to be in some round of gaiety. This word is for the sick room and the hour of sorrow, as well as for the play room and the wedding day. It does not draw its inspiration from circumstances - it is in the heart. It is not joy which this world's favors and pleasures give - it is joy which springs from fellowship with Christ.

Another lesson in Christian living is "gentleness," "Let your gentleness be evident to all." This does not mean that you are to go about telling everybody how patient, gentle and meek you are. That would be a troublesome task, and then, people might not always believe you. There is a better way of letting others know that you possess these traits. Show your gentleness in your life and conduct, in your daily interaction with men. Be patient under injury, provocation, or annoyance. Be forgiving. Show your gentleness as Christ showed His: in your speech, in the returning of love for hate, of kindness for unkindness, of love for rudeness. Such a quality in the life is like sweet perfume - you cannot hide it, and it needs no advertising. It makes itself known, if only you have it truly in your life.

Another life-lesson is never to be "anxious." "Do not worry about anything." This seems rather strong counsel for ordinary mortals. It would apparently be a great deprivation to many people - if they could not worry and fret about something. A state of peaceful repose would be very wearisome and monotonous to them. Anxiety is a chronic state with too many. What a change it would bring about in the world, if every Christian would learn this lesson - in nothing to be anxious! It would add almost infinitely to the sum of human happiness, if we would eliminate this one element of misery. Worry does double work in the way of wretchedness - it makes wretched, first - the man himself who worries; then it makes his neighbors wretched.

How useless worrying is, too! It removes no trouble, lightens no burden, and softens no hardness in one's lot. On the other hand, it only makes the trial greater and the heart in its feverishness, less strong for endurance. Even philosophy, without religion, would seem to teach us to be anxious for nothing. The trouble is, however, that philosophy is more plentiful than philosophers. Everybody can tell you how not to worry - but nobody seems to live his own philosophy.

What to do with one's worries, Paul tells us also. We are to put them into God's hands - and leave them there. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." Take them to God, tell him all about them, and leave them with Him. You are God's child; He is caring for you and also for your affairs. You have no troubles or perplexities which He does not understand, which He is not able either to remove - or to carry you through. This is the divine cure for care, and the result will be that "the peace of God ... shall keep your hearts and minds."

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things!" (Philippians 4:8). The next life-lesson the apostle teaches is contained in the wonderful cluster of "whatevers." This is one of the great ethical texts of the Bible. All of these qualities belong to a noble Christian character. Those first named are the sturdy elements - truth, honor, justice, purity; then come the more delicate and beautiful things - qualities that are winning and attractive. Some people cultivate the first class and neglect the other. They are sturdy and just - but not lovable. We have no right to make our religion repulsive; it ought to be lovely and attractive. Then there are some who cultivate the aesthetics of religion and leave out the grand qualities of truth and uprightness. This is worse than the other omission. It takes both classes to make a full-rounded Christian character.

Paul tells us to think of these things - but thinking is not enough - he says, also, "These things ... do." Thinking and doing are both important. Our thoughts make our character. They build it up little by little, as coral insects build up great reefs. Every thought we nourish leaves an impression, a touch - a mark of beauty or blemish. How important that we think only holy and beautiful things! That is what Paul teaches here. The things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, are what we are to think on. Thinking on false things, dishonorable things, unlovely things, makes us like those things; but pondering the noble qualities transforms us into the same nobleness.

"Beautiful thoughts - make a beautiful soul,
And a beautiful soul - makes a beautiful face."

But thinking is not enough. One only really "knows" - what one practises. It is not enough to raise the standard of pure and holy thoughts - we must follow the thoughts with "acts"; we must think right things - and then do them.

Another of the great life-lessons taught here, is contentment. "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." There may be some who study this lesson who cannot yet say this. It may be a comfort to such, to remember that Paul says he had "learned" it. He was not always so contented. It probably took him a good while to get the lesson learned, for he was quite an old man when he wrote this sentence. All lessons in life have to be "learned;" they do not come to us as gifts of God - but only as copies set for us, which we are to try to follow. Of course the great secret lies within the heart. If we have in us the "well of water" which Christ gives, we need not be dependent on the little springs of earthly water which go dry so often. If we have Christ - we really ought not to be greatly affected either by the possession or the loss of earthly comforts. That was Paul's secret.

The last life-lesson taught, is the ability of the Christian to do anything that God really gives him to do. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Here Paul puts the honor where it belongs. His contentment was not his own achievement. it was not the result of philosophy, was not caused by the dying out of ambition in his breast; it was because he was in Christ - that he could be content; Christ gave him strength for it, so that in whatever circumstances he was - he could quietly trust and rejoice. Christian life is full of impossibilities - things that are impossible to anyone with only human strength. But when God gives us a command - he always means to give the strength required to keep the command. It was a prayer of Augustine's, "Command what you will - and give what you command." We should never hesitate to attempt any task that God gives, for He will always give us all the strength we need!

