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MAY 31

“Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:5

Since God created man in His own image with the privilege of having a mind-to-mind relationship with Him, it is our minds that He desires to have turned to Him. Not mere ritual. Not mere attendance at religious services. The most scathing words of condemnation are used by God against those who offer lip service and ritual without having their minds fixed on God. What God is after is men who think God’s thoughts, men who desire so much to be in the image of God that they bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. For this purpose Jesus came preaching truth, and for this purpose God has revealed His mind in the Scriptures. Faith comes by hearing the word of God, we are told, and God has chosen to save men by the preaching of the gospel. Paul said that his task was to persuade men. All this is solid evidence that we are to use our minds in turning to God. In contrast to this the world is filled with lies, deceit, false teaching, brain-washing, all which fill up the mind and make it impermeable to truth. Add to this a host of mind-deadening factors such as alcohol, hypnotism, drugs and narcotics which render the mind incapable of Christian thought, and we see what great odds stand against the fulfillment of God’s purpose. We can imagine how God must hate all these things that destroy men’s minds and keep them from turning fully to Him. But we possess minds of our own and we must use our own volition in bringing them into captivity to His will. It is “every thought” that is to be in obedience to Christ. God is constant. He is there at every given moment. Hence it is every thought at all times that needs to be brought into harmony with His mind. A text, a devotion, a prayer and then to fix the mind on the affairs of the world won’t do. Every thought is to stem from the Creator’s purpose, and be directed to its accomplishment. Outside of Christ one may let his thoughts roam at random, for he has no direction to his life, but in Christ we bring every thought into captivity to obey Him, so that our very minds come to be like that of our Lord.

PRAYER: Father, cleanse my mind and fill it with knowledge of your will. May no evil thought find lodging there, but give me the strength to make my mind and my life right in your eyes. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

MAY 30

“Christ . . . suffered for you, leaving you an example.” I Peter 2:21

Suffering is so widespread and common to the whole race of man that we are apt to say to someone in distress, “Everyone has his share of suffering.” Then he answers, “But no one has suffered as I have.” This is true. Every suffering is unique. Even if the same thing happened to me, it would not be felt exactly the same, therefore the suffering would not be the same. It is true that everyone must suffer. And it is also true that no one has suffered as I have. Or as you have. The deepest suffering is always unknown to the world. You can say that you have a headache or that you are lonely or that you have lost a treasured possession. But none of this really explains how deeply you suffer. For this reason a wise person doesn’t attempt to impress upon others his deepest suffering. He knows that they cannot feel it, and to continue describing it in more terrible tones only bores them. They have their suffering, too. No, the wise person will not enter the contest of comparing sufferings to prove that his is greater, for the greater it is the less likely is anyone to understand it. If it is a simple pain, he might mention it, but if it is a deep sorrow, a terrible burden that he must suffer daily, he will only smile and speak of the trivial aches and pains, for no one has suffered as he has. That is, no one but Jesus. Our Lord suffered the limit of suffering. Indeed, no one ever suffered as He. And what did He do with His suffering? “When he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously . . .” This is our example, that in suffering we commit ourselves to God who judges righteously: He does understand; He knows exactly how we suffer. This does not mean that He will make suffering cease. He allowed His own Son to suffer all the way, even to death. But this was the Son’s purpose, to do the Father’s will, so He committed his suffering to God and it became a part of God’s means of obtaining His purpose. So do not say “no one has suffered as I have.” There is One, and He has set an example. Commit yourself— suffering included—to God. It is His purpose you are going to gain.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for the suffering and death of Jesus on my behalf. Help me to follow in His steps, that I may be pleasing in your sight. In His name I pray. Amen.

MAY 29

“the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” I Corinthians 1:25

When Paul wrote these words he was not making an apology for any ignorance on his own part. He knew the wisdom of the Greeks, and how they prized their superior knowledge. Paul was quite an intellectual himself, having studied under the renowned Gamaliel. He was familiar with the pagan poets such as Epimenides. When he visited Athens he was given an audience on Mars Hill by the scholars in science and philosophy. Nevertheless, he was generally considered a “fool” by contemporary intellectuals for having embraced the things God revealed. During one sermon he was accused by the governor of being mad. (Acts 26:24). Such an attitude is still with us. It is common for people today to think that those who rely fully upon the Bible, who believe it unreservedly, have automatically narrowed their field of learning and have chosen to be ignorant of the world around them. Especially is this true in the field of education where self-styled intellectuals are bent on pursuing the theory of evolution in opposition to the revelation of God. T. Robert Ingram writes: “Any scholar today who is really grounded in the wisdom of the Bible, and who comprehends the implications of the historical fact of creation, and the truth of history, stands in the same position as the apostle (Paul) in regard to modern evolutionary thinking.” Indeed, it was just this insistence by Paul, that God is Creator of all things and that all things will terminate at God’s will, that marked him as a fool to the Greeks. There is a malicious and satanic spirit manifested today by unbelieving intellects who try to make it appear that the Christian is narrow, restricted in viewpoint and blind to the facts of life. They would make it appear that in order to have wisdom one must first of all become ignorant of God. Mr. Ingram goes on to say, “It is not the Christian scholar whose intellectual vision is narrow and crabbed; he is versed not simply in the things of this world, but he knows Him Who created all these things.” Christian reader, do not leave the foundation of God’s wisdom to go searching in the dark with pagans of the world. “For Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, give me that wisdom, to know Your truth. Keep me from false pride and vain glory, that I may walk humbly before man, and glory only in that which brings me closer to You and my eternal destiny, through Jesus my Lord. Amen.

MAY 28

“if thou shalt . . . believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead . . .” Romans 10:9

You cannot share what you do not have. What you say with the lips must be only that which you believe in your heart. It is for this reason that many say so very little, they have so very little belief in their hearts. The truth must be your own before you can testify to others. To quote scripture, to point to one’s church house, to belong, to attend every service; it is all good, but nothing unless there is in your heart the earnest belief that Jesus was raised from the dead. We read of the apostle’s faith and zeal and say, “No wonder; they had actually seen a man that came back from the dead . . .” It is as if they had a belief in their hearts that motivated them to a great faith that is no longer available. But it is just exactly this faith that is essential to our own witness, even to our own salvation. “If thou shall believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead.” Do you believe it? Do you really believe that Jesus, as flesh and blood human being literally died, was buried as a dead man is buried, and then arose from the dead to live as a man? Do you believe He even lives today? Think of what it is that you believe, if you believe the Gospel. He was dead; He is alive forevermore. There is no greater miracle than this. If ten thousand angels should visit you and give you a message from God it would not be one tenth as great a thing to believe as this: God raised Jesus from the dead! You say you believe “in Christ.” But do you believe this; Jesus, the son of Mary, was dead and God raised Him up? If it is true it is the greatest miracle of all history. If God can do that, He can do anything. If He was a dead man and came back to life, then there is nothing more important than this gospel, this news of salvation, this life that Jesus talked about. And you say you believe it in your heart! Then you have the same faith the apostles had. You have the same force and the same incentive for godly living and zealous witnessing that they had. They believed it in their hearts. If you believe it in your heart . . . what’s the difference? Such is the faith of a Christian.

