Our Daily Bread
F B Meyer
C H Spurgeon
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Galatians 1:15–16 It was the good pleasure of God … to reveal his Son in me.
If you have truly believed in the Son of God, it is certain that He, by the Spirit, has taken up his abode in your heart. But perhaps He is hidden in the deeps of your nature, as the young Joash in the heart of the Temple. He is, therefore, unable to exert that influence on your inner thought and outward life that He should. Is it not befitting that you should ask the Father to reveal his Son in you? He has been revealed to you as the Divine Substitute, but not in you as the source and spring of holiness,
Beneath the body with its physical existence, and the mind with the play of intellect, lies the spirit of man, like the most holy place in the Temple of old. That is the shrine in which the Shechinah of Christ’s presence shines, and in which we can hold fellowship with Him face to face. Alas, that so heavy a vail of unbelief, of absorption in the world around us, of inattention, hangs between Him and us! Would that the strong hands which rent the vail in twain when our Savior died would rend in twain all that deprives us of this inspiring and most helpful vision of the Son, so that we might anticipate the eternal years!
But such revelations are only given that we may better help others. Not for selfish enjoyment, but for ministering help. Hence the apostle says, “that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.” Be pleased, O Father, to give us that revelation, that we may speak as those who have seen the great sight, and need no further conference with flesh and blood! Then, like the apostles of old, we shall go forth among men, saying, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
Galatians 2:10 Remember the Poor Devotional by C H Spurgeon
Why does God allow so many of his children to be poor? He could make them all rich if he pleased; he could lay bags of gold at their doors; he could send them a large annual income; or he could scatter round their houses abundance of provisions, as once he made the quails lie in heaps round the camp of Israel, and rained bread out of heaven to feed them. There is no necessity that they should be poor, except that he sees it to be best. "The cattle upon a thousand hills are his"-he could supply them; he could make the richest, the greatest, and the mightiest bring all their power and riches to the feet of his children, for the hearts of all men are in his control. But he does not choose to do so; he allows them to suffer want, he allows them to pine in penury and obscurity. Why is this? There are many reasons: one is, to give us, who are favoured with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus. We show our love to Christ when we sing of him and when we pray to him; but if there were no sons of need in the world we should lose the sweet privilege of evidencing our love, by ministering in alms-giving to his poorer brethren; he has ordained that thus we should prove that our love standeth not in word only, but in deed and in truth. If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by him. Those who are dear to him will be dear to us. Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord's flock-remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. " Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart-recollecting that all we do for his people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to himself
GALATIANS 2:11-21 THE DANGER OF ERROR
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, [Paul] withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed (Galatians 2:11).
The apostle Peter, though a devoted follower of Jesus, made a serious mistake in separating himself from Gentile believers just to please his narrow-minded Jewish friends. So Paul rebuked him lest he lead others astray. He knew that even a dedicated Christian can err and bring great harm to the work of the Lord.
Hobart E. Freeman was a sincere pastor who helped many people find Jesus as their personal Savior. But when he spoke negatively of doctors as "medical deities" and urged his followers not to seek medical attention, he caused them needless suffering. Apparently some died from illnesses that could have been cured. The Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel claims to have documented evidence of eighty-six deaths among Freeman's people. A young mother who had been a member of his church said that both she and her baby would have died if she had followed his directions. A doctor told her that she should have a Caesarean section, but she and her husband decided to follow Freeman's counsel and not have a doctor on hand for delivery. But when it became obvious that both mother and baby would die without medical attention, they quickly changed their minds.
We must be careful whom we trust. Even when people seem devoutly religious, sincere, and honest, we should test their teaching by asking the Lord for guidance, searching the Scriptures, and talking with knowledgeable, trustworthy Christians. Sincere people can be sincerely wrong. —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Error is often dressed in the garb of truth.
Galatians 2:20 Crucified with Christ Devotional by C H Spurgeon
The Lord Jesus Christ acted in what he did as a great public representative person, and his dying upon the cross was the virtual dying of all his people. Then all his saints rendered unto justice what was due, and made an expiation to divine vengeance for all their sins. The apostle of the Gentiles delighted to think that as one of Christ's chosen people, he died upon the cross in Christ. He did more than believe this doctrinally, he accepted it confidently, resting his hope upon it. He believed that by virtue of Christ's death, he had satisfied divine justice, and found reconciliation with God. Beloved, what a blessed thing it is when the soul can, as it were, stretch itself upon the cross of Christ, and feel, "I am dead; the law has slain me, and I am therefore free from its power, because in my Surety I have borne the curse, and in the person of my Substitute the whole that the law could do, by way of condemnation, has been executed upon me, for I am crucified with Christ. "
But Paul meant even more than this. He not only believed in Christ's death, and trusted in it, but he actually felt its power in himself in causing the crucifixion of his old corrupt nature. When he saw the pleasures of sin, he said, "I cannot enjoy these: I am dead to them." Such is the experience of every true Christian. Having received Christ, he is to this world as one who is utterly dead. Yet, while conscious of death to the world, he can, at the same time, exclaim with the apostle, "Nevertheless I live." He is fully alive unto God. The Christian's life is a matchless riddle. No worldling can comprehend it; even the believer himself cannot understand it. Dead, yet alive! crucified with Christ, and yet at the same time risen with Christ in newness of life! Union with the suffering, bleeding Saviour, and death to the world and sin, are soul-cheering things. O for more enjoyment of them!
Galatians 2:20 Crucified with Christ Devotional by C H Spurgeon
When the Lord in mercy passed by and saw us in our blood, he first of all said, "Live"; and this he did first, because life is one of the absolutely essential things in spiritual matters, and until it be bestowed we are incapable of partaking in the things of the kingdom. Now the life which grace confers upn the saints at the moment of their quickening is none other than the life of Christ, which, like the sap from the stem, runs into us, the branches, and establishes a living connection between our souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace which perceives this union, having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck which joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.
"Oh Faith! thou bond of union with the Lord,
Is not this office thine? and thy fit name,
In the economy of gospel types,
And symbols apposite-the Church's neck;
Identifying her in will and work
With him ascended?"
Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. She knows his excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce her to repose her trust elsewhere; and Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace, that he never ceases to strengthen and sustain her by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of his eternal arms. Here, then, is established a living, sensible, and delightful union which casts forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and joy, whereof both the bride and bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can evidently perceive this oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then is the heart as near heaven as it can be on earth, and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live.
