MAR 4 – HONOR GOD
Them that honor me I will honor. (1 Samuel 2:30) Do I make the honor of God the great object of my life and the rule of my conduct? If so, He will honor me. I may for a while receive no honor from man, but God will Himself put honor upon me in the most effectual manner. In the end it will be found the surest way to honor to be willing to be put to shame for conscience’ sake. Eli had not honored the Lord by ruling his household well, and his sons had not honored the Lord by behavior worthy of their sacred office, and therefore the Lord did not honor them but took the high priesthood out of their family and made young Samuel to be ruler in the land instead of any of their tine. If I would have my family ennobled, I must honor the Lord in all things. God may allow the wicked to win worldly honors; but the dignity which He Himself gives, even glory, honor, and immortality, He reserves for those who by holy obedience take care to honor Him. What can I do this day to honor the Lord? I will promote His glory by my spoken testimony and by my practical obedience, I will also honor Him with my substance and by offering to Him some special service. Let me sit down and think how I can honor Him, since He will honor me.
MAR 3 – NOT LEFT TO PERISH
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither will thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:10) This word has it proper fulfillment in the Lord Jesus; but it applies also, with a variation, to all who are in Him. Our soul shall not be left in the separate state, and our body, though it see corruption, shall rise again. The general meaning, rather than the specific application, is that to which we would call our readers’ thoughts at this particular time. We may descend in spirit very low till we seem to be plunged in the abyss of hell; but we shall not be left there. We may appear to be at death’s door in heart, and soul, and consciousness; but we cannot remain there. Our inward death as to joy and hope may proceed very far; but it cannot run on to its full consequences, so as to reach the utter corruption of black despair, We may go very low, but not lower than the Lord permits; we may stay in the lowest dungeon of doubt for a while, but we shall not perish there. The star of hope is still in the sky when the night is blackest. The Lord will not forget us and hand us over to the enemy. Let us rest in hope, We have to deal with One whose mercy endureth forever. Surely, out of death, and darkness, and despair we shall yet arise to life, light, and liberty.
MAR 2 – GIVING WITHOUT A WHISPER
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in, secret himself shall regard thee openly. (Matthew 6:3-4) No promise is made to those who give to the poor to be seen of men. They have their reward at once and cannot expect to be paid twice. Let us hide away our charity—yes, hide it even from ourselves. Give so often and so much as a matter of course that you no more take note that you have helped the poor than that you have eaten your regular meals. Do your alms without even whispering to yourself, How generous I am! Do not thus attempt to reward yourself. Leave the matter with God, who never fails to see, to record, and to reward. Blessed is the man who is busy in secret with his kindness: he finds a special joy in his unknown benevolences. This is the bread, which eaten by stealth, is sweeter than the banquets of kings. How can I indulge myself today with this delightful luxury? Let me have a real feast of tenderness and Row of soul. Here and hereafter the Lord Himself will personally see to the rewarding of the secret giver of alms. This will be in His own way and time; and He will choose the very best. How much this promise means it will need eternity to reveal.
MAR 1 – JOY FOR THE CAST-OUT
Hear the Word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his guard; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. (Isaiah 66:5) Possibly this text may not apply to one in a thousand of the readers of this little book of promises; but the Lord cheers that one in such words as these. Let us pray for all such as are cast out wrongfully from the society which they love. May the Lord appear to their joy! The text applies to truly gracious men who tremble at the word of the Lord. These were hated of their brethren and at length cast out because of their fidelity and their holiness. This must have been very bitter to them; and all the more so because their casting out was done in the name of religion, and professedly with the view of glorifying God. How much is done for the devil in the name of God! The use of the name of Jehovah to add venom to the bite of the old serpent is an instance of his subtlety. The appearing of the Lord for them is the hope of His persecuted people. He appears as the advocate and defender of His elect; and when He does so it means a clear deliverance for the God-fearing and shame for their oppressors. O Lord, fulfill this word to those whom men are deriding!
FEB 29 – WHAT FOLLOWS US
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6) A devout poet sings Lord, when thou Puttest in my time a day, as thou dost now, Unknown in other years, grant, I entreat, Such grace illumine it, that whate’er its phase It add to holiness, and lengthen praise! This day comes but once in four years…. Up till now goodness and mercy, like two guards, have followed us from day to day, bringing up the rear even as grace leads the van; and as this out-of-the-way day is one of the days of our life, the two guardian angels will be with us today also. Goodness to supply our needs and mercy to blot out our sins—these twain shall attend our every step this day and every day till days shall be no more. Wherefore, let us serve the Lord on this peculiar day with special consecration of heart and sing His praises with more zest and sweetness than ever. Could we not today make an unusual offering to the cause of God or to the poor? By inventiveness of love let us make this twenty-ninth of February a day to be remembered forever.
