Or, Waking Thoughts for the Little Ones
FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL
To The Twin Brothers, Willie and Ethelbert With Aunt Fanny's Love.
1. "Thy Holy Child Jesus" 2. "Even Christ pleased not Himself" 3. "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe" 4. "Bear ye one another's burdens" 5. "Yield your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" 6. "Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly" 7. "Faithful over a few things" 8. "Put that on mine account" 9. "Let thy garments be always white" 10. "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us" 11. "Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy" 12. "The Lord is able to give thee much more than this" 13. "Whatsoever the king did pleased all the people" 14. "A new heart also will I give you" 15. "I will put my Spirit within you" 16. "The Lord shall fight for you" 17. "I will watch to see what He will say unto me" 18. "He careth for you" 19. "Under His wings shall thou trust" 20. "I am with you alway" 21. "Teach me to do Thy will" 22. "Ye have done it unto me;" "Ye did it not to me" 23. "Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee" 24. "Chosen to be a soldier" 25. "That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" 26. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it" 27. "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" 28. "As seeing Him who is invisible" 29. "Let us lay aside every weight" 30. "Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation" 31. "I will love Thee, O Lord"
Most of the readers of this little book will have already read Little Pillows. Those were given you to go to sleep upon night after night; sweet, soothing texts, that little hearts might rest upon.
But in the morning we want something to arouse us, and to help us to go brightly and bravely through the day. So here are "Morning Bells" to waken up the little hearts, and to remind them that we must not only rest in Jesus, but walk in Him. If the motto of "Little Pillows" might be "Come to Jesus," the motto of "Morning Bells" might be "Follow Jesus."
May He who loves the little ones bless this tiny effort to help them to follow Him day by day.
1. First Day.
"Thy holy child Jesus."—Acts iv. 30.
If I asked, "How old are you?" you would give an exact answer. "Eight and a half;" "Just turned ten;" "Eleven next month." Now you have thought of God's "holy child Jesus" as a little baby, and as twelve years old in the temple, but did you ever think of Him as being exactly your own age? that He was once really just as old as you are this very day? He knows what it is to be eight, and nine, and ten years old, or whatever you may be. God's word has only told us this one thing about those years, that He was a holy child.
What is "holy"? It is everything that is perfectly beautiful and good and lovable, without anything to spoil it. This is just what He was when He was your age. He was gentle and brave, and considerate and unselfish, noble and truthful, obedient and loving, kind and forgiving,—everything you can think of that you ever admired or loved in any one else was all found together in Him, and all this not only outside, but inside, for He was "holy."
Why did He live all these holy child-years on earth instead of staying in heaven till it was time to come and die for you? One reason was, that He might leave you a beautiful example, so that you might wish to be like Him, and ask for the Holy Spirit to make you like Him. But the other was even more gracious and wonderful, it was "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." That is, that all this goodness and holiness might be reckoned to you, because you had not any of your own, and that God might smile on you for His sake, just as if you had been perfectly obedient, and truthful, and unselfish, and good, and give you Jesus Christ's reward, which you never deserved at all, but which He deserved for you.
He took your sins and gives you His righteousness; He took your punishment and gives you His reward; it is just changed over, if you will only accept the exchange!
"I'm glad my blessed Saviour Was once a child like me, To show how pure and holy His little ones might be. And if I try to follow His footsteps here below, He never will forget me, Because He loves me so."
2. Second Day.
Our Great Example
"Even Christ pleased not Himself."—Rom. xv. 3.
Do you really wish to follow the footsteps of the Holy Child Jesus? Have you asked God to make you more like Him? Are you ready to begin to-day? Then here is a motto for to-day, "Even Christ pleased not Himself." Will you take it, and try to imitate Him? You are sure to have plenty of opportunities of acting upon it, and thus proving not only to others, but to your dear Saviour Himself, that you mean what you say, and mean what you pray.
Perhaps it seems a rather melancholy "morning bell" to you, tolling instead of chiming! But if you really wish to be like Christ, you will soon find that its music is as sweet as any, and that its quiet chime will come to you again and again with a wonderful sweetness and power, helping you over all sorts of difficulties, and saving you from all sorts of sins and troubles.
You can not tell, till you have fairly tried, how happy a little girl can feel, who has cheerfully given up to another, for Jesus' sake, something which she would have liked for herself; nor how happy a boy can be when of his own free will, and by God's grace, he has chosen to do what his conscience tells him would please the Lord Jesus instead of what would have pleased himself.
If you have never tried it yet, begin to-day, and you will find it is quite a new happiness.
Ah, what would have become of us if Christ had only "pleased Himself," and had stayed in His own glorious home instead of coming down to save us! Think of that when you are tempted to please yourself instead of pleasing Him, and the remembrance that even He pleased not Himself because He so loved you, will help you to try and please Him, and to please others for His sake.
"If washed in Jesus' blood, Then bear His likeness too! And as you onward press, Ask, 'What would Jesus do?'
"Give with a full, free hand; God freely gives to you! And check each selfish thought With, 'What would Jesus do?'"
3. Third Day.
"Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe."—Ps. cxix. 117.
The path is not easy. There are rough stones over which we may stumble, if we are not walking very carefully. There are places which look quite smooth, but they are more dangerous than the rough ones, for they are slippery. There are little holes hidden under flowers, which may catch our feet and give us a bad fall. There are muddy ditches, into which we may slip and get sadly wet and dirty.
How are we to walk safely along such a path? We want a strong, kind hand to hold us up, and to hold us always; a hand that will hold ours so tightly and lovingly, that it will be as the old Scotchwoman said, "Not my grip of Christ, but Christ's grip of me!" Yes, Christ's loving hand is "able to keep you from falling;" only "let your hand be restfully in the hand of Jesus," and "then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble." But do not spoil the chime of this morning's bells by ringing only half a peal! Do not say, "Hold Thou me up," and stop there, or add, "But, all the same, I shall stumble and fall!" Finish the peal with God's own music, the bright words of faith that He puts into your mouth, "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe!" So you will if you do not distrust Him, if you will but trust Him to do just what you ask, and let Him hold you up.
It would be hard to find a prayer in the Bible without a promise to match it; so David says, "Uphold me, according to Thy word."
What has He said about it? More than there is room for on this page. "I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand." "Yea, I will uphold thee." "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved." "When thou runnest thou shalt not stumble." "Yea, he shall be holden up." "He shall keep thy foot from being taken." "He will keep the feet of His saints." Seven promises in answer to your one little prayer!
