ETERNAL INSTANTS

You have done good things for your servant, as you have promised, LORD. PSALM 119:65

Eternal instants. You’ve had them. We all have. Sharing a porch swing on a summer evening with your grandchild. Seeing her face in the glow of a candle.

Putting your arm into your husband’s as you stroll through the golden leaves and breathe the brisk autumn air.

Listening to your six-year-old thank God for everything from goldfish to Grandma.

Such moments are necessary because they remind us that everything is okay. The King is still on the throne and life is still worth living. Eternal instants remind us that love is still the greatest possession and the future is nothing to fear.

The next time an instant in your life begins to be eternal, let it.

from GOD CAME NEAR

Requirements of a Godly Influence

1 Corinthians 1:25-31

Have you ever wondered what God’s human history textbook might look like? Who would appear on its pages as the principal movers and shakers of world events? First Corinthians 1:27-28 provides a clue when it tells us that the Lord has chosen the weak and the foolish things of the world to shame the strong and wise. This principle is woven throughout the fabric of biblical history.

A prostitute named Rahab makes a right choice and becomes the ancestor of the Messiah. A widow named Ruth chooses the God of Israel and becomes the great-grandmother of King David. An infertile wife named Hannah pours out her soul to God and becomes the mother of Samuel the prophet. A man called Abram responds to God, leaves his relatives behind, and becomes the father of all who believe. A woman named Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ head and gains for herself an eternal monument in the stream of history.

Who are the truly influential people on this earth? Don’t be deceived by outward appearances. The ones with impact are those who leave all to follow Jesus—the men and women who have proven themselves to be “blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [they] appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

You may not think that your light is very bright by this world’s standards, but when the Lord calls you a luminary, you can agree with Him and keep on shining.

Deadly Sin

“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (1 John 5:16)

Many pastors and other godly leaders have been asked about this verse. Usually, the question is asked from a very personal perspective: “Have I committed this kind of sin?”

This reference does not seem to apply to the famous “unforgivable sin” (Matthew 12:31), since that sin is the final rejection of God’s truth transmitted to all humanity by the Holy Spirit (John 3:19; 16:7-11). In the context of today’s text, John is clearly writing and warning believers that it is possible to commit a sin that is worthy of physical death—a sin so obvious to others that the brethren are not told to “pray for it.”

There are a few such examples in the Scripture.

-The sons of Eli dishonoring the priesthood (1 Samuel 2).

-Korah’s rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16).

-Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5).

-An incestuous church member delivered over to Satan for his destruction (1 Corinthians 5).

-Those who have known the “good things” of God but have withdrawn after having “tasted” them (Hebrews 6:4-6).

-Willful sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth (Hebrews 10:26).

-Returning again to bondage after knowing the freedom in Christ (2 Peter 2:20-22).

All sin produces “death” (James 1:15), and all of us will die because of sin (Genesis 3:19; Hebrews 9:27). But this deadly sin brings about the premature “execution” of a believer when he or she consciously refuses to follow known righteousness and instead chooses open ungodliness. May it never be so among us. HMM III

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24.)

DURING the Civil War, a man had an only son who enlisted in the armies of the Union. The father was a banker and, although he consented to his son’s going, it seemed as if it would break his heart to let him go.

He became deeply interested in the soldier boys, and whenever he saw a uniform, his heart went out as he thought of his own dear boy. He spent his time, neglected his business, gave his money to caring for the soldiers who came home invalid. His friends remonstrated with him, saying he had no right to neglect his business and spend so much thought upon the soldiers, so he fully decided to give it all up.

After he had come to this decision, there stepped into his bank one day a private soldier in a faded, worn uniform, who showed in his face and hands the marks of the hospital.

The poor fellow was fumbling in his pocket to get something or other, when the banker saw him and, perceiving his purpose, said to him:

“My dear fellow, I cannot do anything for you today. I am extremely busy. You will have to go to your headquarters; the officers there will look after you.”

Still the poor convalescent stood, not seeming to fully understand what was said to him. Still he fumbled in his pockets and, by and by, drew out a scrap of dirty paper, on which there were a few lines written with a pencil, and laid this soiled sheet before the banker. On it he found these words:

“Dear Father: This is one of my comrades who was wounded in the last fight, and has been in the hospital. Please receive him as myself.—Charlie.”

In a moment all the resolutions of indifference which this man made, flew away. He took the boy to his palatial home, put him in Charlie’s room, gave him Charlie’s seat at the table, kept him until food and rest and love had brought him back to health, and then sent him back again to imperil his life for the flag. —Selected.

“Now shalt thou SEE what I will do.” (Exod. 6:1.)

She gleaned in the field after the reapers

“She gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.” Ruth 2:3

Her hap was. Yes, it seemed nothing but an accident, but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone forth with her mother’s blessing, under the care of her mother’s God, to humble but honourable toil, and the providence of God was guiding her every step. Little did she know that amid the sheaves she would find a husband, that he should make her the joint owner of all those broad acres, and that she a poor foreigner should become one of the progenitors of the great Messiah.

God is very good to those who trust in Him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us tomorrow, but this sweet fact may cheer us, that no good thing shall be withheld. Chance is banished from the faith of Christians, for they see the hand of God in everything. The trivial events of today or tomorrow may involve consequences of the highest importance. O Lord, deal as graciously with Thy servants as Thou didst with Ruth.

How blessed would it be, if, in wandering in the field of meditation to-night, our hap should be to light upon the place where our next Kinsman will reveal Himself to us! O Spirit of God, guide us to Him. We would sooner glean in His field than bear away the whole harvest from any other. O for the footsteps of His flock, which may conduct us to the green pastures where He dwells! This is a weary world when Jesus is away—we could better do without sun and moon that without Him—but how divinely fair all things become in the glory of His presence! Our souls know the virtue which dwells in Jesus, and can never be content without Him. We will wait in prayer this night until our hap shall be to light on a part of the field belonging to Jesus wherein He will manifest Himself to us.

For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever

“For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.” 2 John 1:2

Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house—this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as He opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation.

What a thousand mercies are wrapt up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms.

Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in Him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.