Possess, Not Only Profess
“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance” (Matthew 13:12).
When the LORD has given to a man much grace, He will give him more. A little faith is a nest egg; more faith will come to it. But then it must not be seeming faith, but real and true. What a necessity is laid upon us to make sure work in religion and not to profess much, and possess nothing! For one of these days the very profession will be taken from us, if that be all we have. The threatening is as true as the promise.
Blessed be the LORD, it is His way when He has once made a beginning to go on bestowing the graces of His Spirit, till He who had but little, and yet truly had that little, is made to have abundance. Oh, for that abundance! Abundance of grace is a thing to be coveted, It would be well to know much but better to love much. It would be delightful to have abundance of skill to serve God but better still to have abundance of faith to trust in the LORD for skill and everything.
LORD, since Thou hast given me a sense of sin, deepen my hatred of evil. Since Thou hast caused me to trust Jesus, raise my faith to full assurance. Since Thou hast made me to love Thee, cause me to be carried away with vehement affection for Thee!
A Trustworthy Name
“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the Name of the LORD” (Zephaniah 3:12).
When true religion is ready to die out among the wealthy it finds a home among the poor of this world, rich in faith. The LORD has even now His faithful remnant. Am I one of them?
Perhaps it is because men are afflicted and poor that they learn to trust in the name of the LORD. He that hath no money must try what he can do on trust. He whose own name is good for nothing in his own esteem, acts wisely to rest in another name, even that best of names, the name of Jehovah. God wilt always have a trusting people, and these will be an afflicted and poor people. Little as the world thinks of them, their being left in the midst of a nation is the channel of untold blessings to it. Here we have the conserving salt which keeps in check the corruption which is in the world through lust.
Again the question comes home to each one of us. Am I one of them? Am I afflicted by the sin within me and around me? Am I poor in spirit, poor spiritually in my own judgment? Do I trust in the LORD? This is the main business. Jesus reveals the name, the character, the person of God; am I trusting in Him? If so, I am left in this world for a purpose. LORD, help me to fulfill it.
For nom will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. (Nahum 1:13)
COMMONEST THINGS BLESSED
“Ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water” Exod. 23:25
What a promise is this! To serve God is in itself a high delight. But what an added privilege to have the blessing of the Lord resting upon us in all things! Our commonest things become blessed when we ourselves are consecrated to the Lord. Our Lord Jesus took bread and blessed it; behold, we also eat of blessed bread. Jesus blessed water and made it wine: the water which we drink is far better to us than any of the wine with which men make merry; every drop has a benediction in it. The divine blessing is on the man of God in everything, and it shall abide with him at every time.
What if we have only bread and water! Yet it is blessed bread and water. Bread and water we shall have. That is implied, for it must be there for God to bless it. “Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy waters shall be sure.” With God at our table, we not only ask a blessing, but we have one. It is not only at the altar but at the table that He blesses us. He serves those well who serve Him well. This table-blessing is not of debt, but of grace. Indeed, there is a troubled grace; He grants us grace to serve Him, by His grace feeds us with bread, and then in His grace blesses it.
We May Speak for God
Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth. (Jeremiah 15:19)
Poor Jeremiah! Yet why do we say so? The weeping prophet was one of the choicest servants of God and honored by Him above many. He was hated for speaking the truth. The word which was so sweet to him was bitter to his hearers, yet he was accepted of his Lord. He was commanded to abide in his faithfulness, and then the Lord would continue to speak through him. He was to deal boldly and truthfully with men and perform the Lord’s winnowing work upon the professors of his day, and then the Lord gave him this word: “Thou shalt be as my mouth.”
What an honor! Should not every preacher, yea, every believer, covet it? For God to speak by us, what a marvel! We shall speak sure, pure truth; and we shall speak it with power. Our word shall not return void; it shall be a blessing to those who receive it, and those who refuse it shall do so at their peril. Our lips shall feed many. We shall arouse the sleeping and call the dead to life.
O dear reader, pray that it may be so with all the sent servants of our Lord.
“Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof; so he that waiteth on his master shall be honored” (Proverbs 27:18).
Our greatest honors will be gathered in that season when the figs will be ripe, even in the next world. Angels who are now our servitors will bear us home when our day’s work is done. Heaven, where Jesus is, will be our honorable mansion, eternal bliss our honorable portion, and the LORD Himself our honorable companion. Who can imagine the full meaning of this promise: “He that waiteth on his master shall be honored”?