"I the Lord am with thee, Be thou not afraid! I will help and strengthen, Be thou not dismayed! Yea, I will uphold thee With my own right hand; Thou art called and chosen In my sight to stand!"
4. Fourth Day.
What can I do?
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."—Gal. vi. 2.
Perhaps you never thought that any one around you had any! Then if you want to fulfill this law of Christ, the first thing will be to find out who has any burdens, and which of them you could bear instead. You will not have to watch long! There are very few without any. Little backs can not bear great burdens, but sometimes those who have great burdens have little ones too, and it makes such a difference if some loving little hand will take one or two of these. If your mother was carrying a great heavy parcel, would it not help her if you took two or three little ones out of her hand and carried them for her? So perhaps she has troubles that you do not even know about, and you see she looks tired and anxious. And it tires her a little more, because a little brother or sister wants to be nursed or amused. Now if you put your own affairs by, and call the little ones away, and amuse them quietly so that mamma may not be disturbed, this is bearing one of her burdens. Never mind if it is really a little burden to you too; is it not worth it, when it is fulfilling the law of Christ? If for a moment a burden that you have taken up does seem rather hard, and you are tempted to drop it again, think of what the Lord Jesus bore for you! Think how He took up the heaviest burden of all for you, when He "His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree!" He did not drop that burden, but bore it till He died under it. Think of that, and it will be easy then to bear something for His sake.
Now be on the watch all to-day for little burdens to bear for others. See how many you can find out, and pick up, and carry away! Depend upon it, you will not only make it a brighter day for others, but for yourself too!
"Little deeds of kindness, Little words of love, Make our earth an Eden, Like the heaven above."
5. Fifth Day.
"Yield .... your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."—Rom. vi. 13.
This does not sound so easy and tuneful as most of your other "morning bells," you think! But listen for a few minutes and you will hear the music.
What are your members? Hands, feet, lips, eyes, ears, and so on. What are you to do with them? "Yield" them, that is, give them up altogether, hand them over to God.
What for? That He may use them as instruments of righteousness. That is, just as we should take an instrument of music, to make music with it, so He may take your hands and feet and all your members, and use them to do right and good things with.
If a little one gives himself or herself to God, every part of that little body is to be God's little servant, a little instrument for Him to use.
The little hands will no longer serve Satan by striking or pinching; the little feet will not kick or stamp, nor drag and dawdle, when they ought to run briskly on some errand; the little lips will not pout; the little tongue will not move to say a naughty thing. All the little members will leave off serving Satan, and find something to do for God; for if you "yield" them to God, He will really take them and use them.
He will tell the hands to pick up what a tired mamma has dropped, and to fetch her a footstool; and the fingers to sew patiently at a warm petticoat for a poor child, or to make warm cuffs for a poor old man. He will tell the feet to run on errands of kindness and help. He will set the lips to sing happy hymns, which will cheer and comfort somebody, even if you never know of it. He will use the eyes for reading to some poor sick or blind woman, or to some fretful little one in your own home. You will be quite surprised to find in how many ways He will really use even your little members, if you give them and your whole self to Him. It will be so nice! You will never be miserable again with "nothing to do!"
"Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful' for Thee."
6. Sixth Day.
Willing and Glad.
"Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly."—I Chron. xxix. 9
We thought yesterday morning about giving our members up to God for Him to use. Did you think you would like to give them up to Him? did you yield them to Him? If you did, you will understand this morning's text! David the King asked his people to help in bringing offerings for God's house and service. He said, "Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?" And God made them all willing to bring what they could. And what then? "Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord." "And did eat and drink on that day before the Lord with great gladness."
See what came of offering willingly to the Lord—they "rejoiced," and everything they did, even eating and drinking, was "with great gladness." Never is any one so happy as those who offer their own selves willingly to the Lord. He gives them a thousandfold return for the worthless little self and weak little members which they have offered to Him. He gives them peace, and gladness, and blessing, beyond what they ever expected to have.
But this was not all; it was not only the people who had such a glad day, but "David the king also rejoiced with great joy." Those who loved their king, and recollected how much sorrow he had gone through, and how many battles he had fought for them, must have been glad indeed to see Him rejoicing because they had offered willingly. And I think our King, your King Jesus, rejoices over us when He has made us able (ver. 14) to offer ourselves willingly to Him. Is not this best of all? Jesus, who suffered for us, and who fought the great battle of our salvation for us, He, our own beloved King, "will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing."
"In full and glad surrender I give myself to Thee, Thine utterly, and only, and evermore to be! O Son of God, who lovest me, I will be Thine alone; And all I have, and all I am, shall henceforth be Thine own."
7. Seventh Day.
"Faithful over a few things."—Matt. xxv. 21, 23.
The servant who had only two talents to trade with, but traded faithfully with them, had just the same glorious words spoken to him as the servant who had five talents: "Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things ... enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Think what it would be to hear the Lord Jesus saying that to you, really to you! Oh how sweet! how blessed! how you would listen to that gracious voice saying those wonderfully gracious words to you!
But could He say them to you? Are you "faithful over a few things"? He has given every one, even the youngest, a few things to be faithful over, and so He has to you. Your "few things" may be very few, and very small things, but He expects you to be faithful over them.
What is being faithful over them? It means doing the very best you can with them; doing as much for Jesus as you can with your money, even if you have very little; doing as much for Him as you can with your time; doing whatever duties He gives you as well as ever you can,—your lessons, your work, the little things that you are bidden or asked to do every day, the little things that you have promised or undertaken to do for others. It means doing all these just the same whether others see you or know about it or not.
You sigh over all this; you recollect many things in which you have not been quite faithful; you know you do not deserve for Him to call you "good and faithful servant." But come at once to your gracious Lord, and ask Him to forgive all the unfaithfulness, and to make you faithful to-day. And then, even if it is only a matter of a French verb or a Latin noun, you will find it a help to recollect, "Faithful over a few things!"
"Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love Fit us for perfect rest above; And help us, this and every day, To live more nearly as we pray."
8. Eighth Day.
"On mine Account."
"Put that on mine account."—Philem. 18.
When St. Paul asked Philemon, in a most beautiful letter, to take back Onesimus, who had run away from him, he said, "If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on my account." Onesimus had been a bad servant to Philemon; and being willing to come back and do better, would not pay for what he had wronged him in before, and would not pay his old debts. And he evidently had nothing himself to pay them with. But St. Paul offered to pay all, so that Onesimus might be received, "not now as a servant," but as a "brother beloved."