Clearly Paul intends us to understand that the life of which he was the center had been nailed to the Savior’s cross, and that Christ’s life had been substituted for it. Some have spoken of this real life of Christ in the soul as being mystical and untrue; but there can be no kind of doubt that it is the constant affirmation of the New Testament.
Death, the gate of life. — It is obviously so in nature. Once each year nature lies down in its grave, sleeps in unbroken repose, and steps forth again with the glory of a freshly-renewed beauty. Often the overclouding of one faculty has been the signal of the quickening of all the rest. The blind Milton becomes the author of the “Paradise Lost.” Death of a twin-soul will often give to the survivor a new impulse toward a spiritual and transfigured affection. We cannot be possessed by the self-life and the Christ-life at the same moment. And wherever, by God’s grace, we erect the cross and assign our own life to its nails, the Spirit of Christ will breathe life and power.
In the flesh, but not after the flesh. — We live our life in the flesh, as aforetime, doing the duties of our ordinary existence with careful precision; but we are no longer controlled by the selfish principle which too long dominated us. The attraction of earth is overborne by the mighty drawing of the eternal and unseen. The rush of the whirlpool is unable to prevail over the throb of the steam-propeller within.
Not I. — Yet loved and ransomed by the Son of God, each of us is distinct to his loving eye. He does not bulk us all together as a mass, but singles each out for the gift of Himself, his prayers, his blood, his ceaseless thought. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)
In her book "It Only Hurts When I Laugh", Ethel Barrett tells how outstanding servants of God died to self and sin. George Mueller, when questioned about his spiritual power, responded simply,
“One day George Mueller died.”
D. L. Moody was visiting New York City when he consciously died to his own ambitions.
And evangelist Christmas Evans, putting down on paper his surrender to Christ, began it by writing:
“I give my soul and body to Jesus.”
It was, in a very real sense, a death to self.
John Gregory Mantle wrote,
“There is a great difference between realizing, ‘On that Cross He was crucified for me,’ and ‘On that Cross I am crucified with Him.’ The one aspect brings us deliverance from sin’s condemnation, the other from sin’s power.”
Recognizing that we “have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20), we should, as Paul admonished in Romans 6:11, consider ourselves “to be dead indeed to sin.”
We still have sinful tendencies within, but having died to them, sin no longer has dominion over us. We die to our selfish desires and pursuits. But believers must also think of themselves as “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro 6:11 - see exposition of Romans 6:11). We should do those things that please Him.
Victorious Christians are those who have died—to live! - R. W. De Haan. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Galatians 2:20 CHRISTIAN LIVING
"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Gal 2:20.
THE HEART of true religion is to believe that Christ is literally within us. We must not simply look to Him as our Mediator, Advocate, and Example, but as being possessed by Him. He is our Life, the living Fountain rising up in the well of our personality. The Apostle Paul was never weary of re-affirming this great fact of his experience, and it would be well if each of us could say every day, before starting forth on our daily duty: "Christ is in me; let me make room for Him to dwell."
We must say No to self, that the life of Christ may become manifest in and through us, and our standing become a reality in daily experience and conduct. When evil suggestions come to us, we must remember that we have entered a world where such things have no place. We are no longer in the realm of the god of this world, but have passed into the realm of the Risen Christ. Let those who are tempted believe this, and assert it in the face of the tempter, counting upon the Holy Spirit to make their reckoning a living experience.
In Ephesians 6:13-17 is described the armour of the Christian soul; in Colossians 3:12-14 the habit or dress which he wears beneath his coat of mail. We must be careful to be properly dressed each day. If we lose our temper over trifles, or yield to uncharitable speech, it shows that we have omitted to put on the girdle of love; if we yield to pride, avarice, envy and jealousy, we must not simply endeavour to put off these evils, but take from the wardrobe the opposite graces. It is not enough to avoid doing wrong. Our Master demands that we should always do and be what is right. When we fail in some sudden demand, it is because we have omitted to put on some trait of Christ, which was intended to be the complement of our need. Let us therefore day by day say: "Lord Jesus, wrap Thyself around me, that I may go forth, adequately attired to meet life's demands." In Christ for standing; Christ in us, for life; we with him, for safety.
PRAYER - Set my heart on fire with the love of Thee, and then to do Thy will, and to obey Thy commandments, will not be grievous to me. For to him that loveth, nothing is difficult, nothing is impossible; because love is stronger than death. AMEN. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
Galatians 2:20 THE CROSS SPELLS "F.I.N.I.S."
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)
A young man approached an older Christian with this question:
“What does it mean as far as this life is concerned to be ‘crucified with Christ’?”
The believer replied, “It means three things:
(1) a man on a cross is facing in only one direction;
(2) he is not going back; and
(3) he has no further plans of his own.”
Commenting on this, T. S. Rendall wrote,
“Too many Christians are trying to face in two directions at the same time. They are divided in heart. They want Heaven, but they also love the world. They are like Lot’s wife: running one way, but facing another. Remember, a crucified man is not coming back. The cross spells finis for him; he is not going to return to his old life. Also, a crucified man has no plans of this own. He is through with the vainglory of this life. Its chains are broken and its charms are gone.”
In the light of these truths, would you say you are acting like a “crucified” Christian? - H. G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3).
An article in our local newspaper told about an inmate in a penitentiary who had lived all but sixteen months of his thirty-nine years in various penal institutions. Born in a women's reformatory of a convict mother, he spent the first fourteen years of his life in prison as a ward of the court. When he was released, he committed a succession of crimes. He explained his behavior by saying,
"I don't know how to live on the outside. My home is inside, and I want to stay here for the rest of my life."
This unfortunate man found security in his bondage.
Likewise, adhering to external religious restraints can be easier than serving God in the liberty of the Spirit. This is why some first-century believers in Galatia wanted to live under the Mosaic law, even though in Christ they were no longer bound by it. Apparently they discovered that "freedom" can be frightening.
Many Christians follow a similar pattern. They look for security by placing themselves under a legalistic system that calls for no more than good external behavior. In many instances, the do's and don'ts are merely cultural, not biblical. Although their outward conduct may be honorable, they are actually escaping into a subtle kind of bondage. Obedience to accepted standards has value only when our actions reflect a changed heart and express gratitude to God for His salvation.