PRAYER: Father, search my heart and remove all doubt and fear. Fill me with boldness and zeal for the testimony of my faith in the risen Lord, Christ Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

MAY 27

“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord.” Romans 10:9

Someone has said, “I’d rather see a sermon any day than to hear one.” It is their way of belittling the gospel, the truth, the word of the Lord. It is a very subtle tool of Satan. He convinces believers that they can give a better witness by their example than by what they say. And believers are ready to accept it, for it turns out to be the easier of the two, to go quietly along being a respectable person and saying nothing about Jesus than to speak up. A neighbor who serves the devil doesn’t mind your living next door as long as you never bug him about God. He prefers an honest person as a neighbor and one who doesn’t disturb the status quo. Treat him nicely, never mention Jesus, and he thinks you’re a regular fellow. You may think that you’re making a great impression upon him by your example. But just try going to him with a “Thus saith the Lord”. Confront him with the message of God, that he must repent or perish. Will he continue to be so congenial? You see, it is easier to be quiet, to say nothing, and be an example of a (cowardly) Christian. So the Bible teaches that you must confess with the mouth. Of course the confession must be backed up by the life one lives. This is taken for granted. But confession is not made by example; it is made by the mouth. Moreover it is not to merely confess church membership. It is to confess “Jesus as Lord”. Ah, that is something else. It is to tell your neighbor that you belong to Jesus; He is the Lord of your life. It tells him that you are now a citizen of another Kingdom, and that Jesus is King. To confess that Jesus is your Lord, and mean it, is to immediately classify yourself in relation to the world and your neighbor. From then on when he sees you coming in or going out to work he remembers whose you are, and says to himself, “There is the man who is under the authority of Jesus.” He may have no more to do with you, or he may be won to Jesus. That’s his decision. If you have made yours, if Jesus is your Lord, you will not hesitate to confess it with your lips.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for my silence, and grant me boldness to confess Jesus as Lord. Give me the good sense to speak of Him in a way that honors His name, for in His name I pray. Amen.

MAY 26

“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

The fact that we are brought forth by the word of truth is proof that our own wills have something to do with it. We must hear truth and willfully receive it in being brought to God. Those who have no love for truth will be the object of wrath in the day of judgment. Indeed, I must exercise my will in loving and believing the truth. But whatever part my will plays in my own salvation, it is God’s will upon which I bank my hopes. My will is nothing unless it is predicated upon the will of Him Who created me and Who is to have His own way in the end. My own will is weak, Jesus said that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” But even the will of the spirit is often weak, too. When my own will finally gets turned to precisely the right direction, it isn’t always able to keep the flesh aiming exactly the same way. It is my will to do His will, but of the two, I must rely more upon His than upon mine. What a joy to know that it is His own will to bring me forth, to give me the truth and to make me one of His immortal creatures! But herein is a great danger. It is just that we may relax, cease to exercise any will at all and trust God to do His will in spite of us, rather than through the word of truth He gives. It is His will to make us like Himself, but if He should override our wills it would have the opposite effect. For God has a will of His own, and to have man like Himself, man must also have a will. Thus for God to arbitrarily defeat our wills would be to destroy us: without wills we could not be like Him at all. So of His own will He draws us to Himself by the word of Truth. He sets it all before you and says, “This is my purpose for you, that you may have immortality and live forever in My likeness. This is My will. What is yours?” And if you choose the same will, then you have all the power of Heaven on your side, for you have the will of God and the word of truth, which at €every instant draws you more and more into that Holy Will. Think of the Creator’s will, and let His word dwell in your mind so that in every decision, in every thought and action, He may bring you forth to His eternal purpose by His own will.

PRAYER: Loving Father, I surrender to Your will. Give me strength through the Holly Spirit to obey Your word, that Your will may be done in my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

MAY 25

“They departed . . . rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name.” Acts 5:41

What a great way we have come since the days of Peter and John. Where are they who rejoice to be dishonored by men for the sake of Jesus? Do we not rather look upon a man and say that if he is worth anything as a man of God he will surely be honored by the world and will be recognized by men? So we have come to exalt that which the world exalts and to count him a failure and disgrace who never shares in such exaltation. But let the world confer their honors upon him and the church rejoices in his victory. Not victory over the world, as Jesus won, and said “I have overcome the world,” but victory over the reproach he might have suffered had he not gained the world’s honor! Jesus forewarned us that we would suffer the reproach and persecution of the world if we chose to follow Him whose Kingdom is not of this world. “If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me . . . If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18, 20). You are to expect the world to oppose you because you reject its aims and refuse to worship its God. You are to suffer, He said, and then rejoice in it. (Matthew 5:12). But man, in his wisdom, has reasoned that suffering and rejoicing do not mix and that the world can more easily be won by rejoicing than by suffering. Presto! He will be a Christian and win the esteem of the world at the same time. No suffering. No dishonor for the Name. O the subtle power of Satan, who so cleverly turns the minds of the saints from the goal of God to the idols of the world! Nevertheless, the apostles Peter and John rejoiced when the council of the enemies dishonored them because they were faithful to Jesus. They knew which side they were on, and that to be hated and cursed by Satan’s team meant that the cause of Christ was making its mark on them! There is no cause for rejoicing when the enemy takes no notice of you. God can hardly be pleased to have you taking a neutral position. But when the world feels the effect of your telling witness and turns angrily upon you with a blow, rejoice!

PRAYER: Father make me deaf to the voice of the world that I might clearly hear Your call. Grant me boldness to exalt the name of Jesus, that men might know that He is Lord. In His name, Amen.