This is an exquisite picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ does. He not only intercedes for us with Him from whom we have departed, and against whom we have sinned; but, knowing to the full how much we have wronged God, and how much we owe Him, He says, "Put that on mine account."
And God has put it all on His account and the account has been paid, paid in blood. When "the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all," Jesus saw and knew all your sins; and He said, "Put that on mine account."
Oh, what wonderful "kindness and love of God our Saviour!" Let the remembrance of it be like a silver bell, ringing softly and clearly whenever you are going to do, or letting yourself feel or think, something that is not right. "Put that on mine account!" Yes, that sin that you were on the very edge of committing! that angry word, and the angry feeling that makes you want to say it; that untrue word, and the cowardliness which makes you afraid to speak the exact truth; that proud look and the naughty pride of heart that made it come into your eyes; Jesus stands by and says, patiently and lovingly, "Put that on mine account!"
Can you bear that? does it not make you wish, ten times more than ever, to be kept from sinning against such a Saviour?
"Jesus, tender Saviour, Hast Thou died for me? Make me very thankful In my heart to Thee; When the sad, sad story Of Thy grief I read, Make me very sorry For my sins indeed."
9. Ninth Day.
"Let thy garments be always white."—Eccles. ix. 8.
"Always?" Oh, how can that be? They are soiled again directly after they have been washed clean! Yet God says, "Let them be always white;" and He would not tell you to do what was impossible. Then how are you to help soiling them? Only in one way. Last night's "little pillow" told you how Jesus washes us "whiter than snow" in His own precious blood, that cleanseth from all sin. But will He only cleanse His little one just for the moment? is that all He is able and willing to do for you?
No; if you will only keep on trusting to that precious blood, and not turn away from it, He says that it cleanseth, that is, goes on cleansing. You could not keep your garments white for five minutes; careless thoughts would come like dust upon them, and wrong words would make great dark stains and before long some naughty deed would be like a sad fall in the mud, and you would feel sad and ashamed before the kind Saviour who still stands ready to cleanse you again. But why should all this happen over and over again, till anybody but our own loving, long-suffering Saviour would be tired of us, and give up doing any more for us? Why should it be, when His precious blood is meant to "go on cleansing," so that our garments may be always white? Perhaps you never thought of this; ask Him now this morning not only to wash you in the fountain of His precious blood, but to keep you in it, to go on cleansing you all day long. Trust Him to do this, and see if it is not the happiest day you ever spent!
"And He can do all this for me, Because in sorrow, on the tree, He once for sinners hung; And, having washed their sin away, He now rejoices, day by day, To cleanse His little one."
10. Tenth Day.
"Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."—Ps. xc. 17.
"How great is His beauty!" said Zechariah. How can His beauty be upon us? In two ways; try to understand them, and then ask that in both ways the beauty of the Lord our God may be upon you.
One way is by His covering you with the robe of Jesus Christ's righteousness, looking upon you not as you are in yourself, all sinful and unholy, but as if all the Saviour's beautiful and holy life were yours, reckoning it to you for His sake. In this way He can call us "perfect through my comeliness which I had put upon thee." The other way is by giving you the beauty of holiness, for that is His own beauty; and though we never can be quite like Him till we see Him as He is, He can begin to make us like Him even now. Look at a poor little colorless drop of water, hanging weakly on a blade of grass. It is not beautiful at all; why should you stop to look at it? Stay till the sun has risen, and now look. It is sparkling like a diamond; and if you look at it from another side, it will be glowing like a ruby, and presently gleaming like an emerald. The poor little drop has become one of the brightest and loveliest things you ever saw. But is it its own brightness and beauty? No; if it slipped down to the ground out of the sunshine, it would be only a poor little dirty drop of water. So, if the Sun of Righteousness, the glorious and lovely Saviour, shines upon you, a little ray of His own brightness and beauty will be seen upon you. Sometimes we can see by the happy light on a face that the Sun is shining there; but if the Sun is really shining, there are sure to be some of the beautiful rays of holiness, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, making the life even of a little child very lovely.
"Jesus, Lord, I come to Thee, Thou hast said I may; Tell me what my life should be, Take my sins away.
"Jesus, Lord, I learn of Thee, In Thy word divine; Every promise there I see, May I call it mine!"
11. Eleventh Day.
"Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy."—I Tim. vi. 17.
Think a little this morning of God's great kindness to you. How very good He is to you! I know one of His dear children who looks up many, many times a day, and says, "Good Lord Jesus!" or "Kind Lord Jesus!" She does not set herself to say it, but it seems as if she could not help saying it, just because He is so good and kind. And then it seems only natural to look up again and say, "Dear Lord Jesus!" How can anybody go on all day long, and never see how good He is, and never look up and bless Him? Most especially on bright pleasant days, when He giveth us more even than usual to enjoy! "He giveth." Not one single pleasant thing, not one single bit of enjoyment comes to us but what He giveth. We can not get it, we do not earn it, we do not deserve it; but He giveth lovingly, and kindly, and freely. Suppose He stopped giving, what would become of us?
"Richly." So richly, that if you tried to write down half His gifts to you, your hand would be tired long before you had done. You might easily make a list of the presents given you on your birthday, but you could not make a list of what God gives you every day of your life.
"All things." All the things you really need, and a great many more besides. All the things that will do you good, a great many more than you would ever have thought of. All the things that He can fill your little hands with, and trust you to carry without stumbling and falling. All things, everything that you have at all!
"To enjoy." Now how kind this is! not only "to do us good," but "to enjoy." So you see He means you to be happy with what He gives you, to smile and laugh and be glad, not to be dismal and melancholy. If you do not enjoy what He "giveth," that is your own fault, for He meant you to enjoy it. Look up to Him with a bright smile, and thank Him for having given you richly all things to enjoy!
"My joys to Thee I bring, The joys Thy love hath given, That each may be a wing To lift me nearer heaven. I bring them, Saviour, all to Thee, For Thou hast purchased all for me."
12. Twelfth Day.
Much more than this.
"The Lord is able to give thee much more than this."—2 Chron. xxv. 9.
Amaziah, king of Judah, was going to war against the Edomites. He thought he would make sure of victory by hiring a hundred thousand soldiers from the King of Israel, and he paid them beforehand a hundred talents, which was about L34,218.15s. of our money. But a man of God warned him not to let the army of Israel go with him, for Israel had forsaken the Lord, and so He was not with them. It seemed a great pity to waste all that money, and so Amaziah said, "But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this." So Amaziah simply obeyed, and sent the soldiers away, and trusted God to help him to do without them. Was it any wonder that he gained a great victory over the Edomites?