LORD, help me to wait upon my Master. Let me leave all idea of honor to the hour when Thou Thyself shalt honor me. May the Holy Spirit make me a lowly, patient worker and waiter!
Let us watch that we come not into such bondage; but if this has already happened to us, let us by no means despair.
But we cannot be held in slavery forever. The LORD Jesus has paid too high a price for our redemption to leave us in the enemy’s hand. The way to freedom is, “Return unto the LORD thy God.” Where we first found salvation we shall find it again. At the foot of Christ’s cross, confessing sin, we shall find pardon and deliverance.
Moreover, the LORD will have us obey His voice according to all that He has commanded us, and we must do this with all our heart and all our soul, and then our captivity shall end.
Often depression of spirit and great misery of soul are removed as soon as we quit our idols and bow ourselves in obedience before the living God. We need not be captives. We may return to Zion’s citizenship, and that speedily. LORD, turn our captivity!
So if you didn’t know I am on Twitter. I follow a select group of people one of whom is @threegirldad.
Now I must say that there are very few things on Twitter that I would recommend and then there was this from @threegirldad:
10 years ago yesterday, my wife dismissed one of her college classes early because she was unable to remember some of her lecture material. “I guess I’ve been pushing myself too hard,” she said that evening. “At least I have the weekend to recharge.”
10 years ago today, as we were leaving the house, my wife pointed to the front door and said, “What is that thing called?” I called our doctor’s emergency contact number, described her symptoms to a nurse, and heard these words:
Get her to an Emergency Room as quickly as you can without endangering yourself or others. Every minute counts.”
When we arrived at the ER, she was immediately taken to an exam room, and then off to another area for an MRI.
About 15 minutes later: “Your wife has had a stroke. We are admitting her straight to ICU.” That evening, we had our diagnosis: a “minor” hemorrhagic stroke. There was relatively little damage evident. She had some weakness, but would spend one week in a Rehab facility.
The week in the Rehab facility was uneventful, while positive. She was regaining strength, and the outlook was full recovery in a few months. The next Saturday, about an hour before she was supposed to be discharged, it was clear that something had gone terribly wrong overnight
She was taken back to the hospital by ambulance, and admitted again to ICU. A second MRI revealed a second, and far worse, stroke…cause unknown. Multiple scans of various kinds followed, none providing any answers. Then, finally, one last procedure found what the others missed:
A tumor that was obscured by the bleed caused by the first stroke. Emergency surgery was scheduled; the surgery lasted about seven hours. The surgeon told us that the tumor was encapsulated, and he was confident that he removed it all without causing damage to surrounding tissue.
But the prognosis for physical recovery was now much different. No one could say if she would recover, or to what extent, or how long any recovery might take. Once she was well enough to be transferred out of ICU, assessments began. Verdict:
Months of Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapy lay ahead. She would have to learn how to dress and undress, how to hold special utensils, she required a wheelchair. She would have to learn how to talk again, which turned out to be a greater challenge than anything else.
The stroke affected her speech completely differently than the vast majority of people. She was diagnosed as a “neurogenic stutterer.” The words that she could say weren’t slurred; they were repeated five to six times. *Each* word.
None of the techniques used to assist with recovering from slurred speech helped her at all. Her therapist told us at one session, “In 25 years, I’ve never seen this condition myself. I’ve only read about it. We’re going to have to think differently.”
After weeks of almost no progress, she broke down one day. “How will I ever teach again?” (Remember, each word was repeated five to six times). Then, the magical moment: During a session her therapist said, “I want you to pretend that you are in class giving a lecture.”
That’s when I heard her speak normally for the first time in four months. The stroke had not affected the part of her brain where those memories were stored. It would be roughly a year and a half before her spontaneous speech was as fluid as her “memory bank” speech.
For the rest of her stay in long-term care, PTs and OTs would gather around her during her sessions, and she would pretend to give a Microbiology or A&P lecture while doing rehab. Six months after her second stroke, she was finally able to come home.
There were two setbacks along the way, with shorter stays in long-term rehab. A year and a half after after her strokes, she was able to switch from a wheelchair to arm crutches. Six months after that, she put the arm crutches away for the last time.
2 and 1/2 years after that fate day 10 years ago, I sat in the passenger’s seat of our car while she slowly, anxiously drove around through our neighborhood. “It feels like being a teenager again.”
God has been unspeakably merciful to us. The tumor was eventually diagnosed as benign. She has lived to see our then pre-teen girls become young adults. We thank Him every day for this and so many other blessings.
This is the best thing I have ever read on Twitter.