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“. . . that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” II Corinthians 5:21

The phrase “righteousness of God” simply means to be as righteous as God is! Of course this is just what one will be when he is finally “in the image of God,” and that is the express intention of the Creator! The question that arises is this: Do you really want this kind of righteousness? For in the final outcome you are going to get what you have sought and desired. Hence the final book of the Bible declares, “He that is filthy, let him be made filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still.” The idea of a “new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” is just that those who want righteousness can have it—for ever. But it is the righteousness of God: a life that is totally void of anything impure or unholy. God has only one brand of righteousness. If you secretly want a little bit of the world’s unrighteousness, which the Bible labels as filth, do not think you can find any place in the new creation where you can indulge the desire. Such is found only with the filthy, the unrighteous, and the ultimate end of all such is destruction. God will not tolerate a place of filth in His Creation. He will cleanse it and wipe out forever the filth and unrighteousness. Add to this the thought that nothing can be hidden from God: He knows what you really want—you can’t fool Him.

The one who desires such righteousness is not forever trying to see just how far away from God he can live and still be considered one of His. He isn’t trying to see how much sin he can live in without slipping over the line away from God. To do so is evidence that sin is what he really wants. What one seeks is what he desires, therefore his desire is revealed in what he is seeking.

This righteousness, however, is not attained by our efforts. It is imputed to us by God, who made Christ the sin-bearer, to bear our sins to judgment so that we might become righteous in Him. The first step to righteousness after we desire it, is to obey the gospel of Christ.

PRAYER: Loving Father, You know my heart and my desire. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness; reveal to me any hidden impurity, that it, too, may be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.


“. . . the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

When the Prodigal had left the pig pen and finally realized what it meant to be under the Father’s roof and under His loving eye, he had no desire for the old things, the riotous living, the friends he acquired while wasting his substance and the freedom he had from the father. No, he didn’t even care to speak of it. They were all still there. The fair-weather friends somewhere continued their revelry and someone still fed the swine. But to this boy, they had passed away. When we are in sin we speak its language and glory in its exploits. But when a man “comes to himself,” as did the prodigal, he would sooner hear no more about any of it. It is interesting how the old things pass away when we finally accept the Father’s welcome and submit to Him. The wasting of God’s rich talents in self-glory, the ambition to be hailed by all the world’s elite, and the constant strain to squeeze out one more bit of mirth in the name of fun—it all suddenly takes on the same aroma of the pig pen where it eventually ends. We not only have no desire to go back again, but we do not even talk about it. The old things pass away. Not that they cease to be; they are all out there, still pursued and heralded by all the world. But for the soul set on God they may as well have ceased; they are for the world that is soon to be abolished, that is soon to pass away. New things fill the mind: God’s holiness, His justice, His eternal glory and His presence. And even newer things appear on the horizon: a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, a new and gloriously immortal body, a new environment and ever expanding new knowledge of the Creator whose capacity for creation is such that there will forever be a new and deeper life to enjoy. How can we so sully our souls as to bring into our minds and lives the old husks of the swine’s trough? “If any man is in Christ he is a new creature; the old things are passed away . . .” “In Christ!” That’s the thing. All the way home, in Him. If the old things still bug you, get home—all the way in Christ, totally under God’s command. You won’t need to look back any more.

PRAYER: Loving Father, thank You for receiving me and giving me a place in Your family. Help me to share the good news of the new things You offer, through Jesus, my Saviour. Amen.


“For I, Jehovah, change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

It is a startling statement to be declared to men who have come to consider change as the mark of progress. Evolutionists manage to twist the truth: for on the basis that any improvement is a change, they turn around and claim that all change is for the better, and that if we will change enough we will change the world into heaven. But only a moment’s reflection teaches us that things deteriorate with change. That’s the second law of thermo-dynamics, that things tend to run down. A look in the mirror is enough to convince all but the very young. So we long for the “old days,” no matter if they were hard; we hark back to the days of the prophets and the apostles—the miracles, the certain presence of God, the reassuring words of Jesus, and the burning zeal of people who leveled with God and put their lives on the line of service. We see little of this kind of faith in evidence, and the changes all around obviously are in the opposite direction from the course laid down by the Bible. On either hand are those who either outrightly deny Christ or else fail to take Him seriously. The basic laws, first decreed by God then adopted into the warp and woof of the nation, are changing. Lawlessness and crime show that the change in the order of things is anything but progress.

But this is not altogether new. Malachi observed these changes some 400 years before the coming of the Lord. The people had “turned aside” from God’s law and had corrupted the covenant. Treachery and injustice prevailed. They said, “every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of Jehovah and he delighteth in them” and “Where is the God of Justice”. (Mal. 2:17). We are reminded of the new morality and the common idea that the justice of God no longer applies. “Everybody does it”, therefore it is considered a delight in the eyes of God. But Malachi has a word for us. “I Jehovah, change not”. We who cling to the God and Father of Jesus our Lord still stand on the true foundation. We do not have to turn back the pages of history to know His power, His purpose€, and His presence. We need not be frightened nor discouraged by the overwhelming odds of unbelievers and the changes taking place. We are God’s. He isn’t changing.

PRAYER: Father, may I not be swept along with the tide of change, but anchored to the Rock of Christ, help me to be faithful to Your eternal desire. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.” John 14:27

These words are spoken by the Lord, not simply in the mood of one giving friendly advice, but with the voice of authority, as a command. Jesus commands, “Do not allow yourself to be troubled. Do not allow yourself to be afraid.” The responsibility to guard one’s self from worry and fear is quite the same as the duty to guard against false teaching or against temptation and sin. Our Lord does not say for us to “try not to worry”. Neither does He suggest that we hide our fears behind a stiff upper lip or a smile. Instead we are told not to allow worry and fear in our hearts at all.

