Meditation Moments

Gift or Giver?

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-gift-or-giver

Are you wanting a blessing without the Blesser? A gift without the Giver? It would seem impossible that there could be anyone who would want the blessings of the Lord and yet not want the Lord Himself: that anyone would seek His gifts without the desire to find the Giver: yet this sometimes happens. People who do not want to make the full surrender that is necessary to get in touch with Christ Himself. They will read books about His blessings and promises, ask others to pray for them, attend all kinds of meetings; but to get alone with Him in prayer and tarry before Him with open heart until He has a chance to deal directly with them—this they will not do.

They do not want to come to close grips with Him, for He might look directly into their face and speak to them about some little matters which they would rather have overlooked. They do not want to have personal dealings with Him, for in the light of His presence there might be some revealings they are not ready for. They are not seeking personal contact, for they are not ready just now to pay the price such contact always demands. No; better follow afar off, they figure—try to get the blessing in some other way, than to come too close to the clear, white searchlight of that Presence; it would cost too much—a heart-searching for which they are not ready. Better not try to reach out and touch Him, as the woman of old touched the hem of His garment, for He would surely turn about and ask, “Who touched Me?” and then would follow a conversation which would surely bring to light some things that would be better hidden in the shadows, on the outskirts of the crowd. No; better not try to touch Him, for that means an unconditional surrender, an allegiance undivided, a real heart-searching. Better leave the heart out of it entirely, and just use head-faith instead of heart-faith. Thus reasons, perhaps unconsciously, the one who wants the blessing without the Blesser, the gift without the Giver. But head-faith will not bring the blessing and there are no gifts without the Giver, for Christ Himself is the fulfillment of every promise; the solution to every problem; the answer to every need.

Without Him ye can do nothing. You must get into personal contact with Him. You must have personal dealings with Christ Himself. You must touch Jesus; for there are no gifts without the Giver, no blessings without the Blesser! It is the quickest, easiest way, after all, to just step right out into the white searchlight of His presence, throw down every defense, put away every subterfuge, make a complete surrender. He who climbs up any other way and tries to rob the storehouse of Heaven is a thief and robber. You can’t pick the locks to God’s treasure-house. You must enter through the Door. Christ Himself is the Door.

This is the supreme blessing, the greatest benefit of the faith life, the highest reward—that it brings you into personal touch with the Lord Himself—straight into the very presence of the Giver, the King of kings. This touch is worth more than all the gifts. This personal contact is far more blessed than all the blessing, for it not only brings you the supply of your material need—it also brings the supply of your spiritual need, and throws open to the soul new vistas of glory, heights of attainment, and visions of riches in Christ Jesus never dreamed of.

For you who are seeking for some blessing, wanting to “get things from God,” let me give you this one verse of scripture in closing: let it sink deep into your heart, and my earnest prayer is that it shall be fulfilled in your life: “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.”  (Psalm 37:4) Oh, that God would reveal to each one now, so that we can get beyond all secondary things quickly, that it is Christ Himself—Jesus only, that is the greatest need of our life; the only Source of supply.

Reveal to us, O Lord, that we cannot have the blessings without the Blesser; the victory without the Victor; the light without the Sun of Righteousness; the fragrance without the Rose of Sharon; holiness without the Holy One; healing without the Healer; the life abundant without the Life-Giver… for Jesus is all and in all, the Source of Supply, the Stream that Never Runs Dry!

 
 

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Meditation Moments

The Mansion Just Over the Hill

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-mansion-over-the-hillWelcome to Meditation Moments. Some time ago Ira Stanphill, a well-known songwriter, passed a humble house, somewhat run-down, and he asked the little girl who was sitting outside if she lived there. She said yes, but that her father was building a nicer home for them just over the hilltop. Now this was the inspiration for the well-known song, “I’ve Got a Mansion Just Over the Hilltop.” This song has been in my mind a great deal this past week because we’ve heard that word “mansion” so very much out here on the Pacific coast this week. That’s because of the great fire that has ravaged many of the finest mansions out here, many of them worth $50,000, some in the hundreds of thousands, and a few half a million. It’s been a terrible catastrophe, and our hearts have really gone out to the homeless. That’s why this song has been on my heart.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these who had such a mansion here had also a mansion over there in the Father’s house. I’m sure that many who have lost their homes, of the 400 who have done so, that there are numbers of them that have mansions over there. But there are others, and some of those in the entertainment world, for whom life is just a round of pleasure and selfish living. Perhaps some during that inferno have thought of the mansion over there.

One man told how this was the second time he had lost everything. A number of times over the radio this week during this time of trial I have heard the words “I’ve lost everything,” or “All is lost.” That, of course, is according to how you look at earthly possessions. If the heart and soul are set upon earthly possessions, then when you lose them, all is lost. If there has been a misplaced attention–the emphasis in life on just things, home, possessions–then when the loss comes, the hurt and the tearing loose from such things you love is something terrific. The emphasis has been in the wrong place, on the temporal instead of the eternal.

Jesus said where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matthew 6:21). Some people quote that “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.” But that isn’t the way it is. The Lord said where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Then we know this passage so well, but let’s read it again: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” That’s in John 14:2. And Matthew 6:19–21 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt.” This might have said, “and fire burns.” “And where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there the heart is also.”

I wonder what you treasure most. Where is your treasure? Have you laid up treasures in heaven? You may be poor and yet have no treasures in heaven. This is not a question of poverty or riches, but it’s a question of have you laid up treasures in heaven? I don’t think God puts any premium on poverty, nor do riches shut the door of heaven, though Christ made it very plain that it’s hard for a rich man to enter. He said, “How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God.” That’s Mark 10:24. Yet we’ve known some wonderful Christians who are rich. It is possible. It’s just according to where you put the emphasis, and whether you have God first. But note He said it’s hard for them that trust in riches. That’s the word—it’s where you put the trust: the trust in riches. In Luke 12, the rich man with many barns was called a fool because he was not rich towards God, not because he had riches. In calling him a fool, the Lord said this, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.” (Luke 12:20–21) Oh, there’s the crux of the whole matter: “Not rich towards God.”

