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MARCH 31

“. . . when He was afflicted he opened not his mouth;” Isaiah 53:7

During Jesus’ ministry He freely conversed with the lowliest, with his enemies, with all who would listen. But “when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.” Pilate urged him to defend himself, “and he gave him no answer.” Then He was sent to Herod Antipas, who was glad to see him, and began to ventilate his own theories and “questioned him in many words: but he answered him nothing.” The more they accused, the more tightly were his lips sealed. He talked about his kingdom, about truth, but He opened not his mouth with regard to the charges brought against him.

In the death of Jesus is summed up the story of man as he stands in judgment before God, for all the sin of man is laid on Jesus and “him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf.” Accepting the role of substitute, Jesus assumed the guilt for all sin, therefore when he was accused, even though personally innocent, He consented to guilt by his silence. Paul writes “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God.” Peter says that “he committed himself to him that judgeth righteously,” and this he did because He stood in the place of sinners, in the sinner’s judgment, and therefore made no defense.

It is easy enough for us to make excuse for our sins before friends and associates. They, too, are sinners, and with them we may discuss our failings and find mutual ground for sympathy. It is said that Pilate and Herod became friends the day in which they had the mutual experience of silencing Jesus. But there is no such mutual link between the sinner and God. Before the Judge of the earth, no one will make excuse; every mouth will be stopped. No one will declare his innocence or his ignorance for having transgressed God’s law. There is only one way out of standing before that inexorable court in which there is no plea but “guilty” and that is to have Christ stand there for us. Is He YOUR substitute? Do you confess Him as Your saviour, so that He may confess your innocence on that day?

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, may I be one to help declare the innocence and glory of Jesus which He could not claim for Himself because of my sin. In His mighty name, Amen.


MARCH 30

“He was wounded for our transgressions . . .” Isaiah 53:5

Wounded! Bruised! Chastised!

O Christ, Creator and sustainer of life; the One in Whom no fault could be found; You Who resisted temptation to the point of blood; Who’s heart is broken because of its solid purity; Holy and Righteous Son of God; how You did humble Yourself for me. I have wounded God with the sin in which I reveled, but You were wounded with a Roman lash and the agony of a cross. I have bruised the very heart of God with rebellious disobedience, but You were bruised in innocence for me. I am the one who transgressed the commandment, You are the one who suffered the chastisement. I am the one who sought the glory, and You are the one despised. I esteemed myself, and You are rejected. I have been the shameful one; You have borne the shame. My head has harbored evil; Yours has felt the crown of thorns. I have turned away from God to follow the path of disobedience; You have turned in humble submission to Him, obedient even unto death. I have been ashamed of You; You have suffered the bitterest shame for me. I deserve only punishment and death for my crimes; You who deserve only glory, punished by cruel death for me. I who am nothing, sought and purchased by Your very own life! Such a humbling of Heaven is beyond comprehension. Such an honoring of undeserving man is utterly inconceivable! That I should be restored to the Heavenly standard, given the key to eternal paradise, made whole, clean, given the hope of immortality, made fit for the presence of God: it is more than has been done for angels; it is more marvelous to me than the mystery of Creation itself. Take all the magnificence of the universe and all the miracles wrought on earth, and none of it matches this wonder of wonders, that You should die for me! Hasten the day when I may marvel at the sight of You in glory, and raise my voice in praise to Your eternal glory, and my eternal gratitude.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to present myself a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable, in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.


MARCH 29

“He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4

Jesus bore all the consequences of sin, including all the grief and sorrow that has permeated the race of man since sin entered the world. It is hard to imagine the way He must have felt in accepting the horrible sin and black guilt which had never been His, but was willingly assumed as He became our substitute in death. The idea here is strictly that of one person bearing something for another, so that we may rest assured that He was dying in our place, paying our just penalty for sin to satisfy the justice of God. But in spite of this, the attitude of mankind is that His death was His own fault. He opposed the religious hierarchy and accused the political leaders. He condemned the hypocrisy of the business men and alienated the rich. The poor sought to make Him their champion for free bread, and He turned down that opportunity. In brief, the world considers that he muffed it. He pulled too many boo-boos, and failed to get His program over. They speak of His death as a tragedy, as if it were defeat, talking about the black Sabbath in which Jesus lay in the grave, as a day of sorrow and gloom for the world. They esteem Him smitten of God as if He were a martyr dying for His untimely ideal. If He should appear in the world today, without a doubt He would be a terrible misfit in the world of organized religion.

Now how do you esteem Him? Think of all the grief and sorrow you ever knew or ever can know. Pile it all on top of the mountain of sin you have to your credit. Add to this the curse of death, as the penalty to be meted to every sinner on Judgment day. Then look—there’s Jesus under the whole load, bearing it all for you. There’s the death stroke for sin—it falls not on you, but on Him. Is there any price that could ever repay Him? No. Only that we can live for Him, honoring His name, giving Him glory, laying our hands to the task He has given and trying to walk as He walked.

PRAYER: Loving Father, help me to walk in His steps who suffered for me, esteeming Him as the true Lord and Saviour before all men, for His name’s sake. Amen.


MARCH 28

“He was despised and rejected of men . . . and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

There was no romantic nor commanding atmosphere about Jesus as some like to imagine. “He hath no form nor comeliness: and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” He had to be pointed out in a crowd, as when Judas betrayed him. There was no particular characteristic about him that made men come to his side. He made men conscious of themselves, of their sin and their inadequacy in the face of His perfection. He condemned the majority of men in everything He said, for He held up a true pattern, pointedly showing up the error of commonly held belief. He threatened the material gain, the very living of false teachers, and rebuked the hypocrisy of all those who pretended to have a right to the esteem and honor that was heaped upon them in the market place. His attitude toward sin could not be tolerated by men who like to think of themselves as good, but saw in Him the real goodness of God. Therefore he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. While sharing the grief of others, He remained the lonely one. His views were unpopular; His habits marked him as a religious fanatic and his actions branded him as a troublemaker. People didn’t want to be associated with him, and many of his disciples turned their backs upon Him. (John 6:66).