It is well known that most illness is caused by these two things—worry and fear. What is not so well known is the fact that a person has all the power he needs to control these disease germs, if he is a Christian and will obey the Lord. If your heart is filled with anxiety (the same as “troubled”) and fear, whose fault is it? Let us imagine a young lady getting ready for her wedding. She is literally floating through plans for showers, the wedding, the reception, the honeymoon, and all kinds of preparations. Her heart is filled with so much joy and love that she bubbles and glows all over the place. Now who put them there? No one forced her to fall in love. No one forced her to fill her head with joy and hope—all of it is her own doing, because she longed for these things, planned for them and was ready to receive them when the opportunity arrived. So it is with worry and fear. No one forces them into your heart. If fear is there it is only because you allowed it, made room for it, and harbored it when it arrived. You wouldn’t allow a dirty, corrupt and blasphemous thought to remain in your heart. You know that you have power to dispel such thought, and that you must do so in order to be obedient to God. Then use your God-given power of volition and obey Jesus’ command: let no worry nor fear find a refuge in your heart.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the Saviour who has removed all cause of fear by the assurance of redemption and life. Fill my heart with your grace and righteousness, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


“I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world.” John 17:6

The apostles were taken, not from a special race or breed of men, but from among men of the world. However, once they became committed to Christ, they came “out of the world” in a special way “and the world hated them, because they are not of the world.” The “world” refers to the system of man, which depends upon man-made rules in contrast to God’s law, man’s values as contrasted to God’s values, and man’s power to control man as over against the perfect rule of God in men’s lives.

Although not chosen for an apostle’s work each Christian is taken “out of the world,” from among his fellow man in the same sense that the apostles were. We continue to live in the midst of the system, but are removed from its principles. we are called out from sin and the mass of lies that prevail in the world of unbelief. We are called to repudiate the influence of Satan who has deceived the whole earth. This was the main thrust of Christ’s prayer: “not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one.” This is where we see the difference. On one hand they who follow the trend of the world, believing its philosophy, obeying the dictates of its fashion and seeking its mark of approval, all of which is covertly under the subtle hand of Satan and guided by his evil purposes. On the other hand are the saints, upon whose ears the appeal of Satan falls in vain, for their purpose is to please God and live according to His system. In a literal and physical sense we are eventually to be called out of the world at the coming of Jesus that we might escape the awful burning of the earth in “the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” Therefore the difference from first to last is seen in our ultimate purpose: to follow the world’s system to final death, or to follow God’s to eternal life. We are to live, not as though we belonged to this world and its destiny, but as heirs of the new and eternal one, “wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

PRAYER: Father, guard me from Satan’s clever deception, and the world’s allure. Give me boldness to hold forth the truth in the midst of the world’s deception, for the glory of Christ and in His name, Amen.


“Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who . . . humbled himself, becoming obedient . . .” Philippians 2:5,8

The mind of Christ! What an order! But it does not mean that one must know all things terrestrial and celestial, the mysteries of Heaven and the minds of men, as did Jesus. For that matter, all minds have not the same capacity, so we are not told to know all things. What the apostle is writing about is one specific fact of the mind of Jesus—that He was obedient. In this we all have equal opportunity, whether we are rich or poor, young or old, bright or dull. For God has not given impossible commands. He does not command feats that require superior physical strength nor does He order anyone to solve great mysteries of the universe. His commands are such as these: to love Him with all your heart; to honor your father and mother; to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; to repent and be baptized; to have faith and to be faithful, and so on. Not one of His commandments require any particular kind of muscle power nor technical skill, nor any other potential but what is common to us all. They are within reach of everyone, and everyone comes under the command to have the mind of Christ in obeying the Father.

Why, then, is such a mind so rare? Why can’t we be more obedient? I think the answer is that we refuse to humble ourselves. He who was on an equality with God, superior to all creatures, humbled Himself in the world in order to submit to God. This humbling is seen throughout His life, but it is especially evident in His trial and death. He willingly accepted the insults and degrading judgment of men in order to complete the Father’s will for Him to die. It is exactly such humbling that is necessary for us to be obedient to God. We must be concerned with God’s glory, not ours. We must be willing to accept the scorn and ridicule of our neighbors and be humiliated in men’s sight. When we are sufficiently humble, we cease to worry about what men think as we consider the commands of God. Such is the mind of Christ.

PRAYER: Father, I confess that I have been filled with pride, and have sought my own way instead of Yours. Cleanse me from the sin of vain glory and teach me how to obey. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.


“. . . that I may know him. . .” Philippians 3:10

Just what did Paul know about Christ? He had not been privileged to fellowship with Him during those 3½ years in which Jesus was training the apostles. The only contact the two had, according to record, is that brief encounter on the Damascus road. (Acts 9). For this reason many would suggest that Paul is talking about a subjective knowledge, the fact that he knew Jesus by his experience as a Christian. Following this on out, they say that it is not What you know, but Who you know; that doctrine is unimportant; that you just know Him by the way you feel; that you simply believe, and presto, you know Him. But how can one believe without certain truths to believe? How can one know Christ apart from certain facts about Him? Even the apostles certified their faith by the things, the facts, they knew to be true. Paul knew Jesus had become incarnate, had taken human flesh and died as men die. This he constantly reminds us of in his letters. He knew that Jesus had risen from the dead and was the Immortal One. These doctrines constituted the body of Paul’s preaching and writing. Besides this, he took great pains to explain the meaning of these things, for it is only as we know the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection that we really know Him as our Saviour. It is one thing to know that Jesus was the true Christ, Messiah, King and Lord. It is quite another thing to know that He assumed all my sin and guilt, and as my sin-bearer, took the punishment of death which I deserve as my just reward for transgression. It is one thing to know that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is this, whether men know it or not. It is quite another thing for me to know just what He commands and expects of me as one of His subjects. Paul said that he counted “all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Indeed, this is what it requires, that we be willing to give all else for knowledge of Him, knowing this also, that in Him we will attain to a resurrection like His. And that’s something to know!

PRAYER: Father, I thank you that you have revealed the knowledge of Jesus unto babes, as He said, so that I might know Him, too. Help me to know Him, to obey Him, and to be like Him. Amen.


“Looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2

How often has a smoker’s attention been called to his bad habit, only to have him reply, “But smoking is no worse than over eating,” or “But smoking is not so great a sin as gossip.” By the same pseudo-logic we might excuse every sin. The adulterer can say that adultery is not as bad as murder, for at least in the former there remains a chance for healing through repentance, which is no longer possible for the victim of murder. Even murder may be excused by this line of reasoning on the basis that it is preferable to certain types of disease or the torture of enslavement. And by keeping our eyes on the other fellow who is a bit worse than we are, we may proceed to justify ourselves.