~J. R. Miller~

(The End)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

All For Christ # 5

All For Christ # 5

With two thoughts I will close this address.

1.  If this standard be the true one, if the Christian is to do all in the name of Christ - then what multitudes of the professing people of God will be found lacking at the Great Day!

There are many who bear the name of Christ - who yield only a divided heart and a very partial service. You wish to be a Christian - but you have no intention of giving God your best, and doing everything as Christ bids you, and being unreservedly and entirely devoted to Him. You know perfectly well, that you are not whole-hearted in God's service. Your conduct in business tells it. Your neglect of week-day means of grace testifies to it. Your love of ease and comfort that hinders you from taking an active part in good works, your shrinking from confessing Christ to the world - all speak the same language, and prove that hitherto you have been very far from doing all "in the name of the Lord Jesus."

What a hollow, empty, worthless thing this profession of yours is! What possible good can come from a Sunday religion, from a little head knowledge of Christian truth, which leaves you so utterly unlike the Lord Jesus? Hear the Lord's own solemn words: "Not every one who says unto Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven."

I have often used a very simple illustration as to the value of such profession. Your little girl has an egg for breakfast; when she has finished it, she turns over the shell and says, "See my egg." It looks like an egg, but it is only a shell, it is all hollow, and a minute or two after it is crushed and crumpled up, and loses the very appearance of an egg.

Such is your religion. It has no heart about it. It has no substance. It is only a deceit and a pretense. And very soon it will be made plain to others that it is so - and that when it will be too late for a remedy. Friend, don't make a mistake for eternity. Search your own heart. Don't bequile and deceive yourself with a name, and a shadow, and a Christian profession - when you have never given yourself really to Christ, and have nothing of His Spirit dwelling in you. Take heed in time! Turn to God now in sincerity and truth. Confess all the unreality and heartlessness of days gone by.

It is true, a vast, enormous debt of guilt lies at your door. It is true that every action of your life, every moment of days gone by condemns you - for when did you do one single thing for the glory of God? But there is free forgiveness. There is a righteousness in Christ which can cover all your mountain of sin. There is a full salvation through His blood, and there is a mighty power to raise you through His Spirit. Nor is it far to seek. It is very near you. Only creep low. Only lay aside every proud, self-confident pretension, and on the footing of a sinner deserving damnation, seek life in Christ, and it is yours. It cannot be denied you. Christ never yet rejected a sinner that sincerely came to Him, and He never will. "Christ is all," and He is enough. He gives all, He does all that the sinner needs.

Salvation to the uttermost,
a perfect justification,
grace to be holy,
strength for the journey, and
everlasting life in His kingdom -
He gives, and gives freely, to every one who
sincerely returns to Him.

2. I would add a few words of encouragement to those who desire to put God first, and who wish in everything to follow Christ. While many are contented with serving God a little - and serving the world a great deal more; while there are many double-minded ones who go two ways, as King Saul, and Balaam,and Judas, and Ananias, and Sapphira, and Demas, and the like - you desire to have one aim - to keep a single eye, and through good report and ill report, through storm and sunshine, to serve Christ at all hazards, and under all circumstances to fulfill His commandments.

Let this ever be your object in life. Set it ever before you as the only end worth living for. When, for a moment, you have been drawn aside by some subtle form of self-pleasing, or have turned away to escape a painful cross - yet go back again to your great purpose and determination. Fall back on Christ's justifying righteousness for your acceptance - look up to the risen Saviour to give you more of the mighty power of His quickening Spirit - and pray fervently for steadfastness, perseverance, and reality.

"Let my heart be sound in Your statutes, that I be not ashamed!" Let this be your cry, so that you be not like some tempting orchard fruit - on the outside all rosy smiles, and within rottenness and the worm and decay, making it bitter and loathsome to the eater. But rather sound and true to the heart's core, so that the more you are known, the more you are valued for your genuine piety and unswerving integrity of purpose.

Follow this course - be all one thing in the fear and love of God - and great shall be your reward. You shall have the comfort of a good conscience. Though in conscious unworthiness before God, and knowing how far you fail of reaching the high standard of holiness which He has set before you - yet you will be conscious that you wish in everything to be true as in His sight. Your conscience will bear witness that you allow yourself in no known evil, and that it is your most earnest endeavor to fulfill every duty which He sets before you.

You shall have the consolation of God's presence and love. He will never fail His servant who thus desires to honor Him. You may look for His Spirit to rest abundantly upon you. You may feel assured that He delights in your service, and will be with you at all seasons.