“And we esteemed him not”. I have heard people say that they could not understand how people could fail to esteem him, after hearing Him, seeing Him and observing the miracles He performed. But how do we esteem Him today? Do we value His commandments, or do we rather rationalize them all away until we can go on living like the world? “If you love me ye will keep my commandments”. Our esteem for Him is seen in direct proportion to our esteem for what He taught. Do we complain at the restraint of such a life as Christ’s? Do we refuse to give up what we know He condemns? Well did Isaiah say “and we esteemed him not.”

PRAYER: O God, I confess that I have acted as though I knew not who Jesus was. Cleanse me from sin, make me fit for His presence, and help me to walk in His commandments, for His name’s sake. Amen.


MARCH 27

“Who hath believed our report?” Isaiah 53:1

The Roman senators conspired against Julius Caesar to kill him. The next morning, Artemidorus, Caesar’s friend, delivered him a paper, in which the whole plot was revealed, but Caesar was so preoccupied with returning the salutations of the people that he met along the way that he pocketed the paper along with other petitions, which he ignored, and going on to the senate-house was slain. If the truth were readily recognized and received, the entire history of man would be quite different. Eve would not have been deceived by the devil; Noah’s preaching would have been believed and the world saved from flood; the report of Joshua and Caleb would have been accepted rather than the false report of the other 10 spies, and Israel spared forty years of wilderness living. But since the first sin, which was believing a lie rather than truth, the world has been wrapped in darkness, hastily following after every wind of doctrine and allowing the light of truth to enter in only through cracks which are soon plugged up by those who prefer the dark. The great crowd goes enthusiastically down the broad way to destruction, while the few, lonely and despised, go laboriously up the narrow and strait way which is found only by seeking. So when Jesus appeared, no one suspected that He was of any importance. The message of salvation by His substitutionary death is scorned by the world. If God had offered to save the top ten percent of the most intelligent or best looking, it would be easy for the world to believe. But the report is that He will save only those who obey the gospel, not the hardest workers, or the most moral or the clever. And who hath believed our report? Most people are too preoccupied with all the worldly delights—or with trying to attain them—to examine the message that would save their lives.

Our faith and action are not motivated by majority vote. What if others do not believe? It does not make God less true! Do not stop believing; do not stop witnessing; do not stop trusting because of unbelievers.

PRAYER: Holy Father, increase my faith and help me to see beyond the unbelieving world to that new creation where faith is sight. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


MARCH 26

“. . . having been heard for his godly fear . . .” Hebrews 5:7

No matter how black we paint the scene of Gethsemane, it is impossible to fully describe the horror that must have penetrated the heart of Jesus, as he contemplated standing between God and man, assuming the evil of man and suffering for it the terrible shame and stroke of death that is due the sinner. Although the Son of God, He was fully human and the prospect of calvary held only terror for him. The Hebrew writer speaks of “prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death”. Jesus did not view death with Stoic resignation as if it were a natural transition, but as something horrible, as Paul viewed it—“the last enemy”. (I Cor. 15:26). We know His prayer: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He prayed to God who was able to deliver him from death, and was heard for his godly fear. The phrase, “godly fear” doesn't mean that he feared God, but that he had a pious fear: he feared what was about to happen, as any man would, and in this fear cried to God for deliverance.

But even in His fear, Jesus held to one saving factor: the will of God. In fear he cried for deliverance from this horrible death, but as an obedient Son he cried out for the will of God to be done. No doubt He knew what the answer would be, hence the crying, and the tears. In Gethsemane there is a picture of each believer, who sees the will of God as demanding death to sin, a total self-denial, the renouncing of the world, the suffering of shame in the eyes of men. It is a fearful thing. There are not too many that get through Gethsemane; the price is too great.

The fear is natural. Jesus feared. But in the fear he prayed that God would have His way, and God heard him—heard him through the fear—and went on to have His way, which meant Jesus’ death! Fear cannot conquer you if you continue to pray to God for His way, for His purpose, for His will. The greater the fear, the more earnest we must pray that God will accomplish His purpose.

PRAYER: Father, I pray that my fears may be over-ridden by Your will, that I may be an obedient child, in the name of Jesus. Amen.


MARCH 25

“All ye shall be offended in me this night.” Matthew 26:31

What a sad prediction. Even as He said it, He knew that it would not change things, it would not give them strength to stand by Him. It is as though our Lord were meditating upon the condition, the fickleness and weakness of the ones for whom He is about to die. They object to His prediction. Peter says, “even if I must die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” “Likewise also said all the disciples.” Yet it was only a brief time, maybe even minutes, until the officials came to take Jesus, and Matthew records, “Then all the disciples left him and fled.” Peter followed at a distance, but finally denied Him.

It is easy enough to gather around the communion table and sing, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory.” No one is offended in the partaking of the loaf and the cup. Fervently we sing, “I will Cling to the Old Rugged Cross” when that cross is only a symbol, a bit of polished wood or illuminated plastic. With it we decorate the hymnals, the pews, the pulpits and even wear it upon the lapel or around the neck. We will not be offended in Him, we declare, and to prove it we sing “Lead Me to Calvary.” But it was not in the upper room that the disciples were put to the test. They, too, sang a hymn before they went out, and “all . . . left Him and fled.” The offense of Christ happens at the point where we meet the world, and at the time when the stark sinfulness of man is brought into bold relief by the Son of God. It is when all comes out into the open. Here come the officials, the corrupt political leaders, the religious puppets—false priests of Satan—the lawyers that uphold their decisions—witch doctors of law and religion-—the force of this world’s powers with brandished sword—that is, the power of death, and all supported by the people. It was for such sin that Christ died. To uphold the truth of Christ, is to force this issue upon our own age, that all men, whatever rank, whether leaders, social or religious, are worthy of damnation and death and that Jesus is the only hope. Christian, let us no longer be offended, but gladly uphold His gospel and glory in His cross, the Victory He won over sin and death.

