My Utmost for His Highest

December 24th

The hidden life

Your life is hid with Christ in God. Col. 3:3.

The Spirit of God witnesses to the simple, almighty security of the life hid with Christ in God, and this is continually brought out in the Epistles. We talk as if it were the most precarious thing to live the sanctified life; it is the most secure thing, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The precarious thing is to try and live without God. If we are born again it is the easiest thing to live in right relationship to God and the most difficult thing to go wrong, if only we will heed God’s warnings and keep in the light.
When we think of being delivered from sin, of being filled with the Spirit, and of walking in the light, we picture the peak of a great mountain, very high and wonderful, and we say—‘Oh, but I could never live up there!’ But when we do get there by God’s grace, we find it is not a mountain peak, but a plateau where there is ample room to live and to grow. “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me.”
When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. When He says—“Let not your heart be troubled,” if you see Him I defy you to trouble your mind, it is a moral impossibility to doubt when He is there. Every time you get into personal contact with Jesus, His words are real. “My peace I give unto you,” it is a peace all over from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet, an irrepressible confidence. “Your life is hid with Christ in God,” and the imperturbable peace of Jesus Christ is imparted to you.

Streams in the Desert

December 24

“And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at eventide.” (Gen. 24:63.)

WE should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement, and quiet waiting upon God. The world is too much with us; we are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in “the calm retreat, the silent shade.” As a people, we are of a very practical turn of mind; “we believe,” as someone has said, “in having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not spent between the anvil and the fire as lost, or much the same as lost.” Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which is set apart for quiet musing, for talking with God, for looking up to Heaven. We cannot have too many of these open spaces in life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet thought or influence it may please God to send.

“Reverie,” it has been said, “is the Sunday of the mind.” Let us often in these days give our mind a “Sunday,” in which it will do no manner of work but simply lie still, and look upward, and spread itself out before the Lord like Gideon’s fleece, to be soaked and moistened with the dews of Heaven. Let there be intervals when we shall do nothing, think nothing, plan nothing, but just lay ourselves on the green lap of nature and “rest awhile.”

Time so spent is not lost time. The fisherman cannot be said to be losing time when he is mending his nets, nor the mower when he takes a few minutes to sharpen his scythe at the top of the ridge. City men cannot do better than follow the example of Isaac, and, as often as they can, get away from the fret and fever of life into fields. Wearied with the heat and din, the noise and bustle, communion with nature is very grateful; it will have a calming, healing influence. A walk through the fields, a saunter by the seashore or across the daisy-sprinkled meadows, will purge your life from sordidness, and make the heart beat with new joy and hope.

“The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
Out in the fields with God.”

Christmas Eve


O Christmas, merry Christmas,
  Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
  With its joy and with its pain!
There’s a minor in the carol
  And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
  With the holly wreath tonight.
And the hush is never broken
  By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
  To the “bells across the snow.”

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
  ’Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
  With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing,
  As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
  Of the crown on each dear brow,
There would be no sigh to smother,
  No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
  To the “bells across the snow.”

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
  This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
  Of our unshadowed glee,
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
  Sweet herald, of good will,
With holy songs of glory
  Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
  And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
  To the “bells across the snow.”

—Frances Ridley Havergal.

365 days with Newton


God with us

‘Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’ Isaiah 7:14

As fallen creatures, God is against us and we are against him. But in the Messiah he is reconciled—God with us. He is God in our nature still. He suffered as a man, and as a man he now reigns on the throne of glory, exercises all power and receives all spiritual worship both in heaven and upon earth. He is the head of principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, and has a name above every name [Philippians 2:9]. Thus man is not only saved but enabled, brought into the nearest relation to him that sitteth upon the throne, and can say, He is our Lord, our Shepherd, our Saviour, our Friend, Emmanuel, God with us.
What a cold assent is paid to this doctrine by many who profess to receive it as a truth! What a strong foundation for the faith and hope of those who have put their trust in him. How awful the state of those who reject him and say in their hearts, We will not have this man to reign over us [Luke 19:14]. He is now manifested as a Saviour—hereafter he will appear as a Judge. Embrace his golden sceptre, lest you are broken by his rod of iron!
Sweeter sounds than music knows
Did the Lord a man become
Charm me, in Emmanuel’s name;
That he might the law fulfil,
All her hopes my spirit owes
Bleed and suffer in my room,
To his birth, and cross, and shame.
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?

When he came the angels sung
No, I must my praises bring,
‘Glory be to God on high’,
Though they worthless are, and weak;
Lord, unloose my stammering tongue,
For should I refuse to sing
Who should louder sing than I?
Sure the very stones would speak.

         O my Saviour, Shield, and Sun,
         Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
         Every precious name in one;
         I will love thee without end.


My Utmost for His Highest

December 23rd

How can I personally partake in the atonement?

But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Gal. 6:14.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ always forces an issue of will. Do I accept God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Christ? Have I the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be identified with His death, to be killed right out to all interest in sin, in worldliness, in self—to be so identified with Jesus that I am spoilt for everything else but Him? The great privilege of discipleship is that I can sign on under His Cross, and that means death to sin. Get alone with Jesus and either tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you; or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death. Immediately you transact in confident faith in what Our Lord did on the Cross, a supernatural identification with His death takes place, and you will know with a knowledge that passeth knowledge that your ‘old man’ is crucified with Christ. The proof that your ‘old man’ has been crucified with Christ is in the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ.
Every now and again, Our Lord lets us see what we would be like if it were not for Himself; it is a justification of what He said—“Without Me ye can do nothing.” That is why the bedrock of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. We mistake the ecstasy of our first introduction into the Kingdom for the purpose of God in getting us there; His purpose in getting us there is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means.

Streams in the Desert

December 23

“The journey is too great for thee.” (1 King 19:7)

AND what did God do with His tired servant? Gave him something good to eat, and put him to sleep. Elijah had done splendid work, and had run alongside of the chariot in his excitement, and it had been too much for his physical strength, and the reaction had come on, and he was depressed. The physical needed to be cared for. What many people want is sleep, and the physical ailment attended to. There are grand men and women who get where Elijah was—under the juniper tree! and it comes very soothingly to such to hear the words of the Master: “The journey is too great for thee, and I am going to refresh you.” Let us not confound physical weariness with spiritual weakness.

“I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.

“Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without an asking if I may,
Without ever trying to trust and pray?

“Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did a mother deny you, needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?

“Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she set her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?

“Ah, how quick was her mother love to see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray,
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:

“Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother’s breast,
He knows all about it—the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;

“Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.

“He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits of poor weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,

“When He bade them sleep and take their rest,
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed—
You’ve given your life up to Him to keep,
Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep.”

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