He is with you, with you always!
All the nights, and all the days;
Never failing, never frowning,
With His loving-kindness crowning;
Tuning all you life to praise.

He is with you, your own Master,
Leading, loving to the end;
Brightening joy,and lightening sorrow,
All today, and more tomorrow,
King and Saviour, Lord and Friend.

The life of her who wrote these lines, and who was, a few years ago, called to her eternal rest - was a very marked evidence of the double consolation which those enjoy who are wholly consecrated to the Lord's service. Miss Frances Havergal has been removed from us in the flesh, but she lives in many a heart by the remembrance of her bright and joyous Christian life, and her unflagging zeal and earnestness in the Saviour's cause, and in many a home by her loyal utterances for the King she loved.

Once she heard me speak on the topic of this address. Afterwards she spoke on the matter with great feeling, longing that all Christian people should thus "do all for Christ." And, doubtless, through her writings, and the fragrance of her own holy and devoted life, it will be seen hereafter that not a few have so learned to act.

Christian, remember the time is short! Workers in the vineyard are called away, and you and I must soon follow. You may remember the saying of a poor seamstress, hard at work with her needle in a London attic: "I must make haste,for I have but one candle, and it will soon go out!"

Our one candle is burning out apace. Year follows year, and the stream of life quickly rolls on. Let us seize  the passing hour. Let us work while we may. It it is true that in a hive of bees there are fifteen thousand workers, and only a few hundred drones - why, in the Church of Christ, should there be such a large proportion of drones who are neither building the cells nor gathering in honey? May God grant that it may not be the ease with any reader of this article!

~George Everard~

(The End)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

All For Christ # 4

All For Christ # 4

2. Wanderings in Prayer.

In church and in our chamber these enemies come in and disturb us. If, for a moment, the mind is fixed, the next instant some new imagination carries us miles away, and we are thinking of some indifferent thing. The best antidote is a more lively sense of Christ's nearness. When the soul truly sees Christ at hand, bowing down His merciful ear to catch each petition - then we speak in reality as a friend to friend. Then, through the Spirit, prayer is a comfort and a help, and we are conscious that our petitions reach the mercy-seat.

3. Evil Tempers.

There are few families where, in some shape, these intruders do not come. Sometimes like the thunderstorm,sometimes like the thick, depressing fog, sometimes like the drizzling rain, or the cold north wind - these enemies disturb our peace and grieve the Holy Spirit. It may be passion, or dead silence, or the perpetual monotony of complaint and bickering, or cutting satire, or the like, that does much harm to the soul of the one who indulges it, and puts no small stumbling-block in the way of others.

But realize Christ's presence, believe that He is in the room, and hears and marks each word and thought and feeling - and it will do much to enable you to overcome this sin. "Would you get into a passion if I were in the room with you?" I once said to a Christian, who was complaining of his inability to overcome this snare. "Of course not," he said. "Then remember," I said, "that there is always someone in the room, and this will help you." The thought was not lost on him. More than a year afterwards he told me that, since he had spoken to me, peace in his home had not been broken.

4. Anxiety and Worry.

Here are the thorns that too often choke the good seed. The word of life cannot grow and bear fruit in the heart, because depressing cares and worries fill the mind. Means are short, money comes in very slowly, debts are pressing, family matters do not run smoothly. A very little thing often brings a great burden - and often a real trouble weighs like a mountain of lead on the heart.

But we have the same resource. Christ's presence is a sure hiding place. His shoulder is strong enough to bear every weight of care of sorrow we have faith to lay upon it. Near to Him, and sheltered beneath His wing, we shall find all that comes to be needful discipline. We shall not repine and we shall not despair, "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" - we shall go on our way, and reach in safety the promised land.

6. Do All After the Pattern of Christ.

He is the Shepherd - and we must walk in His footsteps. He is our model - and we must copy every lineament in His holy and spotless character. He is our Sun - and upon Him must we gaze, that a reflection of His glory may rest upon us.

If we read and study the narratives of His wondrous life, we shall find illustrations of every virtue and grace we need to put on, and types of every good work He would have us practice. Courage and meekness, zeal and gentleness, unwearied devotion, and constant well-doing to those around - tracked every footstep. Oh that every worker in the Lord's vineyard, every minister of Christ, every Christian - were more like the Master, and each would be far more successful in his labors! A few stammering words, backed up by a very Christ-like life, will often do far more for the Redeemer's kingdom than a torrent of eloquence, where this is lacking.

It has been said that "a clergyman may preach two or three sermons a week, but a holy life is preaching a thousand sermons." It is a true witness; therefore follow the Master, and follow Him closely. "He who says he abides in Him, ought himself also to walk, even as He walked."