But we were not created in the image of fallen man, but in the image of God, therefore we are not to look to men for comparative qualifications for what we should be, but to Jesus who is the perfect image of the substance of the Creator. It is easy enough to find another beside whom I compare favorably, but this is beside the point. How do I stand when compared to Jesus? So we are told to look to Him. The Greek preposition here means to look right into Him, not just at the things He did, but what He actually is. When Peter denied Christ, cursing and swearing in the hall of the Judgment Seat, Christ looked at him. Peter saw Him; he was looking at Jesus, and seeing in Him the perfect image of God, the kind of man that Peter was supposed to be but failed so miserably. It was this looking right into the Man, Jesus, and seeing what He is that made Peter realize the depth of his own sin, and he went out and wept bitterly. Are you really looking at other men with their faults or looking unto Jesus? He is the example, the goal, and not only the ultimate goal but the means by which we attain it. I challenge you to never seek justification by comparison with men, but keep your eye on Jesus alone.

PRAYER: Loving Father, help me not to be critical of my brother’s faults nor to excuse my own; Give me a true vision of Jesus, and grace to strive to be like Him, in whose name I pray. Amen.


“Now unto the King eternal . . . be honor and glory forever and ever.” I Timothy 1:17

In Christ’s ministry there was this constant reminder, that He served for the glory of the Father. In apostolic writings there is the total absence of self-glorying, so that when we read their works we do not think of them, but of God. It is sad to compare such an attitude with that often found in the church. One minister told me that he was resigning because his church never appreciated him. They failed to honor him on birthdays and anniversaries and seldom called attention to his worth. He said, “I’ve never been treated so shabbily.” It occurred to me that Jesus was treated rather shabbily too, but he didn’t resign.

When we stand in awe at the beauty and grandeur of a fine building we do not think of the carpenters, the electricians, the masons and the painters and other laborers; we look to see who the architect was that designed it. But in the church, of which Christ is both the architect and builder, we often reverse the process, and while not exactly ignoring Christ, we tend to withhold a great deal of the honor and glory for ourselves. To this extent, to the extent that we grasp the honor instead of heaping it upon Christ, we lose in two ways. First we fail to point men to the Lordship of Jesus and His power to save them. While dangling our own merits before their eyes we can hardly direct their gaze to Jesus. Second, we lose the power to believe. Faith is turned inward. We actually get to believing that the church depends upon our work, our ingenuity and our own clever manipulations. We even get to thinking that the Lord depends upon us, instead of the other way around. Jesus said, “How can you believe, who receive glory one of another . . . ?” To believe is to recognize the Sovereignty and glory of God, and this is impossible when setting ourselves up as due this glory. All honor and glory belong to our Lord, both now and forever.

PRAYER: Father, may Your glory be uppermost in my mind, so that the name of Jesus may be on my lips, and it might leave men thinking not of me, but of You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober . . .” I Peter 1:13

During a heavy schedule of writing I complained that I was not sleeping well. Then a friend reminded me that it was probably because my mind was being taxed during the day with such a flow of thought that after I went to bed the thoughts continued to surge through my brain. It was then I determined not to complain anymore: loss of sleep is small enough price to pay for a mind. The command of Peter to gird up the loins of the mind is especially appropriate in this day when many would sooner be sentenced to hard labor on the rock pile than to have to employ the mind for thirty minutes; when everything from soap to automobiles is selected on the basis of conditioned reflex; when minds are welded together in the same blank hypnotic spell of TV which has an unwritten code barring Jesus; and when even marriage partners are selected by computers. O how marvelous the mind of man by which he can think his own thoughts and at will think upon the thoughts of other minds and even bring under his own consideration the very mind of God! How mighty the mind of man that is large enough to encompass the whole creation of earth and is commanded to have dominion over it. And yet as marvelous and exclusive as this limitless creation of God, one is granted to each of us! I marvel at the mind of man. But it is almost as great a marvel how men treasure it so lightly and abuse it so freely as if it had no more use to them than some empty carton. The comparison is tragically fitting. How can man stand before his Creator after he has prostituted his inimitable mind to the lies of the world, turned it off in favor of the one-eyed god of television and buried it like a despised talent in the napkin of the slanted newspaper and magazine? It is the mind which must choose for Eternity. It is the mind through which the truth of God must transform your being. Wherefore gird up its loins. Flex its muscles and engage it in the stream of truth which is flowing from God! It is yours and yours alone. No one, not even God Himself, can do your thinking. If you are to fellowship with Him, then you must set your mind upon Him and bring it to His will.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for the blessing of a sound mind, and the great privilege of spiritual fellowship you give to me. Sharpen my mind that I may apply it to wisdom and the keeping of your commandments, by the grace of Jesus. Amen.


“. . . that they may be one, even as we are.” John 17:11

Here is the only pattern of unity for believers, the unity that prevailed between Jesus and the Heavenly Father. And how was that unity obtained? By the perfect submission of the Son to the desires of the Father. “I do always the things that are pleasing to Him.” Jesus had but one purpose from the beginning to “do the Father’s will.” He was the perfectly obedient Son, “having learned obedience through the things that He suffered.” It was the harmonizing of His will with the Father’s that brought about perfect unity. The purpose of God was the purpose of the Son. He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.” In this perfect submission to the will of the Father, Jesus “humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death.” Had he ever for even a moment struck out on His own, upon a course different from that given by the Father, the unity would have been broken.

Such unity is not geographical nor organizational. It is not obtained by joining groups nor by any other methods that men contrive. But wherever an individual aligns his purpose with the purpose of God and begins to do His will, he is at once united with all others throughout the world who also submit to the Father and do His will. Men may join with men, as in a National Council or World Council, and the size of such a federation may seem to them to have some force of its own. But it is not the unity Christ prayed for, and brings no one to his knees in repentance and obedience to God. It is only as Christians are seen to be in harmony with Christ that men are won to Him. It is an obvious truth that the closer we draw to God, the closer we draw to each other. I think it would be more pleasing to God if we ceased talking so much about unity and began to talk more about Him, and if we ceased trying to unite men with men and began to try to unite ourselves with Him.

PRAYER: Father, give me grace to do your will and live in harmony with your purpose, and in loving fellowship with all who are redeemed by Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.


“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14

The spirits spoken of here are angels. The word comes from the Greek angelos and means “one going” or “one sent.” Through them God communicated His will to men such as Abraham, Jacob and Moses. David sang of the angels that excel in strength, who executed the plagues upon Egypt. Jesus said that He could call more than 12 legions of angels—more than 60,000—for His personal protection, and in the garden angels did come and minister to Him after He had been weakened by the ordeal there. While God no longer uses angels to express His commands to man, as “He hath . . . spoken unto us in His Son” (Hebrews 1:2), angels continue to minister to the saints in their own way. Jesus spoke of children as having angels in heaven before the face of His Father. (Matthew 18:10).

