My Utmost for His Highest

June 4th

The never-failing God

For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5.

What line does my thought take? Does it turn to what God says or to what I fear? Am I learning to say not what God says, but to say something after I have heard what He says? “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
“I will in no wise fail thee”—not for all my sin and selfishness and stubbornness and waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never fail me? If I have listened to this say-so of God’s, then let me listen again.
“Neither will I in any wise forsake thee.” Sometimes it is not difficulty that makes me think God will forsake me, but drudgery. There is no Hill Difficulty to climb, no vision given, nothing wonderful or beautiful, just the commonplace day in and day out—can I hear God’s say-so in these things?
We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and by, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God’s say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways.

Streams in the Desert

June 4

“The Lord caused the sea to go back … all that night.” (Exod. 14:21)

IN this verse there is a comforting message showing how God works in the dark. The real work of God for the children of Israel, was not when they awakened and found that they could get over the Red Sea; but it was “all that night.”

So there may be a great working in your life when it all seems dark and you cannot see or trace, but yet God is working. Just as truly did He work “all that night,” as all the next day. The next day simply manifested what God had done during the night. Is there anyone reading these lines who may have gotten to a place where it seems dark? You believe to see, but you are not seeing. In your life-progress there is not constant victory; the daily, undisturbed communion is not there, and all seems dark.

“The Lord caused the sea to go back … all that night.” Do not forget that it was “all that night.” God works all the night, until the light comes. You may not see it, but all that “night” in your life, as you believe God, He works.
—C. H. P.

“All that night” the Lord was working,
  Working in the tempest blast,
Working with the swelling current,
  Flooding, flowing, free and fast.

“All that night” God’s children waited—
  Hearts, perhaps in agony—
With the enemy behind them,
  And, in front, the cruel sea.

“All that night” seemed blacker darkness
  Than they ever saw before,
Though the light of God’s own presence
  Near them was, and sheltered o’er.

“All that night” that weary vigil
  Passed; the day at last did break,
And they saw that God was working
  “All that night” a path to make.

“All that night,” O child of sorrow,
  Canst thou not thy heartbreak stay?
Know thy God in darkest midnight
  Works, as well as in the day.

—L.S.P

365 days with Newton

4 JUNE (PREACHED 2 JUNE 1771)

A sad choice

‘And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.’ Genesis 13:10–11
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Luke 18:18–30

Lot’s choice: though he feared the Lord, his great possessions blinded his judgement. He made too light of the privilege of dwelling with Abraham and was more intent upon providing well for his cattle than for himself. Because the land of Sodom was well watered and fruitful, he went to reside there, though they were notoriously wicked. See what was the consequence—he was soon involved in the effects of war. He had not been long in Sodom before he was taken prisoner and lost all his flocks and herds which had occasioned the strife and had tempted him to take up his dwelling in a place where there was no fear of God. He recovered them afterwards, but this was owing to Abraham’s kindness, who forgot the slight put upon him and undertook his rescue. While he dwelt in Sodom his soul was daily grieved with the wickedness of the inhabitants [2 Peter 2:8], and while Abraham was honoured, he was despised, opposed and persecuted for his profession’s sake. At last he saw the place he had chosen destroyed with fire from heaven [Genesis 19:24] and he was glad to escape for his life, leaving all his substance behind him.
FOR MEDITATION:
How hurtful was the choice of Lot,
Yet still he seemed resolved to stay
Who took up his abode
As if it were his rest;
(Because it was a fruitful spot)
Although their sins from day to day
With them who feared not GOD!
His righteous soul distressed.

A prisoner he was quickly made,
Awhile he stayed with anxious mind,
Bereaved of all his store;
Exposed to scorn and strife;
And, but for Abraham’s timely aid,
At last he left his all behind,
He had returned no more.
And fled to save his life.

SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 25 [3/4], GENESIS 13:12–13

WHO CARES?

