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« Reply #135 on: March 05, 2006, 01:52:21 AM »

The Restfulness of Christ - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Rest for Those Whose Burden Is Religion

It is just here that, out of the mist of ages, there steps the figure of the Man of Nazareth. "Come unto me…and I will give you rest"—it is the message of Jesus for today. I want you to remember that these words were spoken to men and women whose burden was religion. It was the spirit of the age, charged with religion. It was the spirit of the age, charged with tradition, from which our Savior offered them relief. And once again the spirit of the age demands an ideal that shall have room for rest, and standing among us is the restful Christ. But the continual wonder about Christ is this, that in every part and power of His being He was intensely and unceasingly alive with a vitality which puts us all to shame. Let a woman touch Him in the throng—"Who touched me?" Let Him see a crowd, and He is "moved with compassion." Let Him be baited by the subtlest doctors, and He fences and parries with superb resource. In body and spirit, in will, emotion, intellect, Christ was so flooded with the tides of life, that when He cried to men, "I am the Life," they felt in a moment that the word was true. Yet, "Come unto me…and I will give you rest." That is the abiding mystery of Christliness. That is the secret we are hungering for today, how to engraft the strenuous on the restful. And you may laboriously search the ages, and all the ideals and visions of the ages, and never find these so perfectly combined as in the historic personality of Jesus. The East says, "Come let us rest awhile; no need to hurry, and the sun is warm." And the West says, "Let us be up and doing," till we have almost lost the forest for the trees. And then comes Jesus, most superbly active, and toiling with an inspired assiduity, and yet in the very thick and tangle of it, girt with a restfulness that is divine.

Christ's Restfulness Was the Restfulness of Balance

Now when we study the life of Jesus Christ, we light on one or two sources of this restfulness. And in the first place it was the restfulness of balance. You remember how John in the Book of Revelation has a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem; and you remember how, as he surveys its form, he sees that the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. It was symmetrical in every measurement—perfectly balanced in every dimension, and I challenge any man to read the Gospel and not remark that equipoise in Christ. We talked of Bismarck as the man of iron, but we never talk of the iron will of Christ. We speak of the myriad-mindedness of Shakespeare, but we do not speak in that fashion about Jesus. And it is not reverence that keeps us silent, nor is it any awe at present deity; it is rather that everything is in such perfect poise there, that the total impression is repose. It is the same in the highest works of art. In the noblest art there is always a great restfulness. Passion is there, and energy, and power, as there are passion and power in the sunrise. But the mark of genius is the mark of God, that it brings the warring forces into balance, and holds its energies in such a poise that the impression of the whole is rest. It is not the enthusiast who is most like Christ, no matter how fiery his ardor be. It is not the man whose feelings are the tenderest. It is not the man who has a will of steel. Ethically, that man is most tike Christ who has so lived with Him under the love of God that every part and power of his being has opened out like a flower to the sun. That, then, is one of the ethical sources of what I call the restfulness of Christ. Ill-balanced men always make us restless; ill-balanced women do so as well. But to me at least, reading the life of Jesus, there comes such a sense of powers in perfect balance, that I accept the invitation, "Come unto me…and I will give you rest" with all my heart.

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« Reply #136 on: March 05, 2006, 01:54:13 AM »

The Restfulness of Christ - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Jesus' Restfulness Is the Restfulness of Purpose

Again it is the restfulness of purpose—of steady and unalterable purpose. There is no rest in the little Highland stream as it brawls and chafes along its bed of granite. It "chatters, chatters as it goes," and chattering things and people are not restful. But the mighty river, silent and imperial, guiding its wealth of water to the sea, is like a parable of mighty purpose, and in the bosom of that purpose there is rest. There is something river-like about the life of Christ—it is so resistless in its flow. Sorrows or joys could no more stop His course than the lights and shadows on the hills can stop the Clyde. And in this mighty purpose, so deep and so divine, there lies not a little of the secret of the unfailing restfulness of Christ. Why is it that young men are so restless? And why is there generally more repose as life advances? It is not merely that the fires are cooling; it is that life is settling into a steadier aim. No longer do we beat at doors that will not open—no longer does every bypath suggest dreams—we have found our work and we have strength to do it, and in that concentration there is rest. Now in the life of Jesus Christ there is always the beat of underlying purpose. No life was so free or so happily spontaneous. To call it cribbed, cabined, and confined would be mockery. Yet underneath its gladness and its reach, and all the splendor and riches of its liberty, there is a burning and dominating purpose, and in the bosom of that purpose is repose. It is a bad thing not to have a friend. It is a worse thing not to have a purpose. Something to love, to fight for, and to live for, in the heat of the battle keeps a man at rest. And Jesus had the world to love and fight for, and the world's redemption to achieve on Calvary, and I say that that, in the midst of all the tumult, was the strain of music whose echo was repose.

Jesus' Restfulness Is That of Trust

Then lastly it was the restfulness of trust. Christ had repose because He trusted so. Faithlessness, even in the relationships of earth, is the lean and hungry mother of unrest. Let a mistress once distrust her maid, and there will be worrying suspicion everyday. Let a husband distrust his wife, a wife her husband, and the peace of home, sweet home, is in ashes. We charge this with being a restless age, and we lay the blame of that restlessness on love of pleasure, but I question if it be not lack of faith that is the true root of social instability. To me the wildest little child is restful, and it is restful because it trusts me so. Faith is the great rebuke of boisterous winds when the ship is likely to be swamped in angry waters. And the perfect restfulness of Jesus Christ, in a life of unceasing movement and demand, sprung from a trust in God that never faltered even amid the bruising of the cross.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #137 on: March 05, 2006, 01:56:01 AM »

March 4

Enough!

