“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).
This morning I was thinking of how the Lord Jesus desires our fellowship far more than we desire His. He died to win our hearts’ affections, and so that He could enjoy our company, not only in a future day in the Father’s house, but here and now as well. Let’s cultivate a relationship of real companionship with Himself. Learn to talk to the Lord as you go throughout the day. Maybe you have no real need or request. But talk to Him, tell Him what is in your heart, and learn what is in His.
Moses knew what it was to talk to the Lord in this way. “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). If Moses could enjoy such a relationship in the Old Testament, how much more you and I.
“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour” (Matthew 26:36-40)?
The Lord Jesus was at the worst crisis of His life on earth, the forsaking of God while He was punished for sins that He did not commit—our sins. With the cross just hours away He asked His three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, to watch with Him. Instead they fell asleep.
Let’s not be sleeping today as to the cross and the mighty work accomplished there by the Lord Jesus Christ. He says to us, “This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).
It was a cold January night in Flint, Michigan, and a young person by the name of Kim sat quietly waiting and praying for her mother to trust the Savior. The solemn preaching of the gospel had broken Kim’s mother down in genuine repentance. And then as the preacher explained the way of salvation, Kim’s mother put her trust in Christ. Both mother and daughter rejoiced together, as Kim exclaimed, “Mother, you are now saved like me!”
Eleven months later the hearts that rejoiced that evening were plunged into deep sorrow. As she was returning from Detroit, after being fitted for a dress to be worn as part of a wedding party, Kim was killed in a tragic automobile accident. Her parents were grief-stricken. However, in the strength of the Lord they were able to rise above the loss, comforted that their daughter was, “Absent from the body…present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Within a few weeks at least seven of her relatives were saved as a result of her testimony.
If you are not saved, perhaps reading this account will be used to convict you of your need and convince you of the fact that, “It is time to seek the Lord” (Hosea 10:12).
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
I read a statistic recently that I thought was very interesting and noteworthy:
“Ten minutes of unbridled temper can waste enough strength to do a complete day of wholesome work.”
Let’s remember that our physical energy is a gift from God, entrusted to us to be used in His service and for His glory. When preaching on Mars’ Hill, the Apostle Paul declared “He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25).Daniel had to remind King Belshazzar, “The God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified” (Daniel 5:23).
It is a sin to take God’s gift and squander it through evil and unbridled emotions. When I was a young person we used to sing the song:
“Evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Our companions will either be a help and encouragement for our blessing, or a hindrance and discouragement for our detriment, in our Christian life. Let us be very careful as to the company we keep! How sad to see young Christians, who once had a desire to please the Lord, led away into the world and seeking its pleasure, its achievements, etc., because of the company they chose.
Of course we must brush shoulders with the world at school, at work, and so on, and we must be kind and friendly if we are going to be a testimony for the Lord. We are exhorted in the Bible: “Do good unto all men” (Galatians 6:10). But I am speaking of those that we have as our closest companions. They will indeed have an influence on our life, whether for good or bad. Let’s be ever so sure that our most intimate friends have the same desire to please and follow the Lord. Let’s be like those in the early days of Christianity, of whom we read, “And being let go, they went to their own company” (Acts 4:23).
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Here we are starting out on another year, and there will be, no doubt, many new lessons to learn in the school of God. Some of them will not seem so pleasant, and there will probably be some tears as well as joys. Someone has said that there are two great lessons that God is seeking to teach us while here in this life:
The first lesson is, “The flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). We should never trust the sinful flesh, since it is corrupt and incurable. The Lord said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6). Remember, “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.”
The second lesson is, “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Whatever He does with us, and whatever He allows in our lives this year, remember this great truth. “He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
If we can learn, at least in part, our own nothingness and God’s faithfulness we have done well in God’s school.
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:41-42).
This cup that the Lord was referring to was the cup of suffering at the hand of God. It was that judgment against sin which came directly from God in those three hours of darkness when He “bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). In Luke’s gospel, the Lord Jesus as a man, shrank from the awful reality of what was ahead, and prays in the Garden of Gethsemane asking the Father if there was any other way possible for His will to be accomplished.
However, in John’s gospel, where we have the Lord presented as the Son of God and the burnt offering, we do not get His agony in the garden. He has before Him the accomplishment of the Father’s will and simply says, “The cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?(John 18:11). No, there was never a hesitation on His part. He came to do the will of the Father, and could cry at the end of those hours of darkness, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
On New Year’s Eve, a headmaster of a private boys’ school invited the students to a party. When they arrived they found that he had already lit a huge bonfire in the middle of the playground. After he was sure everyone had arrived, he produced a large book. It was “The Detention Book.” In it were the names of all who had failed to complete their lessons or who had misbehaved in some way or other over the past school term. With great ceremony he held up the book for all to see and then cast it into the flames, saying, “This is the last day of the year; all the past is going to be forgiven and blotted out.”
How wonderful that we can have the forgiveness of sins, and the record of our guilt eternally erased from God’s book, because of the work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary, and the blood that He shed there for sinners. When we are saved, the assurance of the Bible is, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17). We also read: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). As this calendar year ends, we trust and pray that all our readers have experienced God’s forgiveness.