We must not hide behind the walls of legalism to avoid the freedom of life on the outside. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Only those who are bound to Christ are truly free.
That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
“The promise of the Spirit” is the invariable term for the special Pentecostal gift; and this is to be equally received by faith as the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. To me this text once came as a perfect revelation. It was the clue to unravel perplexity, the point around which truth held long in solution suddenly crystallised. Before this verse spoke to my heart it had been my constant endeavor to feel the Spirit’s presence as the sign of my having received; but now it became clear that one might receive by simple faith God’s very richest communications, even though the emotion tarried long. The stages have been thus specified:—
There is such a blessing. — Yes; there can be no doubt of this; for it pleased the Father that the fulness of the Holy Spirit should dwell in Jesus, that He might communicate Him to each member of his Church.
It is for me. — At Pentecost Peter said, This promise is for as many as the Lord our God shall call.
I have not received. — It is very important to realize what your standing is. Paul’s first inquiry of the Ephesians was to ascertain this.
1 would give anything if it might be mine. — Because of the life, and love, and power it would bring into your life, and the immense increase of power over others, there is no sacrifice you should be unwilling to make.
I do now in humble faith receive. — There may be no coronet of flame, nor rush of wind, nor flash of joy; but if we have put ourselves in the right attitude towards God, and opened our hearts to receive — He who taught us to hunger and thirst must have bestowed. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
Galatians 3:26 Children of God by Faith in Christ
Devotional by C H Spurgeon
The fatherhood of God is common to all his children. Ah! Little-faith, you have often said, "Oh that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid." List thee, Little-faith. Great-heart is God's child, and you are God's child too; and Great-heart is not one whit more God's child than you are. Peter and Paul, the highly- favoured apostles, were of the family of the Most High; and so are you also; the weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.
"This cov'nant stands secure,
Though earth's old pillars bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now."
All the names are in the same family register. One may have more grace than another, but God our heavenly Father has the same tender heart towards all. One may do more mighty works, and may bring more glory to his Father, but he whose name is the least in the kingdom of heaven is as much the child of God as he who stands among the King's mighty men. Let this cheer and comfort us, when we draw near to God and say, "Our Father. "
Yet, while we are comforted by knowing this, let us not rest contented with weak faith, but ask, like the Apostles, to have it increased. However feeble our faith may be, if it be real faith in Christ, we shall reach heaven at last, but we shall not honour our Master much on our pilgrimage, neither shall we abound in joy and peace. If then you would live to Christ's glory, and be happy in his service, seek to be filled with the spirit of adoption more and more completely, till perfect love shall cast out fear
GALATIANS 3:19-29 THE MIRROR, FLASHLIGHT AND PLUMBLINE
Therefore, the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
The law has never saved anyone, and it never will. God did not give it to redeem us from sin but to show us our need of salvation. That's why the apostle Paul called it "our tutor."
In an unforgettable sermon, evangelist Fred Brown used three images to describe the purpose of the law. First, he likened it to the small mirror dentists use. With the mirror they can detect cavities. But they can't drill with it or use it to pull teeth. The mirror reveals the decayed area or other abnormality, but it can't fix the problem.
Brown then drew another analogy. He said that the law is also like a flashlight. If the lights go out at night, you use it to guide you down the darkened basement stairs to the electrical box. When you point it toward the fuses, it helps you see the one that is burned out. But after you've removed the bad fuse, you don't insert the flashlight in its place. You put in a new fuse to restore the electricity.
In his third image, Brown likened the law to a plumbline. Builders check their work by using a weighted string. If this plumbline reveals that the work is not true to the vertical, the plumbline cannot correct it. The builder must get out a hammer and saw.
Like the mirror, flashlight, and plumbline, the law points out the problem—sin, but it doesn't provide a solution. The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the law. Only He can save. —D. C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The law shows us a need that only grace can fill.
Galatians 4:19 Until Christ be formed in you.
Christ is in us, if we truly believe in Him, as the sap in the vine, the air in the lung, the steam in the engine; but He may not be formed in us.
Is it not possible that the indefinable sensation of joy and pain, of yearning and unfulfilled desire, are all attributable to this deep-seated process? Christ is being formed within our hearts, dispossessing the old evil self-life, and taking its place.
“O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me, And all things else recede; My heart be daily nearer Thee, From sin be daily freed.
“Make this poor self grow less and less, Be thou my life and aim; Oh, make me daily through thy grace More meet to bear thy name.”
The mention of travail in this connection suggests that this in-forming of Christ does not take place apart from suffering. And probably it is at times when we are in a furnace of pain that the Christ in us grows most quickly. “When my pain became unbearable,” says one, “I became conscious that there is a part of our being which no physical pain, and no mental anguish, can disturb. And there came to me such a sense of God — so enfolding, so assuring, so satisfying — that I could as well doubt the shining of the sun.” The Comforter had come — Christ was being formed within.
In the egg, when first laid, there is a tiny point of life amid the thick, viscous fluid; but this gradually increases, while the other diminishes, and at last there is hardly a trace of this left, and the chick is formed, the egg-shell is broken, and the tiny feathered thing steps forth. The chick is formed in the shell. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
Galatians 4:22–23 The Two Seeds
C H Spurgeon
It is written,; that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; But he of the free woman was by promise.—Galatians 4:22–23
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, who were beyond all dispute veritable sons of Abraham. Yet, one of them inherited the covenant blessing, and the other was simply a prosperous man of the world. See how similar these two were to each other. They were born in the same society, called the same great patriarch “father,” and sojourned in the same encampment with him. Yet, Ishmael was a stranger to the covenant, while Isaac was the heir of the promise. How little is there in blood and birth!
A more remarkable instance than this happened a little afterwards. Esau and Jacob were both born to the same mother, at the same birth, yet is it written, “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13). One became gracious, and the other profane. So closely may two come together, and yet so widely may they be separated. Verily, it is not only true that these two shall be in one bed and that one shall be taken and the other left, but they shall come into the world at the same moment. Yet one of them will take up his inheritance with God, and the other will sell his birthright for a morsel of meat. We may be in the same church, baptized in the same water, seated at the same communion table, singing the same psalm, and offering the same prayer, and yet we may be of two races as opposed as the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
Abraham’s two sons are declared by Paul to be the types of two races of men who are much alike and yet widely different. They are unlike in their origin. They were both sons of Abraham, but Ishmael, the child of Hagar, was the offspring of Abraham upon ordinary conditions. He was born after the flesh. Isaac, the son of Sarah, was not born by the strength of nature. His father was more than a hundred years old, and his mother was long past age. He was given to his parents by the Lord, and was born according to the promise through faith. This is a grave distinction, and it marks off the true child of God from him who is only so by profession. The promise lies at the bottom of the distinction, and the power which goes to accomplish the promise creates and maintains the difference. Hence, the promise which is our inheritance is also our test and touchstone.
