My Utmost for His Highest

July 1st

The inevitable penalty

Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the uttermost farthing. Matthew 5:26.

“There is no heaven with a little of hell in it.” God is determined to make you pure and holy and right; he will not allow you to escape for one moment from the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. He urged you to come to judgment right away when He convicted you, but you did not; the inevitable process began to work and now you are in prison, and you will only get out when you have paid the uttermost farthing. ‘Is this a God of mercy, and of love?’ you say. Seen from God’s side, it is a glorious ministry of love. God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but He wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing—the disposition of your right to yourself. The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, His re-creating forces will begin to work. The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you rightly related to Himself and then to your fellow men, He will tax the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road. Decide it now—‘Yes, Lord, I will write that letter to-night’; ‘I will be reconciled to that man now.’
These messages of Jesus Christ are for the will and the conscience, not for the head. If you dispute the Sermon on the Mount with your head, you will blunt the appeal to your heart.
‘I wonder why I don’t go on with God!’ Are you paying your debts from God’s standpoint? Do now what you will have to do some day. Every moral call has an ‘ought’ behind it.

Streams in the Desert

July 1

  “There shall be a performance.” (Luke 1:45)
  “My words shall be fulfilled in their season” (their fixed appointed time). (Greek, Luke 1:20.)

There shall be a performance of those things
  That loving heart hath waited long to see;
Those words shall be fulfilled to which she clings,
  Because her God hath promised faithfully;
And, knowing Him, she ne’er can doubt His Word;
“He speaks and it is done.” The mighty Lord!

There shall be a performance of those things,
  O burdened heart, rest ever in His care;
In quietness beneath His shadowing wings
  Await the answer to thy longing prayer.
When thou hast “cast thy care,” the heart then sings,
There shall be a performance of those things.

There shall be a performance of those things,
  O tired heart, believe and wait and pray;
At eventide the peaceful vesper rings,
  Though cloud and rain and storm have filled the day.
Faith pierces through the mist of doubt that bars
The coming night sometimes, and finds the stars.

There shall be a performance of those things,
  O trusting heart, the Lord to thee hath told;
Let Faith and Hope arise, and plume their wings,
  And soar towards the sunrise clouds of gold;
The portals of the rosy dawn swing wide,
Revealing joys the darkening night did hide.

—Bessie Porter.
Matthew Henry says: “We must depend upon the performance of the promise, when all the ways leading up to it are shut up. ‘For all the promises of God in him are yea (yes), and in him Amen (so be it), unto the glory of God by us.’ ” (2 Cor. 1:20.)

365 days with Newton

1 JULY (PREACHED ON THANKSGIVING DAY, 29 JULY 1784)

Cause for trembling

‘Rejoice with trembling.’ Psalm 2:11
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Hosea 11:1–11

While we rejoice let us remember the causes we still have as a nation to tremble.
(i) God has a controversy with this land. It seems indeed, with respect to a great part of the kingdom and especially of those who are in most estimation for rank, wealth or human wisdom, an undecided point whether the Lord be God, whether he be the Governor and Judge of all the earth or not. Therefore he has withdrawn his blessing. Divisions in our counsels, disappointment in our undertakings followed. But he is merciful and restores us peace. We, alas, are still hardened—the point is not yet acknowledged and there is reason to fear it must be brought to a new trial. And why should it not? Who that loves the Lord can wish that he should desert his cause, and wickedness and infidelity triumph with impunity?
(ii) The actual state of affairs at present: the accumulated burdens on the state, the violence of parties, the generally acknowledged want of public spirit. It is not necessary that we should be destroyed by earthquake, famine or pestilence. It is enough to ruin us if the Lord does not in an extraordinary manner interpose to prevent our destruction. If he leave us to ourselves, we are going, we are gone.
If you speak of the glory and honour of Great Britain as a nation among the nations, you may write Ichabod upon it—the glory is departed [1 Samuel 4:21]. But what is this? The influence of our pride and oppression will not be so severely and extensively felt abroad—nor the profligacy and luxury be so great at home. Perhaps if we were enclosed within the walls of our island, which may possibly be the case, we may become a more temperate and moral, and therefore a more happy, people. I am not sure that these are upon the whole bad times. It is the best time when the best cause prospers most. The truth, I hope, spreads. The kingdom of our God and Saviour is upon the increase.