Does not this teach us that we should simply do the right thing, and trust God at any cost? When you do this, you will find that, in hundreds of ways which you never thought of, "the Lord is able to give thee much more." The trial comes in many different ways. One may be tempted to hurry over prayer and Bible, because there is something else that she very much wants to get done before breakfast, and she is afraid of not having time enough. Another shuts up her little purse when a call comes to give something for God's work, because she is afraid she will not have enough left for another purpose. Another is tempted to look at a key, or to glance over another's shoulder at a lesson, because without it he would not get the marks he is trying for. Another is tempted not to tell the exact truth, or to conceal something which he ought to tell, because he would lose something by it. Oh, resist the devil, and do what you know is right, and trust God for all the rest! For "the Lord is able to give thee much more than this," whatever your "this" may be. And His smile and His blessing will always be "more than this," more than anything else!
"Be brave to do the right, And scorn to be untrue; When fear would whisper 'yield!' Ask, 'What would Jesus do?'"
13. Thirteenth Day.
The Doings of the King.
"Whatsoever the king did pleased all the people."—2 Sam. iii. 36.
David had been giving a proof of his love for one who had long been his enemy, but whom he had received into friendship; and he had been giving a proof of his tender-heartedness and sympathy with the people, by weeping with them at the grave of Abner. "And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people."
This was because they loved their king. They watched him, not as the wicked Pharisees watched the Lord Jesus that they might find something against Him; but with the watching of admiration and love, taking notice of the kind and gracious things he did and said. Do you thus take notice of what your King does? Does it please you to hear and read of what He has done and what He is doing? It must be so if He really is your King.
But the "whatsoever" is a little harder; and yet, if it is once really learnt, it makes everything easy. For if we learn to be pleased with whatsoever our King Jesus does, nothing can come wrong to us.
Suppose something comes to-day which is not quite what you would have liked; heavy rain, for instance, when you wanted to go out,—recollect that your King Jesus has done it, and that will hush the little murmur, and make you quite content. Ask Him this morning to make you so loving and loyal to Him, that whatsoever He does, all day long, may please you, because it has pleased Him to do it. I think He loves us so much, that He always gives us as much happiness as He can possibly trust us with, and does what is pleasantest for His dear children whenever He sees it will not hurt them; so, when He does something which at first does not seem so pleasant, we may still trust our beloved King, and learn by His grace to be pleased with whatsoever He does.
"I hear a sweet voice ringing clear, 'All is well!' It is my Father's voice I hear, All is well! Where'er I walk that voice is heard, It is my God, my Father's word— 'Fear not, but trust; I am the Lord, All is well!'"
14. Fourteenth Day.
The New Heart.
"A new heart also will I give you."—Ezek. xxxvi. 26.
Why does God promise this? Because our old hearts are so evil that they can not be made any better; and so nothing will do any good but giving us a quite new heart.
Because we can not make a new heart for ourselves; the more we try, the more we shall find we can not do it; so God, in His great pity and kindness, says He will give it us.
Because unless we have a new heart we can not enter the kingdom of God, we can not even see it! Without this gift we must be left outside in the terrible darkness when "the door is shut."
What is the difference? The old heart likes to be naughty in some way or other; either it likes to be idle, or it likes to let out sharp words, or to go on being sulky or fretful instead of clearing up and saying, "I am sorry!" The new heart wants to be good; and is grieved when a temptation comes, and does not wish to yield to it; and would like to be always pleasing the Saviour.
The old heart is afraid of God, and does not love Him, and would much rather He were not always seeing us. And it does not care to hear about Jesus, but would rather be just let alone. The new heart loves God and trusts what He says, and likes to know that He is always watching it. And it is glad to hear about Jesus, and wants to come closer to Him.
The old heart is a little slave of Satan, taking his orders, and doing what he wishes. The new heart is a happy little servant of Christ, listening to His orders, and doing what He wishes.
Oh how happy and blessed to have this new heart! All God's own children receive it, for He has said, "I will give them one heart;" that is, all the same new heart. Do you not want to have it too? Then "ask, and you shall receive;" for He hath said, "A new heart also will I give you!"
"Oh for a heart to praise my God, A heart from sin set free! A heart that always feels Thy blood, So freely shed for me.
"A heart resigned, submissive, meek, My dear Redeemer's throne; Where only Christ is heard to speak, Where Jesus reigns alone."
15. Fifteenth Day.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit.
"I will put my Spirit within you."—Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
Many years ago a good clergyman wrote a tiny prayer, so short that no one could help remembering it if they once heard it. God seemed to set that little prayer "upon wheels," so that it might run everywhere. It was printed on large cards and hung up, and it was printed on small ones and kept in Bibles and pocket-books. It was taught to classes and schools and whole congregations, and now thousands upon thousands pray it constantly. It is a prayer which must be heard, because it asks for what God has promised to give; and it asks for this through Him whom the Father heareth always. It is this: "O God, give me Thy Holy Spirit, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen." Will you not pray it too? Begin this morning, and go on, not just saying it, but praying it, till you get a full answer. For you are quite sure to get it; here is God's own promise, "I will put my Spirit within you;" and He has promised it over and over again in other places. Perhaps you will not know at first when the answer comes. Can you see the dew fall? No one ever saw a single drop come down, and yet as soon as the sun rises, you see that it has come, and is sparkling all over the fields. It came long before you saw it, falling sweetly and silently in the twilight and in the dark. So do not fancy God is not hearing you because you have not felt anything very sudden and wonderful. He is hearing and answering all the time. You would not go on asking unless the dew of His Spirit were already falling upon your heart, and teaching you to pray. The more He gives you of His blessed Spirit, the more you will ask for; and the more you ask, the more He will give.
"Thou gift of Jesus, now descend, And be my Comforter and Friend; O Holy Spirit, fill my heart, That I from Christ may ne'er depart!
"Show me my soul all black within, And cleanse and keep me pure within; Oh, show me Jesus! let me rest My heart upon His loving breast!"
16. Sixteenth Day.
How to Conquer.
"The Lord shall fight for you."—Ex. xiv. 14.
How glad the children of Israel must have been when Moses said these words to them on the shores of the Red Sea! For when they "lifted up their eyes, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid."