I heard Joey Brown the day before yesterday sadly tell how his lovely home had burned to the ground, and with it his scores of trophies—almost 100 trophies burned also. He lost them all, and he prized them so highly because he wanted to leave them to his children and his grandchildren. But Joey can leave them a better heritage, and so can you and I—a better heritage than such trophies. We can leave them eternal treasures, instilling into them faith in God and confidence in the blessed book of God, and all the joys of real salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, so they’ll be rich towards God and have a mansion in heaven.

I’ve been searching my own heart to see if I’m deeply, truly rich towards God. What about searching your heart? Are you putting the emphasis on the right things: eternal things? Or on material things, occupying all of your time and thought with the material? If so, then you’re not rich towards God. You’re not laying up treasures in heaven. Paul said that he counted all things but dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Listen to what Paul said, it’s so rich: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Isn’t that wonderful! I can say “amen” to that.

I’m satisfied with just a cottage below
A little silver and a little gold;
But in that city where the ransomed will shine
I want a gold one that’s silver lined.

I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we’ll never grow old;
And some day yonder we’ll never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold.

Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely
I’m not discouraged, I’m heaven bound;
I’m just a pilgrim in search of the city
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.

And I know you do. God grant that you have a mansion over there. He wants you to. He loves you, and He’s still on the throne, and prayer changes things.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

But One Thing Is Needful

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-one-thing-is-needfulGod’s Word speaks of this “secret place,” the inner chamber of prayer within the secret of His presence, where Mary found rest. We read the story in Luke 10:38, where she sat at Jesus’ feet to learn of Him, while others rushed about, bothered with much serving. That’s why Mary’s name has gone down in history as a wise woman, because Jesus said in this verse “she hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away” (Luke 10:42b). Martha was distracted with the things that can be taken away, and Jesus said to Martha, “But one thing is needful”—one thing.

I believe with all my heart that all things are possible with God—and I mean all things. “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). It makes no difference what it is. God says, “all things,” and God’s Word is true. That includes your present need. Don’t say “except that or except this.” God says “all things.” What vistas of hope, what possibilities this word “all” opens to every one of us! And what power and privileges lie at our command. But as we meditate about this, we see that Jesus says there’s something which is in contrast to this, but it is the only thing that’s really needful. All things are possible, but only one thing is needful. This verse is a real tranquilizer. It’s so restful in its sweet simplicity, its humble requirement: “But one thing is needful.” Many things are worthy of our effort, some things are worth sacrificing and striving for, but only one thing is needful. Jesus said to meet Him alone like this, in the secret place of prayer, and learn of Him. This one thing is needful, as we sit at His feet, and this transcends all else.

Mary’s sister, Martha, was fussing over the big dinner, and Jesus said she was troubled, distracted, and anxious about many things. She wanted to please the Lord with the work of her hands, but He wanted the worship of her heart. She didn’t realize that before the “all things possible” is the “one thing needful,” that she could not possibly expect the all things until she had practiced the one thing. There are professing Christians today who are neglecting the secret place of prayer, the one thing needful, and they think they will, by their works, their much serving, please the Lord and gain a high place in His work and in the kingdom. They don’t seem to understand that the surest way of being lifted up into the “all things” and the place of responsibility and power is to first take the lowly place in the “one thing,” for God’s way up is down.

Just recently a worker once came for counseling to our home. He had been a missionary, but was crowded out of his field and replaced by a more successful, sincere worker. He had been himself an untiring worker, and often written his home board that there was too much work, to send others to help him. Like Martha, his cry was, “Lord, bid someone come and help me!” But with all his work, which was constantly rushing here and there in a feverish flurry, he bore no fruit. And now, defeated and plans frustrated, he was back in the homeland, laid aside. If only he had stopped in his mad rush each day and sat at Jesus’ feet and learned of Him who is meek and quiet in spirit. He would have gone out in due time there on the field to speak with gumption, and labor with power, and to work with the Lord. Not just for Him, but with Him. If he had gone to the secret place and sat at Jesus’ feet, he would not have been crowded out, for there is always room and loving welcome at Jesus’ feet. It isn’t a crowded place. But there he sat, an unfruitful, disappointed servant, because he didn’t realize that “but one thing is needful” in order to make “all things possible.”

He was distracted with so much serving, serving, that he neglected the better part, his prayer life, the sitting quietly there and learning of Christ. He had tried to climb up some other way. Have you done so? Or have you chosen the better part, which can never be taken away? Have you found, as God’s Word says, you humble yourself in the mighty hand of God, and in due time He will highly exalt you? Or do you fret yourself and become troubled over “what shall we eat, what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Matthew 6:31).

Like Martha who was busy and hurried
Serving the friend divine,
Cleansing the cups and the platters,
Bringing the bread and the wine.

But Martha was careful and anxious,
Fretting in thought and in word.
She had not time to be sitting
While she was serving the Lord.

For Martha was cumbered with serving,
Martha was troubled with things,
Those that would pass with the using—
She was forgetting her wings.

But Mary was quiet and peaceful,
Learning to love and to live,
Mary was learning His precepts,
Mary was letting Him give—

Give of the riches eternal,
Treasures of mind and of heart,
Learning the mind of the Master,
Choosing the better part.

Do we ever labor at serving,
Till voices grow fretful and shrill,
Forgetting how to be loving,
Forgetting how to be still?

Do we strive for things in possession
And toil for the perishing meat?
Neglecting the one thing needful—
Sitting at Jesus’ feet?

Oh, service is good when He asks it,
Labor is right in its place,
But there is one thing far better—
Looking up into His face.

There’s so much that He would tell us,
There are so many truths precious and deep!
This is the place where He wants us,
And these are the things we can keep.

Before my back was broken, God brought me to Himself the hard way, and I was ill so long. I was like this fretful missionary, and this poem describes what happened to me:

I was longing to serve the Master,
But alas, I was laid aside
From the busy field of workers
In the harvest field so wide.

There were few, yes, few in number,
And I couldn’t understand
Why I should be left inactive,
It was not as I had planned.

To lie quite still and be silent
While the song was borne to my ear
From the busy field of workers
In the harvest field so dear.

I was longing to serve the Master,
But He led to a desert place,
And there as we stopped and rested,
His eyes looked down in my face,
So full of tender reproaching,
They filled me with sad surprise!
Did He think I had grudged my service,
Or counted it sacrifice?