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord— Mat_10:25

Spirituality Is Conformity to Christ

The highest praise that can be given to any man is that others, knowing him, should call him Christlike. That is the noblest ideal in the world. People who live long together often grow to resemble one another. Years of intimate and loving fellowship reflect themselves even on the face. So years of close communion with the Lord insensibly convey His impress, and the inward life becomes what we call Christlike. Now one of the subtle temptations of this life is an impatience with the reality of things. The facts of life are often hard, stern facts, difficult to reconcile with spirituality. And it is when we are tempted to despondency, as if the higher life were not for us, that we ought to remember this saying of our Lord. One is our Master, even Christ. His life is our ideal. Spirituality is not a vague abstraction; it is growing conformity to Him. And if He was burdened, and misunderstood, and sometimes sorrowful even unto death, we must not quarrel with such dark experiences. It is enough that we should be like Him.

Christlikeness Does Not Exempt Us from Weariness

We ought, for instance, to remember this great saying in the frequent hours when we are weary. Many of His servants have times of great exhaustion in the work and welfare of the Kingdom. They would give much to be always at their best, and perhaps they read of others who are so. There are those who claim never to have known weariness since they gave themselves up to Him in full surrender. But the Lord Himself, who yielded up His life in a way that no one else has ever paralleled, never made any such claim as that. He was so weary once that He fell fast asleep, with His head on the wooden pillow of a fishing boat. He was so weary once, travelling to Calvary, that His cross was transferred to Simon of Cyrene. And all this is written on the page of Scripture, not only that we may see the kind of man He was, but that those who love Him, and who seek to follow Him, might be delivered from the lure of false ideals. It would be a wonderful thing always to feel radiant, and equal to every task the day may bring. Never to grow weary in our service would be to taste the joy of service in eternity. But our Master knew not that experience. There were hours when He was utterly exhausted. And it is enough, He tells us, that we be like Him.

Christlikeness Does Not Exempt Us from Being Misunderstood

Again, we should always bear these words in mind in seasons when we are misunderstood. To be misunderstood is always bitter. Nothing so adds to the joy of spiritual service as to be certain that it is appreciated. Appreciation, from the right kind of people, is always a spur to more devoted toil. But to toil on, as so many have to do, misunderstood even by those they love, is one of the heaviest crosses in the world. It is so apt to blight all that is most delicate, so swift to sour the milk of human kindness. Why should God permit this chilling atmosphere to surround many of His finest toilers? Then one remembers that He who came to earth to embody the ideal of life and character breathed that pestilent atmosphere all the time. He was misunderstood when He wrought His deeds of mercy—He casteth out devils by Beelzebub. He was misunderstood when He hung upon the cross—they thought He was calling on Elias. And with that spirit of His, so exquisitely sensitive, that increasing and deep misunderstanding was sorer than the piercing of the nails. One of our novelists speaks of "Kingdom of Heaven kindness." Have not many practiced it, and been misunderstood? A little gratitude would have made all the difference, but gratitude was conspicuous by its absence. It is in such hours, and they come to everybody who has practiced the secret of the "cup of water," that there is a gospel in the word enough. Enough is as good as a feast. Enough is satisfaction. More than enough would be a spiritual surfeit, and surfeit is the prologue to disease. He who knows us and what is best for us, just as He knows what is in store for us, says it is enough that the servant be as his Lord.

Christlikeness Does Not Exempt Us from a Sense of Failure

Then, lastly, we should remember this in the seasons when we think that we have failed. Spiritual work, above all other work, is dogged and haunted by the sense of failure. A postman does not fail—he delivers his letters, and his work is done. A captain does not fail—he brings his ship to port, and that's the end of it. But when men are dealing, not with ships but with souls, and seeking to win them for the Lord, the sense of failure is often overwhelming. How many a minister, who has wrought and prayed, is so haunted by the failure of his preaching, that he longs sometimes never to preach again! Is it alien from the spirit of the Lord? It seems to me that without that seeming failure we shall never fully share in His experience. When I hear Him crying, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not" (Luk_13:34), I realize that He was there before us—and it is enough, for the most ardent heart, that the servant should be as his Lord.

