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« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2005, 08:13:08 AM »

December 21

He Knocks - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Behold I stand at the door, and knock  —  Rev_3:20

We are all familiar with the picture by a well-known artist which portrays Christ standing at the door. It is one of the few pictures on a text of Scripture which has caught the imagination of the people. We see the door hanging on rusty hinges and covered with the trailing growth of years. And we see Christ, clad in His kingly robes, out in the dew and darkness of the night. And in the one hand He bears a lighted lamp whose rays are penetrating through the chinks and crevices, and with the other He is knocking at the door. You know the title the artist gave that picture. He did not call it "Christ knocking at the door." He called it — and there is spiritual genius in the title — "I am the light of the world." For him the wonder of it all was that the light which is life and blessedness and victory should be so near the door of every heart.

And after all, when you come to think of it, that is the most wonderful thing about this text. It is not the knocking at the closed door; it is the overwhelming thought of Him who knocks. Were it some emperor whose word is law to millions, it would be sufficiently awful and impressive. Were it some angel as he who came to Abraham, it would be a very memorable visitor. But when a man goes apart into some silent place and dwells upon the fact that knocking at his heart is CHRIST, I tell you it thrills him to the very depths. Not Jesus, who walked amid the fields of Galilee. He is no longer walking amid the fields of Galilee. He is no longer rejected and despised, homeless, with no shelter for His head. He is the risen Christ, exalted to the heavens, invested with all the authority of glory and yet, behold He stands at the door and knocks. At the door of your heart, my brother and my sister. You know what passions and what sins are knocking there, clamorous rabble — Christ is standing, the living, glorious Christ, and in infinite mercy He is knocking too.

Christ Is Not Far From Any Man

And that just means, stripped of its metaphor, that Christ is not far away from any man. Wherever on earth there is a beating heart, there is a yearning Savior. The best is never far away from men. That is one of the joys of this strange life. God has not hidden what is true and beautiful in inaccessible and distant places. Sunshine and summer and the little children, and duty and chivalry and faith and love, are nearer than breathing and closer than hands and feet. The highest and holiest are never inaccessible. And so do not think of it as a thing incredible that Christ should be very near to you. He is not hidden in the light of heaven beyond the shining of the farthest star. Life is mysterious, and God is wonderful, and the infinite is round about us everywhere, and Christ is not far away from any man. But, Lord, I am a bad man — Behold I stand at the door and knock. But, Lord, Thou knowest that secret sin of mine, and what a wretched, hollow life I have been living. Yes, my brother, He understands all that, and for all that He shed His blood for thee, and now He is standing knocking at thy door. Thy door — thy life — thine everlasting being. He wants to save it into life and victory.

And in what way does Christ knock? I answer, in a hundred different ways. He has a knock that is very imperious sometimes, and sometimes one that is infinitely gentle. He knocks in all the mercies you enjoy, in health and strength and happiness and home. He knocks in the tender memories of childhood of a father's character and a mother's love. He knocks in the thought of all that has been done for you, and of the love that has girdled you from infancy, and of the mercy that has never yet forsaken you from the hour of your birth until today. Sometimes He knocks in the strange sense of loneliness that steals upon the heart on busiest days. Sometimes He knocks in all that deep unrest that craves it knows not what, and never finds it. Sometimes He knocks in bitter disappointments and in bitter regrets over the might have been and in love baffled till the heart is breaking. He is knocking when a man has sinned and hates his sin and loathes himself as vile. He is knocking in the despairing sense that our vices and habits are mightier than we. He is knocking in every business in the hopeless tangle we have made of things, in the sickness that lays us prostrate for a season. He is knocking in the gift of little children, in the worries and trials and gladnesses of home. He is knocking when two lives are joined together. He is knocking when two lives are separated — in the last parting when the grave is dug, and the heart is empty and the coffin full. Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world; always at the door and always knocking. And that is our hope — that Christ is not far away, but that He is here in infinite grace to save. For when He ceases knocking we are lost.

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« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2005, 08:15:32 AM »

He Knocks - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Indeed, I have often thought in quiet moments that that is the truest interpretation of all life. When I think of all that life has meant for me, it seems like someone knocking all the time. You remember that famous moment in Macbeth when the murderers hear the knocking at the door. And you recall how De Quincey in his so subtle essay has shown us the dramatic significance of that — how into a room reeking of blood and murder, self-absorbed, oblivious of environment, the knocking came, and with it in a flash the thought of the great world that lay beyond. Shakespeare did not summon any calling voices. He was too consummate a master to do that. Your inferior dramatist who knew not life would have given you shouting and the trampling of men's feet. But Shakespeare gives a knocking at the door — some hand, unknown, knocking — that is all, and the murderers, who had forgotten everything, waken to realize the world again. My brother and sister, if we were left alone we should be always in danger of forgetting everything — we should forget, if left alone, that God hates sin, that death is coming, and that heaven is real. And so, as I look back over my life, it seems to me there has never been a providence that has not been meant by God to be interpreted like that knocking at the door in Shakespeare. In every triumph someone has been knocking; in every failure someone has been knocking — in every hour of pain and call of duty and baffled effort and yearning for the beautiful. Until at last there grows upon a man the sense that life is deep and rich and wonderful; a little chamber red with blood and sin, but round it a spiritual unseen environment. Infinite love is pressing in upon us; infinite grace that can save unto the uttermost; infinite power that can redeem the weakest and cleanse him and set him on his feet. And to all that, out of the selfishness which is our birthmark and our heritage, we are awakened by the knocking of the Christ.

The Door Must Be Opened From the Inside

To come back to that picture of which I spoke in starting, I remember somewhere reading a story about it, and the story was that when the picture was finished a friend came into the studio to inspect it. And he looked at it and admired its exquisite grace and saw at once its spiritual significance. And then he turned to the artist and said to him, "It is very beautiful, but there is one mistake. You have forgotten to put a handle on the door." And the story told how Holman Hunt explained to his visitor that that was no mistake. Had there been any handle on the outside, he told him, Christ would have turned it and would have entered in. But this was a door that had no handle there — a door that could only be opened from the inside. If any man will open to Me, I will come in to him and sup with him.