It is a sad commentary upon the church that, in the day when the evil forces of Satan have gathered in full strength for an all-out assault against the saints, the materialism and scientism of unbelievers has been allowed to crowd out a belief in the great spiritual forces of God. Men gaze in awe upon the visible universe, studded with constellations of suns innumerable, expanded to such a system as blanks the imagination, but in rank sophistication ignore the invisible power of God that moves and controls it. In the same manner he struggles against overwhelming powers of evil and ignores the supernatural powers God controls for His good purpose. Jesus said, “I will not leave you alone.” Indeed, we are not alone, who are the joint-heirs of life with Christ. Our attending spirits, sent from the King’s chambers, serve us daily to deliver us from Satan’s power as well as from physical disaster. The angels of God know our foes and are able to cope with them. There is never a circumstance which is unknown to these invisible agents. Therefore, Christian soldier, take your stand and fear not, for you are surrounded by the reserves of Heaven, and you will win the day.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the daily deliverance and the constant ministry of Your Holy angels. With them help me to resist the Devil, and prove faithful and obedient to Christ Jesus my Lord, through Whom I pray, Amen.


“When you pray, say: Father . . .” Luke 11:2

“To whom or to what do I pray?” a preacher was asked. “If there is someone on the other end of the line, I need a mental image of him. Prayer is neither very personal nor very meaningful if God is just a blank.” The determination of educators to hold to the evolutionary concept has driven a great many of them to deny the Biblical picture of God as a Person Who has revealed Himself and His personal relationship to man. Attempting to hold to some form of religion—atheism is not yet popular—they portray God as a creative power, or the power behind the universe, but in any case, the idea still comes out a blank.

When Jesus tells us to call God “Father” He is reminding us of the original intent of God at the time of Creation. “Let us make man in our own image.” It was God’s purpose to have a creature who reflected His own attributes, as a child reflects the image of his parent. The Bible speaks of God as one who sees and hears, Who thinks and speaks. I do not know if God has eyes, ears and a mouth as such, but at least according to His revelation He functions as if He had them. Jesus plainly told the apostles, “Ye that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Therefore we are taught to think of God as a Person, the Person, in fact from whence all the race of man stems and to which all the race should aspire: for if God created men to be persons in his image, then each individual has no object in life except to become the kind of person described as God in the Bible and demonstrated by Jesus in the flesh. Therefore the purpose of God is so essential to our daily lives that even when we pray we are reminded of it by acknowledging that we are sons: sons who are to grow up to be like the Father. “Father” is not a mere title to bring God down to the level of men, but it is a position to teach us our destiny and thus to bring us up to the proper desire and motivation for life.

PRAYER: Father, I thank You for making me one of your sons through the redeeming death of Jesus. Sharpen my conscience and help me to focus my desires on the one thing, to be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


“Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed.” Galatians 3:16

The term “seed” is used with three meanings. (1) First, it refers to Abraham’s fleshly descendants. (2) Second, it refers to Christ. Paul writes, “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (3) Third, the general or acquired “seed,” the children of God. Paul clarifies this seed—“And if ye are Christ’s then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:29). The promise with reference to Abraham’s lineal seed was fulfilled when the nation of Israel was given the land of Canaan, but Abraham was not living at that time, so did not participate in the promise. Abraham “died in faith, not having received the promises.” Think of this man of faith and obedience, who is said to be the father of the faithful, to whom promises were given almost 4,000 years ago, to whom generations have looked as an example of faithfulness to God—and he has not yet received the promises. Why? The Hebrew letter explains it. After the roll call of faithful men such as Noah, Abraham and Moses, it says that these “received not the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39, 40). So, there it is: the promise is not only to Abraham but to all of us who belong to Christ, and we will all receive it together. This promise was not for a mere plot of ground in Palestine, but “that he should be heir of the world.” (Romans 4:13). Jesus spoke of the time when we may sit down in the everlasting Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Such is the inheritance of all who are joint-heirs with Christ of a new creation. And we are some 4,000 years closer to its fulfillment than was Abraham, and nearly 2,000 years closer to it than were the apostles. Think not that the ultimate goal of our God is something in the remote future. It is so much nearer to us than to those ancient believers that the real example of faith and, zeal should be OURS. Let us cease looking for ways to excuse our lethargy and disobedience, and begin to live as those who are about to inherit the earth!

PRAYER: O God, and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, sharpen my vision that I may see the glory that You have promised Your children. Help me to s€et my mind on the course You have charted, and to keep faithfully to it. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.


“. . . always having all sufficiency in all things . . .” II Corinthians 9:8

The apostle who wrote this was a man who didn’t have much if measured by the usual American standards. Yet, he claimed that he had enough and that he had learned how to be content with much or little. What he had learned is that God gives one enough to accomplish his task. If a man needs muscular strength, like Samson, God gives him sufficient for the job. If he needs wisdom, like Solomon, God gives him plenty of wisdom. The apostles needed boldness in order to preach in the face of mounting hate and opposition from the Jews, so God gave them such boldness that they stood right in the Jewish council and told how Jews had slain Jesus the Lord. They even stood before Kings and called them to repentance. Paul knew that God is the creator of all things and is not going to run out of good things with which to supply His people, so he wrote that a man ought to “give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” Too often we give and work with only a fraction of our capacity because there is that gnawing fear back in the mind that maybe we’ll run out of money or run out of strength or run out of ability. If we think we haven’t got much we are so afraid to run the risk of losing that little amount that we just do nothing. Certainly this is not the way God intends it. He deliberately “chose the foolish things of the world . . . the weak things of the world . . . the base things . . . and the things that are despised . . . yea and the things that are not that he might bring to nought the things that are.” (I Corinthians 1:27-29). Therefore God has chosen you, not because of your wealth or talent or ability, but maybe in spite of it, and He will use you if you will let Him. It is not your sufficiency by which He does His work, but His own. Withhold nothing from God. Use everything; money, time, ability, strength; use it all, for God is only waiting to supply more that you may have “all sufficiency in all things.”

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for the rich supply of all my needs, through Jesus my King and my Saviour. May I give as freely as I receive, that I might grow in your likeness. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.