PRAYER: Loving Father of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus, I pray for greater boldness and strength so that the powers of the world will not cause me to fear. Help me to be faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


MARCH 24

“If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Except for the technological progress, the numerous mechanical things in use today, humanity has not changed much since the first century. They loved sports, entertainment, recreation, free circuses, and something-for-nothing just as man does today. Yet, Jesus never used any of this motivation to advance His purpose. He offered them no prizes for reading Bible verses. He did not threaten them if they missed a religious service. He did not lure them out to worship by setting up competition with one another. Instead of rewards in this world he cautioned that following Him meant self-denial, the world’s animosity and even persecution or death. He offered no lures to get people to obey Him. He only said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” We see how they loved Him by their actions. We read how their fellowship was cemented together by the truth which they all believed and by the love of Jesus Who had first loved them.

It is the same today. Christians who love God never get enough of Him. The man who has had a taste of the bread of truth and liked it hungers for more. His “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law doth He meditate day and night.” It is a sad commentary upon the modern church that so often it is looking for means to pry the action and devotion from its people that genuine love produces. Where there is love, stimulated by the truth of Christ, there is no need for artificial stimulants. True love is love that acts voluntarily. It cannot be bought, bribed nor coerced. Think how pleasing to God it must be for Him to see Christians worshipping Him, praising Him, serving Him, and learning of Him simply out of love and gratitude. Such voluntary expression is also the kind that benefits the worshipper. The saint undergoes tremendous pressure from the world, and should be able to assemble with other Christians where this pressure is absent. Be thankful if yours is such a church. You may help to make it such a church by responding in real love to Jesus, and keeping His commandments.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, You have loved me first, and all my love can never match nor return Yours. But I ask in Jesus’ name that my love for Him may grow and bring forth the fruit of obedience, to His glory. Amen.


MARCH 23

“The whole world lieth in the evil one.” I John 5:19

You will never convince the world of this fact. But it was not written to the world, only to saints. There is no use in our even trying to tell the world that its righteousness just won’t do, that it is futile to vaunt its virtue and so-called good will before the Creator of all things. The world has its standard, and all who come within the shadow of that standard are convinced that they are as good as the rest. Saints are tempted to rationalize with the world that its standards must not be too bad—“after all, everybody’s doing it.”

It is only when seen from the plain of God’s purpose that the world appears clearly in the grip of Satan. It is easy enough to see evil in murder, war, and the more violent offenses against men and God. But Satan has so deceived the world that it sees no evil in all the schemes of men that drive them farther and farther from repentance and from the cross of Christ. Whole organizations numbering millions are devoted to such schemes, all convinced that some work of benevolence or some kind of character improvement makes them fit for the eternal presence of God, hence making it harder than ever for them to see the need of the Saviour’s total sacrifice for their sin. But the child of God is already separated from the world. He is in the world but not a party to its conspiracy with the devil. He “keepeth himself, and the evil one toucheth him not.” Christian maturity begins when the believer sees the difference between the two worlds and is quite ready to be crucified to the one in order to live for the other. If the sacrifice seems exceedingly hard, remember that “the world passeth away . . . but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” I John 2:17

PRAYER: Father, give me wisdom to recognize the deceiver’s work, and keep me from his power. Help me to be obedient to my King, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.


MARCH 22

“. . . nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42

He didn’t say, “Our will”. For here the Christ was utterly alone in the decision to accept the guilt and penalty for sin, and die. We sing, “He suffered, bled and died alone . . . alone”. But in a sense we must each pass through our dark Gethsemene alone. There are times when we must shut out everyone else and make the decision to obey—alone. We cannot consult with friends and family. The act must be MY own. A man has to go into himself, and there do battle until he can say, “Not my will, but thine, be done”. Or even, “Your will is my will”. No one can make the decision for him, for it must be the self-giving of one’s life to God for God’s own eternal purpose for that solitary life.

There is the key to the right decision—God’s purpose. Jesus knew this purpose, so “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross . . . ” He knew the outcome before He entered the ordeal. Therefore He knew that the Father’s will for him to die was the means of His eternal joy. It is the same with each believer. We know the eternal purpose of the Creator. We, too, know that the ultimate fulfillment of His will is eternal glory. Hence when we enter into ourselves to contemplate, utterly alone, our decision before God, we are not in the dark as to the outcome if we choose His will. What matters the direction and pressure of the world? What matters the opposition and the criticism? Of what lasting weight the price? Only one thing matters: The Father’s will, and only one can decide to make that will his; the individual.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving me the mind and will to choose Your will. Grant me courage to abide by this decision each hour of each day until Jesus comes, through Whom I pray. Amen.


MARCH 21

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.” John 12:32

This, John explains, refers to Christ’s death on the cross. The drawing power of Jesus is in the cross and what it means. I marvel at methods that are often used in the attempt to attract people to church. “Be one of the friendly people . . . ” “Join the fastest growing church in town” . . . “The church that is growing, glowing and going”. The church which the apostles knew boasted of none of these things. They had no luxurious cathedrals, distinguished educational institutions nor world-famous personalities to use as bait for the unregenerate. All they had to present to the down-and-out bum on skid-row was the forgiveness of his sins and the hope of a home in eternity. They operated no soup kitchens. All they had to offer the affluent and sophisticated, the esteemed and elite, was the same forgiveness of sin and hope of immortality. There was no discount on discipleship to the men who were of such importance in the world’s affairs that they had little time for the church! They, also, were to repent at the foot of the cross like any other sinner. Jesus said that there wouldn’t be many who were willing to do this. But the death of Jesus, the redemption from sin and death He purchased at the cross, was sufficient to “turn the world upside down” during the apostle’s preaching. It is enough for us today. Its drawing power is two-fold: First that it manifests such great love on the part of God for the sinner that it is sheer meanness to reject it. Second, it is the means by which we are rescued from the destiny of death to the riches of glorious immortality. Nothing in this world matches such an appeal as this. Let the Christian glory in the cross, and Jesus will do the drawing of men to Himself.