FOR MEDITATION: This kingdom is not of this world, nor dependent upon kingdoms of the earth. It cannot be shaken. They who belong to it may rejoice, and so far as they live to their Lord, need not tremble, though the earth itself were moved and the mountains cast into the midst of the sea.

SERMON: PSALM 2:11 [3/3] [END OF AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE]

Does Demas get bad press ?

For Demas hath forsaken me.—This once faithful companion of St. Paul had been with him during the first imprisonment of the Apostle at Rome (Colossians 4:14Philemon 1:24); but now, terrified by the greater severity and the threatened fatal ending of the second imprisonment, had forsaken his old master.

Having loved this present world.—Chrysostom paraphrases as follows: “Having loved ease and safety, chose rather to live daintily at home than to suffer affliction, than to endure hardship, with me, and with me to bear these present dangers.” The tradition, however, which relates that he became in after days an idol priest at Thessalonica is baseless. Demas is a shorter form, probably, for the well-known and now common Grecian name of Demetrius.

The present world (aiōna): that is, the present (evil) course of things.

Is departed unto Thessalonica.—From Chrysostom’s words above quoted, Thessalonica was apparently the “home” of Demas. It has been supposed, however, by some, that Thessalonica was chosen by Demas as his abode when he left St. Paul because it was a great mercantile centre, and his business connections were there, and he preferred them, the rich and prosperous friends, to St. Paul, the condemned and dying prisoner. Thessalonica was, at this time, one of the great cities of the empire. It was the most populous of the Macedonian cities, and had been chosen to be the metropolis of that great province. Before the founding of Constantinople, it was evidently the capital of Greece and Illyricum, as well as of Macedonia. It was famous throughout the Middle Ages, and is celebrated by the early German poets under the abbreviated name of “Salneck,” which as become the Saloniki of the Levant of our days. It is singular that the name of its patron saint, “Demetrius,” martyred about A.D. 290 (identified above with Demas), whose local glory (comp. Conybeare and Howson’s St. Paul, chap. 9) has even eclipsed that of St. Paul, the founder of the Church, should be identical with that of the “forsaker” of St. Paul

For Demas hath forsaken me – Demas is honorably mentioned in Colossians 4:14; but nothing more is known of him than what can be gathered from that place and this – that he was at first a friend and fellow-laborer of Paul, but that, under the influence of a desire to live, he afterward forsook him, even in circumstances where he greatly needed the presence of a friend.

Having loved this present world – This does not mean, necessarily, that he was an avaricious man, or that, in itself, he loved the honors or wealth of this world; but it means that he desired to live. He was not willing to stay with Paul, and subject himself to the probabilities of martyrdom; and, in order to secure his life, he departed to a place of safety. The Greek is, ἀγαπὴσας τὸν νὺν αἰῶνα agapēsas ton nun aiōna – having loved the world that now is; that is, this world as it is, with all its cares, and troubles, and comforts; having desired to remain in this world, rather than to go to the other. There is, perhaps, a slight censure here in the language of Paul – “the censure of grief;” but there is no reason why Demas should be held up as an example of a worldly man. That he desired to live longer; that he was unwilling to remain and risk the loss of life, is indeed clear. That Paul was pained by his departure, and that he felt lonely and sad, is quite apparent; but I see no evidence that Demas was influenced by what are commonly called worldly feelings, or that he was led to this course by the desire of wealth, or fame, or pleasure.

And is departed unto Thessalonica – Perhaps his native place. “Calmet.”

Money the root of all evil?

All kinds- sounds much more likely. “For God knows that we are need of certain things for living through this life and directs us to think about the sparrow and flowers and how God takes good care of them and we are of more value. So let us not worry about tomorrow because the evil contained in today is more than enough for anyone of us to have to contend with. Of course this present world runs on money and God knows exactly how to provide everything we need to get through each day. But the world to come will be so much better when we arrive there- Home in reality then.

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