"The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."
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 upon 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.
"I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword."
The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up his cross, know ye not what your Master said? "I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, he brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth's sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master's steps, for he has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.
Today's reading: Zechariah 5-8, Revelation 19 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Zechariah 5-8
The Flying Scroll
1 I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.
2 He asked me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.”
3 And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. 4 The LORD Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’”
The Woman in a Basket
5 Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”
6 I asked, “What is it?”
He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land....”
Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 19
Threefold Hallelujah Over Babylon’s Fall
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
3 And again they shouted:
The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever....”
Elimelech [Ĕlĭm'elĕch]—god is king.The husband of Naomi and father of Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah (Ruth 1:2, 3; 2:1, 3;4:3-9; 1 Sam. 17:12).
The Man Whose Ways Contradicted His Name
It is one thing to have a good name, but a different matter altogether to have a life corresponding to that name. Elimelech’s name implies that God is King, an expressive name given him by godly parents when the nation followed the Lord. But Elimelech belied the name he bore, for had he truly believed that God was King, he would have stayed in Bethlehem in spite of the prevailing famine.
But one might argue that it was a wise thing to do to leave a famine-stricken land for another land where there was plenty of food for his family. Surely that was a journey any father would undertake to save his dear ones from starvation. But Elimelech was a Jew and as such had the promise, “In the days of famine ye shall be satisfied.” Had he firmly believed in the sovereignty of God, Elimelech would have remained in Bethlehem, knowing that need can never throttle God. Had he not declared that bread and water for His own would be sure? Alas, however, Elimelech did not live up to his wonderful name! In going down to Moab, he stepped out of the will of God, who had forbidden His people to have any association with the Moabites. In Moab, Elimelech and his two sons found graves. Yet such a wrong move was overruled by God, for as the result of it, Ruth the Moabitess returned to Bethlehem with Naomi, who was to become the ancestress of our blessed Lord.
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