My Utmost for His Highest

October 11th

After God’s silence—what?

When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days in the same place where He was. John 11:6.

Has God trusted you with a silence—a silence that is big with meaning? God’s silences are His answers. Think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything analogous to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking for a visible answer? God will give you the blessings you ask if you will not go any further without them; but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into a marvellous understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, praise Him, He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes. The manifestation of the answer in time is a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you say—‘I asked God to give me bread, and He gave me a stone.’ He did not, and to-day you find He gave you the bread of life.
A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that the contagion of His stillness gets into you and you become perfectly confident—‘I know God has heard me.’ His silence is the proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, He will give you the first sign of His intimacy—silence.

Streams in the Desert

October 11

“As dying and behold we live.” (2 Cor. 6:9.)

IHAD a bed of asters last summer, that reached clear across my garden in the country. Oh, how gaily they bloomed. They were planted late. On the sides were yet fresh blossoming flowers, while the tops had gone to seed. Early frosts came, and I found one day that that long line of radiant beauty was seared, and I said, “Ah! the season is too much for them; they have perished”; and I bade them farewell.
I disliked to go and look at the bed, it looked so like a graveyard of flowers. But, four or five weeks ago one of my men called my attention to the fact that along the whole line of that bed there were asters coming up in the greatest abundance; and I looked, and behold, for every plant that I thought the winter had destroyed there were fifty plants that it had planted. What did those frosts and surly winds do ?
They caught my flowers, they slew them, they cast them to the ground, they trod with snowy feet upon them, and they said, leaving their work, “This is the end of you.” And the next spring there were for every root, fifty witnesses to rise up and say, “By death we live.”
And as it is in the floral tribe, so it is in God’s kingdom. By death came everlasting life. By crucifixion and the sepulchre came the throne and the palace of the Eternal God. By overthrow came victory.
Do not be afraid to suffer. Do not be afraid to be overthrown.
It is by being cast down and not destroyed; it is by being shaken to pieces, and the pieces torn to shreds, that men become men of might, and that one a host; whereas men that yield to the appearance of things, and go with the world, have their quick blossoming, their momentary prosperity and then their end, which is an end forever.—Beecher.

“Measure thy life by loss and not by gain, Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth. For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice, And he who suffers most has most to give.”

365 days with Newton

11 OCTOBER (PREACHED 1770)

More trials, more conflicts, more victories

‘And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here …’ Luke 9:33
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: James 1:2–12

We have Peter’s declaration: it is good to be here. He was struck with what he saw and wished for its continuance. We have from this verse more offers than we can well speak to at present.
(i) When he spoke—as they were departing. Till they were going, he slept, and then he said, O it is good to be here. Thus we usually prize our mercies most when we are just about to lose.
(ii) His judgement—it is good to be here. Such is the effect of a sight of the glory of Christ or a taste of his love: O that this frame, this ordinance, might continue long; O that I could bid the world adieu and come down from the mount no more. Such are the desires of the heaven-born soul. Though imperfect, they are sincere; their hearts are to the Lord, to his presence. Never do they find this sweet satisfaction in worldly goods, or in creature comforts—still there is something wanting, something amiss. But spiritual joys give full and sweet content.
But it must not be yet—you must come down—you must attend to the calling the Lord has placed you in, that your light may shine before men. You must have more trials, more conflicts, and these will open the way to more victories. Be thankful for tastes by the way. Ere long you shall arrive at the Fountainhead.

FOR MEDITATION: Your affliction, my dear Sir, did not spring out of the ground. The season, the measure, the event, are in the hands of him who so loved you, as to redeem you by his blood. To you it is now given, not only to believe in his name, but also to suffer for his sake. He calls you now to a post of honour. Many eyes are upon you; both your friends and your enemies have seen that the Lord has been wonderfully with you in your public life. You will now, I trust, burn and shine in a different situation, to the praise and glory of his grace, and to the increase of your experience and wisdom, power and faithfulness.
John Newton to William Wilberforce, 30 September 1800

[on learning ‘that dear Mrs Wilberforce was dangerously ill’]

SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 6 [3/3], LUKE 9:32–33

My Utmost for His Highest

October 10th

Whereby shall I know?

I thank Thee, O Father, … because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Matthew 11:25.

In spiritual relationships we do not grow step by step, we are either there or we are not. God does not cleanse us more and more from sin, but when we are in the light, walking in the light, we are cleansed from all sin. It is a question of obedience, and instantly the relationship is perfected. Turn away for one second out of obedience, and darkness and death are at work at once.
All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God’s truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know is to stop trying to find out and by being born again. Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up. We read tomes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when one five minutes of drastic obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam. ‘I suppose I shall understand these things some day!’ You can understand them now. It is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming “wise and prudent.”

Streams in the Desert

October 10

“Fret not.” (Psalm 37:1.)

THIS to me is a Divine command; the same as “Thou shalt not steal.” Now let us get to the definition of fretting. One good definition is, “Made rough on the surface.” “Rubbed, or worn away”; and a peevish, irrational, fault-finding person not only wears himself out, but is very wearing to others. To fret is to be in a state of vexation, and in this Psalm we are not only told not to fret because of evildoers, but to fret not “in anywise.” It is injurious, and God does not want us to hurt ourselves.
A physician will tell you that a fit of anger is more injurious to the system than a fever, and a fretful disposition is not conducive to a healthy body; and you know rules are apt to work both ways, and the next step down from fretting is crossness, and that amounts to anger. Let us settle this matter, and be obedient to the command, “Fret not.”—Margaret Bottome.

OVERHEARD IN AN ORCHARD

Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so?”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
—Elizabeth Cheney.

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