“Oh Master, I long to serve Thee!
There are so few at the best.
Let me off to the field!” I pleaded,
“I care not to stay and rest.”
I knelt at His feet, imploring,
I gazed in His face above,
“My child,” He said, “don’t you know
Your service is nothing without your love?”

Let’s remember that, and that God is still on the throne and prayer does truly change things. May God bless and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you. Amen.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

The Uncontrolled Tongue

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-stuydies-online-uncontrolled-tongueGreetings, and welcome to Meditation Moments. The dear Lord bless you, and may this meditation be a blessing to your heart. We pray that God shall truly use it. You know, there’s a very small thing around my house and your house, and it gives more trouble than all the sickness or financial difficulties and storms of life. It’s just a little thing, about three or four inches long and a few inches wide, but oh, it can cause complete havoc and it can wreck a whole day when it gets loose.

I think you’ve guessed what it is: a tongue that’s out of control; an unkind tongue or a bitter tongue, a tongue that says hard, critical things. Someone has said that the day that begins with a bad tongue turned loose finds even the dog taking to the woodshed, and the man of the house quickly finds a job in the back yard. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a man or woman that loses control of a tongue—everybody suffers. It only proves God’s Word to be more true than ever, as we read from that precious passage in the third chapter of James:

“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.” Their whole body is turned about with bits.

“Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet they are turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

“Now every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same time sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh”

You’ll notice particularly these words, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing … these things ought not to be.” I received some time ago a letter, it’s been quite a little while now, someone that wrote:

“Have you any suggestion to make regarding a difficulty of this kind? I can’t understand why it is that at the office I can be so kind and patient with everybody, and it seems that I never get out of humor. In fact, at the office I have the name of being a pretty good fellow! But for some unknown reason, at home I lose my temper easily. I get out of patience with the children, especially one that upsets me greatly. I get along so well at the office, at my church, and other places away from home. I hold a respected position in my church, and in all these places it seems so easy. Why is it? What’s to blame at home that so gets me upset?”

Well, I had to answer, and I was compelled to be very frank, that the real test of a man isn’t on the street or in the office or in the church, but it is at home. The place to take the true measure of a man is not out on the job, nor any of these other places, but you can ascertain just what kind of a man he is, and if he has something real insofar as his religion is concerned, is right in the home—what he is there. Someone has wisely said, “At home a man lays aside the mask, and there you may judge whether he is a hero or a humbug.” You remember that Sophie, the scrub woman, used to say that some men were “church angels and home devils.” Well, that’s quite true sometimes. I found a little clipping the other day in Dean Dutton’s book. He said:

“I care not what the world says of a man, whether it crowns him with pearls or pelts him with eggs. I care never a copper what his reputation or religion may be. If his babies dread his homecoming and his wife has to swallow her heart every time she asks him for a five-dollar bill—there’s a sham about him somehow, even though he be a church member and his hallelujahs shake the eternal hills. But if his children are delighted at his homecoming, his wife thrills at the sound of his footsteps, you take it for granted. It doesn’t make any difference what they think of him at the office, that man isn’t any humbug; he’s no counterfeit if he lives it at home.”

Now I might say that I have found in the years of service that this is a common failure, this lack of kindness and courtesy in the home, the lack of control in the home. Peter said, “Be courteous” (1Peter 3:8), because he knew, as you do, that there are many Christians who rather pride themselves on their brusqueness of manner. I’ve heard them say, “Well, I’m very frank and very outspoken.” The truth was that they were very rude and discourteous many times. Such a characteristic can severely sour a family life. The husband may in his heart dearly love the wife, but if his voice is sharp and his tone is bitter, he’ll deeply wound her and hurt all the family relation. And if his wife isn’t sweet and gentle, but is sharp-tongued and domineering, she can easily break up the home. She can easily upset any day and send the husband off to work with a sad heart. Are there frequent quarrels and dissensions in the home? That doesn’t just happen. Someone is to blame. Maybe we’d better take a better look at ourselves. There’s a little favorite poem of mine by Margaret Sangster; she’s written so many beautiful things:

If I had known in the morning
How wearily all the day,
The words unkind
Would trouble my mind,
That I said when you went away,
I had been more careful, darling!
Nor given you needless pain;
But we vex “our own”
With look and tone
We might never take back again.

For though, in the quiet evening,
You might give me the kiss of peace,
Yet it might be,
That never for me,
The pain of the heart should cease.
How many go forth in the morning
That never come home at night;
And hearts have broken,
For harsh words spoken,
That sorrow can never make right.

We have careful thoughts for the stranger,
And smiles for the sometime guest;
But oft for “our own,”
The bitter tone,
Though we love “our own” the best.
Ah! lips with the curve impatient,
Ah! brow with that look of scorn,
’Twere a cruel fate
Were the night too late,
To undo the work of the morn.

I think you remember, as I do so well, that precious little poem. I think it was by Mary Lathrop, if I remember correctly:

If we knew whose feet were standing
Close beside the narrow stream,
If we knew whose eyes were closing
In the sleep that knows no dream,
We’d be so kind and tender,
Lightly judge, and gently speak.
Let us act as though we know it,
For the links so quickly break.

Oh, how very true; it’s those thoughtless, unkind words that leap from our lips! Well, you say and I say, “Is there some remedy for this? Is there some way that one can overcome this, all this bitterness, this unkindness? Is there some way that it can be overcome?” These would all be just so many words if we didn’t impress this fact that the trouble isn’t fundamentally with the tongue; it’s with the heart. Words are only the conveyance in which the quality of the heart rides forth to other people. Jesus teaches that our words reveal our heart character. Whatever the quality of the heart, it will possess and accompany the words exactly.

Someone has said there is an invisible stream of soul quality that flows through our words, and there’s no way under the sun to change that quality except to change the spirit from which the words flow. There must be a change of heart. You can never control that tongue of yours yourself. I have seen people try to do it. The Word of God tells you this, as I just read a minute ago, “The tongue can no man tame.” Now that’s God’s statement: “The tongue can no man tame.” But God can tame it! He’s all-powerful; nothing is impossible with God. You can have the victory. Again, the scripture says with man it is impossible, with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27). And so you can open your heart to Him and yield yourself completely to Him.