Let us use the test at once by seeing whether we have been formed by the power which fulfills the promise. Let me ask a few questions: How were you converted? Was it by yourself, by the persuasion of men, by carnal excitement, or was it by the operation of the Spirit of God? You profess to have been born again. Where did that new birth come from? Did it come from God in consequence of His eternal purpose and promise, or did it come out of yourself? Was it your old nature trying to do better, and working itself up to its best form? If so, you are Ishmael. Or was it that you, being spiritually dead and having no strength whatever to rise out of your lost estate, were visited by the Spirit of God? Did God put forth His divine energy and cause life from heaven to enter into you? Then you are Isaac. All will depend upon the commencement of your spiritual life and the source from which that life at first proceeded. If you began in the flesh, you have gone on in the flesh, and in the flesh you will die.
Have you never read, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6)? Before long the flesh will perish, and from it you will reap corruption. Only “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). The joy is that the spirit will live, and of it you will reap life everlasting. Whether you are a professor of religion or not, I beseech you, ask yourself, Have I felt the power of the Spirit of God?
Is the life that is within you the result of the fermentation of your own natural desires? Or is it a new element, infused, imparted, implanted from above? Is your spiritual life a heavenly creation? Have you been created anew in Christ Jesus? Have you been born again by divine power?
Ordinary religion is nature gilded over with a thin layer of what is thought to be grace. Sinners have polished themselves up and brushed off the worst of the rust and the filth, and they think their old nature is as good as new. This touching–up and repairing of the old man is all very well, but it falls short of what is needed. You may wash the face and hands of Ishmael as much as you please, but you cannot make him into Isaac. You may improve nature, and the more you do so the better for certain temporary purposes, but you cannot raise it into grace. There is a distinction at the very fountain–head between the stream which rises in the bog of fallen humanity and the river which proceeds from the throne of God.
Do not forget that our Lord himself said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). If you have not been born again from above, all your church–going or your chapel–going stands for nothing. Your prayers and your tears, your Bible–readings, and all that have come from only yourself, can only lead to yourself. Water will naturally rise as high as its source but no higher. That which begins with human nature will rise to human nature, but it cannot reach to the divine nature. Was your new birth natural or supernatural? Was it of the will of man or of God? Much will depend upon your answer to that question.
Between the child of God and the mere professor there is a distinction as to origin of the most serious sort. Isaac was born according to promise. Ishmael was not of promise but of the course of nature. Where nature’s strength suffices there is no promise, but when human energy fails, the word of the Lord comes in. God had said that Abraham should have a son of Sarah. Abraham believed it and rejoiced therein, and Isaac was born as the result of the divine promise, by the power of God. There could have been no Isaac if there had been no promise. There can be no true believer apart from the promise of grace and the grace of the promise.
Gentle reader, here let me inquire as to your salvation. Are you saved by what you have done? Is your religion the product of your own natural strength? Do you feel equal to all that salvation may require? Do you conclude yourself to be in a safe and happy condition because of your natural excellence and moral ability? Then you are after the manner of Ishmael, and to you the inheritance will not come. It is not an inheritance according to the flesh but according to promise.
On the other hand, you may say: My hope lies only in the promise of God. He has set forth that promise in the person of His Son, Jesus, to every sinner that believes in Him. I do believe in Him; therefore, I trust and believe that the Lord will fulfill His promise and bless me. I look for heavenly blessedness not as the result of my own efforts but as the gift of God’s free favor. My hope is fixed alone upon the free and gratuitous love of God to guilty men. He has given His Son Jesus Christ to put away sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness for those who deserve it not.
This thinking is another sort of language from that of the Ishmaelites who say “We have Abraham to our father” (Matt. 3:9). You have now learned to speak as Isaac speaks. The difference may seem small to the careless, but it is great indeed. Hagar, the slave–mother, is a very different person from Sarah, the princess. To the one there is no covenant promise, to the other the blessing belongs forevermore. Salvation by works is one thing; salvation by grace is another. Salvation by human strength is far removed from salvation by divine power. Salvation by our own resolve is the opposite of salvation by the promise of God.
Put yourself under this inquiry and see to which family you belong. Are you of Ishmael or of Isaac?
If you find that you are like Isaac, born according to the promise, remember that your name is “Laughter” for that is the interpretation of the Hebrew name Isaac. Take care that you rejoice with joy, unspeakable and full of glory. Your new birth is a wonderful thing. If both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the thought of Isaac, you may certainly do so concerning yourself. There are times when, if I sit alone and think of the grace of God to me, the most undeserving of all His creatures, I am ready to laugh and cry at the same time. I become joyous that ever the Lord should have looked in love and favor upon me. And every child of God must have felt the working of that Isaac nature within his soul, filling his mouth with laughter, because the Lord has done great things for him.
Mark well the difference between the two seeds from their very beginning. Ishmael comes from man and by man. Isaac comes by God’s promise. Ishmael is the child of Abraham’s flesh. Isaac is Abraham’s child, too. Then the power of God comes in, and from the weakness of his parents it is made clear that he is of the Lord—a gift according to promise. True faith is assuredly the act of the man who believes. True repentance is the act of the man who repents. Yet both faith and repentance may with unquestionable correctness be described as the work of God. Isaac is the son of Abraham and Sarah, and yet he is still more the gift of God. The Lord our God, who bids us believe, also enables us to believe. All that we do acceptably the Lord works in us. The very will to do it is of His working. No religion is worth a farthing which is not essentially the outflow of the man’s own heart. Yet, it must beyond question be the work of the Holy Ghost who dwells within him.
