My Utmost for His Highest

September 7th

Springs of benignity

The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water. John 4:14.

The picture Our Lord gives is not that of a channel but a fountain. ‘Be being filled,’ and the sweetness of vital relationship to Jesus will flow out of the saint as lavishly as it is imparted to him. If you find your life is not flowing out as it should, you are to blame; something has obstructed the flow. Keep right at the Source, and—you will be blessed personally? No, out of you will flow rivers of living water, irrepressible life.
We are to be centres through which Jesus can flow as rivers of living water in blessing to everyone. Some of us are like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out, because we are not rightly related to the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive from Him, He will pour out through us, and in the measure He is not pouring out, there is a defect in our relationship to Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything that hinders your belief in Him? If not, Jesus says, out of you will flow rivers of living water. It is not a blessing passed on, not an experience stated, but a river continually flowing. Keep at the Source, guard well your belief in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow for other lives, no dryness and no deadness.
Is it not too extravagant to say that out of an individual believer, rivers are going to flow? ‘I do not see the rivers,’ you say. Never look at yourself from the standpoint of—‘Who am I?’ In the history of God’s work you will nearly always find that it has started from the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but the steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.

Streams in the Desert

September 7

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1.)

THE question often comes, “Why didn’t He help me sooner?” It is not His order. He must first adjust you to the trouble and cause you to learn your lesson from it. His promise is, “I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” He must be with you in the trouble first all day and all night. Then He will take you out of it. This will not come till you have stopped being restless and fretful about it and become calm and quiet. Then He will say, “It is enough.”
God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. They are intended to educate us. When their good work is done, a glorious recompense will come to us through them. There is a sweet joy and a real value in them. He does not regard them as difficulties but as opportunities.—Selected.

Not always OUT of our troublous times,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN—deeper IN—to our one sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
—Annie Johnson Flint.
We once heard a simple old colored man say something that we have never forgotten: “When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary.”
There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of Divine grace. Thus even the adversary becomes an auxiliary, and the things that seem to be against us turn out to be for the furtherance of our way. Surely, this is to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
—A. B. Simpson.

365 days with Newton

7 SEPTEMBER

None like him

‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ Hebrews 13:20–21
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: John 10:1–18

Let us speak of the Shepherd. Jesus the Son of God, Christ the anointed, is the Shepherd. Herein we may notice:
(i) condescension. The Lord of angels, undertaking to be the Shepherd of sinners.
(ii) love. For his sheep were in a ruined state and must have perished, unless he had paid the redemption price. He is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep.
(iii) authority. Anointed, sent and empowered for this purpose, and having done all in their behalf, he has a right to give them eternal life.
He is the great Shepherd. That great—emphatical—there is none like him, there is no other. He has many under-shepherds, his ministers, by whom as instruments he works, but whatever is effectually done is done by him. He fully and truly answers to the Shepherd’s character. This title is applied to him very early (Genesis 49 [verse 24]). The ancient patriarchs were mostly shepherds, Jacob in particular. He calls the Lord his Shepherd—the Shepherd of Israel. O how happy are his people! The welfare of the flock depends upon the ability and care of the Shepherd. None can shadow forth his qualifications.
FOR MEDITATION:
JEHOVAH is our Shepherd’s name,
Dear LORD, if I am one of thine,
Then what have we, though weak, to fear?
From anxious thoughts I would be free;
Our sin and folly we proclaim,
To trust, and love, and praise, is mine,
If we despond while he is near.
The care of all belongs to thee.

SERMON SERIES: HEBREWS 13:20–21, NO. 2 [2/3]

My Utmost for His Highest

September 6th

Diffusiveness of life

Rivers of living water. John 7:38.

A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fulness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow—“This is the work of God that ye believe.…” God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.
A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river which will flow steadily through you if you remember to keep right at the Source. Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.
Think of the healing and far-flung rivers nursing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up marvellous truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is an indication of the wider power of the river He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.

Streams in the Desert

September 6

“Thou remainest.” (Heb. 1:11.)

THERE are always lone hearth-fires; so many! And those who sit beside them, with the empty chair, cannot restrain the tears that will come. One sits alone so much. There is some One unseen, just here within reach. But somehow we don’t realize His presence. Realizing is blessed, but—rare. It belongs to the mood, to the feelings. It is dependent on weather conditions and bodily conditions. The rain, the heavy fog outside, the poor sleep, the twinging pain, these make one’s mood so much, they seem to blur out the realizing. But there is something a little higher up than realizing. It is yet more blessed. It is independent of these outer conditions, it is something that abides. It is this: recognizing that Presence unseen, so wondrous and quieting, so soothing and calming and warming. Recognize His presence—the Master’s own. He is here, close by; His presence is real. Recognizing will help realizing, too, but it never depends on it. Aye, more, immensely more, the Truth is a Presence, not a thing, a fact, a statement. Some One is present, a warm-hearted Friend, an all-powerful Lord. And this is the joyful truth for weeping hearts everywhere, whatever be the hand that has drawn the tears; by whatever stream it be that your weeping willow is planted.
—S. D. Gordon.

When from my life the old-time joys have vanished,
Treasures once mine, I may no longer claim,
This truth may feed my hungry heart, and famished:
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! THOU art still the same!

When streams have dried, those streams of glad refreshing—
Friendships so blest, so rich, so free;
When sun-kissed skies give place to clouds depressing,
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Still my heart hath THEE.

When strength hath failed, and feet, now worn and weary,
On gladsome errands may no longer go,
Why should I sigh, or let the days be dreary?
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Could’st Thou more bestow?

Thus through life’s days—whoe’er or what may fail me,
Friends, friendships, joys, in small or great degree,
Songs may be mine, no sadness need assail me,
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Still my heart hath THEE.
—J. Danson Smith.

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