And that just means, stripped of its imagery, that to the knocking of Jesus Christ each one must individually respond. We must open our hearts to the living, present Christ, and say, "Come in, thou blessed of the Lord." No man has a more profound faith than I have in the absolute sovereignty of Almighty God. I should not be a Scotsman if I disbelieved it, and I should be untrue to all that God has shown me. And yet so intricate are earth and heaven, and so respectful of His children's liberty is God, that till a man lift up his voice and cries "I will," Jesus Christ will never cross the door sill. That is just where so many are making a mistake. They are always waiting for something irresistible. They are waiting for the moment when some power divine will shatter the door and enter in, in spite of them. My brother, I want to tell you quite plainly, that hour will never come. "If any man will open the door" — it is the one condition of all blessing. You must respond. You must open wide your being. You must say to the living Lord and Christ "Come in." And the wonder of the Christian Gospel is just this, that all you have striven and struggled for and failed in becomes a thrilling power and possibility the moment with all your heart you have invited Christ in. That was the message that rang through a dying world and made it hope again and live again. It is no scheme of social reform. We could have that and more without a Christ. It is peace with God and victory for you. The sunshine is a very marvelous creation, but it will never open any blinds for you. You must open them — a very simple thing — and all the mystery of the light will flood the room. And so with Christ — more glorious than sunshine — Christ the living, reigning, mighty Lord — if any man will open, I will come in.


_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

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(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2005, 05:25:22 AM »

December 22

The Rainbow and the Throne - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven.., and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald — Rev_4:2-3

This vision, like all the visions of the Apocalypse, is given for the most practical of purposes. It is not the dreaming of an idle seer. It is a message of comfort for bad times. You know the kind of scenery one meets with in the latter portion of this book. There are pictures of famine and of bloody war, pictures of sickness and of death upon his horse. Here, then, before the unveiling of these horrors we have the eternal background of it all. "And I looked," says John, "and lo, a door in heaven; and I saw a throne, and Him that sat thereon." God's in His heaven, all's right with the world—that was the meaning and purpose of the vision. Let famine come and fearful persecution; let the Christians be scattered like leaves before the wind—there was a throne with a rainbow round about it; and in the heavens a Lamb as it had been slain.

The Permanent Is Encircled By the Fleeting

Now I would like to dwell for a little while on the rainbow round the throne like to an emerald. Do you see any mystical meanings in that rainbow? I shall tell you what it suggests to me.

In the first place it speaks to me of this, that the permanent is encircled by the fleeting.

Whenever a Jew thought of the throne of God, he pictured one that was unchangeable. "Thy throne, O God, is an everlasting throne," was the common cry of psalmist and of prophet. Other thrones might pass into oblivion, other kingdoms flourish and decay. There was not a monarchy on any side of Israel that had not risen and had fallen, like a star. But the throne of God, set in the high heaven where a thousand years are as a day, that throne from all eternity had been, and to all eternity it would remain. Such was the throne which the apostle saw, and round about it he beheld a rainbow. It was engirdled with a thing of beauty which shines for a moment, and in shining vanishes. The permanent was encircled by the transient. The eternal was set within the momentary.

God Has a Purpose for Every Life

The same thing also is observable as God reveals Himself in human life. God has His purpose for every heart which trusts Him, nor will He lightly let that purpose go. We are not driftwood upon the swollen stream. We are not dust that swirls upon the highway. I believe that for each of us there is a path along which the almighty hand is guiding. Through childhood with its careless happiness, through youth with its storm and manhood with its burden, every one is being surely led by Him who sees the end from the beginning. And I looked, and lo, a throne in heaven—and "the kingdom of heaven is within you." And round about the throne there was a rainbow—symbol of the transient and the fleeting. And so it is that you and I are led amid a thousand evanescent things, under the arch of lights that flash upon us, and have hardly flashed ere they have disappeared. It is commonplace to speak of fleeting joys—and our troubles are often as fleeting as our joys. And then what moods we have; what moments of triumph; what bitterness of tears! And often they visit us just when we least expect them, and we cannot explain them as they come and go; and yet, through every mood and every feeling, the will of God is working to its goal.

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« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2005, 05:27:14 AM »

The Rainbow and the Throne - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


The Bow, a Symbol of Mercy

Another truth which is suggested here is that power is perfected in mercy. The rainbow has been symbolical of mercy ever since the days of Noah and the flood. God made a covenant with Noah, you remember, that there should never be such a flood again. Never again, so long as earth endured, was there to fall such desolating judgement. And in token of that, God pointed to the bow, painted in all its beauty on the storm cloud,—that rainbow was to be forever the sign and sacrament that He was merciful. Do you see another meaning of that bow, then, which John discerned around the throne of God? What is a throne? It is a place of power; the seat of empire, the symbol of dominion. So round the infinite power of the Almighty, like a thing of joy and beauty, is His mercy. Round His omnipotence, in perfect orb, is the enclosing circlet of His grace. It is not enough that in heaven is a throne. God might be powerful, and yet might crush me. It is not enough to see a rainbow there. God might be merciful, and yet be weak. There must be both, the rainbow and the throne, the one within the circuit of the other, if power is to reveal itself in love, and love to be victorious in power.