“For whatsoever a man soweth, that shalt he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

There is no question of whether or not you are sowing. Everyone is sowing all the time. One may intend to sow good seed later on. He thinks that “When he starts to sow” it will be such as to bring forth a good harvest. But in the meantime he is already sowing! And this harvest he will have to reap whether he plans to or not. Are you in the pursuit of material security, caught up in the ever widening struggle to keep up with the Joneses? Then you are sowing the seed of discontent. Of course, it is necessary to give some thought to making a living for one must provide for his family, but the Christian does not live to make a living, rather he makes a living in order to live for God and offer his life to Him for the praise of His glory. Jesus commanded that we put first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and the necessary things will be provided. But to go on living day to day only to gain things is certainly to put the things first, to sow only the desires of the flesh, and to cultivate in our very minds the hunger and thirst after these things; a hunger and thirst that cannot possibly be filled by more things, since the more we sow to them the more deeply we cultivate the desire, and the result is a deep discontent and ultimate loss of all in the day when fire destroys the earth. It was not to the rich that this was written. It is to all of us who might fall into the temptation to put anything ahead of the purpose for which we are made. The apostle writes that “he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption”. Why is it that one postpones the sowing of good seed, the obedience to God’s commands? Is it not that he may first pursue a course where he sows to his own flesh, for the satisfaction of pride, vanity or lust? So in either case he is sowing; and if not sowing for a harvest of eternal value, such as fellowship with God in His image, then for the harvest of judgment and death. You are the sower, and you are also the reaper of your own harvest. Sow to God and you will reap His eternal purpose: Life.

PRAYER: O God, make me ever aware of the law of the harvest. Cleanse me from all false motives and help me to labor for the wages that you pay. I pray in the name of Jesus, my Redeemer. Amen.


“It is good for me that I have been in trouble.” Psalm 119:71

There is a tragic element in much of today’s so-called evangelism. It is the frivolous idea that once you become a Christian your troubles will melt away like lemon drops and that if you just have enough faith you can float through life without any trouble at all. From this shallow concept it is only another step to the social gospel which has largely supplanted the truth of God in today’s churches. This widespread doctrine holds that it is the government’s responsibility to rule out all suffering by putting every person under its control through legislation, which is presented in the name of God and for the purpose of aiding humanity. The government would wipe away all tears and remove suffering from the scene. It would remove all physical needs by welfare programs and supply all spiritual needs through education, controlled by the National Education Association. Thus the shallow idea of Christianity as a trouble-free Utopian kingdom on earth lends support to the socialist goals of atheists who would do away with Jesus and His atonement and free all humanity from the discipline of trouble. And that’s exactly what trouble is when it comes to a person of Godly faith. David said that his troubles had been good for him. Such was the case with all our “fathers in the faith”: Noah, Job, Abraham and the prophets, whose faith was unimpeachable. It was the case with Jesus and the apostles. Personally I have never known a truly great soul of faith who did not have more than his share of trouble. When I measure the past, there is much which I would like to undo. But if it could be undone, if there had been no trouble, then what would I be? I must confess that it is good for me that I have been in trouble. As T. R. Ingram writes, “Human suffering brings us to turn to God in prayers; prayers and supplications rise to heaven like the smoke of incense, and the smoke fills our eyes with tears which in turn water the new plowed earth.” Trouble is the fire that melts out the dross so that our faith may be pure. Your troubles are God’s tools for shaping you for His eternal purpose.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I know that You are with me in all things, and I trust that all things will work together for good. Help me to know Your will and discipline me until I do it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.” II Timothy 1:7

Fear is one of the deadliest enemies of faith. A famous psychiatrist says: “Anxiety is the great modern plague.” The anxiety which grips the hearts of millions is a certain fearfulness; a fear of the evils in the world, fear of the future and fear of failure. Fear has the incredible power to stop a person when he is right on the verge of making the greatest positive step forward in Christian living. Fear silences the testimony to millions who need it desperately. It may be fear that holds you back from being absolutely honest with your husband or wife. It may be fear that keeps you from praying with real faith. It is fear that makes you timid when you want to speak up and praise the name of Jesus the Lord. The question is: How does one overcome fear?

The first step is to recognize its source. It is not God who gives fear, for He gives power. Therefore it must be from Satan and has no place in the Christian’s life. Jesus said that He had overcome Satan, therefore you have nothing to fear from him. He has already been beaten. Call his bluff. Resist him. Fear is his main tool, and it is only as we continue to fear him that he has any power over us. This is the exercise of faith: Jesus is stronger than Satan and by His power you can resist him. Satan has never defeated the saint who actually stood up to him. The second step is to accept what God gives in the carrying out of His purpose. He gives us power. He doesn’t remove the fear for us, but supplies the power for us to overcome it if we will act. He gives the spirit of love. This is not a mere feeling nor affection, but a genuine consideration for the other person and his need of the gospel. By applying such consideration we forget about the fears involved. Finally use discipline. Deliberately set out to seriously do God's will. The mind so set on the Creator’s purpose has room for only one fear, that we fear God and do His commandments.

PRAYER: Loving Father, increase my faith that I may not fear in the face of the world’s satanic powers, nor be ashamed of my Lord, and His Gospel. In His name I pray. Amen.


“. . . the righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Ordinarily we hear it said, “Just have faith and things will turn out all right.” This means that one is to endure things as they are with confidence that they will soon change to his liking. We call that faith, but it is not living by faith. Maybe it isn’t faith at all. When things go badly and all is difficult we seek an easier way. When finally the difficulty passes we say, “Things didn’t turn out so badly after all. You see, faith was all we needed”. But this is not living by faith. It may be faith in circumstances, or even in one’s self, that he is able to endure the worst until things get better. But to live by faith is to believe that things as they are, difficulty and all, are as God orders them. It is faith that this sickness, this disease, this suffering—that it is working to God’s purpose and therefore is right. To live by faith is to believe that God is now working all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). It is Job, sitting in sackcloth and ashes, an outcast, covered with boils, lonely and miserable, saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”. It is Abraham climbing Mt. Moriah with the knife in his hand to slay his son as Jehovah has commanded, and still looking forward to the promise to be fulfilled in this same son. It is Jesus facing the cross and calling on the Father to glorify Him in that very act of dying. It is Paul in prison, telling his friends that his imprisonment was cause for rejoicing in the spread of the Gospel. This is faith, to know that God is in all, through all, and over all, so that the present burden and suffering is a part of the plan. This sickness and disease may result in death. This suffering may become more intense. The difficulties do not always pass! But this does not negate the faith of one who believes God, for he believes that the sickness and suffering in themselves are working for the purpose of God to the accomplishment of His will. Righteousness is to live in faith that God will have His way, not that we will have ours.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to see with the eyes of faith that all the difficulties are but steps to Your new creation. Give me grace to walk this day by faith, in the name of Jesus. Amen.