____________________

George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
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« Reply #138 on: March 05, 2006, 03:21:30 PM »

AMEN!!
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« Reply #139 on: March 10, 2006, 02:48:28 PM »

March 6

The Sending of the Sword - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


I came not to send peace, but a sword— Mat_10:34

Christ Came to Bring Both Peace and a Sword

There seems to be a glaring contradiction between this word and some other words of Jesus. Some of the most familiar Gospel words—words that shine down like stars on the world's darkness—speak of Jesus as the great peace bringer. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." Yet here, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." The point I wish you to observe in passing is Christ's disregard for superficial consistency. Life proves many a proposition to be true that logic would readily demonstrate as false. And the strange thing about the words of Christ is, that while they seem to contradict each other at the bar of reason, they link themselves together into perfect harmony when we go forward in the strength of them. Are you fond of arguing about Christ's teachings? You may argue till doomsday and never find their power. They are words of life meant to be lived out; there is no argument in all the armory like action. And it is only as we set our faces heavenward, making these statutes our song in the house of our pilgrimage: only as we view every new morning as a new opportunity of putting Christ to proof; it is only thus, through the gathering experience of days, that we awaken to their power and truth. I notice in the engines of our river steamers that there are rods that move backward as well as rods that move forward. A child would say they were fighting with each other, and that half of the engines were going the wrong way. But though half the engines seem to go the wrong way, there is no question that the ship is going the right way: out of the smoke and stir of the great city into the bays where the peace of God is resting. So with the words of Christ that seem to oppose each other. Make them the driving power of the soul: and the oppositions will not hinder progress, and the contradictions will reveal their unity, and you shall be brought to your desired heaven.

So to our text; and there are two lights in which I wish to set it. (1) The coming of Christ sends a sword into the heart. (2) The coming of Christ sends a sword into the home.

Christ Sends a Sword into the Heart

First, then: The coming of Christ sends a sword into the heart. Now this is exactly what I should have expected when I remembered the penalties of gain. For everything a man achieves there is a price to pay. There comes a wound with everything we win. Think of the knowledge of nature that we now possess. All knowledge, whatever joy it brings with it, brings with it in the other hand a sword. All love, though it kindles the world into undreamed-of brightness, has a note in its music of unrest and agony. Every advance mankind has ever made holds in its grasp new possibilities of pain.

It is through thoughts like these that I come to understand how the coming of Christ into the heart must send a sword there. To receive Christ is to receive the Truth; it is to have the Spirit of Love breathing within us: and if truth and love always bring sorrow with them, I shall expect the coming of Christ to be with pain. I have no doubt there are some to whom Christ came, and made them very happy. You will never forget the hour of your conversion, when, as by the rending or a veil, the night was gone, and the trees in the forest clapped their hands before you, and every star in the heavens shone more brightly. A true experience, a very real experience: there are those here who look back on such an hour. But Jesus does not always come that way. He comes with the sword as well as with the song. He comes to banish the old shallow happiness, to break the ice that was over the deep waters, to touch the chords that had never given their music, to open the eyes to the hills above the cloud. And if He has come to you thus, so that you are not happier but consumed with a passion of divine discontent, I bid you in God's name go forward—it is Christ with the sword, but it is still the Christ. It is a great thing to feel like singing. Perhaps it is greater still to feel like struggling. This one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind I press towards the mark.

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« Reply #140 on: March 10, 2006, 02:50:06 PM »

The Sending of the Sword - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Three Ways Christ's Coming into the Heart Brings a Sword: He Opens Up the Depths of Sin within Us

There are three ways in which the coming of Christ into the heart sends a sword there. I can only briefly touch on these three ways. Christ opens up the depths of sin within us; that is one. We see what we are in the light of His perfection. We were tolerably contented with our character once, but when Christ comes we are never that again. Like the sheep that look clean enough among the summer grass, but against the background of the virgin snow look foul; so you and I never know how vile we are until the background of our life is Christ. You would have thought that when Christ filled Peter's net, Peter would have been ecstatically happy; but instead of that you have Simon Peter crying, "Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Christ came to Simon Peter with the sword; showed him himself; taught him how dark he was. And whenever the sword-stroke of an indwelling Savior cuts into the deeps of a man's heart the wound is very likely to be sore.

He Calls Us to a Lifelong Warfare

And then Christ calls us to a lifelong warfare. The note of warfare rings through the whole New Testament. The spirit is quickened now to crave for spiritual things, and the flesh and the spirit must battle till the grave. I knew a student who had been to Keswick and had drunk deep of the teaching of that school. And very noble teaching it is when nobly grasped. And he came back to Scotland in a kind of rapture; everything was to be easy evermore. And he went to one of our most saintly and notable ministers to tell him about this newfound way to holiness, and the minister (with his beautiful smile) looked at him and said, "Ah, sir, it will be a sore wrestle till the end." For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and spiritual darkness. And the evil that I would not that I do, and the good I would that do I not. Paul knew the peace of God that passed all understanding, yet to Paul the Savior came bearing the sword.

He Heightens Our Ideals

But above all, it is by heightening our ideal that the old peace goes and the pain begins. It is in the new conception of what life may be that the sword-stroke cuts into the heart. We are no more the children of time and space. We are the children of glorious immortality. We are launching out onto a career that will advance and deepen forever and forever. And do you think that the birth of a mighty thought like that can be accomplished without wound or pain? Whenever the horizon widens there is sorrow. The sword of Christ smites through the thongs that bind us. The sword of Christ cuts down the veil that shadows us. The sword of Christ makes free play for our manhood; we step into our liberty through Him. And if, with all that, there comes a haunting pain and an unrest that may become an agony, remember that Christ came to send the sword.

Christ Sends a Sword into the Home

But I pass on now: so, secondly and lastly, Christ comes to send a sword into the home.