MAY 24

“Great peace have they that love thy law.” Psalm 119:165

Peace of mind is one of the world’s most sought after treasures. Millions of books are written on the subject and people devour them greedily, always seeking some new formula for the evasive peace. Some travel half way around the world seeking peace of mind from heathen philosophers. Surely God did not intend for men’s minds to be in turmoil, filled with anxieties, fears, confusion and questions. So He has given the means of peace—His law. Why, then, is peace so hard to come by? The answer is that men do not love His law. Peace does not come from merely keeping some of God’s laws, but from loving the law. It is one thing to obey a commandment, it is another to enjoy obeying it and love doing so. A man who refrains from stealing but does not enjoy being honest in all things may observe the law against theft, yet not love it. And how many people keep the law against adultery while all the time wishing they could break it? They have no peace, not because they do not keep God’s law but because they do not love it! God’s laws reflect God’s nature. Therefore the person who loves God will love the laws God has given, for in keeping these laws he becomes more and more like the Author of them. He has peace in his mind because there is no conflict there; what God commands is what he desires to do. His godliness is not a mere legal observance in slavish fear, but the joyful exercise of just what he loves to do. If the commandment is hard to keep it is only because we are far from the One Who gave it, and it leads us back into His way; hence we love it all the more. None who despise His way will have eternal life, for there everyone will live under His law, in perfect fellowship with Him as He designed. God is love; all His laws are bonds of love to bind us to Him. If you would know peace, learn to love His law.

PRAYER: O God, show me where I have sinned against your commands, and se€t me back on the path to righteousness. Cleanse me from every wrong desire, that I might delight in Your law. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

MAY 23

“For thou, Jehovah, alone makest me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

What is safety? A more familiar term is security. There is a madness in the world for obtaining material security, as if one could reach a point where every need would be supplied without any further effort; as if by the stroke of some mighty official pen some human power would begin to automatically dispense not only the necessities of life but the luxuries as well. Of course the more men look for such a solution to the problem of security, the less security they find, because they are looking in the wrong direction, and the farther down that road they travel, the farther they get from the right answer. It is Jehovah alone who makes men dwell in security. It is He alone who really knows what we need in the first place. It is He alone Who created all matter from which man is to derive material needs. Does the amassing of wealth bring security? As Gershwin put it, “Folks wid’ plenty o’ plenty got a lock on de do’: ’fraid somebody’s a gwine to steal it while they’s out a makin’ more—what for?” Obviously to possess is not security. But to belong to the Maker and Owner of all things is. God is not impoverished by inflation nor depression. One who depends on God for his supply of daily bread will not worry over losing his wealth, for it is in God’s hand where no thief can break through and steal.

The real threat to security is death and judgment. Deep in man’s conscience always lurks the fear of death and his feeling of insecurity remains until this fear is erased. God has warned that man faces eternal destruction for having sinned against Him. How can men be such fools to think that the government can legislate “security” and guarantee "freedom from fear" for mankind which lives under the threat of destruction by the Creator Himself? Only God can make such a guarantee, and that is exactly what He has done through Jesus. “The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7). One who exercises faith in Jesus can say with the psalmist: “For thou, Jehovah, alone makest me dwell in safety.” God will give him what he needs for this world, and secure him from its ultimate destruction. This is real security!

PRAYER: O God, strengthen my faith that I may remain safely in Your care forever. I ask this in the name of Jesus, who died in my place. Amen.

MAY 22

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Jesus goes on to say that “he that is a hireling, and not a shepherd whose own the sheep are not, beholdeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth, and the wolf snatcheth them . . . because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” The world has plenty enough of hirelings. They will risk nothing for the sheep because they have no real investment in them. They teach or preach or serve only as a way to make a living. They apply all the technology of the ministry in order to become successful at it. The sheep are valuable only as a means of fulfilling the hireling’s purpose. The more sheep the greater the hireling’s success. But let difficulty arise and he’s off to another flock. When there is controversy his concern is not the safety of the sheep but his own safety in the market place where hirelings are hired. But Jesus is no hireling. Jesus never considered himself merely a teacher or leader; he had an attitude of possession toward his followers. He considers the sheep His own. Each one is bought with a price, the price of His own life’s blood poured out on Calvary. Therefore Jesus has a great investment in you. When the wolf comes He will lay down His life for the sheep, for that is exactly what He has already done. And what did He receive for it? Scorn, hate, suffering and mocking! In the world’s eye He was a miserable failure, despised and rejected, a man of sorrows. Why, then, did He do it? Because He is the good shepherd. This is the lesson: The hireling deserts the sheep “because he is a hireling.” Jesus gives His life for His sheep, because He is “the good shepherd.” We think of Him as exalted, glorified, immortal, at the right hand of God and soon to return in glory. But such was not always the case. Because of my sin He suffered the shame and horror of hell to rescue me from destruction. Here is His goodness, that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And even since, I haven’t been such a good sheep, but I belong to the Good Shepherd. He has a stake in me. Therefore I will fear no evil: the Lord is my Shepherd.

PRAYER: Mighty God, and Father of the Lord, Jesus, thank you for delivering me from the grip of sin and the doom of destruction. Give me grace to humbly follow Christ and obey His voice today. Amen.

MAY 21

“I come that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10

The Christian life is the only life that is without fears and anxieties, for it is a life with purpose and Divine help. But Jesus made it clear that the “abundant” life is not to be expected in the environment we now know. “In the world,” He said, “You have tribulation.” He said that His followers would suffer as He suffered. The apostles taught us to expect persecution and by their example we know that the Christian life is not free from pain and burdens. There are false prophets who make merchandise of the Christian way, using it as a way of gain, teaching that to apply some of its principles will make one successful and rich. Indeed, the Christian has peace, joy and hope, and his life may be rich in fellowship with God, but the life Jesus speaks of here is that purchased by His death, the life eternal. (Verse 11). This will be life that is more than anything we now know, life that is immortal in a gloriously transfigured body and in a new creation where there is abundance of all that one can then desire. We now have only a few years of life, and at its very best it is filled with flaws and lacking in the finest qualities. One of the best of men cried out, “Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold, but . . . I press on toward the goal . . .” It was this same Paul who wrote, “If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.” But the life that is to be ours at the coming of Jesus will be something else. It will include all that one can live for, a life which encompasses all that the Creator desired at the beginning. It will also be abundant in duration. In this world there is always a death-shadow; the haunting fact that nothing can be completed in this life for death will end it. But the life received in the resurrection will have no such shadow. We labor in the assurance that whatever is lacking in this life will be abundantly supplied in the new creation.