We see that union very evidently in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the deepest impressions of that life is the impression of unfathomed power. There are men who give us the impression of weakness. We cannot explain it perhaps, but so it is. But there are other men, who, when we meet with them, at once suggest to us the thought of power. And you will never understand the life of Christ, nor the bitterness of hate which He evoked, until you remember that always, in His company, men felt that they were face to face with power. Think of His power over the world of nature—He spake, and the storm became a calm. Think of His power over disease and death—"and Lazarus came forth, bound in his graveclothes." Think of His power, more wonderful than either, over the guiltiest of human hearts—"Thy sins, which are many, are forgiven thee." And I looked, and lo, I saw a throne—wherever Jesus was, there was a throne. But was that all, and was there nothing else, and was it power unchecked and uncontrolled? Ah, sirs, you know as well as I do, that around the living throne there was a rainbow—a mercy deeper, richer, more divine, than Noah had ever deciphered on the cloud.

Might and Mercifulness

The same thing is also true of human character. It takes both elements to make it perfect. When human character is at its highest, its symbol is the rainbow round the throne. All of us admire the strong man—the man who can mold others to his will. There is something in titanic strength that makes an irresistible appeal. Yet what a scourge that power may become, and what infinite wreckage it may spread—all that needs no enforcement for a world which has known the evil genius of Napoleon. Mercy without power may be a sham; but power without mercy is a curse. It is not a throne which is the ideal of manhood; it is a throne encircled by the bow. It is power stooping to the lowliest service; it is strength that has the courage to be tender; it is might that can be very merciful, with the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I sometimes think, too, that this heavenly vision is just a type of what our homes should be. In the ideal home there will be kingship, and yet around the kingship will be beauty. There are many homes today which have no throne. There is no government; there is no subjection. The thought of fatherhood has been so weakened that it has lost its attribute of kingship. The children are the real masters of the home; by their inexperience everything is regulated. And I looked, and lo, a door into the home—and within it, no vestige of a throne. Then in other homes there is no rainbow. There is no beauty; there is not any tenderness. There is no play of color on the cloud; no shining when the rain is on the sea. And the merriment of the children is repressed, and the father does not understand his child; and the child, whose heart is yearning for a father, has no one to appeal to but a king. Surely, if home is to be heaven, we want a vision like that of the apostle. We w ant a throne in token of authority, for without that, home is but a chaos. But if little lives are to be glad and beautiful, and if there is to be radiance on the cloud, we also want the rainbow round the throne.

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« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2005, 05:28:43 AM »

The Rainbow and the Throne - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


The Encircling Radiance of Hope

There is just one other lesson I would touch on—the heavenly setting of mystery is hope.

As the apostle gazed upon the throne, there was one thing that struck him to the heart. "Out of the throne came voices, thunderings and lightnings." Whose these voices were, he could not tell. What they were uttering, he did not know. Terrible messages pealed upon his ear, couched in some language he had never learned. And with these voices was the roll of thunder; and through it all, the flashing of the lightning; and John was awed, for in the throne of God he was face to face with unutterable mystery. Then he lifted his eyes, and lo, a rainbow, and yet it was different from earthly rainbows. It was not radiant with the seven colors that John had counted on the shore of Patmos. It was like an emerald—what color is an emerald? It was like an emerald; it was green. Around the throne, with its red flame of judgement, there was a rainbow, and the bow was green. Does that color suggest anything to you? To me it brings the message of spring time. You never hear a poet talk of dead green; but you often hear one talk of living green. It is the color of the tender grass and of the opening buds upon the trees. It is the color of rest for weary eyes and hope for weary hearts.

Brethren, is not that the message which has been given us in Jesus Christ? When you see God, mysteries do not vanish. When you see God, mysteries only deepen. There is the mystery of nature, red in tooth and claw; so full of cruelty, so full of waste. There is the mystery of pain, falling upon the innocent and bowing them through intolerable years. There is the mystery of early death with its blighted hope and with its shattered promise. There is the unutterable mystery of sin. Out of the throne came thunderings and voices. Out of the throne voices issue still. And we cannot interpret them—they are too hard for us, and we bow the head and say it is all dark. Nay, friend, not altogether dark, for around the throne of God there is a bow, and all the rest of the green fields is in it, and all the hope of a morning in the spring. Have we not Christ? Has He not lived our life? Has He not taught us that the worst and vilest sinner is good enough to live for and to die for? Has he not conquered death?—does He not live today?—is not the government upon His shoulder? A man can never be hopeless in the night who once for all has cast his anchor there. Have you done that? Are you a Christian? Have you cried, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief?." Why then, my brother, you are in the spirit, and for you a door is opened into heaven. And though for you mystery will not vanish and much that was dark before will still be dark, yet round and round all that is unfathomable, there is the encircling radiance of hope.

_______________________

Written by F. B. Meyer

The F. B. Meyer devotions are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being freely distributed with e-Sword around the world.)
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« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2005, 06:39:12 AM »

December 23

The Feeding of the Lamb - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them — Rev_7:17

The first words which John ever heard of Jesus were words that described Him as a Lamb. When John was a disciple of the Baptist's, drinking in inspiration from that stern teacher, he had heard these words fall from the Baptist's lips, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." The apostle was a young man then, aflame with eager hope, and the words of the Baptist sank deep into his heart—so deep that through all his after years he loved to think of Jesus as the Lamb. What experiences John had had and what a vast deal he had suffered when he came to write this book of Revelation! Life and the world were different to him now from what they had been in the desert with the Baptist. Yet in Revelation some twenty seven times John repeats the sweet expression "Lamb of God"—the first words he had ever heard of Christ. How blessed is a life when from its first stage to its last there runs through it one regulating thought! What concentration it bestows on character! What vividness it gives to the perceptions! There are men who are everything by turns and nothing long—unstable as water, they shall not excel. New ideas seize on them powerfully today, and other ideas as powerfully tomorrow. But men like John, grasping some great truth early, hold to it through storm and sunshine, through Babylon and Patmos, till it expands and breaks into a thousand meanings and becomes a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.