Did you ever think how true that was of Nazareth? Did you ever reflect on our text in the light of that home? There was not a cottager in all the village but would think of one home they knew when they heard this. Joseph and Mary—was there any home in Nazareth on which the sunshine of heaven seemed to rest so sweetly? The peace of mutual love and trust lay on it, like a benediction from the green hills that sheltered it. Then into that quiet home came Jesus Christ, and the point of the sword has touched the heart of Joseph. And he was minded to put Mary away quietly, for the great love he had to her. Then came the flight to Egypt; then Jesus in the Temple—ah, yes! the sword is going deeper now. And when the public ministry began, and He was put to scorn, rejected, crucified, I think the sword had smitten that quiet home. It might have been so peaceful and so happy, with the laughter of children and the joy of motherhood. It might have been so peaceful and so happy if God had never honored it like this. But Jesus was born there, and that made all the difference. It could never be the quiet home again. Gethsemane was coming, Calvary was coming; a sword was going to pierce through Mary's heart. He came not to send peace, but a sword.

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« Reply #141 on: March 10, 2006, 02:51:50 PM »

The Sending of the Sword - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Now I think that still in many and many a home the coming of Jesus spells out unrest like that. When a young man or woman in a worldly home takes a definite stand, comes out and out for Christ, then the father and mother and every brother and sister will understand the meaning of this text. There is no outward quarrelling—how could there be when all the family are members of the Church? But the new enthusiasm and the new consecration and the new wholeheartedness for Jesus Christ—all well enough at the distance of the pulpit, but now brought into the bosom of the family—cause unrest, uneasiness, and irritation there, and that is Christ coming with the sword. I quite admit the sword is needlessly sharpened sometimes by the pride and arrogance of the young convert. I have had cases in my ministry where all my sympathy went out to the unconverted brothers. But this I want to say, Is there any young man or woman whose difficulty in deciding for Christ is the life at home? Well, then, be very humble; do not obtrude yourself; remember your ignorance, remember your youth; but as you have a life to live, and as you have a death to die, and as you have a God to meet before the Throne, do not let father or mother or the happiest home that ever cradled man keep you from closing with the call of God. If there must be trouble, then trouble there must be. To thine own self be true. As man to man Christ says to you, "I came not to send peace, but a sword."

The Sword in the Hearts of Parents over Their Children

A word to the children of sorrow as I close. A word to the fathers and to the mothers. I want you to remember there is another way in which Christ has brought the sword into the home. For home itself has a wealth of meaning in it that it never would have had save for the Gospel. And the natural love of the mother for her child has been deepened and glorified since Jesus came. Brotherhood, sisterhood, fatherhood, motherhood, childhood, you do not know how little these words meant once. And if now they speak to us of what is truest and tenderest, of ties unsurpassably delicate and strong, it is the love of Christ, it is the revelation of the Father, it is the touch of our Brother that has achieved the change. And what is the other side of that rich heritage? Ask any Christian mother for the answer. Find out if her heart never bleeds over her child; if she has not hours of haunting and torturing fears. Develop love, and you develop sorrow. Deepen the heart-life, and you deepen suffering. It is by doing that, through all the centuries, that Christ has brought the sword into our homes. The Stoic said, "Dry up these fountains of feeling"; so he made a solitude and called it peace. But Christ deepened and cleansed life's wellsprings here, and that very deepening has brought the sword. I think it is worth it. I would not be a Stoic. It is better to live vividly, spite of the pain, than to have the fingertips of all the angels grope at a heart of steel. After all, if He smiteth, He will bind up again. If He woundeth, yet He will make us whole. The sword, like Excalibur swung by the arm of Bedivere, shall flash and sink into the deeps forever, when we wake in the eternal morning of the Lord.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
of charge, and that goal gets closer by the day.)
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« Reply #142 on: March 10, 2006, 02:53:22 PM »

March 7

The Trifling Things of Life

A cup of cold water— Mat_10:42

The Importance of Little Things

Every reader of the Gospel knows the stress which our Lord put on little things. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted men and things of low degree. Things that to other people seemed important had often little importance in His eyes. Things that to others seemed of trifling value were often things of magnitude to Him. He had a scale of values all His own. Think, for instance, of this cup of water. Was not that a very trifling service? Could anyone refuse a cup of water to the thirsty beggar at the door? Yet a cup of water and a widow's mite and a kiss of welcome to the entering guest—all these meant a great deal to the Lord.

And not only is this true of life; it is true also of His view of nature. Our Lord had an eye for the trifling things of nature, and found in them His parables and poems. Very generally in the Old Testament it is the mighty things of nature which are evident. "Thy justice is like mountains great, thy judgments deep as floods." But in the eyes of Jesus these stupendous things are never quite so eloquent of God as the objects that to others were but trifles. The anemones that flowered in their thousands; the sparrows chirping in the villages; the weeds that were growing on the hedgebanks; the tares that were springing in the corn, these things, to the Lord who came not to destroy but to fulfil, were richest in meaning and in magnitude.

Life Is a Bundle of Little Things

One sees the divine wisdom of this outlook when one thinks how life is compact of little things. "Life is not a little bundle of big things, but a big bundle of little things." Reflect on the story of a day, and what a multitude of little things composes it. From the time we waken till we go to rest, we are engaged in a thousand trifling tasks. And this is as true of the greatest of mankind, who lead humanity in thought and action, as of the rest of us who are but common clay. Great hours come to us but rarely; common hours are with us all the time. Great hours reveal our possibilities; common hours reveal our consecration. And for our Lord the usual was the big thing, because the usual is nine-tenths of life, and sets the field for triumph or defeat.

