“Yea, He is altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
“If I loved Him more I should paint Him better.” So said a great artist to a visitor in his studio.
She was looking upon one of his paintings in which he had attempted to portray the face of our Savior. Earnestly he looked at his visitor’s face to see what effect the canvas produced upon her. She admired it, and then it was that the artist repeated the words, “If I loved Him more I should paint Him better.”
No human artist can rightly picture Christ’s fair face and form. The Bible declares: “Thou art fairer than the children of men” (Psalm 45:2). No, not on canvas, by pencil nor by brush, can Christ be depicted. But upon the hearts and in the lives of His people, the Spirit of God is presenting something of the grace and beauty of the Lord Jesus.
And may we not each say that “If I loved Him more, I should express Him better”? Would it not be so that if we were more constantly in His presence, more devoted in heart to Him, more faithful to His interests here, we should paint His features more truly in our lives?
In that same year (1899), evangelist Dwight L. Moody died, and his death was triumphant. Moody had been in poor health for some time and his family had taken turns being with him. On the morning of his death his son, who was standing by the bedside, heard him exclaim, “Earth is receding: heaven is opening: God is calling.”
“You are dreaming, father,” his son said.
“No, Will, this is not a dream. I have been within the gates…”
After awhile, as he began to slip away for the last time, he said, “Is this death? This is bliss. This is glorious.” His daughter entered the room and began to pray for his recovery, but he stopped her. “No, no, Emma, God is calling. This is my coronation day. I have been looking forward to it.”
At the funeral the family and friends joined in a service of triumph and victory. They spoke. They sang hymns. And they heard the words of Scripture read: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
“Two men…one a Pharisee, and the other a publican…the publican…went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Luke 18:10,13-14)
In 1899, two famous men died in the United States of America. The one was an unbeliever who had made a career out of attacking the Bible and the Christian faith. The other was a Christian who had spent his life preaching the gospel and ministering to believers.
Robert Ingersoll, after whom the famous Ingersoll lectures on immortality at Harvard University are named, was the unbeliever. The atheist/infidel died suddenly on July 21st, 1899 of congestive heart failure, and his death devastated his family. His body was kept at home for several days because his wife could not bare to part with it, and it was only removed because the corpse was decaying and endangering the health of the family. Finally his body was cremated and the scene at the crematorium was so dismal that the national newspapers carried feature stories about it.
When death came for Robert Ingersoll, there was no hope…only utter despair! To live without Christ is sorrowful, but to die without Christ is eternally tragic.
“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding” (Proverbs 4:1).
In Canada and the United States, yesterday was “Father’s Day.” Many of us have had godly fathers for which we ought to be very thankful. The story is told of how John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides, used to crouch outside his father’s bedroom door to hear him pray. He later wrote: “If everything else in religion were by some accident blotted out, my soul would go back to those days of reality. For sixty years my father kept up the practice of family prayer. No day passed without it, no hurry for business, no arrival of friends, no trouble or sorrow, no joy or excitement ever prevented us from kneeling around the family altar.”
Some don’t always value fathers who take the time, with spiritual conviction, to read and pray with their family. If you have such a father, thank God for it, and learn to appreciate those times set aside for family devotions.
In Psalm 69 we have the suffering of Christ brought before us prophetically, beginning with that which denotes the atoning sufferings during the three hours of darkness, when He cried, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?” (Verse 1).
Throughout the Psalm we have the feelings and expression of the Lord Jesus as He passed through various aspects of His suffering, both from man, and from God, when “He bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).At the end of the Psalm, lest there be any doubt in our minds as to who the inspired writer is referring to, he concludes by stating, “He hath done this” (Verse 31).
Yes, the work is DONE! Never to be repeated! But now there is something that He has asked us to DO in response—something that is ongoing. He says to us this morning, “This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). This request to “DO” is repeated by the Apostle Paul when writing to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). Will you respond to that request?
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
Vacation time is upon us, and here is an account with a good lesson for us all:
The story is told of a young man who was packing his suitcase for his first holiday away from home. As a friend stood by, the young man packed one article after another—pants, shirts, shoes, socks, his tennis racket and balls, etc. There remained a space just about six inches by four inches; all the rest of the case was full. “What are you going to pack there?” asked the friend.
“I have reserved that corner,” replied the young man, “to pack a guidebook, a lamp, a mirror, a microscope, a telescope, a volume of poems, several fine biographies, a package of love letters, a book of songs, some histories, a hammer and a sword. I am going to put in that space my Bible, the Word of God.”
Don’t neglect your Bible this summer! Take it with you wherever you go. Learn to carry a pocket edition or New Testament, and above all read it often and prayerfully.
“The gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh” (Nehemiah 3:15).
In Scripture, running water, such as a spring, a river, or a fountain, is often a type of the Holy Spirit. The Fountain Gate would remind us of the work of the Spirit of God in usand through us, and the power that we have in worship, service, and for our walk of faith. Here are some examples:
“Worship God in the Spirit” (Philippians 3:3).
“Praying in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).
“Led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18).
“Sing with the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:15).
“Walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
We want to be careful to keep this gate in constant repair. That keeps out of our lives those things that would hinder the work of the Spirit of God mentioned in the verses above. We are told: “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19); and, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30).
The Lord said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Don’t let the enemy, Satan, hinder that work of God.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2).
As God’s children, we are exhorted to walk in love, and, in the above verse, we have Christ set before us as the great and perfect example of this divine love. In Him we see the devotedness and intensity of love that gave Himself for others, and this devotedness goes up to God as a sweet-smelling sacrifice. Such love goes far beyond the demands of the Old Testament law which required that a man love his neighbor as himself. Christ did far more, for He gave Himself to God for us.
It is this same love that we are asked to imitate, a love that would lead us to sacrifice ourselves for our brethren. Such love will in its little measure, even as with the infinite love of Christ, go up as a sweet savor to God. The love that led the Philippian assembly to meet the necessities of the Apostle Paul had this very effect. That love was to God “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
Let’s break this verse down and make it as simple as possible.
“Be careful”—Don’t be full of care.
“For nothing”—At any time or in any situation.
“But in everything”—Not just some things.
“By prayer”—Bring it to God, talk to Him about it.
“And supplication—Be earnest and fervent.
“Let your requests”—Be specific.
“Be made known unto God”—Tell Him all about it.
What a wonderful resource we have in being able to bring everything to God our Father in prayer. He knows all about it even before we tell Him, but we are invited to, “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). If you want to have a worry-free day, you must learn the simple truth of Philippians 4:6.