The Unchangeableness of the Lamb of God

Various thoughts are at once suggested to me by the beautiful and musical message of our text and the first is that Christ in heaven today is the very Christ who walked by the banks of Jordan. "Behold the Lamb of God," said the Baptist there; and "in the midst of the throne, a Lamb as it had been slain." In the opening chapter of this book of Revelation there is a strange and wonderful vision of the Lord: His head and His hairs were white as snow, and His eyes were as fire, and His feet were like fine brass as if they burned in a furnace. There is deep meaning in every line of that description, but perhaps the first thought to arise in us when we read it is that this is not the Jesus whom we knew in Galilee. It is august and terrible—a vision of light and splendor—and John when he saw it fell at His feet as dead, but it is not like Him who agonized in Gethsemane and whose tears fell beside the grave of Lazarus. But here it is the Lamb in the midst of the throne, as in the desert it had been the Lamb of God. Here, in the glory, it is the Lamb slain, as in Isaiah it had been a lamb led to the slaughter. And we feel at once that not all the height of heaven, nor all the inconceivable grandeurs of God's throne, have changed the nature or the love of Him who was pointed to beside the Jordan.

I think we all need to be assured of that, for we are very prone to disbelieve it. Somehow, we think, our Savior in the glory must be different from what He was long ago. We know that He is no longer rejected and despised, and we know that the body of His humiliation has been glorified, until insensibly we transfer these changes from His outward nature to His heart as though death and resurrection had altered that. So we conceive Christ as far away from us, separated from the beating of the human heart; glorious, yet not so full of tender brotherhood as in the days of Capernaum and Bethany. That error is combated by the vision of the Lamb in heaven. Purity, gentleness, and sacrifice are there. The wrath of the Lamb grows terrible just as we remember that that wrath is love rejected and despised. And in the Last Judgment when the Lamb shall be our judge it will not be the majesty of God that will overwhelm us; it will be that we are face to face, at last, with the love and with the sacrifice of Christ.

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« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2005, 06:41:42 AM »

The Feeding of the Lamb - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Our Need of Christ in Heaven

Another thought which our text suggests is this, that we shall need Christ in heaven as much as we do here. The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them—even in heaven there shall be no feeding without Christ. I ask you to note how carefully in these verses John distinguishes between Jesus and His Father. Who shall feed the redeemed? The Lamb in the midst of the throne. Who shall wipe away their tears? Not the Lamb, but God. Now I cannot dwell here on the reasons—the deep reasons—why the consoling of heaven is named as the Father's work; what I ask you to note is that the satisfaction of glory is not a thing of course, that comes inevitably—it is entirely dependent on Christ Jesus. The Lamb which is in the throne shall feed them. On the Lamb depends the satisfaction of eternity. Heaven might be heaven, and God might still be there in His eternal splendor; but even in heaven the redeemed would starve, save for the Lamb in the midst of the throne.

We all know in some measure how great and how constant is our need of Christ on earth. There are moments—often moments of distress and darkness—when every true follower can truly say, "Thou, O Christ, art all I want." In the soberest senses it is the Lamb who feeds us here—it is on Him we are dependent for everything that nourishes us—without His love and His sacrifice and His revelation of God, there would be no spiritual pasturage on earth. But do we not sometimes think that death will change all that? Are we not prone to imagine that in the world beyond, the need of being nourished by Christ Jesus will be less? Have we not some dim idea that heaven is like a garden—so fair, so fragrant, and so beautiful in itself, that only to open our eyes there will be rest, and only to wander in its sunshine will be peace? However such an idea may arise within us, remember that it is not the concept of the Bible. The Lamb which is in the throne shall feed them; the need of Christ in heaven is supreme. Every tie that binds us to Him here is strengthened there; all feelings of dependence are infinitely deepened. All that we owe to Him on earth is but a tithe of what we shall owe to Him when we awake.

It is suggested, too, by the words of the original that this feeding shall be a perpetual process. Not once nor for a day shall the Lamb feed the flock; He shall feed them continually and forever. As John looked back on his discipleship in Galilee, one feature of it impressed him very powerfully. It was that the Lamb of God, whom the Baptist had directed him to follow, had taught him everything gradually and slowly. One truth today, one miracle tomorrow, and always and only as the disciples could bear it; little by little, with perfect adaptation, had the Lamb led them into ever deeper knowledge. That was one mark of the feeding of the Lamb, and every year that he lived, John grew more grateful for it. He saw the patience and the gentle constancy with which he had been led into all truth.

Spiritual Progress in Heaven

And now in Patmos John lifts his eyes to heaven, and there are they who came out of great tribulation; and the Lamb is there—a Lamb as it had been slain—and the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them. What did that mean to John? What did it recall to him? It spoke to him of quiet perseverance. There was progress and ever-growing reception of the truth in heaven for John, and there was all that, because the Lamb was there.

Have you incorporated that thought into your view of glory? It is bound up with the true thought of Christ. Just because He is the same yesterday and forever, there will be gradual unfoldings of joy through all eternity. It is true we shall hunger no more, and we shall thirst no more. We shall be satisfied when we awake. Yet John had been satisfied in his first hour with Jesus, but what great and lofty truths had he still to learn! Not all at once shall the mysteries be solved and every truth we have longed to know be taught us. Not all at once shall the full and glorious secret be flashed in its splendor on our awakened eyes. Through all eternity we shall go on to serve. Through all eternity we shall go on to learn. The love of God will expand and deepen endlessly so that every fresh hour will have its sweet surprise. Not God in the first person, but the Lamb—the gradual and patient teacher of the Twelve—the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them.