“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

It is utterly amazing the idea that some have of what it means to be “religious”, or what it means to do all to the glory of God. I still run across seemingly intelligent people who think that a minister of God is exempt from the normal functions of life. They are surprised that a preacher has to pay an income tax. There is a general trend to separate life into secular and religious areas and to never allow them to interfere with each other. Hence a man is very punctual in attendance to all his Sunday duties; best clothes, takes his Bible to Sunday School and church, dutifully joins in praise and prayer; then on Monday laughs at the filthy joke, takes advantage in a transaction, and for profit supports causes that are opposed to God. But a Christian is a Christian in all things. What is more secular than eating and drinking? Everyone, even the worst of men, must eat and drink. But the Christian demonstrates, even in such a common act as this, that his life is under God’s direction and that his purpose is directed toward God, so that he is constantly seen as one in fellowship with God. If it cannot be done for God and in line with His purpose, then it cannot be done by a Christian, for “whatsoever ye do” is to be done for His glory. This limits one’s freedom in one direction, but extends it in another. It limits only in the direction away from God, and we are not traveling that way anyhow. In the other direction, there is no limit at all, for God is willing for us to go as far as we like in the things that bring glory to Him. C. S. Lewis writes that "The work of a Beethoven, and the work of a charwoman, become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly ‘as to the Lord’.” The truly Christian life is one in which you work each hour for God’s glory, and in doing so God brings you closer to the image which is His eternal purpose.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for this day in which I may live for your purpose. Help me to do everything in a way that brings glory to You. Through Jesus my Lord, Amen.


“. . . that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love . . .” Ephesians 1:4

In an age when Satan counterfeits the things of God and tries to destroy that which he cannot counterfeit, it is not surprising that the very vocabulary which the Holy Spirit uses to instruct the saints has been corrupted. The term “holy” is used with evil connotations, such as the “holier-than-thou” attitude. For this reason few people would define their aim in life as one of striving to be holy. Just the same, that is what God claims that he intended from the beginning, that we are chosen to be holy and without blemish. Peter explains it: “But like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living: because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:15, 16). To be holy is to be like God. He who begets, begets those like Himself. It is a clearly defined attribute of God—that He is holy. This was one aspect of Jesus that certain men could not stand—that He was holy. The fact that they could not convict Him of sin threw them into a violent rage, like that of Cain who killed Abel because he was righteous. But those who love God are drawn to Jesus by this attribute: His holiness. If God is holy, and such is certainly true, and if we desire to live in His intimate fellowship throughout eternity, then it is absurd that we should desire to be anything else but holy. Of course no one will say that they desire to be UNholy. Rather they say, “It is impossible to be as holy as God. Yet I would not be unholy either. Therefore I’ll just be a little of each, and God will understand.” But this is leaving the matter just where it was, excusing one’s faults and remaining unholy. One cannot mix holiness with a little bit of unholiness. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” It is to be as holy as God that we are to strive for. That is what we should be, what we hope to be and by God’s grace what we finally shall be. This is part of the armor against temptation. When the unholy thing invites your participation, remember the purpose for which God has chosen you, that you should be holy!

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. I know I am so far from that which you have chosen me for. Fill my heart with a holy desire, and my mind with pure thoughts of your will, and help me to so walk, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


“. . . even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . .” Ephesians 1:4

God has chosen us! Everywhere and at every point we are given choices: “Choose ye this day . . .” Not only given choices, we are commanded to make choices, to will to do God’s will! Even as Jesus, that night in the garden of Gethsemane, had to make the choice of whether or not to lay down His life for the sins of the world, each man must pass through his own Gethsemane and choose whether or not to make God’s will his own will, whether to seek the eternal purpose of God or pursue the deadly aims of men. And we have chosen God and life. This Ephesian letter is written to the saints who have made that choice. And yet, it is God who first chose us, and that before the foundation of the world. And who are these that are chosen? “He chose us in him.” In Him—in Christ. These are the chosen ones, who once were sinners, alienated from God because of sin, but now pardoned from sin and welcomed to His fellowship; who once were doomed to death at the day of judgment but now are free from the penalty of death because Christ has been put to death in our place. Before the world was formed, back in timeless eternity, God chose that all the saints in Christ should be His holy and eternal people. Then He sent Christ to ransom us from sin and death that we might become His saints. So we are the “chosen ones,” the chosen people of God. Do not allow the theological questions of predestination versus free-will rob you of the joy and the assurance in knowing that you are chosen by God. If you are “in Him” then you are among the chosen. If men refuse to receive Christ, if they refuse to believe and obey the gospel, then they simply choose not to be among God’s elect. Are you in the company of God’s chosen people? Think, then, of the infinite mind of the Creator and how you have been the object of His purpose from the beginning? Think how He considers you now, and think what love and care He yet will spend on you in order to fulfill in you His infinite purpose. You are His chosen.

PRAYER: Eternal God and Father, thank You for making me Your own, and giving me a part in Your eternal plan. Remove my own stubbornness, and give me grace to do Your will, in the name of Jesus my Lord. Amen.


“What is your life?” James 4:14

There is a certain sense of urgency among young people today, as if they felt that life had to be lived up immediately for fear there will be no future. Indeed, James writes that life is like a “vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth. away.” But what he is telling us is that tomorrow is in God’s hands and we will live and work tomorrow if God wills it. Life is ours today to use for God. “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” It is what you do right now that counts, and what you do today is to be good and not sin. We must be careful that our sense of urgency is not mere frustration—the feeling that we will never get the job all done. The danger is that we will get so frustrated over the problems of the future that we will do nothing today. It is surprising how many people never start a job at all because they cannot foresee the exact schedule for completing it. They pile up all the possible problems connected with the task and try to unravel these imaginary problems before the work ever begins. How much of your life lies in the future? Of course, you do not know. Then you cannot possibly know what God has in store for you. Are you planning to begin a Bible study program—some day when you have all the loose ends neatly gathered up? But you have no promise of such a day. Is there a habit you intend to break, but you are waiting for some time in the future when everything else is just right? Then you are sinning, for “to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Jesus taught us to ask for our daily bread, not the supply for the future. Your life is what you have today, not what you may have some day. Do not sit down and brood over your life, what it has been, for the past is gone forever. Neither worry over what it might be in the future, for the future is in God’s hands. But God has given you life today, right now, that you may do His will.

