You Have Captured God’s Heart

As a man rejoices over his new wife, so your God will rejoice over you. ISAIAH 62:5

Have you ever noticed the way a groom looks at his bride during the wedding? I have. Perhaps it’s my vantage point. As the minister of the wedding, I’m positioned next to the groom.…

If the light is just so and the angle just right, I can see a tiny reflection in his eyes. Her reflection. And the sight of her reminds him why he is here. His jaw relaxes and his forced smile softens. He forgets he’s wearing a tux. He forgets his sweat-soaked shirt.…When he sees her, any thought of escape becomes a joke again. For it’s written all over his face, “Who could bear to live without this bride?”

And such are precisely the feelings of Jesus. Look long enough into the eyes of our Savior and, there, too, you will see a bride. Dressed in fine linen. Clothed in pure grace.… She is the bride … walking toward him.…

And who is this bride for whom Jesus longs? … You are. You have captured the heart of God.

When Christ Comes

THE SOUL KILLER

The payment for sin is death. ROMANS 6:23

Sin does to a life what shears do to a flower. A cut at the stem separates a flower from the source of life. Initially the flower is attractive, still colorful and strong. But watch that flower over a period of time, and the leaves will wilt and the petals will drop. No matter what you do, the flower will never live again. Surround it with water. Stick the stem in soil. Baptize it with fertilizer. Glue the flower back on the stem. Do what you wish. The flower is dead …

A dead soul has no life.

Cut off from God, the soul withers and dies. The consequence of sin is not a bad day or a bad mood but a dead soul. The sign of a dead soul is clear: poisoned lips and cursing mouths, feet that lead to violence and eyes that don’t see God …

The finished work of sin is to kill the soul.

from IN THE GRIP OF GRACE

The Name of the Lord

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)

This unique name of God was given to stress the truth that He is timeless. The name “LORD” (Hebrew YHWH = Yahweh, or Jehovah) is essentially the same, conveying the truth that He is the eternal, self-existing One.

The Lord Jesus Christ appropriated this divine name to Himself when He told the Jews: “Before Abraham was |i.e., ‘was born’|, I am” (John 8:58). Correctly assuming that this statement was nothing less than a direct claim to identity with God, the Jews immediately (but unsuccessfully) attempted to stone Him to death as a blasphemer.

As the I Am, the Lord Jesus Christ is, indeed, everything, and He has revealed Himself to us under many beautiful symbols. It is well known that there are seven great “I am’s” in the gospel of John, each of which is rich with spiritual depth of meaning. They can be listed as follows:

“I am the bread of life . . . the living bread” (John 6:35, 51).
“I am the light of the world . . . the light of life” (John 8:12).
“I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).
“I am the good shepherd . . . |who| giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
“I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25).
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
“I am the true vine” (John 15:1).

It is well known that this magnificent self-assertion of the Lord permeates the whole Bible, from its first use in Genesis 15:1, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward,” to its final occurrence in Revelation 22:16, “I am . . . the bright and morning star.” And all these beautiful figures help us to pray more fervently “that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). HMM

And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me

“And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” (John 11:41.)

THIS is a very strange and unusual order. Lazarus is still in the grave, and the thanksgiving precedes the miracle of resurrection. I thought that the thanksgiving would have risen when the great deed had been wrought, and Lazarus was restored to life again. But Jesus gives thanks for what He is about to receive. The gratitude breaks forth before the bounty has arrived, in the assurance that it is certainly on the way. The song of victory is sung before the battle has been fought. It is the sower who is singing the song of the harvest home. It is thanksgiving before the miracle!

Who thinks of announcing a victory-psalm when the crusaders are just starting out for the field? Where can we hear the grateful song for the answer which has not yet been received? And after all, there is nothing strange or forced, or unreasonable in the Master’s order. Praise is really the most vital preparatory ministry to the working of the miracles. Miracles are wrought by spiritual power. Spiritual power is always proportioned to our faith.—Dr. Jowett.

PRAISE CHANGES THINGS

Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer as our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers. I got a great blessing once in China in this connection. I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened. Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: “Try Thanksgiving.” I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return. Yes, the Psalmist was right, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”—Rev. Henry W. Frost.

I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands

“I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands.” Haggai 2:17

How destructive is the hail to the standing crops, beating out the precious grain upon the ground! How grateful ought we to be when the corn is spared so terrible a ruin! Let us offer unto the Lord thanksgiving. Even more to be dreaded are those mysterious destroyers—smut, bunt, rust, and mildew. These turn the ear into a mass of soot, or render it putrid, or dry up the grain, and all in a manner so beyond all human control that the farmer is compelled to cry, “This is the finger of God.”

Innumerable minute fungi cause the mischief, and were it not for the goodness of God, the rider on the black horse would soon scatter famine over the land. Infinite mercy spares the food of men, but in view of the active agents which are ready to destroy the harvest, right wisely are we to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The curse is abroad; we have constant need of the blessing. When blight and mildew come they are chastisements from heaven, and men must learn to hear the rod, and Him that hath appointed it.

Spiritually, mildew is no uncommon evil. When our work is most promising this blight appears. We hoped for many conversions, and lo! a general apathy, an abounding worldliness, or a cruel hardness of heart! There may be no open sin in those for whom we are labouring, but there is a deficiency of sincerity and decision sadly disappointing our desires. We learn from this our dependence upon the Lord, and the need of prayer that no blight may fall upon our work.

Spiritual pride or sloth will soon bring upon us the dreadful evil, and only the Lord of the harvest can remove it. Mildew may even attack our own hearts, and shrivel our prayers and religious exercises. May it please the great Husbandman to avert so serious a calamity. Shine, blessed Sun of Righteousness, and drive the blights away.

The people that do know their God shall be strong

“The people that do know their God shall be strong.” Daniel 11:32

Every believer understands that to know God is the highest and best form of knowledge; and this spiritual knowledge is a source of strength to the Christian. It strengthens his faith. Believers are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as being persons who are enlightened and taught of the Lord; they are said to “have an unction from the Holy One,” and it is the Spirit’s peculiar office to lead them into all truth, and all this for the increase and the fostering of their faith.

Knowledge strengthens love, as well as faith. Knowledge opens the door, and then through that door we see our Saviour. Or, to use another similitude, knowledge paints the portrait of Jesus, and when we see that portrait then we love Him, we cannot love a Christ whom we do not know, at least, in some degree. If we know but little of the excellences of Jesus, what He has done for us, and what He is doing now, we cannot love Him much; but the more we know Him, the more we shall love Him. Knowledge also strengthens hope.

How can we hope for a thing if we do not know of its existence? Hope may be the telescope, but till we receive instruction, our ignorance stands in the front of the glass, and we can see nothing whatever; knowledge removes the interposing object, and when we look through the bright optic glass we discern the glory to be revealed, and anticipate it with joyous confidence. Knowledge supplies us reasons for patience. How shall we have patience unless we know something of the sympathy of Christ, and understand the good which is to come out of the correction which our heavenly Father sends us? Nor is there one single grace of the Christian which, under God, will not be fostered and brought to perfection by holy knowledge.

How important, then, is it that we should grow not only in grace, but in the “knowledge” of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.