Ask Him to come in and fill you with His Spirit. It’s the indwelling Christ that will then speak through you and your words will be as the apostle said, words “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). Read God’s Word faithfully until you come into such an abiding relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, that as Jesus said, “My words abide in you” (John 15:7). Christ is the only true source of all love, kindness, and sweetness. As He takes possession of your whole life, He takes possession of your tongue, and His words will abide in you. Then the bitter, sharp, critical spirit is gone. He’ll give you of His life and His life will flow through you, and out of you “shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38b). This He spoke of the Spirit which shall dwell in you. Do you believe this?

God cannot fail His Word. The promises of God are yea and amen to the glory of God. (2Corinthians 1:20) Trust Him to do it. Believe His Word; it’s never failed. I can’t fully explain how this transformation takes place, but it does, as His love flows through you, takes possession of your tongue, and your tongue becomes a stream of blessing to all about you. If you have wounded any heart today, take this to heart and pray about it.

Our Father God, we pray Thy blessing upon each hungry heart, each seeking soul. Each one, Lord, is concerned about victory along this line. We ask especially for these who have such a battle regarding the control of their tongue. Forgive, dear Lord; cleanse and fill with Thy love. Fill us fully with Thy Spirit. We pray that they shall seek Thee and find Thee in all Thy satisfying fullness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-perfect-loveGreetings in His name, and God bless you and welcome to Meditation Moments. We‘re reading from 2 Kings in the sixth chapter, that wonderful story where they were camped about the city of Dothan, and you’ll remember that the crowd was so great, the army of the enemy, and Elisha was there with his servant. The servant couldn’t see anything but the horses and the chariots and the enemy, but Elisha saw that God was with them. God’s Word says, “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2Kings 6:15–17).

Isn’t it wonderful when the eyes are opened to see God working, the eyes are opened to see that the Lord is with us! When we get through all the fear and mistrust and doubts, and we see the face of the Lord, we know that greater is the power that is with us than all the enemies of fear and distrust that are against us. We’re living in a terrible day of fear! We are afraid what Russia will do with its growing military and scientific superiority we might face, superior in many ways. We’re afraid of a depression. We’re afraid of the tensions in some remote sections of the world, that they’ll ignite a global war. White men fear the rising tide of color, and Asiatics are afraid of Western domination. Americans are afraid of communism. Russians are afraid of America, and everybody’s afraid of atomic destruction. In the meantime, we all have our individual fears—our own little set of private fears. Perhaps yours are not like someone else’s, but fear is so dominant. Some people have more than others, but everybody knows what it is to be afraid.

Sometime over a hundred year ago, a Methodist minister named William Taylor arrived in San Francisco. He was caught up in the midst of the gold rush, and it was a bustling center of paganism. There was no church in which William Taylor could preach, and no congregation waiting to hear him. But there were so many people in the city and such a great need, so he stood on a barrel on a busy corner one Sunday morning and he shouted, “I have good news!” And the people said, “What’s the good news?” He said, “I have good news for you this morning,” and he brought them the good news of the Gospel.

Well, I have good news on this meditation, the news that Jesus Christ came into the world to release us from our fears. And you’ll remember, one of the very first messages from the angel was, “Fear not. Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). That’s the formula that the Lord gave. He told His disciples that they were to be unafraid (John 14:27b), and then He added, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). There is a secret of getting rid of fear. Love is a greater emotion than fear, and it can cast out fear. God’s Word says so. God’s Word says “perfect love casts out all fear” (1John 4:18a). Perfect love casts out all fear. Now God’s Word says, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). It’s not necessary if we trust in the God who promises to see us through to have any fears whatsoever.

They used to say of the Puritans that they feared God, so they feared nothing else. We, however, have lost our fear of God and are afraid of everything, it seems to me. He who has a God whose laws he respects and whose will he seeks to do has such a mighty sense of security. It’s only as you’re in close touch with God, and have perfect love for the Lord Jesus Christ, that all the fear is cast out, because fear is faithlessness. A man who is afraid believes he has no protection, no security. He’s aware of no strength beyond his own, so when he’s confronted with a threat that appears greater than he can handle with his own resources, he has no recourse but fear. So the heart doesn’t have room to embrace both fear and trust at the same time. Well, no heart can do that. When one goes in, the other goes out!

Years ago, Dr. Thomas Chalmers, a famous Scottish preacher, was riding in the seat beside a stage-driver when he noticed one of the horses became a little nervous. The stage-driver flicked his leg with the whip and the horse settled down, and he said, “Why did you do that?” And he said, “Well, yonder’s a white stone, and every time we passes it, the horse shies. I touch him with the whip to divert his attention.” That set Dr. Chalmers to thinking, and he went home and wrote that wonderful book that became so world-famous, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.

When you have the new affection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that wonderful love come into your heart for Him, you live in His Word and love it, and your love for Him personally grows so great. There’s nothing more stimulating, more real that swings into the center of our attention than the love of God, and it can just drive out all other concerns and all the fears. I’m not belittling fear and pretending it’s a simple thing just to trust in God and not be afraid. It’s not simple, but I do know from experience that perfect love will cast out fear. I’m not willing to settle for an easy faith, or some superficial answers to this. I know you have to live in the Word of God; I know you have to claim the promises. I know that you have to lay hold of those promises and you have to practice the presence of God continually.

But I do know that perfect love for the Lord Jesus Christ will leave no room for fear, because you’re not trusting your own strength, you’re not trusting your own protection. You’re not trusting anything of the natural, the things that you can lay hold of just in the material and the human and natural. You’re trusting the power beyond your own, and therefore you have the perfect love that casts out all fear.

Wonderful verses of scripture along this line, so many of them! God’s Word speaks of this deliverance from fear, this overcoming power of the Lord Jesus Christ, this love of God and love of His Word, this wonderful love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, won’t you go to Him, and won’t you just press through everything until you see His face? He says, “Seek My face.” Seek His face and tell Him of your love for Him, and He will reveal His love to you, and fear will be gone! God bless you.

 
 
Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.

Meditation Moments

Compose and Repose–Enter Into Rest

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-compose-and-reposeGreetings, and the dear Lord bless you. In Luke 9:10 it tells about how Jesus went aside into a quiet place, and God’s Word says, “He took them, and went aside privately into a desert place.” You know, we’re living today in such a time of pressure. I hear that word so much. I do quite a bit of counseling and so many people come to me and say, “Oh, I’m just under such pressure. I can hardly stand it, the pressures are so great.” Well, that’s true; we’re living in a day of such busyness, such rush! We hear the word “busy” so constantly that we just almost grow weary of it. It seems to be an excuse for everything. Everybody in this awful hurry and flurry!