PRAYER: Loving Father, thank you for another day and its blessings and opportunities. Help me to do the task before me, to bring glory to Your name and to be pleasing in Your sight. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.


“For in hope were ye saved.” Romans 8:24

Hope is the assurance that some expectation will be fulfilled. It is not a guess, neither is it merely a desire nor a wish. We may wish for a new car or a new house, but we do not necessarily expect to receive them, hence we have no actual hope of getting them. But if a person is told that at a certain time he will receive something and he has reason to believe that the one promising is honest and can fulfill the promise, then he may “hope” to receive it. Even then, however, his hopes may fail him, for men are fallible. Not so, with the hope in which we are saved. We are assured that Christ can raise the dead, because we have a record of Him doing so. We are assured that the sinless person cannot be held by death because we have the example of one (Christ) Who came forth from the grave. Add to this the fact that this very same One made the promise that He would raise up us also that we may live with Him, and we have something upon which to base a real hope. Notice that the scripture never says that we “hope that we are saved,” as many often say. It only takes a little twist of the words to completely change the meaning of the text, but this little change is the difference between having a true hope and having none at all. If one is still in sin and laboring outside of the assurance of Christ’s pardoning grace, he has no hope, but only the fearful expectation of judgment. The same One who promised eternal life to the believer promised also death and destruction to the fearful and unbelieving. But the text says that “in hope were ye saved,” and in that hope we stand, not wishing to be saved, but with hope because we were saved by the redeeming death of Jesus and our own faith and obedience to the gospel. I said that we stand in this hope, but I do not mean we stand still. John writes that “everyone that hath this hope set on Him purifieth himself.” If we hope to be like Him, and thus have the reasonable assurance that it will come to pass, we begin even now trying to be like Him, and purify ourselves “as He is pure.” Friend, do not bank your future on wishful thinking, but on the sure promises of God, that you may be saved, and have hope.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for this wonderful hope through Jesus. Help me to purify my own life, and to help others share in this great hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” Exodus 23:2

Contrary to current teaching, the majority is NOT always right. With most people denying the laws of God, the trend of the crowd is to do evil. When Pilate admitted that Jesus was not guilty of any crime he knew that he should release Him. But the Bible says, “And Pilate, wishing to content the multitude, released unto them Barabbas, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.” We scornfully denounce Pilate for his cowardice, then follow in his steps when we condone a thing because the majority practice it. The largest single denomination, previously the leader in the crusade against alcohol, recently decided that drinking was now to be considered all right for its members. No reason was given except that the multitude drinks. By the same token people are abandoning the laws against dishonesty, theft and adultery. One magazine, published exclusively for youth, repeatedly prints statistics to show that a growing majority of youth practice fornication. Obviously the readers will be tempted to follow the multitude to the breaking of God’s law and the ruining of their lives.

How shall one stand up against the multitude? First of all, he must recognize that God is of more importance than the multitude. It is God Who created man for His purpose: the multitude had nothing to do with it. It is to God one must answer, not to the multitude. Secondly, he must recognize himself as an individual. A man stands in relation to God, not as a part of a multitude, but as a solitary soul, created in God’s image. The mind he uses to think with is his own. He is to be dominated by no one but God. Even if there are ten thousand other minds bearing upon him to influence him, the decision he makes must be his own. It is an awesome thing to realize that you are responsible for you; you cannot dissolve responsibility in the multitude, after all. But it is a great joy to know that you do not have to follow that multitude to its destruction. Be the individual God made you to be, and follow Him, to life!

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, give me discernment to choose Your way and the courage to act as an individual, whatever the majority may think and do. Guard me from the blindness that comes of pleasing men, that I may be found pleasing to You, when Jesus comes. In His name, I pray. Amen.


“. . . with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God . . .” Acts 2:46, 47

There is a reason for the exciting gladness in the hearts of those Christians we read about in Acts. They took seriously the resurrection of Jesus. People may believe in it today, but very few take it seriously, and if one doesn’t take it seriously it is doubtful if he really believes it. A popular writer gave the account of how he met a man who was always exceedingly happy. The man explained, “This dates from Easter, July 1st.” Of course they both knew that Easter was never on July 1st. “But my Easter was on July 1st,” he insisted. Then he explained that July 1st was the day he came to know about Jesus. From that day on he was filled with gladness. God says that when we are baptized we are baptized into Christ’s death, then “like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4). The resurrection of Jesus means that He actually lived anew after death, and that we too shall live again after death. But it means more. To take it seriously means that when we become Christians all of life is new! All the sins of the past are gone; the old life is gone; the old motives and purposes are gone; the old short-sighted plans are gone; the corrupting ties to the world are gone. Christ arose from the dead, and so shall we; and SO HAVE WE, for we have a new purpose in life; we have a new goal—immortality like Jesus; new plans and new ties—with God and His people. We have been resurrected already from the doomed world to a new way of life; this is the first resurrection. We have reason to be glad. Those early Christians didn’t “celebrate” Easter, but every day was a day of rejoicing over the reality of the resurrection. A person who confesses Christ but goes on living in the gloom, pessimism and doom of this world hasn’t really taken the resurrection seriously. If his “Easter” is only one day out of the year, he has no faith in the resurrection. This very day can be “Easter” to you, by making every hour one in which the living, risen Christ has authority in your life.

PRAYER: O God, accept my praise and thanksgiving for raising Jesus from the dead, and for lifting me into His fellowship and to a marvelous hope of eternal life. Help me to express the joy of this good news to everyone, every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“. . . sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope.” I Thessalonians 4:13

Driving through the Rocky Mountains one will see a sign that reads, “Continental Divide.” I have stood at such a sign and gazed east and west, only to see the same scenery in both directions; mountains, valleys, trees and the ribbon of pavement racing away out of sight. At the point of the divide one doesn’t detect any difference. But as the rain falls and winds its way down rivulets and streams a whole continent soon separates the drops that fall on either side. Some eventually flow into the Pacific, and those on the other side find their way into the Gulf of Mexico and on into the Atlantic.