PRAYER: Father, help me to lift up Christ in His redeeming power, that men may be drawn to Him and saved. In His name, Amen.


MARCH 20

“According to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:5

To understand the meaning of these words, to even have a glimpse into the meaning of them, is joy to the Christian. Were I to go about doing things merely for my own pleasure, and according to my own will, you might justly call me selfish. But God is of such a nature that the good pleasure of His will is the very apex of perfection; nothing could be better than His will, and therefore for Him to desire His will and to have pleasure in it means that He is the essence of goodness. What God does is all for the highest goal—to please Himself, because God himself is the highest goal. Thus in the final and finished world, we can foresee God as having the utmost joy and pleasure in perfecting us, His children, and bringing us to glory, lavishing upon us the greatest glory and beauty, because this is His eternal purpose, to have man in His image. So Paul says that we are foreordained “unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.

A parent who brings a child up to the point of maturity finds a great joy in seeing that child reach the goal set by the parent. The parent believes this is the highest good for the child, so both rejoice in the attaining of it. However, the human parent is not perfect, and cannot actually bring the child to the highest goal. It is for God, our Father, who by virtue of His nature is the highest, to bring us to the point that we reach the highest goal—unto Himself in His own image. If it is the good pleasure of God to set for us such a goal, what pleasure we mere creatures of dust should have in the assurance that He gives that we may attain it! We can only commit our lives to Him, worship Him, and give thanks.

PRAYER: O loving God, accept my praise for the glorious and eternal purpose wrought by Your will. Give me grace to abide in it, forever, through Jesus Who makes it all possible. Amen.


MARCH 19

“For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but . . . against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

We are not called into a religious playground, but into a grim battle, a struggle which is an all-out fight to the death. Just because the message of God is one of love and the believer does not strike out in physical violence against God’s enemies is no reason to think that the war does not exist. Liberal church leaders in the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, embracing doctrines that deny the truth of Christ, seek to bring into one great “union” the elements of the world and the church. They have convinced millions of people that the Christian’s role is to harmonize with the world. They smile at the idea of a real devil. But Jesus came into conflict with him and often spoke of the reality of his Satanic kingdom. The Bible is a story of the warfare between God and Satan, between God’s purpose and Satan’s effort to defeat it. It begins with Satan winning the first battle in Eden, and ends with God being the Victor after worldwide conflict. It is sheer blindness to follow Christ and not see that it is to follow Him into battle against a kingdom that is ruled by a supernatural mastermind, highly organized with tremendous resources. Guns and bombs are useless against them. It is “not against flesh and blood” we wrestle. The enemy destroys through spiritual means, through the mind, through the news media, through books, teaching, through appealing to our reason and emotion. Therefore, in order to engage and overcome the enemy, we must be strong in mind, knowing the truth of God and ready at any moment to bring it into action. Paul writes that the “god of this world” blinds men’s minds. (II Cor. 4:4). To win in this battle is to keep our eyes open to the light of God’s truth. The enemy is overcome when the truth prevails.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, guide me into the truth, and grant that it may be my defense and my sword against Satan’s host, in the name of Jesus, my Lord. Amen.


MARCH 18

“Make me as one of thy hired servants.” Ephesians 6:12

If you have ever been in the far country, away from the Father; if you have ever fed at the swine’s trough of the world; if you have ever felt the pangs of hunger which the husks of sin do not satisfy; and if you have then looked squarely at yourself, you will understand the plea of the prodigal son. “I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight,” he said. “I am no more worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of thy hired servants.” When at last we “come to” ourselves and see what we are in God’s sight, we must confess that all our sin is against God and makes us unworthy to be called His children. All sin is against God. It is He that has made us and determined the image we are to reflect. Any marring of that image, any failure to be what He designed, is sin against Him. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband slain. Perhaps he did not think of God as being involved at all. Bathsheba was willing and Uriah he could handle. No problem there. But later when David saw his acts in relation to God and His purpose, he cried out to God, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” (Psalm 51:4). He prayed, “O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.” (Psalm 86:2). He learned that it was better to be a servant of the Heavenly Father than to exercise kingly authority in the pursuit of sin. The worldling revels in riotous living, chanting “how sweet it is”, not realizing that one hour as a servant of the Father is better than a lifetime as the servant of sin. O to be one of God’s hired servants! To be in the Father’s loving grace, in His company! To be under His divine order, in His sweet fellowship and to be fed from His overflowing storehouse! To be the hired servant of God! To be only that and nothing more is to be more than the world can ever offer.

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for hearing my prayer and forgiving my sin through Jesus my Saviour. Grant that I may serve you and be found pleasing in your sight as a faithful servant. Amen.


MARCH 17

“Father, give me the portion of the substance that falleth to me.” Luke 15:12

The younger son asked for “the portion” of the father’s “substance” to which he was entitled upon leaving home. He received it, and thinking this would be sufficient for all his needs he left the father for a “far country”. But it wasn’t long until he realized that a portion of the father’s substance was not enough. He began to long for the father’s presence, as well as the daily supply which the father could give. Such is the story of impatient believers who think that the world has something to offer that they do not find in the “narrow way” of the Heavenly Father. They want to get away, to get out from under the rule of the Father and “live a little”. A portion of Christianity is all they think they need: a few good morals, some charity spread here and there, a lot of good will and a teaching or two from the sermon on the mount; this is enough religion for them. But what is religion without the Father? Of what value these pieces of furniture when taken from the Father’s house and set up in the pig-pen of the world, to which the prodigal son went? In the world the son wasted his substance, and found himself hungering more and more for the food of pigs! It is the inevitable end of the road when one leaves the Father. Soon the bundle of religion he has taken along is wasted — it doesn’t really mean anything to the world — and he grows an appetite for the world’s diet. He gets to the place where he enjoys the sin, the smut and the filth which the world thinks is good food for the soul, but which doesn’t satisfy. Better be content with the Father’s rule and the Father’s house, His food and His presence. The luster of the world is attractive from a distance, but the Father’s house is where the riches are.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for having wasted your substance in the far country. Give me grace to be a faithful and obedient son, through Jesus my redeemer. Amen.