7. Do All in View of Christ's Second Coming.

Here is the final end of all service. The Lord is at hand. He comes to prove all our work. What is wood, hay, stubble - and what is gold, silver, or precious stone - will then be clearly known. What has been the pure truth according as He gave it, and His Spirit revealed it - and what has been human tradition and the vain imagination of a man's own heart. What has been done before His eye and for His glory - and what has been done for any lower motive. What has been the lasting and permanent result of work - and what only a passing emotion in the breast. What souls have been reclaimed from sin, error, unbelief, worldliness, and impenitence; what true blessing has been granted in raising Christians to a nobler life and a loftier standard - all this is hidden for the present, but will be made manifest when Christ comes.

What a day of revelation will it be! What a day of dreadful discovery to those who have been at ease in Zion, and have taken no pains to please the Master or to advance His kingdom! What a day of loss to those who have been in the main the servants of Christ, but have been building rotten materials on the true foundation! What a day of joy to true faithful Christians, who mourned over their failures, and thought they had done but little for Christ, and yet who went on humbly waiting upon Him, and sowing the heavenly seed with tears and prayers!

In all your work, think of that day! Think of the Master's "Well done!" Think of the joy of His approving glance! Think of the joy of harvest sheaves - souls gathered in safe to the garner, and that forever. Think of the great reward of the faithful follower of Christ, even where there has been apparent failure in the Lord's Work.

I heard the other day a striking illustration of this. A missionary in China was greatly depressed through the carelessness and indifference of his hearers. The old question of Isaiah seemed to suit his case: "Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" But he had a dream. He was standing on a rocky boulder, and with a sledge hammer in his hand was trying to break it. Blow after blow was given, but no impression was made. At length he heard a voice: "Go on; I'll pay you all the same whether you break it or not." So he was contented, and learned the lesson. He could enter into the spirit of the prophet's words: "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing - yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work is with my God."

Think of the Lord's coming, and rejoice in hope. Now is the time for labor and toil - then is the time for rest. Now we sow in tears and fears - but then the ripened grain will be our recompense. Now our faith may be dim, and the Lord may sometimes hide His face, and we may have seasons of darkness and distress - but then we shall see His face, and His name shall be on our forehead, and we shall share His glory and His kingdom. All through coming months and years, let our eye be toward the horizon, where the Sun of Righteousness will arise in His majesty. "Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

~George Everard~

(continued with # 5)

Monday, March 13, 2017

All For Christ # 3

All For Christ # 3

3. Do all for the GLORY of Christ. The passage, Colossians 3:17, "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," is well explained by the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do - do all to the glory of God." The leading idea seems also precisely the same. Whatever is done, even in the commonest matters of life, the food we eat, our conduct at the breakfast table or the dinner table - is to be done for the glory of the Father and the Son. We must seek grace that "to live" may be "Christ, that He may be magnified in our bodies, whether by life or death!" (Philippians 1:20, 21); that "the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in us" (2 Thessalonians 1:12).

Here is the very highest aim it is possible for man to cherish. No angel or archangel before the throne can rise to a loftier height. "To glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever," is Heaven on earth - and Heaven above. And this one desire will simplify a Christian's life, and give to it a unity and a beauty which nothing else could yield. Men are often swayed hither and thither by a variety of motives, sometimes in a right direction, and sometimes the very reverse. Passion, or pleasure, or self-interest, or a kindly feeling toward another, or the desire for man's praise or favor, or the reproof of an uneasy conscience - will actuate them in turns, so that there is no consistency about their conduct.

But let a man ever set this before him: "What will most honor my Redeemer-King? What will bring glory to Him in the world? What will advance His kingdom? This I must do!"

Let a man follow an object like this, and it will give a fixedness, a steadfastness to his walk, which will prove greatly in the end for his own true peace. It will at once solve many a difficulty, and direct a man in the course he should pursue.

"To do all for the glory of Christ" will bring an immediate decision in most all cases. Self and ease and luxury will be sacrificed, and Christ will be honored.

In many other matters the same motive will afford the guidance that is needful. Two courses of action are open to a Christian. There are strong reasons on each side, and both are lawful. Which shall be followed? For example, a young man is choosing his vocation for life. A door is open for great advantage in business, or in some secular profession - but a desire is awakened for the ministry of Christ's Church. But in this latter there may seem but little prospect of worldly promotion. It may be that for many years the slender stipend of a pastor's assistant may be all he may obtain. What shall be the choice?

In his earlier life, Dean McNeile had something of this difficulty. Large property from a relative with the probability of high advancement at the bar, offered on the one side. On the other side, the loss of a fortune, and far less apparent likelihood of temporal advantage. But he chose the latter, and great was his reward in the honor God bestowed  upon him in being so useful a champion of His truth.

In many similar cases - in the choice of friends, in the arrangement of our households, in the disposal of our time - we shall never err if we act in the same spirit. We shall never regret hereafter, what we have done "for the glory of Christ."

