A Place for the Weary

Do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has a great reward. HEBREWS 10:35

Is there anything more frail than a bruised reed? Look at the bruised reed at the water’s edge. A once slender and tall stalk of sturdy river grass, it is now bowed and bent.

Are you a bruised reed? Was it so long ago that you stood so tall, so proud? …

Then something happened. You were bruised …

by harsh words

by a friend’s anger

by a spouse’s betrayal.…

The bruised reed.… Society knows what to do with you.… The world will break you off; the world will snuff you out.

But the artists of Scripture proclaim that God won’t. Painted on canvas after canvas is the tender touch of a Creator who has a special place for the bruised and weary of the world. A God who is the friend of the wounded heart.

He Still Moves Stones

Lessons from My Grandfather

Deuteronomy 4:9

Every generation is faced with the choice to live morally or immorally. For this reason, parents and grandparents have an awesome responsibility to pass down the biblical truths and principles that have guided their own lives. I can personally attest to the impact my grandfather’s words had in shaping the way I think.

When I graduated from high school at the age of 17, I decided to visit my granddad, whom I had seen only two times in my life. I had an entire week to spend at his home, and all I wanted to do was listen to him. As he spoke to me, the thing that impressed me above all else was hearing him say, “Charles, obey God. If He tells you to run your head through a brick wall, start for the wall. As you go to put your head through, God will make a hole for it.”

He knew a lot about brick walls and how the Lord makes holes in them. Though his youthful passion had been to preach, he’d had so little schooling that this dream seemed impossible—he didn’t know how to begin. But what my grandfather did was to get on his knees. Then he opened his Bible and learned to read well by practicing. And he began to preach by simply crying out to the Lord for help.

From those humble beginnings, my grandfather began to minister, and he eventually established numerous churches as God presented opportunities. That week of visiting and sharing taught me that when you really want to do the Lord’s will, He will move heaven and earth to show you the way.

Total Abstinence

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)

The command to abstain occurs only a few times in the New Testament, but there are three occurrences which are especially relevant for Christians today. One of these is 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” The Greek word here actually applies to any type of sexual relationship outside of marriage, and the command is not merely for temperance or for “love” in one’s non-marital sexual relationships, but for total abstinence. This exhortation is perhaps needed more today than at any time since the days of pagan Rome, even for Christians and, unfortunately, Christian leaders. But that is not all. In the words of our text, we are also urgently exhorted to “abstain from fleshly lusts,” since these carnal desires are in mortal combat with our very souls. One must avoid situations which might initiate or encourage fornication or its kindred activities.

But even that is not sufficient for the serious Christian man or woman. “Now we exhort you, brethren, . . . Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, 22). The word here means anything that in outward form might appear to be evil, regardless of whether it is really wrong in itself or not. The Lord desires that we “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10) and that we “give none offense” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

A believer cannot afford to be careless in this warfare against his soul. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). HMM

Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die

“Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains a single grain, but if it dies away in the ground, the grain is freed to spring up in a plant bearing many grains.” (John 12:24.)

GO to the old burying ground of Northampton, Mass., and look upon the early grave of David Brainerd, beside that of the fair Jerusha Edwards, whom he loved but did not live to wed.

What hopes, what expectations for Christ’s cause went down to the grave with the wasted form of that young missionary of whose work nothing now remained but the dear memory, and a few score of swarthy Indian converts! But that majestic old Puritan saint, Jonathan Edwards, who had hoped to call him his son, gathered up the memorials of his life in a little book, and the little book took wings and flew beyond the sea, and alighted on the table of a Cambridge student, Henry Martyn.

Poor Martyn! Why should he throw himself away, with all his scholarship, his genius, his opportunities! What had he accomplished when he turned homeward from “India’s coral strand,” broken in health, and dragged himself northward as far as that dreary khan at Tocat by the Black Sea, where he crouched under the piled-up saddles, to cool his burning fever against the earth, and there died alone?