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« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2005, 06:43:11 AM »

The Feeding of the Lamb - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


The Position of the Lamb

Lastly, and most significant of all, will you note the position in which the Lamb is standing. Be sure it is no chance that the saints are fed in glory by a Lamb who stands, where?—in the midst of the throne. Not in the confines of heaven, not on its distant borders, does the Lamb stand who shall pasture the redeemed. In the very center and seat of power He has His place: He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne. There are few grander pictures in the Bible than John's conception of the heavenly kingdom. It is like one of those drawings by Dore of the Paradise of Dante in which there is circle within circle of wheeling angels. That is the kind of vision which John had of glory, as if from its utmost and dim verge it were filled with ranks and choirs; and as the circles drew nearer and nearer to the center, they were composed of nobler and more glorious beings. In the very center of that mighty confluence was a throne—it was the throne of the immortal and eternal God. And in the very center of the throne, standing in front of it, there was a Lamb. And not any angel from distant rank or choir, not even the flaming cherubim or glowing seraphim—not these, but the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall feed them. That means that the redeemed shall be fed not only gently, but by One who stands in the place of sovereign power. None can gainsay Him there; none can withstand Him; none can contest His access to green pastures. The Lamb who feeds them is in the midst of the throne—the sceptre of universal power is His now.

In this present world of shadows and of sorrow, have we not often longed for an authoritative voice? Are there not mysteries on every hand that press upon us with a terrible insistence on our hearts? And men try to explain these things to us, and such men may be taught of God, yet the noblest explanation leaves a ring of cloud so vast that we can only bow the head and say, Now we know in part and see in part. It is true that God does not leave us in the darkness—His word is a light unto our feet. When we trust Him there is always light for the next step, and it is the next step that is the road to glory. Still, there remains much doubt and much uncertainty, baffling us and sometimes overwhelming us, and these always will remain till one who knows us thoroughly speaks to us from the very center of authority. That is the meaning of the Lamb in the midst of the throne. Before the mountains were created or the hills were formed, that throne was there. From it the worlds were created; from it the nations were fashioned; from it has gone forth the plan of every life. Every shadow was foreseen there, every tear and every grave—and from the midst of that throne the Lamb shall feed them. Does not that illuminate the joy that cometh in the morning? Does it not assure us that we shall be satisfied?

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2005, 12:19:38 PM »

December 24

How Science Helps Religion

And the earth helped the woman — Rev_12:16

One hears a great deal from many different quarters of the conflict of science and religion. It might be well if we heard a little more of the various ways in which science has helped faith. Of this help in the realm of applied science one scarcely needs to speak. It was science which built those mighty Roman highways which, at the Advent, carried the Gospel everywhere. And how railways and steamships and cars and planes have been the servants of missionary work is a familiar fact in all Christendom. To the scientific concept of the printing press the debt of the Gospel is incalculable. It has scattered the tidings of the Savior to the remotest corners of the world. And if our missionaries can live and labor now in regions that were once the white man's grave, we owe it to the activities of science. Such facts are familiar to us all, and there is little need to dwell on them. In the evangelization of the world, applied science has been a powerful helper. But there are other and perhaps deeper ways, more vital than such applications in which, in the language of St. John, the earth has helped the woman.

Jesus Had a Scientific Mind

To begin with, modern science has taught us that it is our duty to look facts in the face, never to come to them with preconceptions, never to shut our eyes to anything. In that respect, I venture to suggest that our blessed Lord had a scientific mind. He never came to things with preconceptions; He never shut His eyes to anything. He saw the vultures gathering by the carcass as well as the chickens gathering to their mother. He saw the tiny sparrow falling dead as well as the sparrow happy in its nesting. No man can have the mind of Christ who has not the courage to have the eyes of Christ. He rejected the traditions of men and saw things for Himself. And is not that the method of all modern science by which it has found the wonder of the world—to reject the traditions of the fathers and see things for itself?. Science has done that with nature, and doing it has won her victories. The world has proved itself a thousand times more marvelous than the traditions of the fathers ever dreamed. Jesus did that with men and women, with the Magdalene, with Peter, with Zaccheus, and in a deep sense, we are saved by being seen.

Science and Jesus Teach Surrender

That thought of method may be pushed a little further, and I do so in the words of Huxley. "It seems to me," said Huxley, "that science teaches in the clearest manner the truth embedded in the Christian thought of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before the fact as a little child (the very word is Christ's), be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever end nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this." Now tell me, what is the essence of religion, I mean on the side of the response of man? Is it not summed up in this single word, entire surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ? As evangelical preachers constantly proclaim, it is not enough merely to admire Him. It is not enough, gazing on His beauty, to call Him the Altogether Lovely. You must trust Him, become a little child, yield yourself to Him in full surrender, if peace and power and liberty and knowledge are ever to possess the soul. Now when the preacher proclaims that, there are those who say, "I don't believe it. I'm captain of my soul and master of my fate. I am free. I am going to stand upon my feet." Then comes the scientist (our supposed enemy) and says, "Friend, you're in the wrong, the preacher's right. The only way to peace and power and knowledge is the childlike way of full surrender." So the earth helps the woman. So science corroborates our faith. The scientist finds that he is more than conqueror, in precisely the same way as the believer. And yet men talk, till one is sick of it, of the conflict between science and religion.

Faith Is Basic to Everything

Lastly, science helps religion by the new majesty that it has given to faith. That may seem a daring thing to say: let me explain my meaning. A Christian is a man who lives by faith—as a simple matter of fact we all do that. You cannot mail a letter without faith; without faith you cannot board a train. But a Christian is a man who takes that faith which runs like a thread of gold through all our life and centers it on the Lord Jesus Christ for time and for eternity. Now there are not a few who hold that science is the enemy of faith; that the more you expand the realm of exact knowledge, the more you contract the realm of faith. Whereas the truth is, the more that knowledge grows in a universe which thrills with the Divine, the more does faith become imperative and wonderful. Things do not grow less mysterious, they grow more mysterious as knowledge widens. To Peter Bell the primrose is a weed: to Tennyson the wallcress is a microcosm. The faith of a Lord Kelvin (as I who was his student know) is a thousand times larger and more wonderful than the faith of the untutored savage. When I think of the presuppositions on which the chemist builds, of the postulates demanded by the physicist, of the invisibilities that science reaches when she resolves matter into energy, I feel that science is founded upon faith as truly as the life of the believer. So my hope is that in coming days science and religion will be at peace again. Like righteousness and peace in the old psalm, the dawn is breaking when they will kiss each other. Then with blended voices, they will lift their common praise to Him, Whose we are, and Whom we serve.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2005, 03:58:24 AM »