Such words as “rest,” “quiet,” “stillness,” and “solitude” seem to have gone out of life. Everywhere streets are crowded with rushing cars, bumping fenders, and screeching tires. Why? Because they’re just hurrying so fast, wanting to pass the car in front of them. They must get to where they’re going; they’ve got to get there in a hurry. It’s like the man that had a new chauffeur that he had hired, and the chauffeur drove like mad all through the streets as fast as he could go. Then when he got there the man just sat in the back seat of the car and waited. He said to the chauffeur, “What are you going to do with the five minutes? What did you think I wanted to do with the five minutes that you saved by rushing like that?” He said, “I’m just going to sit here now and relax!”

You know it’s really a problem when people come to you and tell you the strain they’re under and you can see the very strain upon their faces. And you try to talk to them about stopping a minute and getting quiet, and, as Jesus said, “Come apart and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). We are living in the rapids of time. We’re living in strange and awful days, but the speed with which we move is the most remarkable, and the restlessness is the most deplorable. Oh, how sweet that old song has grown to some of us, and you hardly ever hear it anymore; I guess it’s so inconsistent with the day we live in.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

As I read this, I got so quiet in my own spirit and I began to realize today as I was in this quiet time that so much of the jar and hurry of this restless time, this time of such stress and pressure, had gotten into my own soul. But I can tell you that I know the remedy and I’ve tried it so many times. I know where I can find repose.

I was looking up in Webster’s today the difference between the words “repose” and “compose.” We hear a lot about compose as compared with aspirin—aspirin for the headache—and compose, to bring the body to quiet. And so, Webster’s says that “compose” means “to bring the body or mind to a condition of repose, calmness and quietness.” And “repose,” Webster says, is “to be at peace; in a dignified calmness.” That sounds awfully good, but how are you going to get there? As I said, I know the remedy for that, but just how some folks are going to find that repose when they’re on the run and in a rush all the time, that I don’t know. I don’t think you can do it! I know that it will take all that strain out of your spirit and that awful unrest from your mind and the tension from your body.

When I get alone to take time in God’s presence, when I read His Word and search the Scripture, and search my own heart and spend time in prayer, oh, I tell you, there’s restored that peace that He promises, a sweet rest that He gives, and the repose that only God can give. He’s the only one that can give that repose. You know how many fine people today–well, and I started to say in this jet-propelled age–have to take some kind of tranquilizer to calm them down. And I read recently of a man that came rushing home from work and said to his wife, “Oh, I’m just nearly wild with all that happened in the office today! I’ve been under such strain, such tension, that I can hardly stand it! Give me one of those pills to compose me, to calm me down.” She gave him the pill, but just about that time the phone rang and he was ordered to come back to the office, that this very important customer was ready to give a big order, and he was to come back immediately. And he said to his wife, “Where are those pep pills? I’ve got to have one!” She said, “Why, you just took a pill to calm you down, now you want a pill to pep you up.” Well, that’s the way it is today—take one to pep you up and one to calm you down.

But seriously, the pressures today are many, and some people do have no other recourse. But the Christian does; the Christian has the quiet time, the time of meditation before God, where they can get rest. The Christian has that which can cool the fever of this awful rush, and I want to recommend it to you.

I want to read you some scriptures that will show you the reality of this. God’s Word says—and it’s so essential that you listen to what His Word has to say along this line—in Numbers 9:8, “And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.” See, he had to get them quiet before he could even tell what the Lord would command for them! In 1Samuel 9:27, “And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on … but stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the word of God.”

You just can’t know, in counseling and praying with so many people, how hard it is to get them quiet to listen to God’s Word. There’s a wonderful verse about that: “Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and to your fathers.” That’s 1Samuel 12:7, and the other was 1Samuel 9:27: “Stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.” And then in Job 37:14, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” In Psalm 4:4, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with thine own heart upon your bed, and be still.” You know, David always talked about meditating and communion at night on his own bed. And Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: and I will be exalted among the heathen.” Oh, wonderful verses from God’s Word!

If only we would get into this quiet place. But there are so many places to go, so many things to do. I hadn’t been very long in a home when the mother said, “Well, we’re going to stay home tonight, children,” and the young daughter in the home said, “Stay home? What in the world’s happened, what’s wrong?” “Well,” she said, “I don’t know that there’s anything wrong about staying home.” And then the girl looked up and she said, “Oh, what a bore that will be!” Well, I can tell you, in my early days, we thought it was a wonderful thing, and the thought of staying home wasn’t the thought of not doing anything, and not going someplace wasn’t so shocking.

Seek God’s presence, read His Word that He may refresh your soul and clarify your thoughts and take this strain out of life. Some people just think it’s a waste of time to stop to meditate, and to stop and pray, yet millions have found, through the ages, that only in the presence of God could they find rest and peace, and every symptom of these awful pressures would be subdued.

You’d find that prayer makes available the power of God that can take all the strain out of life. Won’t you think about it? Won’t you get to the Lord? His Word says, “They who have believed have entered into rest” (Hebrews 4:3). But that resting place comes only through faith in God, and faith comes by reading God’s Word (Romans 10:17), and getting quiet in prayer before Him. God’s Word says, “There remaineth a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9), but you don’t have to wait for heaven to get that rest! You can have it right now. The dear Lord bless you and bring you into His place of perfect peace. “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3), God’s Word says. Amen.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

Wings Out of Weights

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-wings-out-of-weightsGreetings, and welcome again to Meditation Moments, and again the old-time greeting: the Lord bless you and make you a blessing.

The third Psalm: “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
“I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people.”

A wonderfully precious Psalm! Those words, “The Lord hath sustained me,” I will particularly call your attention to. This same David, the psalmist that in this Psalm cried: “Lord, how they are increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me!” The same David that cried out, “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:9–10). So he knew that no matter what the trouble, he could rise above it. He said, “If I had wings” (Psalm 55:6a). You know, Man has always wanted wings, wanted to fly, wanted to get away from it all. There are so many who feel confined and discontented with things where they are. “Surely there must be something easier and brighter somewhere else?” And wings would lift him above all his troubles here.