O friend, if what you have within you is natural, and only natural, it will not save you! The inward work must be supernatural. It must come from God or it will miss the covenant blessing. A gracious life will be your own even as Isaac was truly the child of Abraham. Most importantly this life will be from God, for “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9). We must be born from above. Concerning all of our religious feelings and actions, we must be able to say, “Lord, you have formed all our works in us.” (Spurgeon, C. H.. According to Promise)
Galatians 5:1 Christ Hath Made Us Free
Devotional by C H Spurgeon
This "liberty" makes us free to heaven's charter-the Bible. Here is a choice passage, believer, "When thou passest through the rivers, I will be with thee." You are free to that. Here is another: "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee"; you are free to that. You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee let it be thy solace. This is thy Father's love-token; thou art free to it at all times. Thou art also free to the throne of grace. It is the believer's privilege to have access at all times to his heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. We have permission to approach his throne at all times-in midnight's darkest hour, or in noontide's most burning heat. Exercise thy right, O believer, and live up to thy privilege. Thou art free to all that is treasured up in Christ-wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not what thy need is, for there is fulness of supply in Christ, and it is there for thee. O what a "freedom" is thine! freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!
Galatians 5:16 - WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
"Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."-- Gal 5:16.
WHEN WE walk in the spirit we shall be led by Him. In the early stages of life we are apt to be headstrong and impulsive, as Moses when he felled the Egyptian. But as we grow in Christian experience, we wait for the leadings of the Spirit, moving us by His suggestion, impressing on us His will, working within us what afterwards we work out in character and deed. We do not go in front, but follow behind. We are led by the Spirit.
The man or woman who walks in the Spirit has no desire to fulfil the lust of the flesh. The desire for the gratification of natural appetite may be latent in the soul, and may flash through the thoughts, but he does not fulfil it. The desire cannot be prevented, but its fulfilment can certainly be withheld.
When we walk in the Spirit He produces in us the fruit of a holy character. The contrast between the works of the fleshly--i.e., the selfish life.--and the fruit of the Spirit, which is the natural product of His influence, is very marked. In works there is effort, the clatter of machinery, the deafen-hag noise of the factory. But fruit is found in the calm, still, regular process of Nature, which is ever producing in her secret laboratory the kindly fruits of the earth. How quiet it all is! There is no voice nor language. It is almost impossible to realize what is being effected by a long summer day of sunshine. The growing of autumn arrives with noiseless footsteps. So it is with the soul that daily walks in the Spirit. There are probably no startling experiences, no marked transitions, nothing special to record in the diary, but every year those who live in close proximity witness a ripening wealth of fruit in the manifestation of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.
PRAYER - Gracious Lord! May Thy Holy Spirit keep me ever walking in the light of Thy countenance. May He fill my heart with the sense of Thy nearness and loving fellowship. Order my steps in Thy way, and walk with me, that I may do the thing that pleaseth Thee. AMEN. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
GALATIANS 5:16-26 "OLD LEAVES"
Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Some beautiful oak trees stand behind our home. Every fall I notice that some of them retain their crisp dried leaves long after the basswood, maples, elms, and walnuts become bare. Even the strong winds of winter and the early spring rains do not completely strip their boughs. But as springtime progresses, the scene changes. Small buds appear at the tips of the twigs. Soon the dried remnants of the preceding season drop away because of the surging forces of new life from within.
The Holy Spirit graciously works like that in Christians. Old habits cling to our lives with tenacity. Even trial and adversity do not remove all the lifeless leftovers of our fallen human nature. But Christ continually seeks expression from within us. As we confess our sin, pray, meditate on the Word of God, obey, and fellowship with our blessed Lord, the dead works of the flesh gradually drop away.
When all our efforts to turn over a new leaf or pluck off the old ones meet defeat, we can take a lesson from the mighty oak. Then we can thank God for the wonder-working power of the Holy Spirit within us. As we yield to His gentle urgings to be kind, loving, honest, and faithful, the Holy Spirit will take care of those "old leaves." —D.J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
If Christ is the center of our lives, the circumference will take care of itself.
GALATIANS 5:16-26 THE SECRET OF SELF CONTROL
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells (Romans 7:18).
Several years ago we had a pet raccoon we called Jason. For hours he would entertain us by wrestling with our dog, MacTavish, a kind and gentle Scottish terrier. Jason, on the other hand, was a kind of schizoid terror. One minute he would snuggle up on your lap like a perfect angel and the next he'd be engaged in the most fiendish antics. If unrestrained, he would breakfast on dove eggs, raid the garbage can, or tear up the flowerbed. Although he was a delightful pet, we became increasingly aware that his destructive actions were governed by his wild instincts. Jason would always have the nature of a raccoon, and we had to watch him closely no matter how tame he seemed to be.
Often when I observed Jason's behavior, I thought of the fallen, sinful nature that we as Christians retain even though we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul referred to this as the "flesh" in which "nothing good dwells" (Rom. 7:18). It may be repressed and restrained, but it is always there. Unless we are daily controlled by the Lord, our old "self" will demonstrate its destructive, pleasure-seeking capacity in some way or another.
Although we are new creatures in Christ, we still possess a tendency to sin. But we need not be governed by it, for we are united to Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. By obeying God's Word and yielding to the Spirit, we can be victorious over the flesh—the "nature of the beast" within. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The secret of self-control is to give control of ourselves to God.
Galatians 5:17 Flesh lusts Against the Spirit Devotional by C H Spurgeon
In every believer's heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active, and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armoury against newborn grace; while on the other hand, the new nature is ever on the watch to resist and destroy its enemy. Grace within us will employ prayer, and faith, and hope, and love, to cast out the evil; it takes unto it the "whole armour of God," and wrestles earnestly. These two opposing natures will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The battle of "Christian" with "Apollyon" lasted three hours, but the battle of Christian with himself lasted all the way from the Wicket Gate in the river Jordan. The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while we are in this body: but although we are closely beset, and often in sore conflict, we have an Almighty helper, even Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, who is ever with us, and who assures us that we shall eventually come off more than conquerors through him. With such assistance the new-born nature is more than a match for its foes. Are you fighting with the adversary to-day? Are Satan, the world, and the flesh, all against you? Be not discouraged nor dismayed. Fight on! For God himself is with you; Jehovah Nissi is your banner, and Jehovah Rophi is the healer of your wounds. Fear not, you shall overcome, for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on, "looking unto Jesus"; and though long and stern be the conflict, sweet will be the victory, and glorious the promised reward.
From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day
Ye may not do the things that ye would. (r.v.)
