YOUR DAY IS COMING

“Continue strong in your faith so no one will take away your crown.” REVELATION 3:11

Some of you have never won a prize in your life. Oh, maybe you were quartermaster in your Boy Scout troop or in charge of sodas at the homeroom Christmas party, but that’s about it. You’ve never won much. You’ve watched the Mark McGwires of this world carry home the trophies and walk away with the ribbons. All you have are “almosts” and “what ifs.”

If that hits home, then you’ll cherish this promise: “When Christ, the Chief Shepherd, comes, you will get a glorious crown that will never lose its beauty” (1 Peter 5:4).

Your day is coming. What the world has overlooked, your Father has remembered, and sooner than you can imagine, you will be blessed by him.

from WHEN CHRIST COMES

Can Eternal Life Be Earned?

Mark 10:17-22

Sometimes teenagers decide on a course of action first and ask for input later. And then, if the response is one they don’t want to hear, they often react negatively. Believers can act the same way toward God.

One day a wealthy man came to Jesus and asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). Having spent his days keeping the commandments, he wanted to know what else needed to be done to secure his position in heaven. The man erroneously believed that eternal life could be earned.

Satan, the great deceiver, promotes the false idea that man can make himself acceptable in God’s eyes. Many of us have fallen victim to the Devil’s lies and approach God on the basis of our conduct or performance. Just like the rich man, we may have thought, God will accept me because I am doing the right things. Or perhaps we have assumed that our good deeds outweigh any wrong we have done.

In thinking this way, we have established our own standard of acceptability and ignored God’s. He says we all have a flesh nature bent away from Him, and nothing we do will pay for our sin debt. Only faith in Jesus, who died in our place, makes us acceptable to God. Through the Savior, we are forgiven of our sins and receive life everlasting. Apart from Christ, we face eternal punishment.

The rich young man chose to walk away from Jesus. How do you respond when the truth of Scripture conflicts with what you believe? Do you embrace God’s standard or turn away to follow your own desires?

Cain and Abel

“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12)

These two brothers stand as contrasting prototypes. Cain was the first child born after the Fall who embraced the “wicked one” in spite of all the firsthand and face-to-face knowledge of God’s redemptive plan and offering of grace (Genesis 4). Cain’s arrogant lifestyle is noted in Jude 8-11. Abel, in contrast, was a man of great faith (Hebrews 11:4) who was both righteous (Matthew 23:25) and a prophet (Luke 11:50-51).

Adam and Eve would have taught the boys (and their other children) about God and the knowledge of the sacrifice (covering of skins) for their own sin. It is clear that sheep were not kept for food (Genesis 2:16) since Cain provided food (as instructed by God—Genesis 1:29). Abel provided clothing and sacrifice.

The events of the Fall would suggest that this sacrifice was an established practice (Genesis 3, the “covering” of skins—the Hebrew word for atonement means “to cover”). Furthermore, the language of Genesis 4:3 (Hebrew translation “at the end of the days”) requires a specified time period when they brought (Hebrew translation “came with”), probably to the door of the garden (Genesis 3:22-24), an offering (used consistently of voluntary tributes to God, Exodus 30:9-10). It is completely parallel to “the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof” as later used by Moses in Leviticus 9:3-10.

Such specified action is hardly accidental. Thus Cain’s rebellion and heinous fratricide revealed an evil heart that would not repent. May God protect us from such evil. HMM III

I will give thee the treasures of darkness

“I will give thee the treasures of darkness.” (Isa. 45:3.)

IN the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns. These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his weaving. “Thus,” we are told by the guide, “do we secure our choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and only his pattern is in the light.”

May it not be the same with us in our weaving? Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.

If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears.—J. R. Miller.

The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some sombre fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.

Spin cheerfully,
Not tearfully,
He knows the way you plod;
Spin carefully,
Spin prayerfully,
But leave the thread with God.
—Canadian Home Journal.

I will make thy windows of agates

“I will make thy windows of agates.” Isaiah 54:12

The church is most instructively symbolized by a building erected by heavenly power, and designed by divine skill. Such a spiritual house must not be dark, for the Israelites had light in their dwellings; there must therefore be windows to let the light in and to allow the inhabitants to gaze abroad. These windows are precious as agates: the ways in which the church beholds her Lord and heaven, and spiritual truth in general, are to be had in the highest esteem. Agates are not the most transparent of gems, they are but semi-pellucid at the best:

“Our knowledge of that life is small,
Our eye of faith is dim.”

Faith is one of these precious agate windows, but alas! it is often so misty and beclouded, that we see but darkly, and mistake much that we do see. Yet if we cannot gaze through windows of diamonds and know even as we are known, it is a glorious thing to behold the altogether lovely One, even though the glass be hazy as the agate. Experience is another of these dim but precious windows, yielding to us a subdued religious light, in which we see the sufferings of the Man of Sorrows, through our own afflictions. Our weak eyes could not endure windows of transparent glass to let in the Master’s glory, but when they are dimmed with weeping, the beams of the Sun of Righteousness are tempered, and shine through the windows of agate with a soft radiance inexpressibly soothing to tempted souls.

Sanctification, as it conforms us to our Lord, is another agate window. Only as we become heavenly can we comprehend heavenly things. The pure in heart see a pure God. Those who are like Jesus see Him as He is. Because we are so little like Him, the window is but agate; because we are somewhat like Him, it is agate. We thank God for what we have, and long for more. When shall we see God and Jesus, and heaven and truth, face to face?

Salt without prescribing how much

“Salt without prescribing how much.” Ezra 7:22

Salt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among His royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by Him. Often are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure.

Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the salt of grace no stint is made, “Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given unto thee.” Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard, and the sweet jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from that. A man may have too much money, or too much honour, but he cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun waxed fat in the flesh, he kicked against God, but there is no fear of a man’s becoming too full of grace: a plethora of grace is impossible. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy.

Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of the Spirit is fulness of joy. Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions, which are unsavoury without salt; it will preserve thy heart which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have much.