The Common Little Things Are the Source of Happiness

Again, one must remember how much of our happiness depends on trifling things. It takes many of us years to learn that lesson. Professor Leckie tells of a writer who was engaged in some stupendous task. After years of labor it was ended, and he entered into the joy of finished work. But the joy so given was not half so great, he said, as the joy he got from the little pattering footsteps of some children whom he had taught to love him. "Give me health and a day," said Emerson, "and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous." It is the common things open to us all which are the secret and the source of happiness—the breath of June, the clasp of trusty hands, the eyes which answer ours across the crowd, the lowly service of a cup of water. That explains the emphasis of Jesus. He exposed the fallacy of rarity. He altogether revised the scale of bigness, because He so perfectly understood the heart. Christ has proved equal to the demands of life because, in a great love which comprehends, He recognized the magnitude of trifles.

Trifling Things Are Truest Service

One finds, too, in watching life observantly, how trifling things are often truest service. Nobody knew that better than the Lord. A well-known writer who fell into vile sin tells us how he plucked up heart again. It was because when "down and out" a passing stranger lifted his hat to him. And then one thinks of drunken John B. Gough, and how a friend laid his hand upon his shoulder—and that touch, that trifling touch of brotherhood, lit the star of hope for him again. Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. To neglect the trifle is to miss the triumph. A tiny snowflake is as exquisitely beautiful as all the splendid pageantry of sunrise. It is one of the wonderful things about our Savior that He recognized this with such perfect clearness—and the servant is not greater than his Lord.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
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(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
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« Reply #143 on: March 10, 2006, 02:55:20 PM »

March 8

Do We Look for Another? - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?- Mat_11:3

The Finality of Our Christian Faith

I wish to say a few words on the finality of our Christian faith, and there could be no better approach to that than the experience of John the Baptist. When John cried "Behold the Lamb of God," he was asserting the finality of Christ. All the lambs slain on Jewish altars were but prophecies and presages of Christ's sacrifice. He was the completion and the crown of the long and chequered history of Israel, and beyond Him there could never be another. Then doubts began to assail the mind of John. All was so contrary to expectation. This lowly Savior, moving about the villages, was so different from the Messiah of his dreams. And then, as in a torturing agony, John sent his disciples to the Lord, saying, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"

Is There Going to Be Another One?

Now that question, if I am not mistaken, is in many earnest minds today. Many are asking, secretly or openly, if Christ be the final Word of God. Partly through the comparative study of religions, with its appreciation of what is beautiful in all, partly through the slowness of our faith to bring the Kingdom into our teeming cities, partly through the supineness of the Church in answering the challenge of our social problems, that question is being widely asked today. Is Christ the final Word of God? Is a new world-teacher still to be revealed? Or, in the abstract language of the West, is our Christian faith the final faith? That is being discussed more widely than many of the orthodox imagine.

The Universality and Completeness of the Christian Faith

That our faith (like polytheism) will die a natural death is a thought that may be at once rejected. Heaven and earth have passed away, and His word has not passed away. Much more conceivable is the thought of certain circles that our Christian faith will be absorbed in some synthesis of what is best in all religions. That, we are told, is what has happened with Judaism. All that is best in it was absorbed in Christianity—its sense of guilt, its craving for atonement, its profound sense of the holiness of God. And if this has been the fate of Judaism, itself one of the revealed religions, may it not be so with that which has replaced it? But there is this profound difference to be noted—Judaism could never satisfy. Paul, who embraced it with passionate intensity, found himself thirsty and hungry at the end. Whereas the wonderful thing about our faith is this, that, take it where you will throughout the world, it absolutely satisfies the heart. Take it to India, and that is true. Take it to Africa, and that is true. Take it to the cultured or the ignorant, and when they find its secret that is true. Paul needed Judaism and something else if he was to win perfect satisfaction. Nobody needs Christ and something else. That infinite satisfaction which our faith gives, that profound sense of being complete in Christ, that song which rises from the believing heart, "Thou, O Christ, art all I want," that distinguishes our faith decisively from Judaism and every other faith. It is the mark of its absolute finality.

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« Reply #144 on: March 10, 2006, 02:57:15 PM »

Do We Look for Another? - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Because Christianity Is Final It Demands Unconditional Surrender

To some this may seem a theoretical question, but in reality it is far from being that. For example, unless our faith be final it cannot demand unconditional surrender—and that is exactly what it does demand. No one would cast himself upon another if he knew that the other's friendship were but temporary. Love demands finality, if it is to give itself in utter unreserve. And the utter unreserve our faith demands could not be asked, and never could be given, were our faith destined to be superseded. Religion is nothing unless it can be everything, unless it deserves unconditional surrender, unless we can rest ourselves upon it, unreservedly, in life and trial and suffering and death. And that is what nobody can ever do, anymore than he can give his love or friendship, if what claims his heart be only temporary.