4. Do all to PLEASE Christ. This is closely connected with acting for the glory of Christ; but it has a distinctness which it is well to bear in mind. It is strongly brought out by the Apostle Paul, in speaking of the Christian being a good soldier of Jesus Christ. "No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who has chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:4).

Servants also are bidden to obey: "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men." (Colossians 3:22, 23).

Ever seek to please Christ! In one sense you ought to "please all men in all things; not seeking your own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." Whenever, for the good of others, you can deny yourself, or please them - fail not to do so.

But to please Christ must be your chief desire. Though you may have to displease man, though you may have to risk hard words, unkind suspicions, ridicule, and persecution - yet if you please Christ it will be well. "Teach me to do the thing that pleases You, for You are my God!"

But how can you please Christ? With so much evil in you, and so many infirmities - is it possible to please the Holy Saviour? Oh yes, Christ is not hard to please! He is no "hard man, reaping where He has not sown, gathering where He has not scattered seed." Nay, if only done in humble love, the least thing is pleasing to Him. Both the alabaster box of ointment and the widow's two mites, were alike acceptable. The least gift you offer, the least upward glance of the heart, the effort to do common work as before Him, a word spoken by the way to guide a little one, to comfort a mourner, to stir up a sleeping professor - each and all is pleasing to Him when done with a single eye for His sake.

5. Do all in the PRESENCE of Christ.  Nothing will help you more than this. Live ever seeing Him who is invisible. By His Spirit, He will manifest Himself to you, as He does not unto the world. "The world sees Him no more, but you see Him" - and seeing Him ever near at hand, you shall better be able to please Him. To live ever as in the presence of Christ, seems to me to be the one special preservative against four great disturbers of the Christian's peace.

a. The fear of man. This is ever coming in to mar our usefulness. We are afraid of following that which conscience approves. We are afraid of confessing Christ, or standing alone in the reproof of sin, or speaking a word in a railway station to win a soul for the Master. But if we see Christ by our side, we shall conquer. "Those who are with us are more than those who are against us."

~George Everard~

(continued with # 4)

Friday, March 10, 2017

All For Christ # 2

All For Christ # 2

In fact, there is no part of our life that must be exempted from Christian principle. Business and recreation, social fellowship, the use of our money and our time - all we are, all we have, all we do or say must be for Christ, if we would be true to Him. We must never mark out one acre, or one square yard, or one inch of our life, and say in our heart, "Christ has nothing to do with this!" If we willfully take one single moment of our lives, or one single act, or word, or thought out of the direct control of the fear and love of God - that moment, or act, or word, or thought is one of sin.

But what is it to do all "in the name of Christ"? Let us first look at it negatively. It teaches me that I must not act at random. Many are led by the impulse of the moment. They are driven hither and thither by every wind. To do this, is to be as a ship without the rudder - sure one day to be wrecked on the rocks or the quicksands. It is to be as a carriage going down a hill without a hand to direct the horses. It is to be as a train rushing on without driver, until some terrible collision or other accident brings it to a stop.

Neither must I act as the world does. Just to be like those around them, to be no better and no worse, satisfies many. But to copy the customs and follow the standard of an evil world, is far below the calling of a Christian. To set examples rather than follow them, is his duty and privilege. To be a child of God "in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation," to shine as a light in the world, is the Master's plain command.

Neither must I act merely as a good citizen, a good neighbor, a good husband, or father, or wife, or child. To be exemplary in the family relationship brings a present reward. We can only be too thankful for those who act thus. Would that there were more who endeavored to rise as high as this.

But the Christian goes further. To do all in the name of Christ is to act in everything as one of Christ's disciples. It is to live as one who bears the name of Christ, a representative here below of the great Redeemer exalted to the Father's right hand. The living Christ is there in glory. But if you are His, He dwells in your heart by His Spirit, and you are to go forth into an evil world bearing His mark, guided by His Spirit, so that men may see in you, as in a looking glass, something of the Saviour's grace, and majesty, and glory.

It is a very high standard, and there are none but come sadly short of it. But let us set it before us. Let us remember we are called to it. Let us be content with nothing lower, and then we shall be assured that Christ is with us, and will in some measure enable us to attain as we desire.

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus."

Here is our aim. The main thought is, that in everything, the Christian acts as a representative of Christ. But in seven particulars the idea seems to branch out, and each one may assist the Christian in holy walking.

1. Do all in the STRENGTH of Christ. From first to last, a Christian has no power in himself. He has no power to resist evil or rise higher, or to fulfill a single precept. As soon may a child two years, kill a robust lion, as a Christian in his own strength conquer sin. Perhaps a man says about some particular fault or temptation, "I have no fear on that score!" But it is not at all unlikely a few weeks after, he may have to lament his self-confidence. Or perhaps a man says, "That is not one of my weak points!" and he glories that in that direction there is no likelihood of his falling. But whether it be our weak point or our strong point, there is no security except in lowly trust in the Saviour.