FEB 28 – REAL ESTATE IN HEAVEN
Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. (Hebrews 10:34) This is well. Our substance here is very unsubstantial; there is no substance in it. But God has given us a promise of real estate in the glory land, and that promise comes to our hearts with such full assurance of its certainty that we know in ourselves that we have an enduring substance there. Yes, “we have” it even now. They say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” but we have our bird in the bush and in the hand, too. Heaven is even now our own. We have the title deed of it, we have the earnest of it, we have the firstfruits of it. We have heaven in price, in promise, and in principle; this we know not only by the hearing of the ear but “in ourselves.” Should not the thought of the better substance on the other side of Jordan reconcile us to present losses? Our spending money we may lose, but our treasure is safe. We have lost the shadows, but the substance remains, for our Savior lives, and the place which He has prepared for us abides. There is a better land, a better substance, a better promise; and all this comes to us by a better covenant; wherefore, let us be in better spirits, and say unto the Lord, “Every day will I bless thee; and praise thy name for ever and ever.”
FEB 27 – UNSTAGGERING TRUSTFULNESS
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7) Suspense is dreadful. When we have no news from home, we are apt to grow anxious, and we cannot be persuaded that “no news is good news.” Faith is the cure for this condition of sadness; the Lord by His Spirit settles the mind in holy serenity, and all fear is gone as to the future as well as the present. The fixedness of heart spoken of by the psalmist is to be diligently sought after. It is not believing this or that promise of the Lord, but the general condition of unstaggering trustfulness in our God, the confidence which we have in Him that He will neither do us ill Himself nor suffer anyone else to harm us. This constant confidence meets the unknown as well as the known of life. Let the morrow be what it may, our God is the God of tomorrow. Whatever events may have happened, which to us are unknown, our Jehovah is God of the unknown as well as of the known. We aredetermined to trust the Lord, come what may. If the very worst should happen, our God is still the greatest and best. Therefore will we not fear though the postman’s knock should startle us or a telegram wake us at midnight. The Lord liveth, and what can His children fear?
FEB 26 – TRUTH ESTABLISHED
The lip of truth shall be established for ever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Proverbs 12:19) Truth wears well. Time tests it, but it right well endures the trial. R; then, I have spoken the truth and have for the present to suffer for it, I must be content to wait. If also I believe the truth of God and endeavor to declare it, I may meet with much opposition, but I need not fear, for ultimately the truth must prevail. What a poor thing is the temporary triumph of falsehood! “A lying lip is but for a moment!” It is a mere gourd which comes up in a night and perishes in a night; and the greater its development the more manifest its decay. On the other hand, how worthy of an immortal being is the avowal and defense of that truth which can never change; the everlasting gospel, which is established in the immutable truth of an unchanging God! An old proverb saith, “He that speaks truth shames the devil.” Assuredly he that speaks the truth of God will put to shame all the devils in hell and confound all the seed of the serpent which now hiss out their falsehoods. O my heart, take care that thou be in all things on the side of truth, both in small things and great; but specially, on the side of Him by whom grace and truth have come among men!
FEB 25 – SET APART
Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord. (Isaiah 61:6) This literal promise to Israel belongs spiritually to the seed after the Spirit, namely, to all believers. If we live up to our privileges, we shall live unto God so clearly and distinctly that men shall see that we are set apart for holy service and shall name us the priests of the Lord. We may work or trade as others do, and yet we may be solely and wholly the ministering servants of God. Our one occupation shall be to present the perpetual sacrifice of prayer, and praise, and testimony, and self-consecration to the living God by Jesus Christ. This being our one aim, we may leave distracting concerns to those who have no higher calling. “Let the dead bury their dead.” It is written, “Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers,” They may manage politics, puzzle out financial problems, discuss science, and settle the last new quibbles of criticism; but we will give ourselves unto such service as becomes those who, like the Lord Jesus, are ordained to a perpetual priesthood. Accepting this honorable promise as involving a sacred duty, let us put on the vestments of holiness and minister before the Lord all day long.
FEB 24 – HEAR SO AS TO BE HEARD
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7) Note well that we must hear Jesus speak if we expect Him to hear us speak. If we have no ear for Christ, He will have no ear for us. In proportion as we hear we shall be heard. Moreover, what is heard must remain, must live in us, and must abide in our character as a force and a power. We must receive the truths which Jesus taught, the precepts which He issued, and the movements of His Spirit within us; or we shall have no power at the Mercy Seat. Suppose our Lord’s words to be received and to abide in us, what a boundless field of privilege is opened up to us! We are to have our will in prayer, because we have already surrendered our will to the Lord’s command. Thus are Elijahs trained to handle the keys of heaven and lock or loose the clouds. One such man is worth a thousand common Christians. Do we humbly desire to be intercessors for the church and the world, and like Luther to be able to have what we will of the Lord? Then we must bow our ear to the voice of the Well-beloved, treasure up His words, and carefully obey them. He has need to “hearken diligently” who would pray effectually.