A Missionary Faith Because of Its Finality

Again, one remembers that our Christian faith is in its essence a missionary faith. Whenever it ceases to be that, it ceases to be Christianity. From the first it has evangelized the world simply because it could not help it. It could no more help it than the river can help flowing, or the rain coming down on the mown grass. But the instant you cease to believe our faith is final, and that Christ is the last Word of God, you "cut the nerve" of missionary effort. To what purpose is this waste—this lavish expenditure of men and money, if the message of the Cross is to grow obsolete and Christ be replaced by any other teacher? Do you think our Lord, who was always sweetly reasonable, would ever have said "Go into all the world," had He foreseen a prospect such as that? The genius of Christianity is missionary, and all missionaries believe that Christ is final. Men who hold Him one teacher among many have never lifted a finger to evangelize the nations. Thus this question, seemingly theoretic, has the mightiest influence on personal response, and on the coming of the Kingdom in the world.

The Finality of the Christian Faith Gives Direction

And then we remember how right through the New Testament that is the unvarying attitude—and when we cut ourselves adrift from the New Testament we are sailing on an uncharted sea. Paul never doubted that his faith was final through all the magnificent expansions of his thought. To John, Christ was the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The majestic argument of the Epistle to the Hebrews is an argument for the finality of Christ—God has at last spoken by a Son. Best of all, our Savior never doubted it—it was part and parcel of His consciousness. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Light of the World. My words shall never pass away. No one has had even a glimpse of Christianity who cannot sing with the profoundest faith.

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun

Doth his successive journeys run.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #145 on: March 10, 2006, 02:59:22 PM »

March 9

The Decisiveness of Christ - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


But I say unto you— Mat_11:22

In Jesus There Was Never Any Hesitancy

There is one element in the character of Jesus which is well worthy of our consideration. It is the element which, in default of a better word, one might describe as His decisiveness. In other men, even the greatest, you catch continually the note of hesitancy. Even in the most dogmatic person you have the occasional sense of possible mistake. But in the Jesus given us in the Gospels there is not the faintest trace of such a hesitancy. There is an absolute and instantaneous certainty in the face of every problem and perplexity. In other lives, if such certainty be found, it is found generally in exalted hours. It is found in those rare and elevated moments when the mists are scattered somehow, and we know. But with Jesus this decisiveness was normal. He had not to wait for any glorious hours. It never seems to have left Him for an instant as He moved among the villages of Galilee. From the first recorded utterance of His boyhood, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" on to the last glad triumph on the cross, when He exulted in the thought that it was finished, there is not visible one shadow of perplexity, nor any halting as of uncertain feet, nor any clouding, even for a moment, of the serene decisiveness of Christ.

Christ's Decisiveness Was Accompanied by Charm

This is all the more notable when we remember how infinitely gracious Jesus was. The mystery of His decisiveness is deepened greatly when we associate it with the beauty of His character. When men have a habit of laying down the law, they may convince us but they rarely charm us. Your citizen who is always in the right may generally reckon on being held a nuisance. And the unique thing about our Lord is this, that He was .always laying down the law, yet men found Him infinitely gracious. He was dogmatic and yet they clung to Him. He was intolerant yet infinitely winsome. He was always judging without the slightest hesitancy, and yet men never felt He was censorious. There was in our Lord a constant self-assertion that is quite unparalleled in human history, yet I do not think that any lip was curled when He said He was meek and lowly in heart. It is such antinomies in Jesus' character that have made men call Him utterly inexplicable. No one would ever have dreamed of such a character, had not such a character actually existed. To be full of grace has been the lot of some, and to be full of truth the lot of others, but to be full of grace and truth is the unique prerogative of Christ.

Christ's Decisiveness in Regard to Israel

We catch that note of decisiveness in many spheres, and first in regard to the long past of Israel. There is nothing more striking in the Gospel record than the attitude of our Savior to that past. What thoughts He cherished about the past of Greece we neither know nor are we meant to know. Nor shall we ever know what thoughts He cherished about the magnificent grandeur which was Rome. But how He viewed the glorious past of Israel, with its song of psalmist and oracle of prophet, all that is written so that all may read. For Christ that story of Israel was divine. It was the revelation of His God. One jot or tittle of the law was not to pass till everything had been fulfilled. And yet though He reverenced it with a far deeper reverence than any scribe who sat in Moses' seat, He judged it with unfaltering decision. He utters His judgments of these old enactment's with the perfect freedom of a full authority. This He accepts as something always valid; that He rejects as something only temporary. He moves among these glories of the past not as a subject who has no right to question, but as a king who has the power to abrogate, as certainly as He has the power to endorse. Moses said unto you so and so, but I say unto you so and so. He has the fullest authority to ratify, and He has the fullest authority to cancel. And all this from a Galilean villager who had never had any learning from the schools, and who had been cradled in His village home in intensest devotion to the past. Had Jesus been a reckless demagogue, we could more easily have understood that attitude. There are demagogues who do not care one scrap for all that is highest and holiest in antiquity. But Jesus cared intensely for antiquity, for He saw in it the handiwork of God, and yet He judged it, and praised it, and condemned it, with a decision from which was no appeal.