This is a notable rendering of the r.v., which throws a flood of light on the entire passage. The a.v. has it, “Ye cannot do”; it is more correct to say, “Ye may not do.” It is always possible to go back and to fall under the tyrannous power of the evil self principle, the flesh, either in its more debased or refined form; but as long as we are led by the Spirit, live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, He energizes against the flesh, keeping it in the place of death, and allowing the life of Christ to work freely.
In Christian ethics there must be, first, a definite willingness to surrender ourselves to his death. Secondly, there must be a perpetual yielding to the indwelling grace and power of the Holy Spirit. He will deal with the self-life in the deep abysses of your nature. When the antiseptic influence of carbolic acid is in the atmosphere it counteracts the microbes of disease, so that they cannot do as otherwise they would in infecting healthy bodies with disease. An eminent surgeon told me the other day that he was accustomed to boil his operating instruments in antiseptic mixture, that they might not carry microbes to the open wounds. Oh that those of us who are used as instruments by God would take heed!
When the baleful effect of the self-life is arrested, the fruits of the Spirit appear naturally and easily. Note the distinction between work, in which there is effort, and fruit, which swells so imperceptibly and silently on the branch-pressed out from within. Each of these fruits is a variation of the first, which is love. Joy is love on wings; peace, with the wings folded; long-suffering, love in the sick-room; goodness, in business; meekness, in society; self-control, in the regimen of habit for the sake of others. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
Galatians 5:18 Led by the Spirit
Devotional by C H Spurgeon
We who looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view, will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning; for if we are to be judged on the footing of the law, there shall no flesh living be justified. How blessed to know that we dwell in the domains of grace and not of law! When thinking of my state before God the question is not, "Am I perfect in myself before the law?" but, "Am I perfect in Christ Jesus?" That is a very different matter. We need not enquire, "Am I without sin naturally?" but, "Have I been washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness?" It is not "Am I in myself well pleasing to God?" but it is "Am I accepted in the Beloved?" The Christian views his evidences from the top of Sinai, and grows alarmed concerning his salvation; it were better far if he read his title by the light of Calvary. "Why," saith he, "my faith has unbelief in it, it is not able to save me." Suppose he had considered the object of his faith instead of his faith, then he would have said, "There is no failure in him, and therefore I am safe." He sighs over his hope: "Ah! my hope is marred and dimmed by an anxious carefulness about present things; how can I be accepted?" Had he regarded the ground of his hope, he would have seen that the promise of God standeth sure, and that whatever our doubts may be, the oath and promise never fail. Ah! believer, it is safer always for you to be led of the Spirit into gospel liberty than to wear legal fetters. Judge yourself at what Christ is rather than at what you are. Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections: you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.
"For wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one" (Job 5:2).
No one is more miserable than someone filled with jealousy or envy. They rob us of happiness and make our good accomplishments seem bad. Furthermore, they exact their own punishment.
On the wall of a chapel in Padua, an old city in northeastern Italy, hangs a painting by the Renaissance artist Giotto. The painter depicted envy with long ears that could hear every bit of news of another's success. He also gave to Envy the tongue of a serpent to poison the reputation of the one being envied. But if you could look at the painting carefully, you would notice that the tongue coils back and stings the eyes of the figure itself. Not only did Giotto picture Envy as being blind, but also as destroying itself with its own venomous evil.
Jealousy was one of the sins hurting the church at Corinth. The people had divided into factions because they were jealous of one another's gifts. Each believer strove for preeminence. Paul therefore instructed them to follow the "more excellent way" of love (1 Cor. 12:31), telling them that "love does not envy" (1 Cor. 13:4).
If we resent the success and accomplishments of others and find ourselves striking out at them with damaging words or insidious innuendoes, we have a problem with jealousy. But God wants to administer the antidote of love. That alone will keep us from becoming jealousy's victim. —D.C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
If we shoot arrows of jealousy at others, we wound ourselves.
Galatians 5:25 Live in the Spirit
Devotional by C H Spurgeon
The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were "whitewashed sepulchers." We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt. But seek not a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to thy glory.
GALATIANS 6:1-5 NOT THINKING HIGHLY OF SELF
For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself (Galatians 6:3).
Disaster always results when we try to build ourselves up by minimizing the worth of others. That's the message of a fable about a little frog who was startled when he looked up and saw an ox drinking out of the pond. He had never seen such a huge creature. Immediately he hopped away to tell his grandfather. Determined that no one should seem larger in the eyes of his grandson than he, the old bullfrog began to puff himself up as he asked, "Was he bigger than this?" "Oh, yes, Grandfather," answered the little frog, "much larger." Grandfather frog inflated himself more. "Bigger than this?" he queried. "Lots bigger!" replied the grandson. The old frog continued to puff until he exploded.
A good self-image is healthy, but there is a big difference between a sense of our God-given worth as His handiwork and an ego inflated by pride. That's why we must be quick to acknowledge that what we accomplish is done solely by God's grace. Only then can we see how foolish it is to promote our selfish interests.
Furthermore, humility will enable us to show appreciation for the achievement and position of others.
The apostle Paul put it clearly,
"For I say … to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Ro 12:3) .
If we puff ourselves up, we always get blown out of proportion. —P. R. V.(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
God wants people great enough to be small enough to be used.
GALATIANS 6:1-9 REAPING & HARVESTING
For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us (Isaiah 59:12).
A group of young people from Renaissance High School in Detroit cut classes to attend a rock concert in Hart Plaza. They probably thought they had gotten away with their truancy, but the next day, when the Detroit News appeared on the newsstand, it carried a color photo of the concert on the front page. And who was in that picture? That's right—the delinquent students of Renaissance High, easily recognizable to anyone. According to the paper,
"Eagle-eyed assistant principal Dr. Elijah Porter spotted the students and had a conversation with them."
As for the kids, it went on,
"There was nothing they could say."
The Bible teaches that we cannot hide our iniquities. We may be able to cover them up for a while and even get away with them for an extended period of time. But the time will inevitably come when we must face up to them, either in this world or in the next. Paul told the Galatians,
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Gal. 6:7).
Whenever we have a sin we are hiding, we must confess and forsake it. Or, when we are tempted to pursue something we know is wrong, thinking we won't get caught, we must determine to go no further. Our picture may not appear on the front page, but the Bible says we won't get away with it. —D.C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The seed of wrongdoing maybe sown in secret, but the harvest cannot be concealed.