December 26

Service in Heaven

His servants shall serve him — Rev_22:3

Of the life of the glorified in heaven Scripture does not tell us very much. And not a little of what it does tell is poetically and imaginatively described. There is, for instance, the familiar figure of the harp in the hands of the redeemed. It is easy to make a joke of that and so to turn beatitude to ridicule. But what Scripture is trying to convey is that in heaven utterance shall be music, and therefore self-expression shall be perfect. Music can say what speech can never say. It is more subtle and delicate than speech. It voices the deeper yearnings of the soul in ways that words are powerless to do. And if the utterance of heaven is to be music, then self-expression will be perfect there, and the loneliness of personality will be gone. Here we are all lonely. We long to express ourselves and cannot. There are a thousand things in every heart which it is quite impossible to utter. And the mystical meaning of the harp in heaven is not only that praise will echo there, but that at last we shall be no more lonely, but be in perfect accord with each other.

But if not a little is poetic imagery, there are glimpses that must be literally taken. And all such glimpses are radiant with comfort for the sojourner amid the shadows here. We read that in heaven there shall be no temple, for worship and being will be coextensive. We are told that there are many mansions, for individuality will be preserved. We are assured there will be a place prepared, just as here there was a place prepared when the cradle was ready and the little garments and the nurture of the mother's breast. We do not need to translate these into prose like the harp under the fingers of the glorified. If there is poetry in such expressions, it is the poetry which is the stuff of heaven. And so the words which form our text yield their comfort when they are taken literally—His servant shall serve Him.

In Heaven There Will Be Continuity

Perhaps the first suggestion of the words is that in heaven there will be continuity. The ruling passion of the life on earth will be the ruling passion of the life beyond. A true believer is a man who serves. He does not live for self; he lives for others. He follows One who left His high estate that He might take on Him the form of a servant. And Scripture assures us that our service here, transferred in an instant by the grave, is to be carried on in the land beyond the river. With powers quickened by their earthly exercise, with zeal made warmer by rebuffs, with wisdom gained through many a mistake as we sought gropingly to help some brother, we shall enter heaven to discover that the reward of service is a greater service, and that crowning is really continuance. For such service there will be ample room if heaven is the sphere of endless progress.

The Contrast of Heavenly Service

But if there be the thought of continuity, along with it there is the thought of contrast. As if at last, when the mists have rolled away, His servants shall serve Him. Here our finest service is imperfect; at the best we are unprofitable servants; self mingles with everything we do; unworthy motives touch and tarnish everything. But there where self is swallowed up in love and everything that defileth is excluded, in reality and in spirit and in truth, His servants shall serve Him. Think of some of the things that mar our service here. There is, for instance, the frailty of the body. How tender was that word of Jesus in Gethsemane. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Are there not many who read this little article who would give worlds to be in a greater service, but are debarred by frailty of body? There are the limitations of our ignorance, for here we know so little of each other. We long to help and do our very best, perhaps only to find that we have hurt. And then there is the shortness of our time, and the interruptions of sickness and of night, and the undeviating pressure of the hours. All this the Bible knows. It knows our frame and remembers we are dust. It knows our longings for a truer service than any we have been able to achieve. And then, when heart and flesh are failing and we lament the little we have done, it opens the lattice of heaven for an instant and says, "His servants shall serve him." There shall be no more night. There the limits of time shall all have vanished. There we shall never misinterpret anybody, for we shall know even as we are known. With motives undefiled, with knowledge perfected, with the tireless zest of the eternal morning, at last His servants shall serve Him.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2005, 04:00:17 AM »

December 27

The Beatific Vision

And they shall see his face — Rev_22:4

It should be noted that this beatitude of glory immediately follows on another. It immediately follows on the promise that His servants shall serve Him. We might draw the two into a unity by the suggestion that the glorified continually serve, and serving, continually see. There is a deep sense in which we see through serving. Service is one of heaven's eye-salves. A mother sees more in her child than anybody else does, in the loving patient service of her motherhood. It is when a man serves nature with an entire devotion, such as the naturalist or geologist or astronomer, that he begins to see in her things more wonderful than men had dreamed. The best way to see Christ here is to serve Him. If any man will do, then shall he know. To take one's cross up and to help is the open secret of fellowship with Jesus. And the apostle hints that in the life of glory our service, which shall be perfected at last, is going to issue in unclouded vision. The glorified shall serve and they shall see. They shall see just because they serve. Their vision shall be purified because in heaven their service shall be perfect. Is it not often the frailty of our bodies or the presence of other motives in our service that dims for us here the vision of the Lord?

Where Service and Seeing Shall Be One

Or, again, if we find in seeing all that is implied in contemplation, is it not a beautiful thought that in the life of heaven service and seeing shall be one? Amid the shadows of this lower world, activity stands apart from contemplation. The world is like that blessed home in Bethany where were active Martha and contemplative Mary. It is hard, in multifarious duties, to keep that child-like purity of heart without which no man shall see God. There are those who have so many meetings that they almost forget to meet with Him. How few, immersed in an untiring labor, keep the secret of an unruffled calm. And then John tells us that in the brighter world His servants shall serve Him, and yet in the very thickest of the service they shall see His face. Action will not be divorced from contemplation. The one will never make the other harder. Toiling Martha will never be grudging Mary, whose eyes are homes of silent prayer. The glorified, in utter self-abandonment, will give themselves to the services of God, yet never for one instant will they lose the beatific vision of His face.