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« Reply #146 on: March 10, 2006, 03:01:00 PM »

The Decisiveness of Christ - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Christ's Decisiveness in Regard to Himself

The same striking feature of decisiveness is seen again in regard to His own person. Christ never seems to have doubted for an hour that He was supremely and ineffably great. I have through my life been a reader of biographies, which I take to be the most fruitful of all reading. Well, in all the great lives that I ever read, there is one thing evident and universal. It is that every life has had its faltering hours, when vision has failed and inspiration vanished, when a man's confidence in his power and genius has silently and unaccountably deserted him. You find it in every life of men of action. You find it in every life of men of thought. You find it conspicuously and remarkably in the biography of every saint. Yet Christ, who was a man of thought and action, as surely as He was the ideal of sainthood, was never visited by any hour like that. Other men rise into the thought of greatness; Christ was possessed with it from the beginning. Other men win it, and in dejection lose it; Christ never lost it in any hour of agony. Rejected by His own people and betrayed, Pilate said to Him, Art Thou king? And Jesus replied, Thou sayest, I am a king. There is something very wonderful in that, and I would give much that you should feel the wonder of it. That is a consciousness not merely notable; that is a consciousness which is unique. And when you have difficulties about the virgin birth, and about miracles, and the resurrection, I beg you to turn your thoughts to facts like these if you wish to feel the mystery of Christ. No one doubted that He was meek and lowly. Everyone saw that He would not strive nor cry. There was a loving gentleness about this man of Nazareth which drew the burdened and the broken to Him. And yet this loving, gentle, lowly Man said, "I am the way—I am the truth—I am the life"; and "Before Abraham was, I am."

He Declares Himself to Be Greater Than Solomon and the Temple

That unfaltering sense of His pre-eminence is sometimes witnessed by our Lord's comparisons, and there are two such comparisons so vivid that it is worthwhile to recall them for a moment. To the Jews of our Lord's time there was one name in history that stood out glorious above all other names, and there was one building that meant more to them than any other building in the world. The name so pre-eminent was that of Solomon, and the building so solitary was the temple. These two summed up, for every pious Jew, all that was highest and holiest in the past—all that was most magnificent in empire, all wealth of argosies from distant shores, all near protection of a covenant God who had His place of rest between the cherubim. No king had ever been so great as Solomon; no building ever so holy as the temple. To it the heart of every exile turned, and for it even the exile would have died. And now comes Jesus, and to men and women burning with passionate convictions such as these, He quietly says, "I am greater than Solomon," and "a greater than the temple is here." Had He been a stranger with an alien upbringing that would have been easier to understand. But He was no stranger with an alien upbringing; He was the son of Mary, and the Child of Nazareth. He had been fed upon the Jewish Scriptures; He had been kindled as a boy with Jewish memories, and yet with a quiet, unfaltering decision He placed Himself supreme above them all.

Decisive about Human Character

The same decisiveness is very marked again in our Lord's handling of the character of others. There is a ring of finality in all His judgments which is very arresting and impressive. Every age has its own problems with which it must wrestle and seek to answer. But there is one problem common to all ages, and that is the problem of a human life. And men are always trying to solve that problem, and are always baffled in their attempts to solve it, there is such intertwining of evil and of good in the most commonplace and ordinary mortal. If all that was noble in a human character stood out apart and separate from the base, how easy it would be to judge a brother, and to classify him, and assign him to his deserts. And it is just because in actual human life there is no such cleavage between light and darkness, that men are so baffled in their attempts to judge. Sometimes all that is fairest in a character is perilously akin to what is foulest. Sometimes all that is basest in a character is irradiated by gleams of heaven itself. Until at last in the common lives around us we meet so much that is awesome and inscrutable, that we feel how impossible it is to judge. There are people, many of them women, who have a wonderful intuition into character. They seem to detect, as by a kind of instinct, the innermost nature of the folk they meet. Yet even they can never be quite sure that they have solved the secret of a character, for something always may emerge tomorrow that contradicts the impression of today. It is not the great only who are misunderstood; every one of us is misunderstood We baffle each other, and perplex each other, and are insoluble enigmas to our dearest. We are a little better than the most loving think, and a little worse than the nastiest imagine; and if one thing is certain in this mortal life, it is that no one has ever seen us as we are.

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« Reply #147 on: March 10, 2006, 03:02:48 PM »

The Decisiveness of Christ - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Christ Was Never Baffled by Any Problem of Human Personality

Now it is just here, I say with the fullest confidence, that Jesus of Nazareth stands unique. There is not one trace that He was ever baffled by the haunting problem of human personality Born in a remote and quiet village, He went into the world of men. There, with an utter freedom from convention, He mingled in every circle of society. And if one thing is certain in that unfettered intercourse, which brought Him into touch with rich and poor, it is that His every judgment was decisive. One hour He was disputing with the Pharisees; the next He was in the company of Mary. Now it was a rich young ruler who was at His feet, and now it was a woman who had been a sinner. And always, without one trace of hesitancy, you have the Savior praising or condemning with an authority from which there is no appeal. One man He commands to follow Him; another He bids go to his home again. One man He overwhelms with woe unutterable; over another He pronounces pardon And all this He is doing every day, and in the course of His ordinary ministry, and with people whom He has never seen before, till suddenly they are forced into His presence. There is something very wonderful in that; there is something quite unparalleled in that. And if you have doubts about the resurrection, I want you to give your thoughts to facts like these. Do not brood upon your resurrection difficulties; brood upon these great facts in Jesus' life, till it comes home to you, as it has come to many of us, that this is none other than the Son of God.