The Egyptians had been cruel masters to them; and they had horses and chariots to pursue them with; and there was the sea close before them, and no boats! Perhaps some of the Israelites thought it was no use trying to escape, they would only be overtaken and conquered and be worse off than before.
And so, left to themselves, they would have been; but God fought for them in a way they never thought of. For "the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore."
What about your Egyptians?—the angry tempers or sulky looks, the impatient words, the vain and foolish thoughts, the besetting sins that master you so often. Have you tried so often to fight against them, and failed, that it seems almost no use, and you do not see how to conquer them or to escape them? Are you very tired of fighting, and "sore afraid" of being always overcome just the same as ever? Now hear God's true, strong promise to you. "The Lord shall fight for you!" "Will He really?" Yes, really, and He will conquer for you too, if you will only believe His Word and trust the battle to Him, and let Him fight for you.
How? First, watch! and then the very instant you see the enemy coming, look up and say, "Come, Lord, and fight for me;" and keep on looking up and expecting Him to fight for you. And you will find that He does fight for you and gives you the victory; and you too will be "saved that day," and will see "the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore." Try Him, and trust Him; and you, even you, will be "more than conqueror through Him that loved you."
"So, when you meet with trials, And know not what to do; Just cast the care on Jesus, And He will fight for you. Gird on the heavenly armor Of faith, and hope, and love; And when the conflict's ended, You'll reign with Him above."
17. Seventeenth Day.
The Master's Voice.
"I will watch to see what He will say unto me."—Hab. ii. 1.
When the Lord Jesus said to Simon the Pharisee, "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee;" he answered, "Master, say on!" When God was going to speak to Samuel, he said, "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth." Has the Lord Jesus said anything like this for us? He says, "I have yet many things to say unto you." What things? They will be strong, helpful, life-giving words, for He says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." They will be very loving words, for He says, "I will speak comfortably to her" (margin, "I will speak to her heart"). And they will be very kind and tender words, and spoken just at the right moment, for He says that He knows "how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." "Will He really speak to me?" says the little heart. Yes, really, if you will only watch to see what He will say to you. For it will be "a still, small voice," and you will not hear it at all if you do not listen for it. "How will He speak to me?" If I had something very nice to tell you, and instead of saying it out loud, I wrote it down on a piece of paper, and gave it you to look at, would not that be exactly the same as if I had told it you with my lips? And you would take the paper eagerly to see what it was that I had to say to you. So to-day, when you read your Bible, either alone or at your Bible-lesson, watch to see what Jesus will say to you in it. You will never really watch in vain. You will see some word that seems to come home to you, and that you never noticed so much before. Oh, listen lovingly to it, for that is what He says to you! Or if you are really watching and wishing for a word from Him, some sweet text will come into your mind, and you wonder what made you think of it! That is the voice of Jesus speaking to your heart. Listen to it, and treasure it up, and follow it; and then watch to see what else He will say to you. Say to Him, "Master, say on!"
"Master, speak! and make me ready, When Thy voice is truly heard, With obedience glad and steady, Still to follow every word. I am listening, Lord, for Thee; Master, speak, oh, speak to me!"
18. Eighteenth Day
Who will take care of me?
"He careth for you."—I Pet. v. 7.
It is so pleasant to be cared for; to have kind relations and friends who show that they love you by their care of you, and their care for you. What would you do if no one cared for you, like the poor little children in London who are turned out to "do for themselves" before they are as old as you are? What would you do if there was no one to get anything for you to eat, or to see to your clothes, or to keep a home for you to live in? No one to take any notice if you hurt yourself ever so badly, or if you were ever so ill? You would feel then what a difference being cared for makes to your life. But all the earthly care for you comes because "He careth for you." He planned and arranged everything, without your having anything to do with it, so that you shall be cared for. And He did not arrange it once for all, and then leave things to go on as might happen. No! Every day, every moment, He careth, goes on caring, for you. Not only thinking of you and watching you, but working for you; making things come right, so that everything should be just the best that could happen to you. Not managing the great things, and leaving the little things to arrange themselves; but giving loving care to the least, the very least things that concern you. Even in some tiny little trouble which no one else seems to care about, "He careth;" or when every one else is too much taken up with other things to attend to you, "He careth for you."
You can never get beyond God's care, for it always reaches you; you can never be outside of it, for it is always enfolding you.
"'Who will take care of me?' darling, you say, Lovingly, tenderly watched as you are? Listen! I give you the answer to-day, One who is never forgetful or far.
"He will take care of you! All through the year Crowning each day with His kindness and love, Sending you blessings and shielding from fear, Leading you on to His bright home above."
19. Nineteenth Day.
Under His Wings.
"Under His wings shall thou trust."—Ps. xci. 4.
That means to-day, not some other time! Under His wings, the shadowing wings of the Most High, you, poor little helpless one, are to trust to-day.
When the little eaglets, that have not yet a feather to fly with, are under the great wings of the parent eagle, how safe they are! Who would dare touch them? If a bold climber put his hand into the nest then, those powerful wings would beat him in a minute from his hold, and he would fall down the rocks and be dashed to pieces. So safe shall you be "under His wings," "nothing shall by any means hurt you" there.
When the wild snow-storms rage round the eyrie, and the mountain cold is felt, that is death to an unprotected sleeper, how warm the little eaglets are kept! Not an arrow of the keen blast reaches them, poor little featherless things, not a snowflake touches them. So warm shall you be kept "under His wings," when any cold and dark day of trouble comes, or even any sudden little blast of unkindness or loneliness.
"Under His wings shall thou trust!" Not "shall thou see!" If one of the eaglets wanted to see for itself what was going on, and thought it could take care of itself for a little while, and hopped from under the shadow of the wings, it would be neither safe nor warm. The sharp wind would chill it, and the cruel hand might seize it then. So you are to trust, rest quietly and peacefully, "under His wings;" stay there, not be peeping out and wondering whether God really is taking care of you! You may be always safe and happy there. Safe, for "in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge." Happy, for "in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice."
Remember, too, that it is a command as well as a promise; it is what you are to do to-day, all day long: "Under His wings shalt thou trust!"
"I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, Trusting only Thee! Trusting Thee for full salvation, Great and free.
"I am trusting Thee to guide me, Thou alone shalt lead! Every day and hour supplying All my need."
20. Twentieth Day
"I am with you alway."—Matt. xxvlii. 20.
