I … heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying … Write
Rev. 1:10, Rev. 1:11
It is very sweet to note that a voice from Heaven said to John, “Write.” Does not that voice come to us? Are there not those who would taste the joys of Heaven if we wrote them words of forgiveness and affection? Are there not others who would dry their tears if we would remind them of past joys, when we were poor as they are now? Nay, could not some, who read these plain words, place inside the envelope something bearing their signature which would make the widow’s heart dance for joy?
What is our pen doing? Is it adding joy to other men’s lives? If so, then angels may tune their harps when we sit at our desk. They are sent to minister to the heirs of salvation, and would be glad to look upon our pen as writing music for them to sing, because what we write makes their client’s joy to be full.
Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.
November 21: Walk Like the Shunammite
2 Kings 8:1–9:29; Mark 16:1–20; Proverbs 6:28–35
Trust is a fickle matter. What does it take for us to trust another person—especially with our livelihood? Our decision to trust someone can usually be determined by whether we see God in that person.
When the Shunammite woman must decide whether to trust Elisha, it is a simple choice. God has already worked in her life through Elisha—giving her a son and then resurrecting him—so she understands that what he says is from Yahweh. When Elisha says to her, “Get up and go, you and your household, and dwell as an alien wherever you can, for Yahweh has called for a famine, and it will come to the land for seven years,” she trusts him (2 Kgs 8:1). She goes to Philistia (2 Kgs 8:2).
Would we do the same—leave everything and go to a foreign land at one godly person’s word? What does it take for us to trust someone with our lives? What does it take for us to trust God with our lives?
We will probably never encounter the decision the Shunammite woman had to make, but contemplating our answer reveals where we stand with God and others. It’s tempting to answer with a quick, “Of course,” but that would be to ignore the magnitude of her decision, and thus deny the seriousness of what God really asks of us—complete obedience, no matter what, to any degree necessary. Think about that for a moment: any degree necessary (compare Mark 8:34–38).
Are we really willing to acknowledge the gravity of what Jesus did in His death and resurrection (Mark 16:1–10)? Are we willing to live our lives as He intends? Are we willing to go to any place, to trust the word of God completely, to allow God to speak to us directly and through others, and to live passionately for Christ despite the cost?
Are you willing to go wherever God calls you?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.
It is finished
I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. John 17:4.
The death of Jesus Christ is the performance in history of the very mind of God. There is no room for looking on Jesus Christ as a martyr; His death was not something that happened to Him which might have been prevented. His death was the very reason why He came.
Never build your preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. It is untrue to Jesus Christ’s revelation of God; it makes the Cross unnecessary, and the Redemption “much ado about nothing.” If God does forgive sin, it is because of the death of Christ. God could forgive men in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted to be Saviour because of His death. “We see Jesus … because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.” The greatest note of triumph that ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ—“It is finished.” That is the last word in the Redemption of man.
Anything that belittles or obliterates the holiness of God by a false view of the love of God, is untrue to the revelation of God given by Jesus Christ. Never allow the thought that Jesus Christ stands with us against God out of pity and compassion; that He became a curse for us out of sympathy with us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by the Divine decree. Our portion of realizing the terrific meaning of the curse is conviction of sin, the gift of shame and penitence is given us; this is the great mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the wrong in man, and Calvary is the estimate of His hatred.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.
Morning, November 21 Go To Evening Reading
“Grieve not the Holy Spirit.”
— Ephesians 4:30
All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except he worketh in you to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus—how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master’s cause? You cannot without the Spirit—“Without me ye can do nothing.” O branch of the vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through his Spirit! Then let us not grieve him or provoke him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench him in one of his faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting. If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring his blessing. Let us do him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from him, and then depending alone upon him, having this for our prayer, “Open thou my heart and my whole being to thine incoming, and uphold me with thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts.”
Go To Morning Reading Evening, November 21
“Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.”
— John 12:2
He is to be envied. It was well to be Martha and serve, but better to be Lazarus and commune. There are times for each purpose, and each is comely in its season, but none of the trees of the garden yield such clusters as the vine of fellowship. To sit with Jesus, to hear his words, to mark his acts, and receive his smiles, was such a favour as must have made Lazarus as happy as the angels. When it has been our happy lot to feast with our Beloved in his banqueting-hall, we would not have given half a sigh for all the kingdoms of the world, if so much breath could have bought them.
He is to be imitated. It would have been a strange thing if Lazarus had not been at the table where Jesus was, for he had been dead, and Jesus had raised him. For the risen one to be absent when the Lord who gave him life was at his house, would have been ungrateful indeed. We too were once dead, yea, and like Lazarus stinking in the grave of sin; Jesus raised us, and by his life we live—can we be content to live at a distance from him? Do we omit to remember him at his table, where he deigns to feast with his brethren? Oh, this is cruel! It behooves us to repent, and do as he has bidden us, for his least wish should be law to us. To have lived without constant intercourse with one of whom the Jews said, “Behold how he loved him,” would have been disgraceful to Lazarus, is it excusable in us whom Jesus has loved with an everlasting love? To have been cold to him who wept over his lifeless corpse, would have argued great brutishness in Lazarus. What does it argue in us over whom the Saviour has not only wept, but bled? Come, brethren, who read this portion, let us return unto our heavenly Bridegroom, and ask for his Spirit that we may be on terms of closer intimacy with him, and henceforth sit at the table with him.
Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.