MARCH 16

“Fight the good fight of the faith.” I Timothy 6:12

“Hang yourself, brave Crillon! We fought at Arques and you were not there.” Such was the greeting of Henry IV to the warrior who arrived too late for the battle. The apostle Paul had entered late into the battle, and was ever conscious of the fact that he had been on the wrong side during the early days of the church. He never let down in reminding us Christians that we enter into a warfare with Satan the minute we take our stand on the side of Christ. He could say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith”. (II Timothy 4:7). No one will say to him. “We fought the battle with Satan, and you were not there”. This is the challenge of the Christian faith, that it centers around the battle of the ages, and that each one who embraces Christ becomes involved in the life and death struggle. Millions are fighting it this moment. Some are dying in a communist slave-labor camp. Some are suffering ridicule and slander and the bitter hatred of those about them. Some are fighting the battle in the loneliness of their own private closets, where decisions must be made that change their lives. If you find no challenge in serving Christ, if you go days at a time or even one day without feeling the heat of this conflict, if your interest in the church lags and if you have not felt the need of God’s armor and supply of strength, it is a sure sign that the battle is being fought without you. Do not sit awaiting some great event to come your way to excite you and make life worth while. The fight is on all about you. Reach for the sword, the Word of God which is the “sword of the spirit.” Open your mouth for the faith, and you will find yourself in the thick of battle. But it is a “good fight of the faith”. True soldiers of Christ are never defeated and they do not “fade away”, but receive the reward of eternal life.

PRAYER: Father, give me faith and courage for the fight, and put me in the thick of the battle. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.


MARCH 15

“God is the King of all the earth.” Psalm 47:7

At a great national political convention seething with fervent appeals by delegates seeking to gain votes for their favorite candidate, as certain governors desperately sought to control other delegates, a commentator said, “The idea is to control enough delegates until the critical balloting then swing them over to the winning ticket, so that the delegation becomes the kingmaker”. As I thought of the arm-twisting, the conniving, the political bribery and the over-all absence of reverence for truth, it was a great relief to consider the fact that these men could not, after all, really make a king. God is the maker of His world, the ultimate authority in His universe. He has never abdicated His rule, although for a time He delegates His authority to the Son, Who is at His right hand. The utter confusion that is witnessed in any political convention as men seek to set up their own rule is enough to discourage, if not terrorize the citizen who thinks of this as the system under which he must live. But such frenzy is only a futile effort of men. It is like the leaf that flutters from the branch of the great oak tree. It catches the eye and the ear and is effected by its own fall, but the trunk still stands in majesty and strength. What peace to know that men do not choose our king, “for God is the King of all the earth.” What joy to know that He “reigneth over the nations; God sitteth upon his holy throne.” Even if men fail to recognize Him, if they are blind to His glory and ignorant of His plan, still His power and purpose are not diminished. Let not the pomp and pomposity of self-exalted men rob you of the thrill of being in the King’s cortege. Whether at home, work, in office or a church house, remember whose world it is, and whose son you are!

PRAYER: Mighty King, Creator of the earth, rule in my heart and mind, and keep my eyes fixed on the scepter of your righteousness until Jesus comes. In His name, Amen.


MARCH 14

“Shall He not also . . . freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“Ask not what your country may do for you, but what you may do for your country”. These are appropriate€ thoughts for our relationship to our country. Off hand we might think that they also apply with relation to God, for we are His servants. But here is a paradox. Even though we are the servants of God, under His command, created and destined to serve Him and offer Him our lives as living sacrifices, it is actually God Who at all times serves us. “Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed again?” Any service we render God is possible only because God has first served us and given us the means to serve. The air we breathe, the life we possess, the unfathomable working of the mechanism of the human mind—all is given first by God. But this isn’t all. We are even told innumerable times to call upon Him and ask for His service. From the beginning man has been instructed to receive from God the blessings which He offers. “Ask of me . . . and I will give thee . . .” Jesus said, “Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt . . . ask and ye shall receive”. James expressly states that if we do not receive from God it is because we do not ask! In fact this is one of the great challenges to test our faith, that we dare to ask great things, that we ask more and more that we ask the impossible, then have the nerve to believe that God will grant it because we have had the grit coupled with faith to ask! It is not presumptuousness to ask of God. It is His infinite desire that we ask and ask, and manifest our dependency upon Him. In so doing we prove two things: that we believe He is able as giver of all gifts to answer, and that we would have nothing but that which is from Him.

PRAYER: O Mighty God, increase my faith and expand my capacity to receive the abundant and fabulous blessings You desire to pour out on your children, through the One you have given, Jesus. Amen.


MARCH 13

“For it is God who worketh in you.” Philippians 2:13

It is not difficult at all to think of God at work. It would be impossible to conceive of God not working, simply quitting, doing nothing at all, and allowing the whole creation to fall apart which it certainly would do were God to cease holding it together. God works! We take that for granted, but it is something else to think of God’s working “in us”. Yet, this is the sum and substance of God’s relation to the Christian, that He is at work in the creation. All the time you were thinking that it was your work that added up to the will of God. But the scripture reveals that it is He working in you “both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God is carefully working in the believer to bring about His will and to perfect the creature as it pleases Him. This might bring up questions about free will and predestination, but you do not have to solve this theological puzzle in order to claim the great joy of the fact. God does not demand that you understand how he works His will and at the same time does not deny yours. It is enough that we believe it. Whatever the hardship, the heartache, the obstacles, the seeming failures, it is all a part of the process of getting His will done in you for His pleasure. And what is the pleasure of God? It is to have you in His image. Can such be possible? Yes, if God was able to create man from dust and if He is able to raise him up from the grave in the last day as an immortal and glorious person, surely He is able at the present time to work in those creatures who have yielded their lives to Him in faith and obedience to the gospel of Jesus. Therefore, let Him hammer away, knowing that each blow is leaving its mark according to infinite planning and bringing you closer to His divine image.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for choosing to work your will in me. Give me grace to yield to your desire and strength to remain faithful until the work is complete. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