To what purpose was this waste? Out of that early grave of Brainerd, and the lonely grave of Martyn far away by the splashing of the Euxine Sea, has sprung the noble army of modern missionaries.—Leonard Woolsey Bacon.

“Is there some desert, or some boundless sea,
Where Thou, great God of angels, wilt send me?
Some oak for me to rend,
Some sod for me to break,
Some handful of Thy corn to take
And scatter far afield,
Till it in turn shall yield
Its hundredfold
Of grains of gold
To feed the happy children of my God?

“Show me the desert, Father, or the sea;
Is it Thine enterprise? Great God, send me!
And though this body lies where ocean rolls,
Father, count me among all faithful souls.”

Laban said, It must not be so done in our country

“And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.” Genesis 29:26

We do not excuse Laban for his dishonesty, but we scruple not to learn from the custom which he quoted as his excuse. There are some things which must be taken in order, and if we would win the second we must secure the first. The second may be the more lovely in our eyes, but the rule of the heavenly country must stand, and the elder must be married first. For instance, many men desire the beautiful and well-favoured Rachel of joy and peace in believing, but they must first be wedded to the tender-eyed Leah of repentance.

Every one falls in love with happiness, and many would cheerfully serve twice seven years to enjoy it, but according to the rule of the Lord’s kingdom, the Leah of real holiness must be beloved of our soul before the Rachel of true happiness can be attained. Heaven stands not first but second, and only by persevering to the end can we win a portion in it. The cross must be carried before the crown can be worn. We must follow our Lord in His humiliation, or we shall never rest with Him in glory.

My soul, what sayest thou, art thou so vain as to hope to break through the heavenly rule? Dost thou hope for reward without labour, or honour without toil? Dismiss the idle expectation, and be content to take the ill-favoured things for the sake of the sweet love of Jesus, which will recompense thee for all. In such a spirit, labouring and suffering, thou wilt find bitters grow sweet, and hard things easy. Like Jacob, thy years of service will seem unto thee but a few days for the love thou hast to Jesus; and when the dear hour of the wedding feast shall come, all thy toils shall be as though they had never been—an hour with Jesus will make up for ages of pain and labour.

Jesus, to win Thyself so fair,
Thy cross I will with gladness bear:
Since so the rules of heaven ordain,
The first I’ll wed the next to gain.

I will cut off them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham

“I will cut off them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham.” Zephaniah 1:5

Such persons thought themselves safe because they were with both parties: they went with the followers of Jehovah, and bowed at the same time to Malcham. But duplicity is abominable with God, and hypocrisy His soul hateth. The idolater who distinctly gives himself to his false god, has one sin less than he who brings his polluted and detestable sacrifice unto the temple of the Lord, while his heart is with the world and the sins thereof. To hold with the hare and run with the hounds, is a dastard’s policy.

In the common matters of daily life, a double- minded man is despised, but in religion he is loathsome to the last degree. The penalty pronounced in the verse before us is terrible, but it is well deserved; for how should divine justice spare the sinner, who knows the right, approves it, and professes to follow it, and all the while loves the evil, and gives it dominion in his heart?

My soul, search thyself this morning, and see whether thou art guilty of double-dealing. Thou professest to be a follower of Jesus—dost thou truly love Him? Is thy heart right with God? Art thou of the family of old Father Honest, or art thou a relative of Mr. By-ends? A name to live is of little value if I be indeed dead in trespasses and sins. To have one foot on the land of truth, and another on the sea of falsehood, will involve a terrible fall and a total ruin.

Christ will be all or nothing. God fills the whole universe, and hence there is no room for another god; if, then, He reigns in my heart, there will be no space for another reigning power. Do I rest alone on Jesus crucified, and live alone for Him? Is it my desire to do so? Is my heart set upon so doing? If so, blessed be the mighty grace which has led me to salvation; and if not so, O Lord, pardon my sad offence, and unite my heart to fear Thy name.