How nice it would be if we could always have the one we loved best in all the world with us; never away from us night or day, and no fear that they ever possibly would or could leave us; never a good-bye even for ever such a little while, and never, never the long farewell of death!
Can this ever be for you? Yes, for you; for to every one who is a disciple of the Lord Jesus (that is, who learns of Him and owns Him as Master), He says, "I am with you alway." He does not even say, "I will be with you;" so that you might be wondering when He meant to come, when He would begin to be "with you;" but He says, "I am with you." Yes, even now, though perhaps your eyes are holden, like those of the two who walked to Emmaus when Jesus was beside them and they did not know it. Your feeling or not feeling that He is there has nothing at all to do with it, because His word must be true and is true, and He has said, "I am with you alway." All you have to do is to be happy in believing it to be true. And if you go on believing it, you will soon begin to realize it; that is, to find that it is a real thing, and that Jesus really is with you.
How long will He be with you? Always, "all the days!" He hath said, "I will never leave thee." "Never" means really never, not for one moment. You can not get beyond "never." It goes on all through your life, and all through God's great "forever." And "always" means really always, every single moment of all your life, so that you need never ask again, "Is Jesus with me now?" Of course He is! the answer will always be "yes," because He hath said, "I am with you alway." How safe, how sweet, how blessed!
"O Jesus, make Thyself to me A living, bright reality! More present to faith's vision keen Than any outward object seen; More dear, more intimately nigh, Than even the sweetest earthly tie."
21. Twenty-first Day.
Doing God's Will.
"Teach me to do Thy will."—Ps. cxliii. 10.
When you see some one doing with very great delight some beautiful and pleasant piece of work, have you not thought, "I should like to be able to do that!" and perhaps you have said, "Please, teach me how to do it."
Can you think of anything pleasanter to do than what the very angels are full of delight in doing? Can you think of anything more beautiful to do than what is done in the "pleasant land," the beautiful home above? Can you fancy anything more interesting to do than what the dwellers there will never get tired of doing for thousands of millions of years? Would you not like to be taught to do it too?—to begin the pleasant and beautiful and most interesting work now, instead of waiting till you are grown up, and then perhaps never learning it at all, because it was put off now? Then pray this little prayer this morning with all your heart, "Teach me to do Thy will." For it is His will that is the happiest work above, and the very happiest thing to do here below.
What is His will? The Prayer-Book version of this Psalm tells you very simply and sweetly. It says, "Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee." So doing God's will is just doing the things, one by one, that please Him.
Why did David ask this? He goes on to say why—"For Thou art my God." If God is really our God, we too shall wish to do the thing that pleaseth Him. David did not think he could do it of himself, for he says next, "Let Thy loving Spirit lead me." That loving Spirit will lead you too, dear child, and show you how beautiful and grand God's will is, and make you long to do it always, and teach you to do it. So that even on earth you may begin to do what the angels are doing in heaven!
"It is but very little For Him that I can do, Then let me seek to serve Him, My earthly journey through; And, without sigh or murmur, To do His holy will; And in my daily duties His wise commands fulfill."
22. Twenty-second Day.
Working for Jesus.
"Ye have done it unto me." "Ye did it not to me."—Matt. xxv., xl., and xlv.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us opportunities of showing whether we love Him or not. He tells us that what we try to do for any one who is poor, or hungry, or sick, or a lonely stranger, is just the same as doing it to Him. And when the King says, "Come, ye blessed," He will remember these little things, and will say, "Ye have done it unto me." But He tells us that if we do nothing for them, it is just the same as if He were standing there and we would do nothing for Him. And He will say, "Ye did it not to me."
One of these two words will be spoken to you in the great day when you see the King on the throne of His glory. Which shall it be? What are you doing for Jesus? Are you doing anything at all for Him? Perhaps you say, "I have no opportunity." Did you ever try to find one? Did you ever ask Him to give you opportunities of doing something for Him? Or is it only that you have never yet cared or tried to do anything for Him? Be honest about it. He knows. And He will forgive.
But now, what is to be done? Begin by asking Him to show you. And then keep a bright, sharp look-out, and see if you can not find an opportunity very soon (and perhaps many) of doing something kind for His sake to some poor or sick or lonely one. Set to work to think what you could do!
It seems to me so very kind of the Lord Jesus to have told us this. For He knew that those who really love Him would want to do something for Him, and what could we do for the King of glory in His glorious heaven? So it was wonderfully thoughtful of Him to give us His poor people to care for, and to say, if we have only been kind to a sick old woman or hungry little child, "Ye have done it unto me!"
"I love my precious Saviour Because He died for me; And if I did not serve Him, How sinful I should be! God help me to be useful In all I do or say! I mean to work for Jesus, The Bible says I may!"
23. Twenty-third Day.
"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee."—Ps. lx. 4.
Then what is your banner, and what are you doing with it? For if you are among "them that fear" God, He has given you a banner "that it may be displayed." Is yours furled up and put away in a corner, so that nobody sees it or knows of it? Or are you trying to be a brave little standard-bearer of Jesus Christ, carrying His flag, so that the sweet breezes of His Spirit may lift its bright folds, and show its golden motto? That motto, I think, is "Love." For we are told that His banner over us is love. Are you displaying it, showing your love to Him by your love to others? showing the power of His love over you by your sweet, happy temper, and by trying to please Him always?
Carrying a banner means something. First, it means that you belong to or have to do with those whose banner you carry, and that you are not ashamed of them. At great Sunday-school festivals we know to which school a boy belongs by the flag that he carries. You would like to carry the flag of England or the Queen's royal flag, because you are English and loyal. So let us carry the banner of Jesus Christ because we are loyal to Him, and are not ashamed to own Him as our King. Secondly, it means that we are ready to fight, and ready to encourage others to fight under the same banner. When you are tempted to do something wrong remember whose banner you carry, and do not disgrace it. If one does right, it makes it easier for the other to do right too. Thirdly, it means rejoicing. You know how flags are hung out on grand days, and carried in triumphal processions. The little hand that carries Christ's banner through His war, will carry it also in His triumph; the little hand that tries to unfurl it bravely now, will wave it when His glorious reign begins and His blessed kingdom is come. Then, "in the name of our God we will set up our banners" now!
"The Master hath called us, the children who fear Him, Who march 'neath Christ's banner, His own little band; We love Him, and seek Him; we long to be near Him, And rest in the light of His beautiful land."
24. Twenty-fourth Day.
"Chosen to be a soldier."—2 Tim. ii. 4.