MARCH 12

“. . . Among whom ye are seen as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15

One evening as I reclined in a lawn chair in my back yard with the sun descending behind my back, I gazed into the sky and thought on the magnificence of the Creator. Soon my eye caught the faint glimpse of a light; just a bare flicker at first, but as I steadily watched, it proved to be a star straining through the blue, struggling to make its fire bright in the early dusk. I continued to watch until it grew more steady. Its nervous flicker soon became a healthy glow and after awhile grew brighter until it was a fiery red light in the night. I soon became aware that other stars had ventured forth to join it, and now they were shining down as beacons fit for a mariner to chart a course by. Of course, the stars had not grown brighter. Only the sky had grown darker so that the light which had been invisible in the sun’s great rays stood out with dazzling splendor in the sun’s absence. Many a Christian has such a light. You may not stand out when the Christians are all assembled together. Another may sing better, may be able to speak better or have a more attractive personality. But when you get out away from these other “lights”, out into the sin-darkened world, the little light you posses may become a great beacon of salvation. Where men do not know Jesus, where they have no abiding faith in His promises, where they are ignorant of His purpose your testimony, however rustic or feeble or stammering, may be just the star which they need to guide them to the Father of lights. The Lord does not command us to excel and shine in the congregation, but simply to “do all things without murmurings and questions that ye may become blameless and harmless children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom ye are seen as lights in the world.”

PRAYER: Oh, Father, with whom there is no shadow cast by turning, keep me mindful at all times that I am the light to whom some wanderer looks for truth. In the name of Jesus who lights my way. Amen.


MARCH 11

“For I have given you on example, that ye also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15

Jesus startled the disciples when he laid aside his robe, girded himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples feet. Such an act was the work of the lowest household slave. It was for this reason that Peter at first objected. He didn’t want to cast his Master in the role of a servant or slave. Jesus explained that Peter would understand later. (Verse 7). Afterwards Jesus said that he had given an example for them to follow. Indeed we follow the example when we take the hat and coat of a guest, as a servant would do, and when we serve the guest his coffee or tea, as the servant would. But the example goes much farther than this. Jesus cast Himself in the role of a slave, and we must do the same, as people belonging to God. Jesus served in that work which does not receive the world’s honor and praise. Did you ever hear of a house-servant being exalted by the world? Our work as servants of God is not for the sake of winning man’s esteem, any more than a slave is esteemed for a routine task. By washing the disciples feet, Jesus was humbling himself in the sight of men, even as later He humbled Himself to die on the cross. He knew our tendency to seek the “glory that is of men”. Instead, He showed us that we are to humble ourselves, even among brethren, that we are to willingly and voluntarily assume the lowly tasks which might be helpful to others, and that we are to do this as servants. Then the example goes even farther. Jesus was running the risk of being rejected and criticized (by Peter) and of wasting some effort (as on Judas). Such is the role of a servant, and such is our role, as followers of Jesus.

PRAYER: Loving Father, remove the pride that stands in the way of my being truly your servant. Guard me from coveting the praise of men, that I may receive a reward from you through Jesus, my redeemer. Amen.


MARCH 10

“And on His law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:2

An actor was being groomed to play the part of Julius Caesar. “You must study Caesar and think Caesar”, the director said. “From now until the picture is finished, read nothing but his life and talk nothing but his activities. You are going to eat and sleep with Caesar, day and night.” Before Jesus sent out the apostles with the Great Commission He first took them into His close fellowship for three and a half years. They lived with Jesus and heard nothing but the good news of the Kingdom. They ate, drank and slept with their minds filled with the purpose of God. No wonder they were able to face the harshest criticism and cruelest persecution yet never flinch from the faith they had embraced. How different with today’s disciples! Through T.V. the anti-christ enters the privacy of our homes with a constant din of corruption and sin. Magazines and newspapers with little regard for truth and no concern for Christ glare at us from every nook. Our children must attend schools where they are denied the truth of God’s word. The psalmist writes that the righteous man meditates on God’s law day and night. He is constantly trying to apply them to every facet of life. Of course, before one can meditate upon the law of God, he has to read or hear it. This means more study of the Bible. But every Christian, even if limited in Bible knowledge, knows enough of God’s message to think about it, at work, at home and in all his activities. The strength of a Christian will depend on just how well he abides by this command, to think on God’s law. One whose heart is set on God, who dares to hope to be “like Him”, will deliberately bring God’s laws to mind in everything he does.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for wasted thoughts. Bring to my mind your inexorable word, that it may be the mainspring of my will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


MARCH 9

“And the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

Before the advent of modern science, many a chemist had spent a lifetime seeking a catalytic, some agent that would change common minerals into gold. They never found it. But God has a catalytic that effects a change in man even more drastic than changing lead into gold. It is truth, the agent which God has revealed for the mind of man. When understood in the mind and digested in the heart, God’s truth not only changes a person’s outlook on life but completely reverses his destiny for eternity. It is not truth about material objects, technology, space age gadgets and computer science that sets a man free. Mere knowledge about many facts in the world does not help one to understand his emotions and his ultimate purpose. The truth Jesus reveals is the truth about life, its source, its conditions, its purpose and its final destiny. The things that bind man include his ignorance of the reason for being, fear of what is to become of him in the future and the tyranny of sin in which he is involved. The truth Jesus gives explains why God created man: that he should be like God and have fellowship with Him in a righteous creation. It removes the fear of the future, concerning the Christian, in the truth about a resurrection from death to immortality. It frees him from sin by establishing the fact that Christ met sin’s penalty by His own death. In revealing these facts, Christ also frees a man from his sinful ambitions and desires by giving him a far greater and more exciting and satisfying desire: immortality and eternal glory. You are truly free to the degree that you know and walk in the truth of Christ.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, give me understanding of your truth; fill my mind with its wisdom and my heart with its power, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.