David knew that. To David, a wonderful praiseful psalmist, there came a day when he cried, “Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away, and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6). Always we feel that there is something better somewhere else, just over the hill; there’s a glorious liberty and freedom somewhere else. And now around the world, through space, circling the world above the birds whose realm man has always envied, man flies today. Have you ever read what Tennyson wrote? My, he was a prophet, wasn’t he? For he says:

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw a vision of the world’s future, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furled
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

Just think how long ago Tennyson wrote that [1835], and how that prophecy is being fulfilled today! But I’m thinking now of wings that only a child of God can have, wings that God gives His own children when you feel so much like you cannot stand the situation any longer. And some of these letters are just like that. One woman writes of her heartache over a faithless husband, “I’m really living in a living hell.” Another writes, “I can stand it no longer; I am pressed out of measure.” Well, there’s one that God’s Word speaks about; he wasn’t so much in disaster, never in despair, he said. Although he had all the care of the churches and had fought lions at Ephesus (1Corinthians 15:32), and he spent a day and a night in the deep, and he talks about the stripes he had received and how he had been stoned. (2Corinthians 11:24–25) Yet Paul was able to take the wings of his soul and fly above it all and praise God for his persecution.

We can all do that; there is a way of living above these things. There is a way, no matter what it is in your life, that you can make wings out of your weights, the weights that so easily beset you and the weight, the things that are just tying your soul down. (Hebrews 12:1) Paul made wings out of them. Wings are often born out of weights. When wearied with the strain of it all, you can fly to God. God has the victory for you. God has an answer for your problems; God does have the answer if we’re obedient to Him. Oh, will you search your heart and make sure that the obedience is there? There is some reason for these things happening that you haven’t gotten the victory, because there is victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. “Praise be unto him who always giveth us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 15:57).

You can fly to God for the rest He has promised. You can fly on the wings of prayer and faith, and get the relief that He alone can give you. An acquaintance of mine has this little poem tacked above her sink:

Lord of all pots and pans and things,
Since I’ve no time to be a saint by doing lovely things,
Or watching late with Thee,
Or dreaming in the dawn light,
Or storming heaven’s gate,
Make me a saint by getting meals,
And washing up the plates.

That always reminds me of the beautiful verse, again by David in the Psalms, “Though ye have lien among the pots, ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Psalm 68:13). Now what brings such a miraculous change in David when he has cried so pitifully in this third Psalm? He knew the secret; he knew just how to mount up with wings as a dove. He knew how to mount above all these things, and live above them. In the third Psalm he has cried, “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me.” Now watch these words, however: “I laid me down and slept … for the Lord sustained me.” He just put it all in God’s hands and left it right with the Lord and then he slept, for he said, “the Lord sustained me.” There is the secret.

Then he continues, “I will not be afraid of the thousands of people who have set themselves against me.” What are people anyhow, beloved? They are nothing in their power or their wisdom compared to God, these that are against you, and these that are causing a trial in your life and are bringing that awful resentment in your heart. You don’t have to have that resentment; the Lord can deliver you from that. He says, “the Lord sustained me,” and he made wings out of his weights. There isn’t a truer scripture in God’s Word than these, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as the eagle” (Isaiah 40:31). Putting this in the simplest words—and God grant that it shall not sound trite—the one that flies to the Word of God and there meditates and seeks the presence of the Lord, waits in prayer until God touches his soul, truly mounts up and up to realms of peace and rest and are truly, as this verse says, they are sustained by the Lord.

I know there’s a sort of devilish gravitation in this old world that daily strives to keep you and pull you down. But the Word here tells us there’s an upward pull if you’ll just live in God’s Word, and if you’ll just pray and look to the Lord. It’ll lift you right up to the very heart of God if you’ll only give God a chance. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as the eagle; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

That’s the principle of this everyday life of victory. Take your Bible and quietly read; read and wait upon the Lord. Talk to Him. Wait for Him to speak, and soon you’ll run and not faint, and you’ll find yourself mounting up with all the strength that you need. Give God a chance. Just take Him at His very Word and believe Him for this, because God wants to help. He wants to give you the victory. Don’t let anyone discourage you. God’s Word stands sure and steadfast, He’ll not fail you. You can mount up with wings as eagles. Stand your ground and “see the salvation of the Lord!” (Exodus 14:13). Trust in God. Keep heart, keep hope.

They that wait upon the Lord shall never be ashamed (Psalm 69:6). God bless you. He’s still on the throne, and prayer does surely change things. He’ll change things for you. Amen.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

Bitterness and Vengeance

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-bitterness-vengeanceGreetings, and welcome again to Meditation Moments, and God bless you and make you a blessing. We are praying for you, and your letters certainly tell a story. We’ve received some interesting letters just recently, and because a number of them tell about how people have been mistreated, or misjudged, or unjust treatment of some kind, we decided to talk tonight about this matter.

I found a little tract by Mr. Nathaniel Olsen, and he begins it this way: “A small boy prayed, ‘Lord, make all the bad people good, and then, Lord, make all the good people nice.’” Well, unfortunately, many good Christian people aren’t nice. A lady advertised for a young woman to be her traveling companion, and she closed the advertisement thus: “Christian wanted; cheerful, if possible.” Evidently this woman had found that some Christian souls lacked a cheerful disposition. Sometimes we have to live with people like that, and that seems to be the problem expressed in quite a number of these letters. Some of the letters show that resentment is building up in the heart, and one even smacks a little of almost hatred. Another has a judging spirit towards the one that’s mistreating them. Sometimes between husband and wife, sometimes it’s an in-law, but we do receive these kinds of letters.

I’ve turned to Scripture, and there in Matthew 7:1 I find, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Let’s be careful about that, for verse 2 says, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” That should make us a little thoughtful about the way we criticize others, for exactly what you give will be exactly what you receive. Regarding that person whom you feel is so unjust to you, don’t take it into your own hands. Better be a little hesitant about the judging, better have mercy on that person, for the Word states in James 2:12,13b, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy.” Better to judge by the Law of Love—God’s law.