As many as received Him to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that
believe on His name. JOHN 1:12

Depersonalization, estrangement, isolation, the lonely crowd-these are the terms that characterize our age.

We play the role. We pretend that it doesn’t matter. But inside we’re alone, desperately alone. We seek acceptance and identity in strange ways. We join street gangs, organizations, societies, bridge clubs, peace marches, protest groups, country clubs, service associations, political parties and even churches.

Yet we remain dissatisfied, unfulfilled, unloved. Beneath our thin facade of sophistication we battle disconcerting doubts, haunting fears, and crippling anxieties. Silently we cry out for someone who will listen, who will understand, who will care.

Many of us conclude with the Psalmist of old, I look to the right and watch, but there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me, no man cares for me. (Psalm 142:4).

Is there, then, anyone who cares?
Is there perhaps someone beyond the world who cares?
Is there even anybody out there?

If there is, is it possible that He, the great infinite God of the universe, is even aware of the individual member of the species homo sapiens on His microscopic planet Earth, let alone concerned?

Jesus Christ-who, confessedly, must be a liar, a lunatic, a legend, or the truth-once asked, What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8: 36).

He plainly implies, in other words, that the soul of one man out values the combined worth of all the world’s treasures. He asked, moreover, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?

And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10: 29-31).

Not only is the God of the universe aware of us, He has numbered the hairs of our heads. To God, the individual matters, matters so much that, He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

To become one of “his own” you must abandon the facade and admit you, too are a lost sinner. You must repent of your sin, be willing to turn from it. You must invite Him to become your Shepherd, and your Lord.

You must ask Him to make you a child of the heavenly Father. You must believe that He will. To deny God’s ability or longing to meet your deepest needs is to deny the authority of His Son. It is to deny the unanimous
testimony of His children down through the centuries.

To accept His offer of love is to find your hope for real peace and real assurance in this age of insecurity. To do so is to find authentic personal identity. It is to find a Friend who has said, I will never fail you or forsake you.

Who cares? God does.
He sent His Son to die for you.
He raised His Son to live in you.
He brought this message to you.

What is truth – John 18:38

In John 18:38, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” That question is one of the best questions asked in the entire Bible…and it was asked by an unbeliever. “What is truth?” The answer to this question is very important since various religions, secular movements, ideologies, etc., all claim to ultimately base their presuppositions on the answer to that question. Of course, in Christianity, we hold to the truth that Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9), that He died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and that on the cross He bore our sins in his body (1 Pet. 2:24).
But truth to others can consist of believing there is no God, to believe God came from another planet (Mormonism), to God being an eternal divine essence emanating in the universe (New Age), to whatever other position that the human mind can conjure up. The problem is that they cannot all be true since truth does not contradict itself. God cannot be a man from another planet and NOT a man from another planet. We cannot have God exist and not exist.
So, what is truth? I like to say that truth is what corresponds to reality. Look at it this way. Reality exists. Reality is not an illusion (if it were, the statement “reality is an illusion” would be an illusion and not true). Therefore, truth is that which conforms to reality. Truth is not self contradictory and truth exists. Since truth exists and is not self contradictory, it is absolute. Therefore, what is absolutely true is that which corresponds to absolute reality.
Is it reality that Jesus is God? that He rose from the dead? that He walked on water? Yes, yes, and yes. Of course, there are those who will disagree with these statements. To do so, they would have to say that they are not ‘real,’ they are not true. But that is another subject for another time.
The Bible does not defend itself as the truth. It simply assumes it is the truth. It assumes that it is the revelation of God who is true and the creator of reality. It is self attesting and carries the prophecies, fulfillment, and history of Jesus who, according to the eyewitnesses, died and rose from the dead. The fact is that truth corresponds to reality in the Bible. The Disciples preached and taught based upon the resurrection. Their “truth” reflected the “reality” of Christ conquering death.
When Pilate asked “What is truth,” the answer could easily have been, Jesus is the truth (John 1:17; 16:4).

Author Scott Austin Tirrell

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