GALATIANS 6:1-5 RESTORING BROKEN THINGS
If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one (Galatians 6:1).
A few years ago, an angry man rushed through the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt's famous painting "Night-watch." Then he took out a knife and slashed it repeatedly before anyone could stop him. A short time later, a distraught, hostile man slipped into St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash Michelangelo's beautiful sculpture, The Pieta. Two cherished works of art were severely damaged. But what did officials do? Throw them out and forget about them? Absolutely not. Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasures.
Christians ought to have the same attitude toward believers whose testimony has been damaged by sin. When one of God's children falls into sin, our first and only thought should be to restore, not to condemn. Tenderly and compassionately we must pray and work to bring that one back to spiritual wholeness and fellowship within the body of Christ. The word restore in Galatians 6:1 is the same word translated mend in Matthew 4:21, where we read that James and John were mending their nets. It means "to make thoroughly fit." That should be the church's goal with any member overtaken in sin.
Condemning is easier than restoring. In disgust we may want to turn our backs on a sinning Christian. But the scriptural pattern is not for us to discard but to restore. —D.C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
We can't expect others to see eye to eye with us if we look down on them.
Galatians 6:2 BURDEN-BEARING
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."-- Galatians 6:2.
IN THESE words the Apostle is evidently thinking more especially of the trespasses and sins into which men and women fall. We are not to rejoice over their failure, nor talk about it to others, but to consider ourselves, remembering our own liability to fall in the event of temptation. We are to be tender, gentle, and compassionate, helping to bear the burden of temptation, remorse, and shame. There is great comfort for us all in these words, for surely, if our Lord expects us to forgive and restore our brother, we may count on Him to do as much for us!
But sin is not the only burden we are to bear with our brethren. The young man or girl who fails to make good; the business man who meets with sudden reverse; those who suffer bitter disappointment; when faces are averted, and tongues are busily engaged in criticism--let us seek out the one who has consciously disappointed everybody, and help by our strong and tender sympathy. It is like the coming of the good Ananias into Saul's darkness, with the greeting: "Brother Saul!"
We may help to bear the burden of bereavement--when the husband is suddenly stricken down, or the mother is taken away and there is no one to care for the children, then we may show our practical sympathy and helpfulness. All through His fife on earth our Lord sought to carry the burdens of the people, and we are to follow in His steps. Sympathy means suffering with; and as we endeavour to enter into the griefs and sorrows of those around us, in proportion to the burden of grief that we carry do we succeed in lightening another's load. You cannot bear a burden without feeling its pressure; and in bearing the burdens of others, we must be prepared to suffer with them.
This was the law of Christ, the principle of His life, and the precept which He enjoined on His followers to fulfil. Let us remember, also, that in carrying the burdens of others, we often lose our own.
For friends above; for friends still left below;
For the rare links invisible between.
For sweet hearts tuned to noblest charity;
For great hearts toiling in the outer dark;
For friendly hands stretched out in time of need,
For every gracious thought and word and deed;
We thank Thee Lord! AMEN. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
Galatians 6:8 Spiritual Sowing
Devotional by C H Spurgeon
"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:8).
Sowing looks like a losing business, for we put good corn into the ground never to see it anymore. Sowing to the Spirit seems a very fanciful, dreamy business; for we deny ourselves and apparently get nothing for it. Yet if we sow to the Spirit by studying to live unto God, seeking to obey the will of God, and laying ourselves out to promote His honor, we shall not sow in vain. Life shall be our reward, even everlasting life. This we enjoy here as we enter into the knowledge of God, communion with God, and enjoyment of God. This life flows on like an ever-deepening, ever-widening river till it bears us to the ocean of infinite felicity, where the life of God is ours forever and ever. Let us not this day sow to our flesh, for the harvest will be corruption, since flesh always tends that way; but with holy self-conquest let us live for the highest, purest, and most spiritual ends, seeking to honor our most holy LORD by obeying His most gracious Spirit. What a harvest will that be when we reap life everlasting! What sheaves of endless bliss will be reaped! What a festival will that harvest be! LORD, make us such reapers, for thy Son's sake. (See Torrey's Topic "The Reward of the Saints")
GALATIANS 6:9-18 ITS ALWAYS TOO SOON TO QUIT
In due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).
If God has called us to a task, quitting is never fitting. Yet who hasn't trudged through the lowlands of discouragement, looking to every side road for an opportunity to leave a difficult and frustrating work. Satan is quick to suggest that we might as well give up, go elsewhere, or let someone who is more talented do the job. But we are where we are by God's appointment. If we're in this kind of situation, the noblest expression of faith is a dogged determination to go on with the task.
A minister had been pastoring a church for some time with seemingly little results. Then one night he had a dream in which he was trying to break a large granite rock with a pickax. Hour after hour he labored, but made no progress. At last he said,
"It's no use. I'm going to quit."
Suddenly a man appeared by his side and asked,
"Weren't you appointed to do this task? Why are you going to abandon it?"
The minister told him that the work was futile; he could make no impression on the granite.
"That is not your concern," replied the stranger. "The work is in your hands; the results are in another's. Work on!"
Taking up the ax again, the minister struck the rock; and at his first blow the granite flew into hundreds of pieces. When he awoke from his dream, a valuable lesson had been impressed upon his heart.
The "rocks" in our lives may seem harder than steel. Yet, if we are in God's will, they will one day yield. —D. J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Perseverance comes not only from a strong will but also from a strong won't.
Galatians 6:9 GOD'S MYSTERIOUS WAYS
In due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).
After years of service in South Africa, the famous missionary Robert Moffat returned to Scotland to recruit helpers. When he arrived at the church one cold wintry night, he was dismayed that only a small group had come out to hear him. What bothered him even more was that the only people in attendance were ladies. Although he was grateful for their interest, he had hoped to challenge men. He had chosen as his text Proverbs 8:4, “Unto you, O men, I call.”
In his discouragement he almost failed to notice one small boy in the loft pumping the bellows of the organ. Moffat felt frustrated as he gave the message, for he realized that very few women could be expected to undergo the rigorous life in undeveloped jungles. But God works in mysterious ways. Although no one volunteered that evening, the young fellow assisting the organist was deeply moved by the challenge. As a result, he promised God he would follow in the footsteps of this pioneer missionary. And he remained true to his vow. When he grew up, he went and ministered to the unreached tribes of Africa. His name was David Livingstone!