PRAYER: God, I thank you for life, for this life, and for the wonderful life to come, at the coming of Jesus. Keep me faithful, that I may be ready for that day. In His name, I pray. Amen.

MAY 20

“The thief cometh . . . that he may . . . kill and destroy . . . I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Satan came to man in the Garden with lies for the purpose of causing him to sin and thus to die. Jesus came to man with the truth for the purpose of bringing him to faith that he might live. Of the devil, Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning.” (John 8:44). Of Himself, Jesus, said, “The Son . . . giveth life to whom He will.” (John 5:21). This is the great contrast He always sought to portray; death versus life: Satan the destroyer versus Jesus the Creator. Satan has so blinded the eyes of men that not only do they not recognize his goal as destruction but they employ all of his evil principles and call them the means of attaining the “good life.” When one hears and reads of the many things that are supposed to make him enjoy life, and considers that they are likely to lead him away from faith in Jesus, it becomes obvious that much of the world’s activities are geared to Satan’s objective of destruction. Men awaken early in the morning and rush off to pursue their schemes without a single thought of Jesus. In the executive offices of business they hammer out their tools for gain where Christ is barred and Satan is tolerated with an air of good-will and brotherly love. In the capitals of the world government officials regulate and manipulate their respective citizens for the stated purpose of giving them a “better life.” But again Jesus the giver of life is barred and Satan is given free access. It is no wonder that the more intense their efforts, the more violence and destruction prevail, because they are following the destroyer. Men fear death and hate it. Their every effort is to defeat it, to stay out of its reach and to find someway to expand and enrich life. But they will not find it except in Christ. The Christian has a double duty to perform. We are to follow the Good Shepherd who gives us life. And at the same time we are to raise the alarm that there is a thief, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who is seeking to destroy the flock.

PRAYER: Loving Father, give me the wisdom to recognize the schemes of Satan, and the courage to resist him. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

MAY 19

“I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture.” John 10:9

Enter into the sheepfold to gain freedom! It is the sheep that obeys the shepherd that is led out to pasture for food and back into the sheepfold for protection. He has freedom to enjoy all that a sheep is able to enjoy and thus fulfills his role as a sheep. Such is our case with the Lord. In obeying His voice we will find all that we can enjoy in this world, all its necessities and all its peace and true pleasure. In Christ we have the only real freedom, for only as we live according to God’s laws can we have health, a happy relationship in the world and the safety of ultimate redemption from death. It is a startling fact that men who set their minds on total freedom are the very ones who ultimately foster slavery, for themselves and all of society. The ones who shout loudest for freedom are the ones who would break down all law and order and bring the nation down to slavery in the chains of socialism or anarchy. It is the revolutionaries who have for their motto “liberty.” The college professors who are preaching “freedom” in sex are actually seducing millions of youth into slavery, physically, mentally and socially. They have the diabolical idea that freedom is to do as one pleases. But real freedom is to do as God pleases. “It is He that hath made us.” In Christ we may “go in and go out and find pasture”; under His laws we may live as man was intended to live and thus fulfill the purpose for which we are created. The curtailment of freedom always begins when we break the law. This is so whether it be a law of health, a civil law or any of God’s laws. At the heart of God’s law is the law of salvation; that we must believe in Christ and obey His gospel. “If any man enter in, he shall be saved.” We are not saved to be shut up in prison, but to “go in and go out” and do the will of God, and in doing so, we “shall find pasture.”

PRAYER: Thank you Father that there is only one door, so we may know we have entered in the right one. Lead me in the way of Your will today, and keep me in the protection of my Shepherd, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

MAY 18

“And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from for they know not the voice of strangers.” John 10:5

One of the latest additions to the American vocabulary is the term “credibility gap.” It arose from the question of whether or not certain government agencies were telling the truth. But the credibility gap now extends into almost every facet of life. Just what can you believe? Who is really telling the truth? It is a sad commentary on the church that many who wear Christ’s name can hardly tell the difference between the voice of the Shepherd and the voice of strangers. They reject the sheep-shepherd relationship and instead of following Christ would prefer to wander in the pasture of their own choice, seeking out the shepherd only when in dire need and other sources fail. In reality they refuse to be sheep, for the true sheep follow the true Shepherd. Not only do they reject the voice of strangers, but flee from them, refusing to graze within earshot of their voices.

With all the voices in the world shouting for our attention and offering to lead this way and that, we must be able to readily recognize the truth of God. We must know it so thoroughly that false doctrine grates upon our ears like the stranger’s voice to the sheep. Satan makes his ministers appear as “angels of light.” They appear to us from every source today, in the press, on T.V., and even in the pulpit. It is the teaching they bear that identifies them. Much of the confusion in the lives of Christians would immediately end were they to know the word of God so well that the voices of false doctrine would sound “strange” indeed. Then the sheep could flee from them, tune them out or turn them off. We are not to skirt danger and flirt with sin and error, but to remain as far away from it as possible.

PRAYER: Loving Father, open my ears to the voice of Jesus. Help me to hear Him above the din of the world, and lead me in the way of truth and justice and eternal life. Amen.

MAY 17

“And the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10:4

Men do not ordinarily like to be compared to sheep. It is a natural tendency for one to boast of his own strength, boldness and independence. Thus we say that a person is as strong as an ox, brave as a bull, courageous as a lion or fierce as a tiger, and he will accept it as a compliment. But whoever boasted of being sheeplike? Yet it is just this quality that is required of a Christian. The sheep is dependent upon the Shepherd. It makes no effort to chart its own course but willingly follows wherever the shepherd leads and is satisfied with that which the shepherd provides. The key to faithful following of the Shepherd is given by Jesus in these words: “for they know his voice.” The sheep follow the shepherd because they know his voice. It is the voice that identifies him, and the voice they follow. Translated to our lives, this means that we immediately know the difference between the truth of God and the lies of the world. “He that is of God heareth the words of God.” (John 8:47). Of course we must have nothing to do with “spiritism,” seeking to hear voices and looking for special signs. The voice of God is the truth of the Scripture. Jesus said, “the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day . . .” Now, the question is, do you know this word well enough that you recognize it immediately? Do you know it so well that you can easily distinguish Bible truth from all the half-truths and religious-sounding phrases and ideas of men? And do you depend on the Shepherd so fully that you hurry to His voice, the Bible, for a guide in daily living? Then, knowing what He speaks, do you go forth, sheeplike, following wherever that voice leads? It is this, Christian friend, this following the Shepherd’s voice wherever He leads, that will bring you into His eternal fold.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for all the times I have failed to hear my Shepherd’s voice, or refused to follow. Grant me the power to remember His word, and the will to humbly obey it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