Are you a soldier? You ought to be, for you have been chosen to be a soldier in the glorious army of Jesus Christ.
You ought to be, for you have been "received into the congregation of Christ's flock" at your baptism, and engaged "manfully to fight under His banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto your life's end." You can never undo that, even if you are a deserter, and found in the enemy's ranks. The Captain of our salvation will not undo it, for He is ready to receive you, if you will but come and enlist now. Now, this very morning, come and enlist! This very morning ask Him to receive you into His noble army, and to give you first the shield of His salvation, and then the whole armor of God, and to "teach your hands to war and your fingers to fight," and to give you victories every day even now, and to let you share His grand triumphs hereafter.
Perhaps you know that you have enlisted already, you know and love your Captain, and He is enabling you, even if very feebly, yet really, to fight the good fight of faith? How came you to enlist? Was it any credit to you? Oh no! it was all His doing. It was He who chose you to be a soldier, not you who chose Him to be a Captain. And then He sent not some dreadful cannon roar, but the sweet bugle-call of His love to win you to join His ranks. And now He fights not only with you, but for you. In His war "nothing shall by any means hurt you," for "He was wounded" for you. Your life is safe with Him, for He laid down His own for you. By His side you can never be vanquished, because He goes forth "always conquering and to conquer."
"Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss.
"From victory to victory His army shall be led, Till every foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed.
"Stand up, stand up for Jesus! The trumpet call obey; Forth to the mighty conflict, In this His glorious day!"
25. Twenty-fifth Day.
A Loyal Aim.
"That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."—2 Tim. ii. 4.
Here is something worth aiming at, worth trying for! The Lord Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, is He who hath chosen us to be His soldiers and now, does He only tell us that we may do our duty,—serve, obey, and fight? No; He tells us something more, gives us a hope and an aim so bright and pleasant, that it is like sunshine upon everything. He says, we "may please Him."
Only one who knows what it is to mourn for having grieved the dear Saviour, can quite understand what a happy word this is! That we, who have been cold, and careless, and sinful, grieving His love over and over again, should be told after all that we may please Him! Oh, if we love Him, our hearts will just leap at the hope of it! Perhaps we thought this could not be till we reached heaven; but you see His own word says, we "may please Him" now, while we are soldiers in the very midst of the fighting. St. Paul tells us one thing in which you may please Him: "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord." But he prays too that the Colossians "might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing."
Shall this be your aim and your hope to-day? Will you look up to the Lord Jesus now, and ask Him first to give you the faith without which "it is impossible to please Him," and then to show you "how you ought to walk and to please God," and so to help you to "do those things that are pleasing in His sight;" that all your ways, even every little step of your ways, may really and truly "please the Lord" (Prov. xvi. 7).
"True-hearted, whole-hearted, faithful, and loyal, King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be; Under Thy standard, exalted and royal, Strong in Thy strength, we will battle for Thee.
"True-hearted, whole-hearted! Fullest allegiance Yielding henceforth to our glorious King, Valiant endeavor and loving obedience, Freely and joyously now we would bring."
26. Twenty-sixth Day.
Obedience to Christ.
"Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."—John ii. 5.
How are you to know what He says to you? Ah, it is so easy to know if we are really willing to know, and willing to obey when we do know! He has spoken so plainly to us in His word! In that He tells us, tells even little children, exactly what to do. It is most wonderful how He has said everything there for us, told us everything we ought to do. When you read a chapter or hear one read, listen and watch to see what He saith unto you in it. There is another way in which He tells us what to do. Do you not hear a little voice inside that always tells you to do the right thing, and not to do the wrong thing? That is conscience and He speaks to you by it.
Another way is by those whom He has set over you. He has told you once for all to "obey your parents," and to "obey them that have the rule over you." So, when they tell you to do something, it is the Lord Jesus Himself that you have to obey in obeying them.
Now "whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!" Yes, "whatsoever," dear little one, whether easy or hard, do it because He tells you; do it for love of Him, and it will be a thousand times better and happier to obey your King than to please yourself. And He Himself will help you to do it; only look up to Him for grace to obey, and He will give it.
"Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." Do not just think about doing it, or talk about doing it, but do it! "Do it!" Do the exact thing He would have you do, not something a little bit different, or something which you think will be very nearly the same, but do "it."
And "do it" at once. It is so true, that "the very first moment is the easiest for obedience." Every minute that you put off doing the right thing makes it harder. Do not let your King have to "speak twice" to you. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it" cheerfully, exactly, and instantly.
"Jesus, help me, I am weak; Let me put my trust in Thee; Teach me how and what to speak; Loving Saviour, care for me. Dear Saviour, hear me, Hear a little child to-day; Hear, oh hear me; Hear me when I pray."
27. Twenty-seventh Day.
Do it Heartily
"Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord."—Col. in. 23.
In 2 Chron. xxxi. 21, we read of Hezekiah, that "in every work that he began, he did it with all his heart, and prospered." And this morning's "bell" rings a New Testament echo, "Do it heartily!" Sing it now, like a little peal of bells!
[Music: Do it hear-ti-ly!]
See if that does not ring in your ears all day, and remind you that it is not merely much pleasanter to be bright and brisk about everything, but that it is actually one of God's commands written in His own word.
I know this is easier to some than to others. Perhaps it "comes natural" to you to do everything heartily. That is very nice, but it is not enough. What else? "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men." He knows whether the industrious energetic boy or girl is wishing to please Him, and looking up to Him for His smile; or whether He is forgotten all the while, and only the smile of others and the pleasure of being quick and busy is thought of. But perhaps it is hard to you to do things heartily. You like better to take your time, and so you dawdle, and do things in an idle way, especially what you do not much like doing. Is this right? Is it a little sin, when God's word says, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily!" Is it not just as much disobeying God as breaking any other command? Are you not guilty before Him? Very likely you never thought of it in this way, but there the words stand, and neither you nor I can alter them. First ask Him to forgive you all the past idleness and idle ways, for Christ's sake, and then ask Him to give you strength henceforth to obey this word of His. And then listen to the little chime, "Do it heartily! do it heartily!" And then the last word of the verse about Hezekiah will be true of you too—"Prospered!"
'Up and doing, little Christian! Up and doing, while 'tis day! Do the work the Master gives you. Do not loiter by the way. For we all have work before us, You, dear child, as well as I; Let us learn to seek our duty, And to 'do it heartily.'
28. Twenty-eighth Day.
The Sight of Faith.
