DEALING WITH THE PAST

Don’t get angry. Don’t be upset; it only leads to trouble. PSALM 37:8

Anger. It’s easy to define: the noise of the soul. Anger. The unseen irritant of the heart. Anger. The relentless invader of silence … The louder it gets the more desperate we become …

Some of you are thinking … you don’t have any idea how hard my life has been. And you’re right, I don’t. But I have a very clear idea how miserable your future will be unless you deal with your anger.

X-ray the world of the vengeful and behold the tumor of bitterness: black, menacing, malignant. Carcinoma of the spirit. Its fatal fibers creep around the edge of the heart and ravage it. Yesterday you can’t alter, but your reaction to yesterday you can. The past you cannot change, but your response to your past you can.

from WHEN GOD WHISPERS YOUR NAME

He Is the Owner

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just . . . he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 18:4-5, 9)

What an awesome statement! The eternal Creator of all mankind asserting His ownership over each man’s soul to do with it what He deems proper.

What is the worth of one eternal soul created in the image of God? The Creator is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. Indeed, the earth and all the galaxies are His, but there is something about a soul that is of far greater worth. A soul can choose, can worship its Maker, and can reflect the very nature of God. Nothing else in all creation has these powers. Yet He owns all souls. He has an unquestionable right to them, and they will never be taken away, for He has created them. Furthermore, their numbers are growing, for He has given His subjects the command and power to reproduce. At each conception He supplies a newly created, eternal soul. Truly, His wealth is great!

How should we respond to His ownership? By obedience! By choosing to act according to His will as revealed in reason, our conscience, and above all, in His written Word, we ascribe to Him the glory due Him. We must jealously guard our affections, reserving the adulation which He deserves for Him alone. We must lovingly care for His creation, including the many fellow souls whom He brings across our paths.

Above all, we must avail ourselves of His gracious provision of mercy and forgiveness through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ. At that point, He performs another creative act, for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature |or creation|: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). JDM

PHYSICAL force is stored in the bowels of the earth

“Out of the spoils won in battle did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.” (1 Chron. 26:27.)

PHYSICAL force is stored in the bowels of the earth, in the coal mines, which came from the fiery heat that burned up great forests in ancient ages; and so spiritual force is stored in the depths of our being, through the very pain which we cannot understand.

Some day we shall find that the spoils we have won from our trials were just preparing us to become true “Great Hearts” in the Pilgrim’s Progress, and to lead our fellow pilgrims triumphantly through trial to the city of the King.

But let us never forget that the source of helping other people must be victorious suffering. The whining, murmuring pang never does anybody any good.

Paul did not carry a cemetery with him, but a chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice. He said, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the service and sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.” Lord, help me this day to draw strength from all that comes to me!—Days of Heaven upon Earth.

“He placed me in a little cage,
Away from gardens fair;
But I must sing the sweetest songs
Because He placed me there.
Not beat my wings against the cage
If it’s my Maker’s will,
But raise my voice to heaven’s gate
And sing the louder still!”

Could the stones cry out?

“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if He who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of Him who created them by the word of His power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of Him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham?

The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that He did for His church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of His word, that He might build us into His temple?

If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance.

The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ Himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us.

Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying Him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation

“His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44

The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement, that his pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell down to the ground.This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Saviour so that he distilled great drops of blood! This demonstrates the mighty power of his love.

It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech, or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously.

No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well;” of itself it flows in crimson torrents. If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in His agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of his agony driving his blood to the heart to nourish himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours him out upon the ground, pictures the fulness of the offering which he made for men.

Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.