MAY 16

“And he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3

Sheepherding is considered one of the lowest and least demanding occupations in the western world. But regardless of what men may think of the shepherd, he is the one person in all the world that is important to the sheep! They depend upon him, as God’s people depend upon Jesus Whom God has made Saviour and Lord. Marvelous are the qualities of the Shepherd, whose sheep we are. He calls His own sheep by name. A college student remarked that when he enrolled in the university he ceased to be a person and became a number. Such is the destructive trend of the world, to reduce men, made in the image of God, to mere impersonal numbers. But God’s desire is to have a personal fellowship with each individual. To Jesus you are not a number: He knows each Christian personally, individually.

“And leadeth them out.” A shepherd does not drive sheep as if they were wild beasts being driven into a trap. This latter is the method of Satan and the world. Men are driven by worldly ambition, greed and lust. We hear people speak of being driven by their work and of even driving themselves too hard. But Jesus drives no one; He leads His sheep. You are never asked to go where Christ has not already gone. He led the way through temptation when He was severely tempted by Satan and resisted each temptation by His stand upon the Word of God. He led the way to obedience to the Father by being “obedient even unto death.” He led the way through death, being raised from the grave on the third day. In this He plainly demonstrates that one who dies without sin—being forgiven through His death—may be resurrected again to life and enter into immortality in the fellowship with the Father. Such is the Shepherd that calls you by name. Are you following as willingly as He is leading?

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for the Shepherd of my life, Christ Jesus, and for the way in which He faithfully leads. Help me to humbly follow, in His precious name. Amen.

MAY 15

“Lord . . . grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness.” Acts 4:29

In view of the conditions that prevailed, this prayer is an amazing revelation of the hearts of the early Christians. Peter and John had just spent the night in the Jerusalem jail house, which surely was no model prison. Upon their release they had been threatened and ordered to cease their preaching. When they returned to the band of Christians, they could not but think of the dire consequences should they continue to preach and so offend the Jews, who held the balance of power both politically and religiously. Here was a church without any local men of prestige on its board, without any impressive church building, despised by the religious authorities and operating against their orders. Undoubtedly they had some who were poor and some who were sick. They faced a world-wide missionary task, and could have used great sums of money as well as great numbers of people to participate in the work. Yet, with all the needs, needs which in the modern church are considered essentials, they asked for only one thing—BOLDNESS to speak the word!

Two things are indicated here. One is that the Word of the Lord was considered by these Christians as far more important than anything else they could know or preach. They were not asking for boldness to march in the street, to picket, nor to preach a social program. They realized that God’s word is the only means whereby man can ever be helped, both for life in this world, and to live in the next. Secondly, they recognized that if God’s word was to be proclaimed, they had to do it in spite of persecution, ridicule and all the obstacles the enemy could place in their path, so they asked for boldness. Do you speak often of Christ and His word? Are you timid and fearful? Then do you ask for boldness?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for fearful silence and grant me boldness to speak your word at every opportunity you give. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

MAY 14

“Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” Luke 1:47

Jesus was accustomed to meeting “Israelites,” at least those who called themselves such. But when He saw Nathaniel, He exclaimed to those in His company, “Behold an Israelite indeed!” Everyone who belonged to one of the twelve tribes who were descendants of Jacob were known as Israelites, for Jacob was named Israel. But this did not mean that they believed in the promise made to Abraham, and confirmed to Jacob that Jesus was to be the Saviour. They delighted in the name of Israel, but took no delight in the faith of Israel. Nathaniel was one who not only wore the name of Israel, he was a man of true faith in God, which included faith in the atonement of Jesus and His exaltation as Lord. He immediately exclaimed, “Thou are King of Israel.” From the beginning of man’s history, God promised a Saviour. This promise was the basis of the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So when Jesus actually appeared in the flesh, all those who wore the name of Israel should have readily received Him, for they were supposed to already have faith in Him. But Nathaniel is the only one on record as an “Israelite indeed.” The expression “in whom is no guile” declares that Nathaniel was not only no hypocrite, but one with such guileless simplicity and trust that he was ready immediately to obey Jesus’ command to follow Him.

When Jesus comes the second time, it will be to gather all those who are truly of Israel; not of the modern nation of Israel, but those who are “Israelites indeed” by faith in Jesus. Millions wear the name Christian, but Jesus knows the true identity of each one, whether or not we are “Christians indeed” and without guile.

PRAYER: O Lord, worthy of all praise and glory, cleanse my heart of all guile and shame. Make me honest and worthy to wear the name of Israel, through Jesus who is my Redeemer and King. Amen.

MAY 13

“Purify your hearts ye double-minded.” James 4:8

Double-mindedness is the most common sin of the nation, and yet the least known. It is simply the sin of trying to aim at two goals, or trying to serve two masters. It is demonstrated in the millions who fill churches on Sunday, but go a different route on Monday. It is seen in those who turn to God and His church only because they fear punishment and not because they have any desire to be like God. While aiming at God and the Kingdom of His Son they really love the works of Satan and kingdom of his world. They tithe, not because they want to bind themselves and all their being to God, but because they are afraid not to tithe. Soren Kierkegaard, in his book Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, says of the double-minded, “He does continually what he really would rather not do, or at least what he has no pleasure in doing.” To put it yet another way, he sets his hope on immortality in the image of God, but in the meantime is pleased to be conformed to the image of the world.

The solution is given by James: “Purify your hearts.” Set your heart wholly on the mind of God. Think what blasphemy it is to say “Thy will be done” and at the same time have your heart set on the world, trying to do the things that win the world’s esteem and delighting in the very sins which God condemns. Do you want a pure heart? Then set your mind on the things that are above; study the ways of God and earnestly seek His way against all the pressure that is exerted by the world in the opposite direction; seek Him with the whole heart. “For God looketh upon the heart.” He knows what you REALLY want. If you pray, “Create in me a clean heart,” then rush off to read Playboy magazine, He sees a double-minded man! “Purify your hearts!”