Moses was meek - but he was angry with the people, and spoke unadvisedly with his lips, and so was never permitted to enter Canaan. Hezekiah had been a faithful and devoted servant of God - but when God left him to try him, he soon fell into evil. But depend continually on the grace of the Lord Jesus, and you will conquer. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."

A working man had followed Christ for twenty years, but he found the glass of beer was getting too strong a hold of him. It was a great struggle with him what he should do; but he wisely determined, as the only safe remedy, to give it up altogether. But he found it harder work even than beginning to serve Christ at first. Friends did not understand his being so particular, and he found it rather hard crossing "the bridge of sneers," and getting up "opposition hill." One day, however, he took up an old hymn book, and his eye lighted on this verse:

"Let not my heart despond and say,
How shall I stand the trying day?
He has declared by firm decree,
That as your day, your strength shall be."

The words cheered his heart and sent him on his way rejoicing, and ever since he has been thankful for the help thus afforded him. It you wish to overcome, remember the secret. It is by ever clinging to the strong One. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

2. Do all out of LOVE to Christ. Here is to be our motive. Love makes duty light. Love makes toil and labor pleasant. Love sweetens the bitter cup, and makes self-denial easy. A spirit of grateful love, changes the character of everything we have to do. Hence nourish the sacred flame. "Let the love of Christ constrain you." Think of all He is, how infinitely worthy of the love of man and angels. Think of all that He has done for you by His life and His death.

Think of ...
His everlasting love to you,
His constant intercession for you,
His continual watching over you,
His ever guiding your footsteps,
His delivering you from dangers on the right hand and on the left,
His preparing a glorious home for you in His kingdom above.

Look for the Spirit to stir up within you perpetually the remembrance of His love. Come to His table that you may be the more quickened in the knowledge of His exceeding great love and tender mercy. Pray that your heart may be "hot with the love of Christ" - so shall you life praise Him, and show forth what He has done for you.

Once earthly joy I craved,
Sought peace and rest;
Now You alone I seek,
Give what is best!
This all my prayer shall be,
More love, O Christ, to Thee.
More love to Thee!

~George Everard~

(continued with # 3)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

All For Christ # 1

All For Christ # 1

There is an exquisite hymn of Christian experience which tells of the writer's growth in grace. It testifies of an increasing sense of Christ's preciousness. In the four verses four steps show the progress made:

"All for self - and none for Thee."
"Some for self - and some for Thee."
"Less for self - and more for Thee."

Then comes the blessed outcome:

"Higher than the highest Heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea:
Lord, Your love at last has conquered;
Grant me now my soul's petition:
None for self - and all for Thee."

"All for Christ" is the aim every Christian should cherish in life. We can only enjoy the comfort and peace which Christ gives, in proportion as we walk as He directs. If we desire to spend a happy, useful life, if we desire to meet the trials and the cares it may bring in quiet confidence and hope - we must not only rely upon the Saviour's all-sufficient grace, but carefully obey the precepts He has given us.

Doing this, we need never be afraid. Dark clouds may overshadow our path,disease and death may visit our homes, losses and bad debts and hard times and multiplied troubles may come upon us - but doing God's will, trusting in His never-failing providence, relying upon His free grace and mercy in Christ, we are assured that He is with us, and will never fail us.

"All for Christ" is our motto. The Apostle Paul gives it in a few striking words: "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him" (Colossians 3:17).

We mark here, that true Christian principle has universal sway and operation. It has deep foundations. It rests on the solid rock of revealed truth. It takes its stand on sound doctrine, the Divine Sonship, the atonement, the resurrection, the mediatorial power and dignity of the Lord Jesus, on the renewing and regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, as the source of all peace and consolation. But, resting here, as the ground of hope and security.... the conscience purged through the sprinkled blood, the heart changed and the will molded by the Spirit, the believer goes forward in a spirit of lively gratitude to carry into daily practice the lessons which grace has taught him.

And in the obedience to be rendered, there is no limitation. The precept is as broad as the promise. "Whatever you shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it to you." "All things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Thus runs the promise. (John 16:23; Matthew 21:22). Exactly parallel runs the precept: "Whatever you do ... do all in the name of the Lord Jesus;" or again, "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). On the one hand you have the "whatever" of promised good; on the other, the "whatever" of obedience commanded. You have the "all things" given in love to the believer; you have the "all things" to be performed out of gratitude according to God's will.