Perfect Satisfaction in Heaven

And another implication is that in heaven there is perfect satisfaction. What a thrilling satisfaction to the heart just to see the face of somebody we love! We cherish their photograph when they are absent, and in quiet moments we gaze upon the photograph. They write us letters, and how we long for them. At other times they communicate by phone. But when the door opens and we see the loved one's face, what an exquisite and thrilling satisfaction—and so, says Scripture, shall it be in heaven. Here we have His photograph. Here we have His love-letters. Here, often, do we catch His messages in the silence and secrecy of conscience. But there we shall see Him as He is, face to face, without a cloud between, and we shall be satisfied when we awake.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2005, 04:02:00 AM »

December 28

The Reign of the Saints

And they shall reign for ever and ever — Rev_22:5

I venture to say that with this expression there creeps in a touch of unreality. It is difficult to associate thrones with the immortal life of our beloved dead. We can readily picture them as serving, for they loved to serve when they were here. Nor, remembering how they searched for it, is it hard to believe that they see His face. But to conceive of them as reigning and having crowns and sitting upon thrones introduces a note of unreality. For many of them that would not be heaven. It would be the last thing they would desire. For they were modest folk, given to self-effacement, haunting the shadowy avenues of life. And if individuality persists, they will carry over into another world those lowly graces that made us love them here. We can always think of an Augustine as reigning. But the saints we knew and loved were seldom Augustines. They were gentle souls, shrinking from publicity, perfectly happy in the lowest place. It is hard to see how natures such as that could ever be quite at home in heaven, if in heaven their calling were to reign. But the Scripture cannot be broken. It is revelation, not conjecture. If there is anything in it that offends the heart, we may be certain the error lies with us. So I believe that the difficulty here and the jarring note that grates upon the sensitive lie in our wrong ideas of reigning.

That there is something wrong in these popular ideas is demonstrated by one forgotten fact. It is that the saints do not begin to reign when they pass into the other world. If kingship were confined to heaven, the nature of it would lie beyond our understanding. It would be one of those things that eye had never seen, which God hath prepared for them who love Him. But kingship is not confined to heaven, according to the concept of the Scriptures. It is a present possession of the saints. We do not read that Christ will make us kings. We read that He hath made us kings (Rev_1:5). Loosed from our sins in His own blood, we begin to reign in the moment of redemption. And the reign in glory, which troubles meek souls, is not something different from that, but that enlarged and expanded to its fullness. This harmonizes with the general mind of Scripture in the glimpses it affords of immortality. It pictures it as a completion rather than as a contradiction. It takes such human things as love and service and tells us that in the land beyond the river such beautiful graces are going to be perfected. In what sense, then, do the saints reign here? How is the humblest child of God a king? There is no throne here, nor any visible crown, nor any of the insignia of regality. If we can grasp the kingship of believers amid all the infirmities of time, we have the key to understand the mystery of their reign forever and forever.

Our Reign Will Not Be in the Earthly Sense

And it is just here that a word of Christ's casts a flash of light upon our difficulty. "The kings of the Gentiles," He says, "exercise lordship, but it shall not be so with you." Are not all our common thoughts of kingship taken from the royalty of such monarchs? Does not their state and the insignia of it fill our minds when we meditate on reigning? And Jesus tells us that this whole concept, gathered from the facts of earthly lordship, is alien now and alien forever from the lordship and dominion of His own. He that would be greatest must be least. The monarch is the servant. Kingship is not irresponsible authority: it is love that gives itself in glad abandonment. It is love that goes to the uttermost in service just as He went to the uttermost in service and so reigns forever from the cross. It is thus a Christian mother reigns amid the restless rebellions of her children. It is thus that many a lowly toiler reigns over the hearts and lives of everyone around him. It is thus the Salvation Army lassie queens it over the rough and reckless slum though she carry no sceptre in her hand and her only crown be the familiar bonnet. The kingship of believers here has nothing whatever to do with pagan lordship. At the command of the Lord Jesus we must banish such concepts from our mind. The only kingship of the saints on earth is that of the glad abandonment of love in an unceasing and undefeated service.

Now it seems to me that all our trouble vanishes when we carry that thought into the other world. If this be reigning, then in the life of heaven our dear ones will be perfectly at home. We would not have them other than we knew them when they were with us here amid the shadows. The thought of heaven would be too dearly purchased if it robbed us of their lowly, quiet gentleness. But if the sway they won over our hearts on earth, perfected, be their eternal reigning, then they can still reign and be the same. Reigning will not alter them. It will not render them irrecognizable. It will not touch that lowly loving service which made them so inexpressibly dear. It will only expand it into fullest kingliness, setting a crown of gold upon its head. They shall reign forever and forever.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2005, 05:05:37 PM »

December 29

The Root and the Star

I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star — Rev_22:16

Nothing is more notable in Jesus than the union of apparent contradictories. Qualities of the most diverse characters are brought into a perfect harmony in Him. When we set out to copy any brother, we are wrested from our true development. For other lives, even at their finest, are fragmentary and incomplete. But nobody who aims at following Christ can ever be false to his true self, for the character of Christ is universal. He combines the most opposing temperaments and reconciles diversities of being. Everything that all are meant to be, our blessed Savior actually was. That is the truth which lies in the assertion, so often fiercely combated, that our Lord was not a man but man. Speaking evangelically, it is only the redeemed who are in Christ. Not till we are born again are we in Him as the branch is in the vine. Yet in the matter of ideal character, in all its infinite diversity, there is a mystical sense in which our Savior embraces the whole human race. Nobody becomes anybody else when he aims at imitating Jesus. He grows nearer to his highest self when he becomes more like his Lord. For all the partial ideals of life which give to it an infinite variety blend into a perfect unity in the perfect character of Jesus.

The Union of the Diverse

Now, something of that reconcilement is seen in the imagery of our text. Between a root and a star there is a world of difference, and yet Jesus tells us He is both. He takes objects from two different worlds, and in both of them He finds Himself. He selects things that seem to have no unity, and He compares Himself with both of them. He brings together in a single sentence objects that are utterly unlike, and yet He sees in each of them something that is an image of His being. Take these figures separately and they are rich in spiritual significance. Take them together and they are big with hope for all the diversities of character. Men who are as different from each other as a root is different from a star may find all that they seek for in the Savior.