One cannot always immediately see the difference between a Christian and an unbeliever. They may look the same and dress the same. They may even do the same work and make the same salary. But one will soon see that their lives flow in opposite directions. They have different views of the same events, and the hardships and disappointments of life affect them in different ways. In the beginning their careers may not have been greatly different, but as they each work toward their ultimate goals, the gap gets wider and wider, until finally that difference is seen to be as great as the difference between life and death. The unbeliever labors all through life with no hope. His life is flowing into a trap with no outlet. Could we examine his life-span we would see that all the decision, the fears, the frustrations, the sins and the bitterness of his life stem from that dividing line: no hope. The Christian life flows toward hope. Each decision and act is geared to the end that he may attain the image of God and immortality. Thus his hope sets him apart from the rest who have none. It is the great eternal divide: Sorrow on one side; Hope on the other. In which direction does your life flow?

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, keep the eternal goal ever before my mind, that all that I do and all that I say may be consistent with that hope which I have through Jesus my Saviour. Amen.


“concerning them that fall asleep . . . sorrow not . . .” I Thessalonians 4:13

Today as I stood by the bedside of a friend and brother in Christ and saw his breath quietly and slowly cease, this was my first thought: now he has fallen asleep in Jesus. The suffering and the painful struggle against disease was over, and rest had finally begun.

Scripture has little to say about the state or condition of saints in death. Jesus spoke of them as asleep and so did Peter and Paul. To speculate further upon it often leads to vain philosophies and frightful imaginings which produce sorrow. But the thought of sleep always brings to our minds the vision of peaceful rest. When a mother peeks into the nursery and sees her child fast asleep, there comes to her own features the look of tranquility, and a smile plays upon the corner of her lips, for this bundle of life is only stilled for a while. When an industrious and honest workman lies down to sleep, there is nothing sorrowful about it, for it is naturally assumed that he will awaken refreshed to take up his labors with renewed energy and a cheerful heart. The awakening is taken into our view of sleep, and this is one of the things that puts sleep in the category of the good things. So it is with the death of a Christian. We are assured that Christ will come and awaken him, that he will be raised from death. Moreover, he will be resurrected with new energy, such powerful energy as we have never known in this life, and with perfect joy in the presence of the Creator, under conditions that are brighter than any sunrise we have ever greeted on this earth. Such a prospect for those that fall asleep in Christ so far outshines all that we can expect in this life that it shines even through the grief of their parting and turns sorrow into hope. If they fall asleep in Christ, they shall also awaken in Him, to share with Him in the glories of eternity. Therefore, sorrow not!

PRAYER: Eternal Father, help us, your children, to manifest to the world our trust in the Gospel at the death of our loved ones. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“I lay down my life . . . no one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself.” John 10:17-18

A mistaken segment of our society is trying to present Jesus as a poor helpless victim of the power structure controlled by evil men. Such an idea turns meekness into weakness. It makes it appear that Jesus suffered because He couldn’t help Himself, and if He could have done anything about it He would have turned on His enemies and made them treat Him right. But that simply isn’t the way it was. Jesus chose to allow them to mistreat Him and kill Him. His night in Gethsemane was His time of decision, in which He chose to lay down His life. He told Peter that if He wanted to defend Himself He could call forth 12 legions of angels to do the job. Submitting to the enemy, turning the other cheek and being cruelly murdered was His choice. We all share in this power of choice, only we often fail to use it for the will of God as Jesus did. It is by this choosing power that we may refrain from returning evil for evil. We cannot help the other fellow’s meanness, but we have the power to restrain ourselves. We have the power to hold our tongue or to lash out with it, if not with 12 legions of angels, at least with 12 thousand words! It is our choice. One doesn’t have to flip or blow his stack. When we do so we immediately blame somebody or some event for the provocation. The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders blamed the riots on the sins of the rest of society. We cannot deny the sins, but we know that the burning and looting was by choice; the criminals had the power to burn and loot or not to burn and loot. The sins of others is no excuse for us to add to them our own sins. Like Jesus, we have power to choose, to decide what we will do; to obey God or to follow our own inclination. Of course I do not mean that we are not to punish the law breaker under the civil laws. This is the duty of the government and it is our duty to uphold law and order. But we must stop pretending that we have no power to choose how we are to act in the face of the evil of other people. We make the choice ourselves, just as Jesus did.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the wonderful power I am given, to make my own choices. Help me exercise such control that I will always choose and do that which is in keeping with Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


“No good thing will he (God) withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

Good things from God are just what we want, but it is God Who must be the judge of what is good. When we set our hearts on things that we never g€et, it is because God treats us as a parent treats a child when he says to him, “No, it isn’t good for you.” Immature people complain that God doesn’t hear them or that He is cruel or that He doesn’t exist. They fail to understand that God is being infinitely good to withhold from them the thing they ask. Soon after I began preaching I was approached by a large city church to become their director of youth. It sounded like a “good thing” to me, so I said Yes and began making arrangements to move. But before the arrangements were complete the church board reversed its decision and decided not to fill the position at that time. I was disappointed. Then in a few weeks that church had a great upheaval, and the entire staff was fired. I realized that God had not withheld a good thing from me after all. I could say along with Tagore, the Indian mystic and poet, “I have often been saved by God’s hard refusals.” Jesus said that our Heavenly Father will “give good gifts to them that ask Him.” Faith is not only to believe that God will give good gifts, but that He will give ONLY good ones. In this day of materialism it is just as important that He withhold the bad things as it is to give the good ones.

The promise is not without qualification: “them that walk uprightly.” A distraught woman who came to me said, “I have prayed and gone to church, and still everything goes wrong!” To walk uprightly includes much more than prayer and church attendance. Just what does uprightly mean? Again, it must be God Who judges what is right. “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof is death.” (Proverbs 14:12). Measured by the general standards of society a man may consider himself to be a pretty decent sort of fellow, and yet not upright in the sight of God. We cannot make our own rules as to what is right. To walk upright is to lift your head up to God and guide your walk by His commandments rather than by the code of the world.

PRAYER: Loving Father, I know I have not always walked uprightly, but You have been good to me. Thank You for Jesus Who met sin’s penalty for me. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and to walk by Your counsel, in Jesus’ name. Amen.