The next verse is even more sobering, Romans 2:1–4: “Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

Oh, what an awful thing to bear a grudge, or a critical spirit, or hatred of another! If you are a professing Christian, it is far better to forgive and forget that injustice, that awful thing that’s been done against you, than to have that condemnation of God upon you. And I think these verses make it very plain just what the reaping is going to be. Beloved, don’t take vengeance into your own hands; don’t hit back. Don’t let bitterness creep into your heart. Nothing will so ruin your disposition as to let bitterness get in the heart. God’s Word says, “Beware lest there be even any little root of bitterness found in you” (Hebrews 12:15). God will take care of that person in due time, if you leave the whole matter in His hands.

In Deuteronomy 32:35 He says, “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time.” Better pity and love that one, for pity they will need when they fall into the hands of an angry God, who says in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; and I will repay, saith the Lord.” Perhaps you feel you just have to do something about the wrong that’s been done to you and the slandering you’ve suffered and the cruel words flung at you. You think God’s too slow, and you’re going to have to take it in your own hands and hurt them as they’ve hurt you, and bring vengeance on them. But you’ll only hurt yourself and disobey God, and get out of His will and have a broken fellowship, and that’s going to make things a whole lot worse.

The Lord knows all about it, and He speaks with finality regarding your forgiving that person, no matter how unfair it’s all been. He says, “If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). And Matthew states it thus, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35).

Beloved, this I know: you can’t do it yourself, not in the natural. It has to be the Spirit of Christ working in and through you. I can of my own self do nothing. Lay the whole problem at Jesus’ feet. Tell Him about it, then positively commit it to Him; leave it with Him. He’ll begin to work. This isn’t what you feel like doing, but this is what the world needs to see: God’s love manifested through His born-again children. This is a true test of discipleship, for it says in John, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another” (John 13:35). It’s God’s love working through you as you yield it all to Him. It’ll be a miracle if you can love that person, a miracle of God’s grace, but that’s His promise to you and it is His grace that is supplied to you.

This is the Law of Love. He waits to help you; He wants to. How wonderful it will be when there will be no veil or cloud between you and Him, when the indwelling Holy Spirit can work out through you the full purpose of His will and His plan for your life, because it’s utterly surrendered to Him with all of its problems and all of these things which harass you. God knows about it and He cares and He loves you. I know that this isn’t entirely applicable, but a little girl left a note on a tree. She was been abused in an orphan’s home. Nobody liked her, she was just impossible, and they went out to see what the note was that she’d left, because it was against the rules of the home. And this is what it said: “To anybody who finds this note, I love you.” Oh, that’s the spirit to have, to love everybody as God loves you!

My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew;
My sinful nature Thou canst subdue;
Fill me just now with power anew;
Power to pray and power to do!

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
Thou art my pattern day unto day;
Thou art my surety, now and for aye;
So teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.

Remember, God is still on the throne, and prayer will change things.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

Afterward–Hebrews 12:11

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible studies-online-hebrews-12-11Greetings, and welcome to Meditation Moments. God bless you and make you a blessing. Recently when speaking in the little town of Ontario a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to pray for a young woman who was just graduating from the university. On her way to the very last time that she would be in the school there, and she was to deliver the baccalaureate, there was a car crash, an automobile crash and such an awful accident. She was paralyzed from the neck down, and unconscious. She has not yet gained consciousness, although it does seem there’s a little evidence of God hearing our prayers for her. And that mother said, “I’ve cried from the depths of my heart, and I just don’t understand.”

I thought perhaps this would help some of you, I want to read you something that Mrs. Cowman wrote. You know, Mrs. Cowman was the one who wrote Streams in the Desert. That was one of the best sellers of her very well-known books, and it’s gone all over the world and sold some million copies. She said one time that she just felt seemingly forsaken of God. It was as if she was walking through a desert waste, but comfort and healing reached her own broken heart through hearing of a vision that was given to a friend, to whom God had spoken in her hour of deepest need. And she goes on to say this:

“I want to share with you this that happened to my friend. She had been praying for friends in trouble, when the Lord said to her, ‘Come with Me. I wish to show you something. I have been setting aside the reward for faithful service to Me.’ So she drew near to Him and saw that He had before Him one special prize. There were no words adequate to describe its dazzling beauty. He called it ‘a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:17). And as He looked upon it with such satisfaction, He said, ‘This is one of My best gifts, one of My rarest. It can only be bestowed upon one who has been sorely tested. This is for you. I prepared it especially for you. But you are not prepared for it, and you must not see it as it is, never fully on earth, perhaps not even a glimpse of it. In this will lie the severest part of your testing, the greatest part of your preparation. I must disguise the glory that’s in store that you may learn to walk by faith and not by sight; to serve for love only, and not for reward.’

“Then he took a piece of plain coarse sacking and in it He carefully wrapped the treasure, tying it securely with a thick, strong cord. So many, so tight, and so intricate were the knots that no human ingenuity could ever succeed in untying them. Then He said, ‘Take it up.’ It was so heavy, I could only lay it down with a sigh. She said, ‘Surely this burden is greater than I can bear.’ His answer was, ‘I have carefully tested its weight, and My grace is sufficient, and My strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“Then He called me by my name, and I came to Him, and He said, ‘I have a work I want you to do for me. Are you ready?’ And I said, ‘Oh yes! I’ve been longing for some special service, and shall be so glad, Lord. What can I do?’ And then I watched as He put this burden upon her. Utterly unattractive in its plainness and ugliness, He handed it to my friend, and said in a tone of infinite tenderness, ‘This is My love gift to you, My special love test. There are only a few that I can trust with it. I want you to carry it everywhere you go for My sake, and when I call you to bring it to Me, we’ll open it together. Then you’ll see what I have prepared for one who trusted Me. Till then you must not lay it down. Will you do this for Me?’ She answered, ’Yes.’

“She took up the burden with difficulty. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I thought He was going to let me work for Him, but it’s all burden. How can I go on day after day dragging this weight with me, how long?’ And He said, ‘Fear not; I am with thee. I will help thee, I’ll deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.’

“Then the final day came, the day of explanation about this heavy burden she was carrying. I saw my friend bring her burden and lay it before the Lord with such a look of relief—the burden-bearing days were over. He took the burden from her and as I watched, I saw that with one touch of His hand, all the knots were untied and the wrappings fell off, and the riches of glory prepared for her stood all revealed before her astonished gaze.