MARCH 8

“Marvel not . . . if the world hateth you.” I John 3:13

It is a shock for the Christian the first time he actually comes up against the hatred of the world. Having responded in love to the love manifested by Christ, one hopefully looks for the same response in others. Especially is this true in a nation which was founded on Godly principles and in which the major institutions were created for the purpose of advancing the gospel of Christ. Nevertheless, it remains true that the world has no more love for the Christian than it had for Jesus. The “world” refers to the unredeemed. They may give lip service to the church and hold the Bible in mystic reverence, but when confronted with the person whose life is fully dedicated to another world, whose stand on the side of Christ puts him in diametric opposition to all the ambition, greed and pride of this world, then the worldling displays his true sentiment. Jesus was popular when he fed the multitudes and then they thought He was only another leader who might help them advance their aims in this world. But when He began to teach in depth concerning his mission—that He was the bread of life, that His way was the only way, that men were so far lost that only by His death and resurrection could they be saved—then they turned away from Him and crucified Him.

We may escape the worlds’s hatred by agreement with it. “The world would love its own.” (John 15:19). But to do so is to escape also the reward Christ offer’s. “I chose you out of the world”. And this is our consolation. No one enjoys being hated, even by the worst, but we are reminded that such hatred comes from the world and we have no part in it. It is not our world, but Satan’s. (I John 5:19). Let it hate. In the end Christ will return to pluck us out of the world and make us inhabitants of His new one! (I Thess. 4:16, 17).

PRAYER: Loving Father, hold me fast in your love in the face of the world’s enmity. Guard me from bitterness and help me to live so that the world may desire your fellowship also. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


MARCH 7

“And every one that hath this hope . . . purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” I John 3:3

So you hope to be like Jesus. It is a noble hope. In fact, it is the only hope there is with any promise of fulfillment, for the saved of eternity are going to be just the ones who have set their hope on the image of God and by faith and His grace attain it. But is it a hope, or merely a wish? The answer is found in this verse: “every one that hath this hope . . . purifieth himself”. Do you hope to be as honest as Jesus is? Then start being honest now. Do you hope to be perfectly obedient to God, as Jesus is? Then obey him today. Do you hope to have all covetousness eradicated from your heart? Then come to grips with it now. Do you hope to be rid of lust and greed? Then settle it now that you are done with them. Do you hope to be pure and free from all sin, that you may indeed be like Jesus? Then if that is your ultimate purpose and goal, surely you want to be pure NOW. This is the message; if you really do want to be like Christ, then you will begin today to purify yourself. If one desires to arrive in Los Angeles, he does not start in the direction of New York! Yet there are millions who speak of the Christian hope, which is summed up in this one thing—to be like Jesus—who make every effort to be otherwise. We do not fool God. The effort we are making for purity like that of Christ indicates the degree of our genuine desire to be like Him. One cannot go all his lifetime cherishing sin and reveling in it, and expect God, at the last moment, to perform the trick of making him love purity and the likeness of Christ! “He that is filthy, let him be filthy”. But he that loves purity will finally gain his desire when he is made to be like Christ.

PRAYER: Father of lights, give me understanding that I may see the sins which must be torn from my life, and give me a firm will, that I may purify myself, after the likeness of Jesus in whose name I pray. Amen.


MARCH 6

“we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.” I John 3:2

For some reason artists have traditionally pictured Jesus as a person with long wavy hair, wearing something that looked like a night gown, or a woman’s bathrobe. Whatever the motive of such paintings, they have made Him look something a little less than a flesh and blood man. Many people imagine Jesus as having cast off his fleshly body and become pure spirit (whatever that may be) upon His return to Heaven. It is no wonder that many people simply cannot imagine, much less desire, the idea of their becoming “like Him” as the Scripture says. But Jesus came to “bring life and immortality to light through the gospel”. That which he brought to light is that a resurrected and immortal man is just what He was and is. He was raised in the flesh, appeared to the apostles and other brethren in the flesh, ascended in the flesh and will return in the flesh. At the present time Paul says of Him, “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. (Col. 2:9). When He returns, we shall see Him as a fleshly person, made immortal. But what John is saying here is not just that we shall see Him, but that we shall be like Him. Thus we are to become immortal men and women. In one of his books C. S. Lewis suggests that we are at present little statues of Christ, but that one day these statues will actually begin to live. That will be us, made like Christ. It is imperative that before one can begin to work toward a finished product, he must have in mind what that product is to be. So we are given in clear, unmistakeable language the fact that when we have arrived at what we are becoming, we will be like Jesus! It is the only goal that God has revealed for His creatures! There is no alternative. Either we would be like Him, or not at all!

PRAYER: Loving Father, keep the image of Jesus before me, for I want to see Him, and be like Him. In His dear name, Amen.


MARCH 5

“If he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.” I John 3:2

There are a lot of prophets today who lay down their own regulations for those who would see Jesus and be ready for His coming. They say that you must be in this group or that, that you must have certain spiritual powers, speak in tongues, or be in this place or that. Many have certain designated geographical spots and insist that believers must converge on these locations for the appearance of Jesus. Many well-meaning but misled believers have moved to the Middle-East, thinking that they will fare better if they are near the modern city of Jerusalem when Jesus returns.

All such teaching is false. Jesus said that “every eye shall see Him”, not just those in certain places. His coming will be the same for saints regardless of where they live, and regardless of the time they have lived, for saints of all ages will be resurrected and together with those living will be gathered to the Lord. It is not your place of residence that counts, but the state of your faith. If you walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Truth as God has revealed it, you will not miss His coming nor any blessing He has promised. This obedience includes faith in God’s “grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13). Hence we are to earnestly look for his appearing, confident that by His grace we shall see Him, and be made like Him. Jesus said that we are not to go out to look for him in this spot or that or with this prophet or that one. He will come again to HIS OWN, wherever they are. The question to be settled is: Are you one of His?

PRAYER: Father, may my blessed and immortal Lord, Jesus, soon return in glory, and may I be found faithful and ready through His grace. Amen.