PRAYER: O God, searcher of hearts, make me aware of all true desires, and cleanse me from everything that is contrary to Your design. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, through Jesus Who bore my sin in death. Amen.

MAY 12

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory . . .” Hebrews 2:10

In the story of the prodigal son the emphasis is not upon the son at all, but upon the Father. He sees the boy while he is still far from the house, runs to him, kisses him and calls for a celebration, saying, “let us make merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:23, 24). It is the Father who had suffered loss. It is the Father who rejoices. It is tragic that we have allowed the purpose of God to be smothered by the concern over troubles of the prodigals. It is God’s purpose that Jesus came to accomplish, that the “dead” sons might be made alive. Christ’s death, resurrection and work as mediator is for the fulfillment of God’s purpose, “in bringing many sons unto glory.” “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren . . . and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29, 30). God was not satisfied with an “only begotten” Son. He desired many sons. When we become brethren of Jesus, then He becomes the “firstborn among many brethren,” and all His work is for the purpose of “bringing many sons unto glory.” Note that it is to glory we are being brought; resurrected as Jesus was, and glorified as He is, to be full-fledged sons of God. And this, not merely because it will please us and give us joy forever, but because it will please the Father and satisfy His eternal desire. Watchman Nee tells the story of a visit to see Mr. George Cutting when he was 93 years of age. The elder saint took Mr. Nee’s hand and said: “Brother, do you know I cannot do without Him? And do you know, He cannot do without me?” Indeed, dear Christian, you are beloved of the Father. Your loss would be greater loss to Him; your ultimate redemption and glory will be glory for Him. Put your trust in Him. Rejoice!

PRAYER: Loving Father, thank you for including me in your eternal plans! Help me to keep my heart set on your purpose, and give me power to tell others about it, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

MAY 11

“In everything give thanks.” I Thessalonians 5:18

It is just such unreasonable commands that make the wisdom of God appear as foolishness to man. Give thanks for sickness? for failure? for financial loss? for the evil done by your enemies? This is the way it reads, and this is what it means. But it is written to those—and only those—who are encompassed in the glorious purpose of God, and it is only as one is himself aware of this purpose and consciously seeking it that he can give thanks for everything. It is God’s purpose to bring me up to His own image, and this He must do in His own way. It is my part to believe that He will do it and He will do so not only in spite of all the bad things—at least that appear bad to men—but He will do so even by means of these very things. Faith is not the quality of foreseeing and understanding how God can do this. Faith is to believe that He will do it. It is to believe that what He has purposed He will do because He is sovereign and will not be robbed of His ultimate goal. The purpose of God is not altered by a spell of sickness, or the loss of a house by fire, or the persecution by our enemies. My faith then is not at all in working myself out of difficulties and making them opportunities; it is faith that these difficulties are opportunities of God and He is already using them for His own purpose. That purpose, to make me fit for Himself, is the only thing that is of ultimate worth; therefore, I will give thanks in everything.

PRAYER: Almighty God, purge me of all doubt and fear and fill me with faith, mold my life to your own infinite will. Help me to accept everything as a product of your work to bring me to yourself, through Jesus my Lord. Amen.

MAY 10

“By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God.” Hebrews 11:3

The base for the modern offensive against Biblical faith is the teaching of “evolution.” Although the doctrine of evolution is not based on any proven fact and, therefore, has no basis in science, still it has become so widely accepted by educators that many people will not question it for fear that they will be considered ignorant. They are worried about how to reconcile the idea of evolution with the Bible. The fact is, the theory of evolution is advanced as a substitute for faith in God and cannot be sustained scientifically. In his book, Twilight of Evolution, Henry M. Morris writes that “the revealed word of God, supported completely by all true science, teaches that the evolutionary principle, as applied to present processes and events, is not only not valid but is essentially impossible.” Dr. Morris is only one of thousands of scientists who accept the Biblical record that God created the worlds by His word. You may ask, why do so many accept evolution if there is nothing to it? The answer to this is found in the simple statement that “by faith we understand . . .” The Bible explains “and even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind . . .” (Romans 1:28). Not having faith to accept the origin described in the Bible, man invented his own explanation. The same Word that teaches the true origin, also tells us that Satan is the one who “deceiveth the whole world” and that he “has blinded the minds of them which believe not . . .” (Rev. 12:9, II Cor. 4:3). We should not be surprised that the majority readily accepts the false and makes it appear to be the truth. How else should we expect the Scripture to be fulfilled which says that because men do not love the truth “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”? (II Thess. 2:11). Do not waste effort trying to reconcile the Bible to men’s changing and erroneous theories. You received Christ by faith, by faith believe in His word and walk in Him.

PRAYER: Mighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, thank You for revealing in your word the great truths of man’s origin and destiny. May glory and honor be Yours before all creation. Give me grace to abound in the faith which You have made possible through Jesus, my Redeemer. Amen.


“No man can come unto me except the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

The Saviour then added, “It is written in the prophets, and they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father and hath learned, cometh unto me.” This is a specific statement that no one comes to Christ except through the knowledge of the Word of God. James writes, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth.” (James 1:18). In spite of all this, it is the Word of Truth, the Bible, that is under attack today by leading clergymen and some of the major churches and church organizations. As one liberal preacher put it, “Our difference seems to be this: You look upon the Bible as the final authority, and we look upon it as a guide.” Indeed, this is the difference, and I might add that this is the difference between getting to Christ and not getting to Christ! The relationship between God and man must be one in the mind. Certainly it is not a physical one! The disobedience of Adam was to reject what God had in His mind and to decide on another course, in opposition to the Creator’s desire. Jesus said, “They that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). There is no other way of approaching the invisible God, except to receive the revelation He has given and respond to it sincerely and truthfully, so that a mind-to-mind relationship is established between ourselves and God. It is the most serious offense to reject the Bible as the Word of God and final authority, and yet that is what is happening in the modern religious movement. But wait; is that any worse than to claim to believe it as authority and heed it not? The Father can only draw one to Christ and hence to Himself as that one hears the Word and walks in it. If you believe the Book and yet fail to find peace and joy in Christ, it could be that you give Him no chance to draw you close through His tender voice that sounds through the Scriptures. O friend, let Him draw you, that He may raise you up at the last day into His eternal fellowship.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for your precious Word that revealed yourself to me. Draw me and bind me to Jesus through that living word. In His name, Amen.