Moffat never ceased to wonder that his appeal which he had intended for men had stirred a young boy, who eventually became a mighty power for God. - H. G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Galatians 6:9 "THE THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM"
In due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).
In a manufacturing town in Scotland, a young lady began teaching a Sunday school class of poverty-stricken boys. The most unpromising youngster was a boy named Bob. After the first two or three Sundays, he did not return. So the teacher went to look for him. Although the superintendent had given Bob some new clothes, they were already worn and dirty when the teacher found him. He was given another new suit, and he came back to Sunday school. But soon he quit again, and the teacher went out once more to find him. When she did, she discovered that the second set of clothes had gone the way of the first.
“I am completely discouraged about Bob,” she told the superintendent.
“I guess we must give up on him.”
“Please don’t do that,” he pleaded. “I believe there is still hope. Try him one more time.”
They gave Bob a third suit of clothes, and this time he began to attend faithfully. It wasn’t long until he became a Christian and eventually even taught in that same Sunday school.
Who was that obstinate, ragged boy who for a time seemed so unreachable? None other than Robert Morrison, who later became the first Protestant missionary to China. He translated the Bible into Chinese and brought the Word of God to teeming millions.
A. B. Simpson said,
“God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a regard to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful.”
In service for Christ, keep “doing good.” Perseverance wins! - H. G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Galatians 6:9-10 REAPING WHAT WE CANNOT SEE
Often we don’t see the results of doing good until much later. Leslie B. Flynn tells about Dyson Hague, a chaplain in an English hospital who visited a ward of dying soldiers. One man asked him if he would write his Sunday school teacher and tell her he would die a Christian because of her teaching.
Chaplain Hague wrote the letter. A few weeks later he received this reply:
“Just a month ago I resigned my class of young men which I had been teaching for years, for I felt that my teaching was getting nowhere. Then came your letter, telling how my teaching had helped win this boy to Christ. I’ve asked for my class back. May God have mercy on me!” (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Galatians 6:10 TRUE BENEFICENCE
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men."-- Galatians 6:10.
WE ALL have a mission in the world, though we may never be called to cross the sea, or to visit distant lands to preach the gospel.
Christ's command to each of us, is begun with the person next to you. Do not wait to be neighboured, but neighbour somebody who is in need. The best way to bring in the Kingdom of God is to bring the person whom you can most easily influence to the Saviour. All great work in the world has commenced, not by committees, but by the consecration, self-sacrifice, and devotion of single individuals.
The Apostle indicates three methods of helping people. The restoration of the fallen (Gal6:1). How often in daily life a Christian man or woman is suddenly overtaken by some temptation, to which they yield, and which leaves a deep stain on character. Thus was David overtaken and also Peter! What an agony of remorse ensues! The Psalms are full of bitter repentance for such transgression. The sinful soul has to bear a heavy burden indeed; and too often his fellow-Christians pass him by with averted faces and frowns. No one visits him, or cares to be seen in his company, or tries to help him regain his former footing.
"Christ's law," which we are called to fulfil, is to seek out the erring one, to go after that which is lost, to restore the wanderer, to help carry his burden, considering lest we be tempted, and lapse into the same sin.
The care of Pastors and Ministers (Gal 6:6). If all who are being taught in Church and Sunday School would set themselves to minister to those that teach them, how many a weary servant of Christ would pluck up new courage and hope. Communicate helpfulness, sympathy, prayer, the grip of the hand, the expression of thankfulness for blessing received.
The ministry of all men (Gal 6:9-10). These opportunities of doing good are always recurring, and at every turn there are those who need a helping hand. "The poor," said our Lord, "ye have always with you." Let us bear a little of the burden of each, and specially do it for those who belong to the household of faith.
PRAYER - Give us grace to be encouragers of others, never discouragers; always making life easier, never harder, for those who come within our influence. AMEN. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
Galatians 6:10 DO WHAT YOU CAN
"So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." (Galatians 6:10)
Our Scripture reading today says that we are to do good to all men, but that doesn’t mean we have to reach every man. It means instead that we are to help anyone we have an opportunity to help. Let me illustrate.
Several years ago an article appeared in Time magazine about a doctor who lived through the terrible bombing of Hiroshima. When the blast occurred, Dr. Fumio Shigeto was waiting for a streetcar only a mile away, but he was sheltered by the corner of a concrete building. Within seconds after the explosion, his ears were filled with the screams of victims all around him. Not knowing what had happened, he stood there for a moment bewildered—one doctor wondering how he could ever handle this “mountain” of patients. Then, still somewhat stunned, Dr. Shigeto knelt, opened his black bag, and began treating the person lying at his feet.
When you are faced with the distressing spiritual needs of a lost world, don’t despair. Do good to those around you. Pray and give sacrificially to missions. All God asks is that you do what you can. - M. R. De Haan II, (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Galatians 6:17 Let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus
As a slave was branded with the initials of his owner, so was Paul. It was his pride to count himself the slave of Jesus, and to regard the scars which had eaten into his flesh as the brand-marks of his Master. Why should men try to deflect him from his course, when he was so absolutely implicated in the service of the one great Master, Christ?
The Service of Jesus. — It is founded in his blood, by which He purchased us to be his own; but it must be accepted by the glad consent of the will. We must awake each morning as his property, take his commands for the day, and lie down at night, only satisfied when He has said, Well done! We must own to ourselves that we have no personal rights, no locked rooms, no kind of reserve.
The Brand of Jesus. — The dislike which our religion engenders; the losses to which principle compels; the averted look, the distant manner on the part of those who could not make enough of us when we lived the life of the world — these are as much his brand, the brand of his Cross, as the weals of recent scourgings on the apostle’s flesh.
The Peace of Jesus. — “Let no man trouble me.” My heart has cast her anchor; my soul her foundation; my life her aim. If He is satisfied, I am content, though the world is in arms. If He is with me, I have good company, though all forsake. The Master said, “Trouble her not.” (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
“Lord, as thy temple’s portals close
Behind the outward-parting throng,
So shut my spirit in repose;
So bind it here, thy flock among:
The fickle wanderer else will stray
Back to the world’s wide-parted way.” W.E. Gladstone.