MARCH 4

“I . . . beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called.” Ephesians 4:1

This sums up the Christian endeavor: God has called us; we are to walk worthily of the calling. This calling is not some mysterious voice in the night or emotional prompting to a blind feeling. God has made the calling clear. He calls men out of darkness “into His marvelous light”. Then no longer walk in the darkened counsel of the world, but in the light of God’s word. He has called men to “be conformed to the image of His Son”. Then walk as the Son walked, doing things worthy of a son of God. Jesus scorchingly denounced the Jews because they claimed to be children of God but actually were doing the things of Satan. Therefore he said “Ye are of your father the devil”. When He calls a man to be a son He is to walk like a son in the counsel and in obedience to the Father. He calls men in “one hope”. Then walk in that hope, not in the fatalistic, pessimistic and skeptical path of those who are destined for doom and destruction. To listen to the conversation of many church members it is evident that they have no awareness of having been called to such a sublime and marvelous walk, in the light of God’s revelation, to be conformed to the image of Christ and with the hope of immortality. They walk in the shady and questionable speculations of the unbelieving world, are conformed to the fashions of unbelieving people about them, and place their hope in nothing more than some temporal and material gain. God calls men to high estate. He leaves it with men to initiate the walk that leads them finally to the goal to which they are called. Walk worthily of your calling!

PRAYER: Thank you Father for calling me out of the depths of sin into the heights of glory. Lighten the path before me, and give me grace to walk in the steps of Jesus, in whom I have such a great hope. Amen.


MARCH 3

“Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

As early as the age of 12 Jesus knew that He was the Son of God. Yet He did not go out preaching and claiming rights that He had in this divine sonship. Instead he “went down with them (his parents) and came to Nazareth; and he was subject unto them”. It was necessary for him to learn submission and obedience, and this was done through those who represent God’s authority to children, the parents. If a child will obey God, he must obey the parents for this is the command of God. The father is commanded to teach the children and have them in subjection. The mother, as the helpmate of the father, must also be obeyed. It is just this matter of being in “subjection” to parents that creates the so-called generation gap, and breaks up the home relationship which is so essential to personal development and to the strength of a society. We tend to rebel against any subjection to higher authority. The scripture goes on to say that Jesus learned to obey by the things which he suffered. We are not to assume that his parents caused him suffering, for being subject to them, he would not require the application of the rod. However to obey God it was necessary for Him to suffer. To refrain from evil was obedience that He might not have found difficult. But obedience is not merely negative—not doing wrong. It is positive—doing the hard things. Primarily this refers to His death on the cross, which he suffered in order to do the Father’s will. This is learning obedience the hard way, but one never knows what obedience is until he obeys to the point of suffering. The apostles obeyed the command to preach even when it brought beatings and severe persecution. Even the Son had to learn obedience at the price of pain and death. We, too, must obey even when it hurts, or we haven’t learned obedience at all.

PRAYER: Father, teach me to do thy will. May I not flinch from obedience because of suffering, but follow the example of Jesus by whose sacrifice I am counted worthy to suffer in His name. Amen.


MARCH 2

“As newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk.” I Peter 2:2

Peter doesn’t mean that we are to act as babes, but as a newborn babe longs for its mother’s milk, so we are to long for the spiritual food of God’s word. A baby, by instinct, reaches for its mother’s breast, and if this is withheld, the baby will suck on anything available, such as an artificial nipple or his thumb. What he really desires is milk to grow on. If he is given only water, he will be unsatisfied and will go on grasping at everything, still longing for the true milk. If he doesn’t get it, he will fail to grow and eventually die. The Christian who has tasted the good word of God, who really wants the life which God offers, will long for the food which God gives. If he hears sermons that merely entertain or give him false doctrine, he will remain unsatisfied. He hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and that righteousness is found only in the true Gospel of Jesus through whom we are made righteous in the sight of God. One may drink often at the well of philosophy, scientism, secular education and human concepts of religion, but what he gets there is not the spiritual milk that makes him grow into the likeness of God. Man shall live . . . “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. Nothing else will satisfy. It is a sad fact that millions of people go home from their churches every week without having found satisfaction for their hungry minds. It is because they are fed on skimmed milk, or no milk at all. No one should put up with such a diet. Let him take his own Bible and devour it from cover to cover. Let him clutch its truth as a starving child clings to his last piece of bread. Let him relish its message as a gourmet at his favorite restaurant. It is God’s spiritual milk, the only food He has supplied to make us grow into His image.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank you for the precious Word of Truth. May it fill my mind that I may know it, my heart that I may live it, and my mouth that I may tell it to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


MARCH 1

“Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house.” II Peter 2:5

Appropriately these words come from Peter, who typifies all who make up the spiritual house of God. When he was called to be a disciple his name was changed from Simon to Peter, which means rock. Not the great foundation stone, which is Jesus Himself, but a small stone that fits into the foundation with all the others that go to frame a building. Such a stone has its own peculiar place and most often has to be hewn and chipped and fashioned into a certain shape to be of any use. It was so with Peter, who underwent severe discipline at the hands of Jesus before he was fit for his role as a stone. First he was taught by Jesus, being one of the three who was with Jesus in the special revelations and events of His ministry. Then he was tempted, at one point even succumbing to the temptation and denying Christ as we are so prone to do. But Peter repented and returned to Christ with greater devotion and more determination than ever, and was received. Finally he was given his instructions regarding his responsibilities with relation to the rest of the church, when he was told to tend and feed the lambs of Christ. Like Peter, each believer is a living stone and must be designed and fashioned by the Master builder in order to be fit for the spiritual house of God. We are not perfect stones. But we are part of the house. We are living stones; that is, we are to cooperate with the work of the Stonecutter that we may be fitted into the proper place and have our part in the great building. The scripture goes on to say that we are “to offer up spiritual sacrifices”. Thus we are not idle stones, but actively working toward the completion of such a spiritual house.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me wisdom to perceive what You would make of me, and grant me strength and grace to submit to your creative work, through Jesus my foundation stone. Amen.