"As seeing Him who is invisible."—Heb. xi. 27.
If we were always doing everything just as if we saw Him, whom having not seen we love, how different our lives would be! How much happier too! How brave, and bright, and patient we should be, if all the time we could really see Jesus as Stephen saw Him! And by faith, the precious faith which God is ready to give to all who ask, we may go on our way with this light upon it, "as seeing Him who is invisible."
These words were said of Moses; and this seeing Him by faith had three effects. First, "he forsook Egypt;" it made him ready to give up anything for his God, and God's people. It made him true and loyal to God's cause. What did He care for anything else, so long as he saw "Him who is invisible?" Secondly, it took away all his fear. What was "the wrath of the king" to him, when Jehovah was by his side? Of what should he be afraid? Thirdly, it enabled him to "endure," to wait patiently for forty years in the desert, and then to work patiently for forty years in the wilderness; and only think how strength-giving that sight of faith must be which enabled him to endure everything for eighty years!
Try for yourself to-day what was such great and long help to Moses. Ask God, before you go down-stairs, for faith, "the eye of the soul," so that you may walk all day long "as seeing Him who is invisible." When you are tempted to indulge in something wrong,—idleness or carelessness, or selfishness,—this will help you to give it up at once, and forsake it; for how can you give way to it when your eye meets His? When something makes you afraid, this will make you brave and peaceful; for how can you fear anything when your God is so near? When lessons, or work, or even having to be quiet with nothing to do, seem very tiresome, and you are tempted to be impatient, and perhaps cross, this will help you to endure and not only so, but to feel patient; for how can you be impatient when you are looking up to Him, and He is looking down on you all the time!
"God will not leave me all alone, He never will forsake His own; When not another friend I see, The Lord is looking down on me."
29. Twenty-Ninth Day.
"Let us lay aside every weight."—Heb. xii. 1.
If you were going to run a race, you would first put down all the parcels you might have been carrying. And if you had a heavy little parcel in your pocket, you would take that out, and lay it down too, because it would hinder you in running. You would know better than to say, "I will put down the parcels which I have in my hands, but nobody can see the one in my pocket, so that one won't matter!" You would "lay aside every weight."
You have a race to run to-day, a little piece of the great race that is set before you. God has set a splendid prize before you, "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," a crown that is incorruptible.
Now what are you going to do about the weights, the things that hinder you from running this race? You know some things do seem to hinder you; will you keep them or lay them aside? Will you only lay aside something that every one can see is hindering you, so that you will get a little credit for putting it down, and keep something that your own little conscience knows is a real hindrance, though no one else knows anything at all about it? Oh, take St. Paul's wise and holy advice, and make up your mind to lay aside every weight.
Different persons have different weights; we must find out what ours are, and give them up. One finds that if she does not get up directly she is called, the time slips by, and there is not enough left for quiet prayer and Bible-reading. Then here is a little weight that must be laid aside. Another is at school, and finds that he gets no good, but a little harm, when he goes much with a certain boy. Then he must lay that weight aside. Another takes a story-book up to bed, and reads it while nurse is brushing her hair, and up to the last minute, and then her head is so full of the story that she only says words when she kneels down, and can not really pray at all. Can she doubt that this is a weight which must be laid aside?
It may seem hard to lay our pet weight down; but oh, if you only knew how light we feel when it is laid down, and how much easier it is to run the race which God has set before us!
30. Thirtieth Day.
The Shield of Salvation.
"Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation."—2 Sam. xxii. 36.
This beautiful little text teaches us a very precious truth. It shows us that the salvation which the Lord Jesus came to bring is not only salvation at last, just escaping hell, but that it is salvation now, and salvation in everything Salvation does not only mean victory at last, but it is like a broad, shining shield, given to us in the midst of the battle, coming between us and the poisoned arrows and sharp sword-thrusts of the enemy. It is a shield not only to keep us from death, but to keep us from being hurt and wounded. It is the shield which the Captain has given us to use now, as well as the crown which He will give when the warfare is ended.
How are you to use this shield? what does it really mean for you? It means, that if you have come to the Lord Jesus to be saved, He does not merely say He will save you, but that you are saved, that He saves you now. And this is how you are to use it—believe it, and be sure of it, because you have His word for it; and then, when a temptation comes, tell the enemy that he has nothing to do with you, for you are saved; that you belong to Jesus, and not to him,—look up and say, "Jesus saves me!" Will He fail you? Did He ever let any find themselves deceived and mistaken who looked up in faith and confidence to Him, trusting in His great salvation? Never! and never will you find this shield of His salvation fail to cover you completely. Satan himself can not touch you when you are behind this shield! Lift it up when you see him coming, even ever so far off, and you will be safe.
"Jesus saves me every day, Jesus saves me every night; Jesus saves me all the way, Through the darkness, through the light."
31. Thirty-first Day.
I will love Thee
"I will love Thee, O Lord."—Ps. xviii. 1.
Yes, even if I have never loved Thee before, I will love Thee, O Lord, now!
I will love Thee, Lord Jesus, because Thou hast loved me, and because Thou art loving me now, and wilt love me to the end. Oh, forgive me for not having loved Thee! How could I have helped loving Thee, when Thou wast waiting all the time for me, waiting so patiently while I did not care about Thee! Oh, forgive me! and now I will love Thee always; for Thou wilt take my love, and fix it on Thyself, and keep it for Thyself.
I will love Thee, O Lord Jesus; I will not listen to Satan, who tries to keep me from loving Thee; I will not ask myself anything about it, lest I should begin to get puzzled about whether I do love Thee or not. Thou knowest that I do want to love Thee; and now, dear Lord Jesus, hear me say that I will love Thee, and that I will trust Thee to make me love Thee more and more, always more and more.
I have said it, dear Lord Jesus, and Thou hast heard me say it. And I am so glad I have said it. I do not want ever to take it back, and Thou wilt not let me take it back. I am to love Thee always now; and Thou wilt give me Thy Holy Spirit to shed abroad Thy love in my heart, so that it may be filled with love. Fill me so full of Thy love that it may run over into everything I do, and that I may love everybody because I love Thee.
Yes, I will love Thee, dear Lord Jesus!
"My Saviour, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine! For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou; If ever I loved Thee, my Saviour, 'tis now!
"I love Thee, because Thou hast first loved me, And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree; I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; If ever I loved Thee, my Saviour, 'tis now!
"I will love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath: And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, my Saviour, 'tis now!"