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« Reply #148 on: March 10, 2006, 03:04:28 PM »

The Decisiveness of Christ - Page 4
by George H. Morrison


Christ's Decisiveness in Regard to the Future

Then lastly, this decisiveness of Christ comes to its climax as regards the future. You find no shadow of doubt upon His heart as He looks forward to the coming ages. There are men who have started out with flowing hopes, and then their hopes have gradually died. For sorrow has come, and very bitter enmity, and they have lost the vision of the morning. But on that night on which He was betrayed, when everything was dark and spoke of treachery, Christ was certain that He would be remembered. He had no hesitancy about the past, handling its content with a swift decisiveness. He had no hesitancy with any human soul that rose up out of the crowd and stood before Him. And equally certain with these facts is this, that He knew no hesitancy about the future, nor about the absolute power that He would wield when the small and great were gathered before God. You remember what Danton at the French Revolution cried out with all the passion of his heart. He cried out—and he meant it from the depths—"Let my name be blighted, but let France be free." And that is a cry that has echoed down the ages from the lips of every patriot and prophet, with the one exception of the Lord Jesus Christ. Others have been content to die, if only the cause for which they fought should triumph. Others have been content to be forgotten, if only their message should inspire mankind. But Christ was never content to be forgotten, and never dreamed that He would be forgotten, but in the very center of all coming ages knew that He would bless and would condemn. While we must be on our guard against interpreting literally the poetic and pictorial language of the Master, there can be no question that Christ anticipated a day of judgment when the secret of every life would be revealed. And the amazing thing is that in that day of judgment it is His presence that is to search the character, and His estimate that is to turn the scale of heavenly blessedness or awful loss. Whenever Christ speaks about a day of judgment, it is He Himself who is the central figure. It is He who separates the sheep and goats. It is He who says Depart, I never knew you. And that magnificence of royal authority, which is interwoven with the whole Gospel story, is the climax of the decisiveness of Christ. Did you ever think how different it was from the outlook of the old Jewish prophets? They had their vision of a coming day, but in that day you never light on them. Then Christ took up that old prophetic vision, and glorified it, and touched it with eternity, and in the center of it all He puts one figure, and that one central figure is Himself. My brother and sister, either that is blasphemy, or it is something different from humanity. Either it is wild, defiant atheism, or else in the sweep of it, it is divine. And as reasonable beings you have to ask yourselves, knowing the tenor of the life of Jesus, which of the two conclusions is more likely. For myself it is such facts that are determinative. They lead me in Christ to the very feet of God. Though it were proved to me that Jesus never rose, Jesus would still be more than man for me. Down in the depths of His moral and spiritual being I light on things I cannot understand, unless that solitary lowly figure was different from us children of mortality.

____________________

George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Full Featured - Outstanding - Completely FREE - No Strings Attached

(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
of charge, and that goal gets closer by the day.)
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« Reply #149 on: March 10, 2006, 03:06:08 PM »

March 10

The Timeliness of Christ - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father— Mat_11:25

Thanksgiving in the Hour of Darkness and Seeming Failure

Matthew never could forget the time at which these words were uttered. The hour never vanished from his memory. Our Lord had been speaking of His rejection by cities like Bethsaida and Capernaum. There He had wrought His mighty works, and had found no tokens of repentance. And just then, when everything seemed dark, and the darkness was deepening into tragedy, our Lord had risen to exultant thanksgiving. It recalls another time of darkness—that night on which He was betrayed. Then, too, He had broken into thanksgiving, so wonderful that none ever could forget it. When others would have been plunged in sorrow, struggling to keep their faith from being quenched, our Lord was filled with an adoring gratitude. Such experiences of their common Master sank deep into the minds of the disciples. They began to watch the times of Jesus, as if in these very times there was a message for them. And for us, just as for them, there is a deal of spiritual profit in studying the timeliness of Christ.

Man's Extremity Was God's Opportunity

One notes, for instance, with ever-growing wonder, the timeliness of the hour of His coming. Enlightened men saw from the very first that He had come in the fulness of the time. Sometimes a gift, precious in itself, is robbed of half its sweetness by untimeliness. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, and there are gifts which are bestowed too late. But God was neither too early nor too late, as all our growing knowledge teaches us, when He gave His Son to be the Savior of the world. It was the fulness of the time, for need was greatest. The inspiring voice of prophecy was silent. Older faiths had lost their power to satisfy, and men were settling down into despair. And not only was it man's extremity; it was the hour of greatest opportunity, for there was peace abroad, and highways through the world, for carrying the news of the evangel. No one can study history, and then turn to the manger at the inn, without gaining a profound conviction of the perfect timeliness of Christ.

Christ Knew When It Was Time Not to Act

Then we turn to the earthly life of Christ, and the same feature is everywhere apparent. We take, for instance, the marriage feast of Cana. "Woman," said Jesus to His mother, "Mine hour is not yet come." He meant that she must not interfere; when the hour struck He would perform His part. And that reiterated insistence on His hour, when others sought to hasten or retard Him, is one of the indications in the Gospels of the perfect timeliness of Christ. The time of others might be always ready; His hour was not always ready. For the deed at Cana, as for the deed on Calvary, there was one perfect moment and one only. And nothing is more notable in Christ than how He refused to let Himself be hurried, or, when the hour struck, to be delayed. Even His mother must not interfere, however it pained Him to have to tell her so. Familiar with the timeliness of God, He must be faithful to His Father in this also. That is why, with such intense insistence, He silenced people by speaking of His hour. It is the perfect timeliness of Christ.

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