So we see that the precept takes in the whole field of a Christian's life and duty. It covers every inch of ground. It distinctly bears on every act and word and thought, and on every moment of our time. It permits no exceptions. From our first waking thought in the morning to the last breath we draw before we sleep at night, from the first day of January to the last day of December, and that of every year of our lives, until our course is run - all is to be yielded, gladly and willingly, to the service of our Redeemer-King.

"Business is business, work is work, religion is religion," is the thought of some who profess and call themselves Christians. Not so! Business is religion, work is religion, our common everyday duties are religion, if only they be done as the Master bids us.

A commercial traveler once gave me his idea on this subject: "Our clergyman comes out of a hot bed," said he, "and preaches on Sunday a sermon on our duty far higher than we can reach. So I listen to what he says, and then go back to my work on Monday remembering my chief duty is to provide for my wife and my family."

There was a measure of truth in his words. I admit that the precepts of Christ are "far too high" for a man of the world. To do as Christ commands must be as intolerable bondage to one who has no living faith, who knows nothing of Christ's love, nor has received the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. But it is not too high for one who is a Christian indeed. No aim can be too exalted for one who has been purchased by the blood of Christ, and who has yielded himself as a living sacrifice to the Father in Heaven. We dare not to please man, lower the standard or lessen the responsibility which is laid upon us. We dare not, and we must not, narrow the limit of our service or the extent of our obedience.

The standard which the Apostle gives, reaches to every sphere and concerns every part of life. It touches the hidden world of the heart, and claims a control over every thought and motive and purpose. It comes to the little world of the family circle, and is our guide as to all we should speak and do amidst children or others about us. It follows us into the social world of friends and acquaintances, and is to control our pleasures and recreations, the amusements we frequent, the books we read, and the company we choose.

It pursues us to the world of business, and takes note of our course of action in the shop, in the counting-house, in the market-place, or the exchange.

It does not leave us in the world of politics, but marks how far, in the use of our influence, in giving a vote at an election, we have regard to the upholding of His truth, and the interests of His kingdom. In the religious world we are still to be directed by the same precept. What worship we offer, what liberality we show, what labor we are willing to give - all this is taken into account by Him who searches the heart and knows all our ways.

~George Everard~

(continued with # 2)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Reward of the Faithful # 2

The Reward of the Faithful # 2

I may relate a little experience. In Philadelphia, at one of our meetings, a drunken man rose up. Till that time I had no faith that a drunken man could be converted. When anyone approached he was generally taken out. This man got up and shouted, "I want to be prayed for." The friends who were with him tried to draw him away, but he shouted only louder, and for three times he repeated his request. His call was attended to, and he was converted. God has power to convert a man even if he is drunk.

I have still another lesson. I met a man in New York who was an earnest worker, and I asked him to tell me his experiences. He said he had been a drunkard for over twenty years. His parents had forsaken him, and his wife had cast him off and married someone else. He went into a lawyer's office in Poughkeepsie, mad with drink. This lawyer proved a good Samaritan, and reasoned with him and told him he could be saved. The man scouted the idea. He said, "I must be pretty low when my father and mother, my wife and kindred cast me off, and there is no hope for me here or hereafter." But this good Samaritan showed him how it was possible to secure salvation; got him on his feet, and guided his face toward Zion. And this man said to me: "I have hot drank a glass of liquor since." He is now leader of a young men's meeting in New York. I asked him to come up last Saturday night to Northfield, my native town, where there are a good many drunkards, thinking he might encourage them to seek salvation, he came, and brought a young man with him. They held a meeting, and it seemed as if the power of God rested upon that meeting when these two men went on telling what God had done for them - how He had destroyed the works of the devil in their hearts, and brought peace and unalloyed happiness to their souls. These grog shops here are the works of the devil - they are ruining men's souls every hour. Let us fight against them, and let our prayers go up in our battle, "Lord, manifest Thy power in Chicago this coming month." It may seem a very difficult thing for us, but it is a very easy thing for God to convert rum sellers.

A young man in New York got up and thrilled the meeting with his experience. "I want to tell you," he said, "That nine months ago a Christian came up to my house and said he, wanted to me to become a Christian. He talked to me kindly and encouragingly, pointing out the error of my ways, and I became converted. I had been a hard drinker, but since that time I have not touched a drop of liquor. If any one had asked who the most hopeless man in that town was they would have pointed to me." Today this young man is the superintendent of a Sabbath school. Eleven years ago, when I went to Boston, I had a cousin who wanted a little of my experience. I gave him all the help I could, and he became a Christian. He did not know how near death was to him. He wrote to his brother and said: "I am very anxious to get your soul to Jesus." The letter somehow went to another city, and lay from the 28th of February to the 28th of March - just one month. He saw it was in his brother's handwriting, and tore it open and read the above words. It struck a chord in his heart, and was the means of converting him. And this was the Christian who led this drunken young man to Christ.

