My Utmost for His Highest

August 2nd

The discipline of difficulty

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33.

An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High … there shall no evil befall thee”—no plague can come nigh the place where you are at one with God.
If you are a child of God, there certainly will be troubles to meet, but Jesus says do not be surprised when they come. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world, there is nothing for you to fear.” Men who before they were saved would scorn to talk about troubles, often become ‘fushionless’ after being born again because they have a wrong idea of a saint.
God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute. The temptation is to face difficulties from a commonsense standpoint. The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God.

Streams in the Desert

August 2

“I will make all my mountains a way.” (Isa. 49:11.)

GOD will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross—we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.
“Oh, fools, and slow of heart!” These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.
Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable.
Go back; submit thy self. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there. We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. “God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven”; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.—Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer.

“The meaning of trial is not only to test worthiness, but to increase it; as the oak is not only tested by the storms, but toughened by them.”

365 days with Newton

2 AUGUST (VERSE 18 PREACHED 1 FEBRUARY 1767)

King of righteousness and peace

‘For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.’ Hebrews 7:1–3
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Titus 3:3–8

Melchizedek was king of Salem, most probably Jerusalem, though commentators are divided. This city was governed by a priest and servant of the most High God, afterwards possessed by the Jebusites, then the seat of the temple of God, at length totally destroyed and lays waste to this day. Thus the Lord is not confined to places. Thus we should learn not to depend upon outward privileges—they may be soon taken away—nor to give up hope of any because dark at present, for he can soon command the light to shine. The Apostle takes notice of the names—Melchizedek: Melchi Salem—King of Righteousness and King of Peace. Under these characters we have a type of Jesus:
(i) he is King of Righteousness, the perfector of righteousness in himself (Psalm 45:6), the author of righteousness to his people (Jeremiah 23:5).
(ii) he is King of Peace (Isaiah 9:6; Ephesians 2). To him poor sinners are to look for those needful blessings. He can justify the ungodly and fill the troubled mind with peace surpassing all understanding.
His characters—without descent—show that he was a proper type of Christ’s priest office as distinct from the Levitical priests. They were registered, their genealogies carefully kept, and otherwise they could not be received—a stated time was appointed for their entrance on their office and their discharge—but he was without beginning of days or end of time.

FOR MEDITATION: ‘And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’ (Revelation 19:16).
‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty’ (Revelation 1:8).

SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 28 [2/3], GENESIS 14:18–19

My Utmost for His Highest

August 1st

Something more about his ways

He comes where He commands us to leave.

When Jesus had made an end of commanding His disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Matthew 11:1.
If when God said ‘Go,’ you stayed, because you were so concerned about your people at home, you robbed them of the teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach; as long as you would not obey, you were in the way. Watch where you begin to debate and to put what you call duty in competition with your Lord’s commands. ‘I know God told me to go, but then my duty was here’; that means you do not believe that Jesus means what he says.
He teaches where He instructs us not to.
“Master, … let us make three tabernacles.”
Are we playing the spiritual amateur providence in other lives? Are we so noisy in our instruction of others that God cannot get anywhere near them? We have to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us in regard to His Son, He wants to turn our times of prayer into mounts of transfiguration, and we will not let Him. When we are certain of the way God is going to work, He will never work in that way any more.
He works where He sends us to wait.
“Tarry ye … until …” Wait on God and He will work, but don’t wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told.
These are phases of His ways we rarely recognize.

Streams in the Desert

August 1

“Surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead.” (Romans 6:13.) (Weymouth.)

I WENT one night to hear an address on consecration. No special message came to me from it, but as the speaker kneeled to pray, he dropped this sentence: “O Lord, Thou knowest we can trust the Man that died for us.” And that was my message. I rose and walked down the street to the train; and as I walked, I pondered deeply all that consecration might mean to my life and—I was afraid. And then, above the noise and clatter of the street traffic came to me the message: “You can trust the Man that died for you.”
I got into the train to ride homeward; and as I rode, I thought of the changes, the sacrifices, the disappointments which consecration might mean to me and—I was afraid.
I reached home and sought my room, and there upon my knees I saw my past life. I had been a Christian, an officer in the church, a Sunday-school superintendent, but had never definitely yielded my life to God.
Yet as I thought of the darling plans which might be baffled, of the cherished hopes to be surrendered, and the chosen profession which I might be called upon to abandon—I was afraid.
I did not see the better things God had for me, so my soul was shrinking back; and then for the last time, with a swift rush of convicting power, came to my innermost heart that searching message:
“My child, you can trust the Man that died for you. If you cannot trust Him whom can you trust?”
That settled it for me, for in a flash I saw that the Man who so loved me as to die for me could be absolutely trusted with all the concerns of the life He had saved.
Friend, you can trust the Man that died for you. You can trust Him to baffle no plan which is not best to be foiled, and to carry out every one which is for God’s glory and your highest good. You can trust Him to lead you in the path which is the very best in this world for you.—J. H. McC.

“Just as I am, thy love unknown,
Has broken every barrier down,
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine ALONE,
O Lamb of God, I come!”

“Life is not salvage to be saved out of the world, but an investment to be used in the world.”

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