“My sin is ever before me.” Psalm 51:3

David does not specify the sin, but we usually think of his sin as that of adultery with Bathsheba followed by the slaying of her husband. Murder and adultery are considered among the worst sins because of the drastic effect upon the lives involved. Certainly either of these acts has far greater impact upon the people concerned than a sin like stealing a small sum, for example. However, all sin is rebellion against God. David said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” God created us to be like Himself. Therefore any thing which stands in the way of this purpose is sin against the creator. That’s why a person may not be guilty of an overt act of sin, but still be a terrible sinner, because his heart is not pure. When we really get an idea of the perfection and holiness of God then we are aware of what miserable sinners we are. That’s what happened to David. Even after being forgiven by God he still saw himself failing to measure up to what God intended him to be. Therefore he kept seeing his sin before him.

David’s prayer not only revealed his knowledge of sin, but his earnest desire for righteousness as well. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” It is not enough to cease from the act of sin. The man who would never steal a dime may be filled with covetous ambition, living for, hoping and longing for more property and possessions. He, too, needs cleansing. The woman who would not dare be unfaithful to her husband may spend many hours reading of lust and relishing the evil in her heart. Thank God, Christ “was made to be sin on our behalf,” and took the punishment for it, so that we might be cleansed. He stands today as the “lamb of God” the ONE who was slain in our place, so that He, too, is ever before us to take away our sins.

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for paying the penalty of my sin in Jesus’ death. Open my eyes that I may see my ways, and correct them. Cleanse my mind from evil thoughts, and my heart from all desire except that I should be like Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.


“Your adversary the devil . . . whom withstand steadfast in your faith.” I Peter 5:8,9

Behind the strife, worry, confusion and violence around us are the malign powers of darkness. Satan, the most subtle of all creatures, is constantly striving to thwart the efforts of every Christian by hidden means. His strategy is to entice the believer from his positive faith, create doubt in his mind, burden him, confuse him and depress him so that he will have no will to resist. He convinces many believers that their problems are insurmountable, that prayer is useless and that all their difficulties stem from natural causes so that they cease to think of them in connection with Satan. When they get to the place where they no longer think he exists, then he has them whipped. God commands us, “Neither give place to the devil.” There are two sides in the conflict and two powers in command. We are told to “be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). One who does not resist the devil in this hour when he displays such great force in the world will be overcome by him. You need no “formula” for withstanding Satan, nor are there “secret” methods to learn at the feet of so-called “deliverance” ministries. God’s word simply tells us to resist him, and to withstand him. Christ has already won the victory, over him, being raised up and set in authority over all things, Satan included. But you must exercise your choice as to whether or not you would still be under the devil’s power. If you are willing for the devil to push you around, he will certainly do so. But if you are tired of his power over you, then resist him, and he will flee. What is your weakness? Temper? Dishonesty? Lust? Lack of faith? Why allow these things to rule? Make up your mind to resist the devil, withstand him “in your faith.” It’s up to you.

PRAYER: Father, receive my praise and thanksgiving for Jesus, Who destroyed the power of Satan and now rules over the world. Make me strong to resist the devil and cling to the Christ until He comes again. I pray in His name. Amen.


“. . . reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11

“Reckoning” in Greek refers to keeping accounts, bookkeeping. Now, we know that accounting must be accurate or it is no good at all. I mean that if you receive eleven dollars, you cannot enter the sum of nine dollars in the account and call that book-keeping; you must enter the exact amount of eleven. Paul wrote in Romans 6 that we are baptized into Christ’s death. Then he adds, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him . . . that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin for he that hath died is justified from sin.” (verses 6,7). Upon this basis we are to “reckon” that we are dead to sin, because Christ actually died our death, meeting the just penalty for sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). He did not die for only a few of our sins, but for all sin. He did not die only partially, but “poured out His soul unto death.” (Isaiah 53:12). Therefore we can “reckon,” or enter into the account, that we are dead to sin; all the penalty is paid and we can rest in full assurance that the account is settled “in Christ Jesus.” The next verse tells us: “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey the lusts thereof.” Reckoning that we are dead to sin doesn’t mean that it is impossible for us to commit any more sins. It is a question of whether or not we let sin reign after such a terrible price being paid because of it. When the devil tempts you to sin, start reckoning. “What has Satan ever done for me? What has sin done for me but demand the penalty of death? But Christ has done everything. He is the One who has justified me by taking my punishment.” Therefore, by such reckoning, sin is overruled, in order that we might be “alive unto God in Christ Jesus.”

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I yield myself to the reign of Christ; give me power to resist Satan, and power to obey your will, that sin may not have any control in my life. I ask this in the name of Jesus who purchased my pardon. Amen.


“And after he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain to pray: and when even was come, he was there alone.” Matthew 14:23

It is estimated that within another decade our national parks will be so crowded that space will have to be rationed and each family will be allowed facilities only once in so many years. Indeed, the “world is too much with us.” How are we going to be alone for prayer and meditation? Alvin Reed writes, “Now if Jesus needed this time of prayer and communion with God, surely we do also. But the multitudes are constantly with us! We have a difficult time trying to schedule a meeting on any night, because so many of us are involved in so many activities. In an effort to help our youth develop socially as well as academically, our schools have athletic activities, concerts, parties, programs and PTA’s, as well as rehearsals for such, which require that nearly every family in the community must adjust their schedules accordingly. . . . Finally we do get a night at home with the family, and before the evening meal is over we invite the multitude in upon us again via T.V. . . .” The picture Mr. Reed has given is not the least overdrawn. We can each see ourselves in this frenzy to get it all done and yet have a tag end left at the end of the day to just have a moment’s quiet and rest. The answer is a simple one, but requires some will power. When Jesus was confronted with it, He unhesitatingly “sent the multitudes away.” Probably it wasn’t easy. There were some who wanted to hear more. Perhaps there were some who captured His attention; He would have enjoyed a private conversation with this one and that one. The average person would have lingered on and on as long as there was a soul who demanded it. It took resolve and volition for Jesus to send them away, but that He did in order to be alone. Are you tired of the T.V.? Turn it off! Too many organizations? Activities? But one activity is needful: the work of God. Do not allow the multitudes to rob you of precious communion with God. Send them away!

