I’ve been very busy with life and stuff, so the blog has rather suffered. I’ll start getting caught up next week, honest. In the meantime, as everyone else has been sharing their list of new Christmas books, here is a pic of my own festive additions. Santa was very generous indeed!
You shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong. (Joshua 17:18)
It is a great encouragement to be assured of victory, for then a man goes forth to war in confidence. Our warfare is with evil within us and around us, and we ought to be persuaded that we are able to get the victory in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are not riding for a fall, but to win; and win we shall.
Certain of our sins find chariots of iron in our constitution: our former habits, our associations, and our occupations. Nevertheless we must overcome them. They are very strong, and in reference to them we are very weak; yet in the name of God we must master them, and we will. If one sin has dominion of us we are not the Lord’s free men. A man who is held by only one chain is still a captive. There is no going to heaven with one sin ruling within us, for of the saints it is said, “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Up, then, and break to shivers every chariot of iron! The Lord of hosts is with us, and who shall resist His sin-destroying power?
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)
Oh, that these happy times were come! At present the nations are heavily armed and are inventing weapons more and more terrible, as if the chief end of man could only be answered by destroying myriads of his fellows. Yet peace will prevail one day; yes, and so prevail that the instruments of destruction shall be beaten into other shapes and used for better purposes.
How will this come about? By trade? By civilization? By arbitration? We do not believe it. Past experience forbids our trusting to means so feeble. Peace will be established only by the reign of the Prince of Peace. He must teach the people by His Spirit, renew their hearts by His grace, and then will they cease to wound and kill. Man is a monster when once his blood is up, and only the Lord Jesus can turn this lion into a lamb. By changing man’s heart, his bloodthirsty passions are removed. Let every reader offer special prayer today to the Lord and Giver of Peace that He would speedily put an end to war and establish concord over the whole world.
And he that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
All things need making new, for they are sadly battered and worn by sin. But no one else can make all things new except the Lord who made them at the first. Our Lord Jesus has undertaken the task, and He is fully competent for the performance of it. Already he has commenced His labour, and for centuries He has persevered in making new the hearts of men. There shall come a day when the body shall be made new and raised like unto His glorious body.
What a joy to belong to a kingdom in which everything is being made new by the power of its King! We are not dying out: we are hastening on to a more glorious life. Despite the opposition of the powers of evil, our glorious Lord Jesus is accomplishing His purpose and making us, and all things about us, “new” and as full of beauty as when they first came from the hand of the Lord.
Evening Brightens into Day
It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. (Zechariah 14:7)
It is a surprise that it should be so; but God is wont to work in a way so that the dark will not deepen into midnight, but it will suddenly brighten into day. Never let us despair. In the worst times let us trust in the Lord who turns the darkness of the shadow of death into the morning.
This promise should assist our patience. The light may not fully come till our hopes are quite spent by waiting all day to no purpose. But to the righteous, the sun rises when it is almost night. May we not with patience wait for that heavenly light, which may be long in coming but is sure to prove itself well worth waiting for?
Come, my soul, sing unto Him who will bless you in life and in death, in a manner surpassing all that nature has ever seen when at its best.
A Quiet Heart
In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)
It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mis-trusting. What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone? Do we not unfit ourselves for action and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.
Oh, for grace to be quiet! Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it? Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled? Be still and know that the LORD is God!
Oh, for grace to be confident in God! Every word of His will stand, though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.
Come, my soul, return unto your rest, and lean your head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.
Trust and Do; Do and Trust
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you shall dwell in the land, and truly be fed. (Psalm 37:3)
Trust and do are words which go well together. We should have faith, and that faith should work. We do not sit still because we trust, but we arouse ourselves and expect the Lord to work through us and by us. It is not ours to worry and do evil but to trust and do good. We neither trust without doing nor do without trusting.
Adversaries would root us out if they could; but by trusting and doing we dwell in the land. We are not so easily to be got rid of as the Lord’s enemies suppose. Where God has given us a name and a place, there we abide.
But what about the supply of our necessities? As sure as God is true, His people shall be fed. It is theirs to trust and to do, and it is the Lord’s to do according to their trust. They shall be fed somehow. Away, fears!
God Is Our Ally
But if you shall indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries. (Exodus 23:22)
Jesus Christ is to be acknowledged and obeyed. He is the vice-regent of God and speaks in the Father’s name, and it is for us to do as He commands. We shall lose the promise if we disregard the precept.
The Lord enters into a league with His people. He will bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. God will go heart and soul with His people and enter in deepest sympathy into their position. What a protection this affords us! We need not concern ourselves about our adversaries when we are assured that they have become the adversaries of God.
So far as our own interest is concerned we have no enemies; but for the cause of truth and righteousness we take up arms and go forth to conflict. In this sacred war we are allied with the eternal God, and if we carefully obey the law of our Lord Jesus, He is engaged to put forth all His power on our behalf. Therefore we fear no man.
The “All” of Belief
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
Our unbelief is the greatest hindrance in our way. The Lord can do everything, but when he makes a rule that according to our faith so shall it be unto us, our unbelief ties the hands of his omnipotence.
God is always true; why do we not believe him? He is always faithful to his word; why can we not trust him? When we are in a right state of heart, faith costs no effort: it is then as natural for us to rely upon God as for a child to trust its father.
The worst of it is that we can believe God about everything except the present pressing trial. This is folly. Shake off such sinfulness, and trust God with the load, the labour, the longing of this present. This done, all is done.
Following Leads to Honour
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26)
The highest service is imitation. If I would be Christ’s servant I must be His follower. To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honour to His name. Let me mind this every day.
If I imitate Jesus I shall have His company: if I am like Him I shall be with Him. In due time He will take me up to dwell with Him above, if, meanwhile, I have striven to follow Him here below. After His suffering our Lord came to His throne, and even so, after we have suffered a while with Him here below, we also shall arrive in glory. Come, my soul, pluck up courage.
Let me not fail to note that the Father will honour those who follow His Son. If He sees me true to Jesus, He will put marks of favour and honour upon me for His Son’s sake. No honour can be like this. Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honour; the substance of glory comes from the Father. Therefore, my soul, cling to the Lord Jesus more closely than ever.