“I heard the Lord say, ‘This is your eternal portion which I had prepared for you. My gift to you in appreciation for what you have been and done and suffered for Me.’ There was a delightful amazement on her face. I saw tears in her eyes. She fell at His feet and said, ‘Oh Lord, forgive me that I have misunderstood that burden. If I had only trusted Thee, and not doubted and questioned. If I’d only believed that it was all glory, if I could only have seen.

“‘But I saw only the ugly wrappings and the knotty cord. I couldn’t see beyond. It was such a heavy weight, and I was not able to count it joy. I fretted over it. I did not trust. I did not walk by faith, because I could not see. I could not understand why You put such a heavy burden upon me.’

“I saw that He wiped the tears from her face. Then He made her sit beside Him with the glory full in view, for all worlds even to see, and I heard her say, ‘Is this the outcome of all those days of faith without any sight?’ And He replied softly, ‘The trial of thy faith has been much more precious than gold which perisheth, though it has been tried by fire’” (1 Peter 1:7).

May it be that way with you and your burden, that “afterward it worketh the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). God bless you. Amen.

 
 
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Meditation Moments

OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-personal-responsibilitiesWhen I was with my husband during his declining time when he was ill, I would visit him at the hospital, and I would watch those dear lives there in the waiting rooms, and those in the their beds. I would think of the all the suffering, the human suffering. Some of those dear ones, especially the very aged, lie there day after day, and it went into weeks after awhile. For a month I visited the hospital, and no one ever came to see them. I’d look into some of those poor drawn faces, their children never cared enough to come. And then I’d see them draw the curtain about a life, and after awhile that bed was empty — but nobody ever came. It was all too much for the Chaplain whom I got to know quite well.
Then I would look out through the windows of the tall hospital, out to the highway where cars were rushing back and forth, and I would think about poor lost humanity — so many who are sorrowing, so many with broken hearts. How much they need the Father’s mercy, and how much the Lord needs us, as lower lights, to keep burning. There in the hospital this hymn would come to me, which I would sing sometimes to my husband, sitting at his bedside:

“Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From His Lighthouse ever more,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

“Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

“Trim your feeble lamp, my brother,
Some poor sailor, tempest tossed
Is trying now to make the harbor,
And in darkness may be lost.

“Some poor fainting, struggling seaman,
You may rescue, you may save.
Let the lower lights be burning,
Send a gleam across the wave.”

That wonderful old song coming to my heart made me long so sometimes that people would catch a vision of service for others. “When the Son of man shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the World:
“‘For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.’
“Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?’
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.'”Mat.25:31-40.
God has entrusted us with some sacred responsibilities, certain things which have to have the first attention in life. Lots of things are demanding our attention, so many things are happening on the stage of life today. The calls are multitudinous, and there is so little time for them in the mighty rush of time.
We have to face the issue, of what is the greatest outstanding purpose of life. God’s Word tells us that, first of all, it’s to work out our own salvation. — Phil.2:12. But after that it is the salvation of those around us, the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. These are the sacred trusts and they have to be put in the rightful place.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”Mat.6:33a. Oh, how trite that may sound to us, we hear it so many times. But the first things for us as Christians are those which are eternal, not temporal. But so often God is set aside and the merest trifles are attended to before those two outstanding purposes in life: Your own salvation and the care of the souls about you.
These two great realities of life are eternal purposes, but so often they’re set in a secondary place. As someone aptly put it: There’s a misplaced attention, a false priority. The emphasis in life is put in the wrong place.
There was an older woman from Valparaiso, Indiana, who took a trip from Valparaiso to Chicago, Illinois, which was arranged by the president of Valparaiso, as she had always wanted to take that trip. Afterwards, the conductor related that during the trip, the woman, fussed with her handbag and her little satchel all the way to Chicago, trying to arrange things — adjusting a little pillow she had brought along for her back, and fussing about, never looking out at the scenery. She had always talked about wanting to see what it looked like on the road between Valparaiso and Chicago, and the president of Valparaiso had tired to meet the desire of her heart.
But she didn’t deal with the main purpose of her trip at all. She forgot what it was all about and just fooled around with those little, inconsequential things. It was a misplaced attention, a false priority. The emphasis was in the wrong place. If we think temporal things have not had priority in our lives, quietly and sincerely, perhaps we ought to go over the past month, the past week, and meditate on how much of the temporal rather than the eternal has occupied our time and thought.
We sing we are pilgrims and strangers in this World, but I tell you, beloved, we don’t act like it a great deal. No man is a great man, no woman is a great woman, unless they have a sense of values. If we keep from doing the better thing because we’re so occupied with things that are so secondary, then God’s going to have to judge us. That’s what the Scripture is about, He said, “I was sick, and ye visited Me not.”Mat.25:43b.
There are great possibilities in your life, there’s such promise in your life, and you have all the resources of Heaven at your command. What a blessing and joy you could be in your neighbor. We’re going to have to give an account of what we might have been, because God’s going to judge us by what we might have been. He’s going to judge us by the life that we might have lived.
God’s going to ask some day, “What kept you from doing these things? What kept you from these things which should have been put first?” The World is so full of opportunity, and eternal things are calling so loudly today. The need is so very desperate.
We are the lights along the shore, Christians are the lower lights. The Upper Lights up There are God, His Son — Jesus — and the Holy Spirit, but we are the lower lights. Nobody else is going to tell them if we don’t. No one else will call on the sick and those in prison and give them clothing if we don’t.
A man came to our door the other day, was brought by for us to talk to by someone who picked him up on the highway. He was 60 years old and no one had ever presented him with the plan of Salvation, no one had ever talked to him about Jesus.
If we fail in the supreme task of life and make others shipwreck of the great purpose of life, which is our salvation and then the salvation of others, and we come to the end of the road and offer God trifles instead of the great immortal purpose of life, what is our judgment going to be?
We have at our command the remedy for all the World’s ills, the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Lord, forgive us and cleanse our hearts from adversities which cause us to accept secondary things and which keep us from fulfilling our mission in life.
Your attitude may be. “Let the World and need be forgotten. Let someone else win the lost souls and the millions starving for the Light. Let them starve, it isn’t my business. Little children in cruelty and darkness — let come mighty issues, let come death, let come judgment. I’m occupied with things of self and things that please me to do.” God help us and forgive us and cleanse us from all this, in Jesus’ name! Any door of service for the Lord is a great service. God bless and keep you. He’s still on the Throne and prayer will change things for you.

 
 
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