PRAYER: Lord give me the courage to dismiss the worldly things that obstruct and clutter life, that I may have a fellowship with you, and give a clear witness to the world of such a communion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“For we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25

One of Paul Harvey’s stories is about a man who dreamed that everyone in the world had a million dollars. “Think about it,” he said. “Tomorrow morning you awaken in a world where everybody is a millionaire. You go downstairs for the morning paper. There is none. The newsboy is a millionaire. He doesn’t have to deliver papers anymore. The printer, of course will not print them any longer for he is a millionaire. Your wife is in tears over breakfast because no milk was delivered this morning. The milkman is a millionaire and doesn’t have to work anymore . . . You start driving to the office . . . through completely deserted streets. There are no buses, no cabs, and hardly any cars. Everybody has but one tank full of gasoline left. He’s frantically saving it. There’s not going to be anymore. You see, all of the filling station attendants are millionaires now and have quit their posts . . .” So he relates the terror of a world where no one needs to work because he doesn’t need money. Of course we know that not every one works just for the money, but the object of the lesson is plainly that everyone needs the work that is being done by everyone else. In a very broad sense, we are members one of another in the community. But in a special sense, and this is what Paul means, we who are members of the Kingdom of God are members one of another. We are a community within a community. I know that there are those who are trying to dissolve the church into the general stream of community life, but this cannot be done. We must remain a “peculiar” and separated people if we remain in Christ. We need one another even more in that separated community—the peculiar community within the general community—just for that reason, that it is harder to remain separate than it would be to compromise or drift over to the whole world. Each member must work not only for himself, but for every other member. He needs you, just as much as you need him.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the church, the wonderful fellowship of Your redeemed children. Give me insight into the needs of other members, and don’t let me forget that we are members of each other, through Jesus our Lord, in whose name I pray. Amen.


“Each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” I Corinthians 3:8

It is a mean irreverent doctrine that teaches us not to work for a reward. You sometimes hear a person remark that all he wants is to be saved from hell, that he is not expecting any reward. I am suspicious of anyone who claims to be a Christian but whose only desire is to escape punishment, who has no anticipation of the reward Jesus will bring with Him, and who despises the promises of the Lord who said that “He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him” and “great is your reward in heaven.” The Bible teaches us that not one deed goes unnoticed. Not even a cup of cold water given in the name of Jesus is overlooked by the One who distributes the rewards. This idea of not expecting a reward may arise from the mistaken notion that all our good deeds and efforts are amply rewarded by the fact of salvation. But nothing could be further from the truth. We are not saved by our works, but by the death of Jesus on the Cross. “By grace have ye been saved . . . not of works . . .” (Ephesians 2:8,9). All the good one can do in a lifetime cannot erase one sin. It requires death to pay the penalty for sin, and that Jesus did when He became sin on the tree and died there for every believer. All the good that I may ever do will not amount to so much as one ounce in the scales of justice. Not one single deed will be tallied and applied to my account for sin. Jesus’ death and His death alone atones for my sin. All my sin, mind you, not just the big sins, but every little foolish act, every bad thought, every failure, along with the big ones—Jesus wiped them all out by dying for me. Therefore there is a reward awaiting for all the good that I may do. Even though we are “unprofitable servants,” having done only what we ought to do, Christ in great love and mercy will reward each one individually, as He taught in the parables of the servants. “Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9).

PRAYER: Loving Father, renew my strength, help me to labor and work in your vineyard. May I forget the rewards the world seeks, and have in my mind only to please you and be found faithful when Jesus comes. I pray in His dear name. Amen.


“And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection . . .” Acts 4:33

Whenever we find the apostles in the book of Acts, we find them telling about the resurrection. Paul explained that it was not the resurrection of Jesus only that gave us hope, but that every believer will be resurrected in a glorious and immortal body. It was this great truth that sent the early Christians out with fiery zeal to tell the good news.

Several years ago I was invited to lecture on this subject in an independent Bible College. Every day for two weeks I discussed the resurrection, showing that it was the theme of the Gospels and the New Testament letters. On the last day we read the 21st and 22nd of Revelation, that great picture of man made immortal, restored to a perfect world in total fellowship with God. After this final lecture one of the student preachers was so filled with the thought of the resurrection and eternal life that when he met a friend coming down the hall he grabbed her by the arm and excitedly said, “Think of it! We're going to live forever.” That same weekend he went with other students into a village in Old Mexico and preached through an interpreter. So thrilled was he with the message of immortality that the interpreter caught his zeal, and “with great power” they gave a message of the resurrection, resulting in four young men responding to the gospel call. This is good news, indeed, and explains the growth and spiritual power of the early church. The lethargy and indifference in the church today in large part may be due to the absence of this solitary truth and faith in it. One may hear references to heaven, salvation and hope, but it is the literal, personal, amazing, miraculous resurrection of the dead from the grave that strikes one with such impact that he knows that nothing in the world means so much as redemption in Christ. Have you this assurance? Do not rest until you, too, have this living hope in the ultimate realization of immortality in a resurrected body.

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for the hope of immortality through the Lord Jesus, Who died that I might live. Give me power to bear this witness everywhere, all the time, in the name of Jesus. Amen.


“. . . then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil . . .” Genesis 3:5

The serpent was subtle, indeed, to suggest to Eve that the fruit would make her as wise as God. Had He not created her to be in His image? Had He not created her with intellect and will, that she should be “like Him” in the ability to use intelligence and make choices? Therefore did He not intend for her to be able to decide what is good and what is evil? “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit, and did eat.” The argument of Satan seems valid. But when we look closer we find that it had one great flaw. What Satan is saying is this: “You should not have to let God make your choices. You should make your own rules. You have intelligence and wisdom; use them. Be your own boss; establish your own laws; decide for yourself what is good and what is evil.” Satan’s plan left out the Creator Himself.

Such is the thinking of those who are discarding the laws of God, the morals and the commands of God, and setting up their own. They are deciding for themselves what is good and what is evil instead of believing what God says about it. But God created man after the pattern of His own mind. It is only as man receives the revelation of that pattern—which tells him what is good and what is evil—that he fulfills the intention God had in creating him. It is only as he receives his laws from God that he has any right to exist at all! It is foolish to think that Eve’s sin was in the mere eating of a piece of fruit. She sinned by rejecting the Creator’s purpose for her life and accepting Satan’s rule. It is a common sin today, and is as deadly as ever. When our own reasoning seems better than God’s, we remember that Eve also was deceived!

PRAYER: Lord, I know your commandments are perfect. Give me the wisdom and the strength of will to walk in them, after the example of Jesus Who purchased my pardon on Calvary. Amen.