"To whom be glory forever. Amen"
"To whom be glory forever." This should be the single desire of the Christian. All other wishes must be subservient and tributary to this one. The Christian may wish for prosperity in his business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this--"To him be glory forever." He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that "To him may be glory forever." You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than a single eye to your Lord's glory. As a Christian, you are "of God, and through God," then live "to God." Let nothing ever set your heart beating so mightily as love to him. Let this ambition fire your soul; be this the foundation of every enterprise upon which you enter, and this your sustaining motive whenever your zeal would grow chill; make God your only object. Depend upon it, where self begins sorrow begins; but if God be my supreme delight and only object,
"To me 'tis equal whether love ordain
My life or death--appoint me ease or pain."
Let your desire for God's glory be a growing desire. You blessed him in your youth, do not be content with such praises as you gave him then. Has God prospered you in business? Give him more as he has given you more. Has God given you experience? Praise him by stronger faith than you exercised at first. Does your knowledge grow? Then sing more sweetly. Do you enjoy happier times than you once had? Have you been restored from sickness, and has your sorrow been turned into peace and joy? Then give him more music; put more coals and more sweet frankincense into the censer of your praise. Practically in your life give him honour, putting the "Amen" to this doxology to your great and gracious Lord, by your own individual service and increasing holiness.
"He that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby."
Oppressors may get their will of poor and needy men as easily as they can split logs of wood, but they had better mind, for it is a dangerous business, and a splinter from a tree has often killed the woodman. Jesus is persecuted in every injured saint, and he is mighty to avenge his beloved ones. Success in treading down the poor and needy is a thing to be trembled at: if there be no danger to persecutors here there will be great danger hereafter.
To cleave wood is a common every-day business, and yet it has its dangers; so then, reader, there are dangers connected with your calling and daily life which it will be well for you to be aware of. We refer not to hazards by flood and field, or by disease and sudden death, but to perils of a spiritual sort. Your occupation may be as humble as log splitting, and yet the devil can tempt you in it. You may be a domestic servant, a farm labourer, or a mechanic, and you may be greatly screened from temptations to the grosser vices, and yet some secret sin may do you damage. Those who dwell at home, and mingle not with the rough world, may yet be endangered by their very seclusion. Nowhere is he safe who thinks himself so. Pride may enter a poor man's heart; avarice may reign in a cottager's bosom; uncleanness may venture into the quietest home; and anger, and envy, and malice may insinuate themselves into the most rural abode. Even in speaking a few words to a servant we may sin; a little purchase at a shop may be the first link in a chain of temptations; the mere looking out of a window may be the beginning of evil. O Lord, how exposed we are! How shall we be secured! To keep ourselves is work too hard for us: only thou thyself art able to preserve us in such a world of evils. Spread thy wings over us, and we, like little chickens, will cower down beneath thee, and feel ourselves safe!
Today's reading: Ezekiel 5-7, Hebrews 12 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 5-7
God’s Razor of Judgment
1 “Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2 When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3 But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4 Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.
5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6 Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.
Today's New Testament reading: Hebrews 121 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
God Disciplines His Children
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son....”
[Pē'tûr] - a rock or stone. The Greek form of the Aramaic surname, Cephas. Peter was the brother of Andrew and the son of Jona, or Johanan (Matt. 4:18; John 1:40; 1 Cor. 1:12).
The Man Who Fell but Rose Again
Peter is another of those outstanding characters in the Bible gallery of men, requiring a book all his own to fully expound his life and labors. From the many references to this reed transformed into a rock , we gather these facts and features of "The Big Fisherman."
He was a fisherman of Bethsaida, a name meaning "the house of fish." Afterwards he resided in Capernaum, where Jesus frequently lodged during His Galilean ministry.
His father was Jona, or Jonah, and Andrew was his brother. Both sons were fishermen on the Lake of Galilee and were evidently in partnership with Zebedee and his sons.
He first met Christ at Bethany beyond Jordan, where John the Baptist exercised his ministry. Both Peter and Andrew were disciples of the Baptist. It was Andrew who introduced Peter to Christ.
He received a triple call as friend, disciple and apostle. Through daily contact with Jesus, seeing and hearing His words and works, Peter's character was deepened and strengthened.
He was a man with many facets of character. His life can be approached from many angles. He was naturally impulsive (Matt. 14:28; 17:4; John 21:7); tenderhearted and affectionate (Matt. 26:75; John 13:9; 21:15-17); gifted with spiritual insight (John 6:68), yet sometimes slow to apprehend deeper truths (Matt. 15:15, 16); courageous in his confession of faith in Christ, yet guilty of a most cowardly denial (Matt. 16:16; John 6:69; Mark 14:67-71); self-sacrificing yet inclined towards self-seeking (Matt. 19:27), and presumption (Matt. 16:22; John 13:8; 18:10); immovable in his convictions (Acts 4:19, 20; 5:28, 29, 40, 42).
He became the leader and spokesman of the Apostolic Twelve and of the three privileged to witness the raising of Jairus'daughter, the Transfiguration, our Lord's agony in the Garden. He himself became a miracle worker, especially during the time portrayed in Acts.
He made a confession of Christ's deity which became the foundation of the Church, and was appointed steward with authority of the keys, meaning that his was to be the privilege of opening the door of salvation to the Jews.
He miserably failed his Lord in an hour of crisis, being the only disciple to deny Christ, yet he was restored and recommissioned by Jesus after His resurrection. He became the dauntless leader of the infant Church and was foremost to protest his loyalty to Christ. After Pentecost, Peter's ministry appears in four stages:
I. Jerusalem activities, 29-35 a.d., when James eventually succeeded to leadership of the Church.
II. Palestinean mission, 35-44 a.d. , during which he remained for a while at Lydda and Joppa. He received a call to Caesarea, and in the house of Cornelius opened the door of privilege to the Gentiles.
III. Syrian mission with Antioch as a center, 44-61 a.d., during which he was accompanied by his wife, who became the pioneer Zenana missionary.
IV. Rome, 61 a.d. It would seem as if Peter reached here before Paul's release from his first imprisonment, and a few years later suffered martyrdom by crucifixion, as Christ prophesied he would. Legend has it that Peter deemed himself unworthy to die in exactly the same way as his Lord had, and so begged his crucifiers to crucify him upside down.
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