This young man had a neighbor who had drank for forty years, and he went to that neighbor and told him what God had done for him, and the result was another conversion.

I tell you these things to encourage you to believe that the drunkards and saloon keepers can be saved. There is work for you to do, and by and by the harvest shall be gathered, and what a scene will be on the shore when we hear the Master on the throne shout, "Well done! Well done!"

Let me say a word to you, mothers. We depend a good deal upon you. It seems to me that there is not a father and mother in all Chicago who should not be in sympathy with this work. You have daughters and sons, and if work is done now they will be able to steer clear of many temptations and will be able to lead better lives here. It seems to me selfishness if they sit down inactive and say, "There is no use in this. We are safe ourselves, what is the use of troubling?" If the mothers and fathers of the whole community would unite their prayers and send up appeals to God to manifest His power, in answer to them there would be mighty work.

I remember in Philadelphia we wanted to see certain results, and we called a meeting of mothers. There were from five to eight thousand mothers present, and each of them had a particular burden upon her heart. There was a mother who had a wayward daughter, another a reckless son, another a bad husband. We spoke to them confidently, and we bared our hearts to one another. They prayed for aid from the Lord,and that grace might be shown to these sons and daughters and husbands, and the result was that our inquiry rooms soon filled with anxious inquirers.

Let me tell you about a mother in Philadelphia. She had two wayward sons. They were wild, dissipated youths. They were to meet on a certain night and join in dissipation. The rendezvous was at the corner of Market and Thirteenth streets, where our meetings were held. One of the young men entered the large meeting, and when it was over went to the young men's meeting near at hand, and was quickened, and there prayed that the Lord might save him. His mother had gone to the meeting that night, and arriving too late, found the door closed. When that young man went home he found his mother praying for him, and the two mingled their prayers together. While they were praying together the other brother came from the other meeting, and brought tidings of being converted, and at the next meeting the three got up and told their experiences, and I never heard an audience so thrilled before or since.

Another incident. A wayward boy in London, whose mother was very anxious for his salvation,said to her, "I am not going to be bothered with your prayers any longer. I will go to America and be rid of them." "But, my boy," she said, "God is on the sea, and in America, and He hears my prayers for you." Well, he came to this country, and as they led into the port of New York some of the sailors told him that Moody and Sankey were holding meeting in the Hippodrome. The moment he landed he started for our place of meeting, and there he found Christ. He became a most earnest worker, and he wrote to his mother and told her that her prayers had been answered; that he had been saved, and that he had found his mother's God.

Mothers and fathers, lift up your hearts in prayer, that there may be hundreds of thousands saved in this city [and around the world].

When we were preaching in Dundee, Scotland, a mother came up with her two sons, 16 and 17 years old. She said to me, "Will you talk to my boys?" I asked her if she would talk to the inquirers, and told her there were more inquirers than workers. She said she was not a good enough Christian - was not prepared enough. I told her I could not talk to her then. Next night she came to me and asked me again, and the following night she repeated her request. Five hundred miles she journeyed to get God's blessing for her boys. Would to God we had more mothers like her. She came to London, and the first night I was there, I saw her in the Agricultural Hall. She was accompanied by only one of her boys - the other had died. Towards the close of the meetings I received this letter from her:

"Dear Mr. Moody: For months I have never considered the day's work ended unless you and your work had been specially prayed for. Now it appears before us more and more. What in our little measure we have found has no doubt been the happy experience of many others in London, my husband and I have sought as our greatest privilege to take unconverted friends one by one to the Agricultural Hall and I thank God that, with a single exception, those brought under the preaching from your lips have accepted Christ as their Saviour, and are rejoicing in His love."

That lady was a lady of wealth and position. She lived a little way out of London; gave up her beautiful home and took lodgings near the Agricultural Hall, so as to be useful in the inquiry room. When we went down to the Opera House she was there; when we went down to the east end there she was again,and when I left London she had the names of 150 who had accepted Christ from her. Some said that our work in London was a failure. Ask her if the work was a failure, and she will tell you. If we had a thousand such mothers in Chicago we would lift it. God and bring your friends here to the meetings.

Think of the privilege, my friends, of saving a soul, if we are going to work for good we must be up and about it. Men can say, "I have not the time." Take it. Ten minutes every day for Christ will give you good wages. Some of you say, "I wish I was young, how I would rush into the battle." Well, if you cannot be a fighter, you can pray and lead on the others. Draw near, old age, and cheer on the others, and take them by the hand and encourage them. If you cannot work yourself, give them cheers to nerve them on in their glorious work. May the blessing of God fail upon us this afternoon, and let every man and woman be up and doing.

~D. L. Moody~

(The End)