One notes, for instance, how this twofold figure combines the local and the universal. A root is embedded in a single spot; a star rains its influence on the world. If a root is to grow it needs a certain soil, for there and there alone it finds its nutriment. To that environment must come the searcher if he wants to get his hand upon the root. But in the crowded city and the lonely glen and far away on the solitudes of ocean a man may lift his eyes towards the heavens and be comforted by the shining of a star. The root is grounded in one place; the star sheds its light on every place. The root is fixed in a definite locality; the star is the joy of all localities. And then one thinks of Jesus, born in Bethlehem and growing up in Nazareth and yet today the light of the world. Go to Africa, and there you find Him. Travel to India, and He is them. Multitudes who have never been to Bethlehem have experienced the power of His name. Rooted deep in the rich soil of Palestine, the image of a root is not enough. On sinful men a million miles from Palestine He has shone as the bright and morning star.

The Union of the Hidden and the Evident

Another aspect of this twofold figure is the union of the hidden and the evident. A root is something concealed from observation; a star is conspicuous in its shining. There are roots which lie very near the surface, and there are others which run very deep. But one mark of every root is this, that it shuns the light and moves into the darkness. And just there, between root and star, what a world of difference there is, for a star is something that is seen. Nobody in the brightest day can see a root. It lives and moves concealed from human eyes. But in the darkest night the stars are shining in the wonder of the heavens. And does not one feel at once that it takes both, infinitely diverse though they be, to picture for us the mystery of Jesus? The kingdom cometh not with observation, yet Jesus could not be hid. The mighty world knew not when He came, and yet He is the light of every man. He lives in the secret of the heart and in our hidden being has His dwelling, and yet in the outward and habitual life He reveals the shining of His presence.

The Unity of the Earthly and the Heavenly

And then lastly in this twofold figure we have united the earthly and the heavenly. For a root is one of the children of the earth, and a star one of the glories of the sky. You find the root where common feet are treading, where lovers walk and little children play. You find the star beyond all human reaching in the infinite heights of heaven that are above us. And then we think of Him, whom we discover on our Emmaus roads, while He shines on us from the altitude of glory. One cannot explain these things nor understand them. They are mysteries beyond our fathoming. How can one be here, where the green grass is, and yet radiant in a world beyond our reach? And then we remember how these contradictions were reconciled in the consciousness of Him, who called Himself a root, and then—a star.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________

These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

You can obtain e-Sword at:
http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Author: Rick Meyer
(The goal of Rick Meyer is to freely distribute Bibles to every country on earth in their own language, and that goal gets closer by the day. Thanks to countless Christian individuals and organizations with big hearts, many excellent Bible Study tools are also being distributed with e-Sword around the world, free of charge.)
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« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2005, 05:07:07 PM »

December 30

The Gentleness of God—Part I

"Thy gentleness hath made me great." Psa_18:35

It will be generally agreed that David was one of the great men of the race. In his trust and courage and leadership and genius he stands among the heroes of humanity. Now David had had a strange and varied life. He had been hunted like a partridge on the hills. He had suffered disloyalty at home and sorrowed in the death of Absalom. But now, as he looked back upon it all, what stood out in transcendent clearness was the unfailing gentleness of God—not the infliction of any heavenly punishment, though sometimes punishment had been severe; not the divine apportioning of sorrow, though he had drunk of very bitter sorrow. What shone out like a star in heaven, irradiating the darkness of his night, was the amazing gentleness of God. David could say with a full heart, "Thy gentleness hath made me great."

With a like sincerity can we not say it also? When we survey our course and recollect our mercies and recall the divine handling of our childishness, the confession of David is our own.

The Wonder of God's Gentleness

We feel the wonder of the gentleness of God when we remember it is conjoined with power. When infinite power lies at the back of it, gentleness is always very moving. There is a gentleness which springs from weakness. Cowardice lies hidden at its roots. It comes from the disinclination to offend and from the desire to be in good standing with everybody. But the marvel of the gentleness of God is that it is not the signature of an interior weakness, but rests upon the bosom of Omnipotence. In a woman we all look for gentleness; it is one of the lustrous diadems of womanhood. In a professional military man we scarcely expect it; it is not the denizen of tented fields. And the Lord is "a mighty man of war," subduing, irresistible, almighty, and yet He comes to Israel as the dew. The elder spoke to John of the lion of the tribe of Judah. But when John looked to see the lion, 1o! in the midst of the throne there was a lamb. Power was tenderness—the lion was the lamb—-Omnipotence would not break the bruised reed. It is the wonder of the gentleness of God.

Again, the gentleness of God is strangely moving when we remember it is conjoined with purity. There is a kind of gentleness, common among men, which springs from an easy, tolerant, good nature. To be gentle with sin is quite an easy matter if sin is a light thing in our eyes. It is easy to pardon a child who tells a lie, if lying is in our regard, but venial. And when we are tempted to think of God like that, as if heaven were rich in tolerant good nature, then is the time to consider the cross. Whatever else we learn at Calvary, we learn there God's estimate of sin. In that dark hour of agony the judgment of heaven upon sin is promulgated. And when that steeps into our being, so that we measure things by the measurements of Calvary, we are awed by the gentleness of God.

Then to all this must be added the fact of our human provocation. For, like the children of Israel in the wilderness, we are continually provoking God. Every mother knows how hard it is to be always gentle with a provoking child—how likely she is to lose her temper with it and how she longs to shake it or to slap it. But no child is ever so provoking to the tender heart of a good mother as you and I must always be to God. When we sin, when we fail to trust Him, when we grow bitter, when we become despondent, how ceaselessly provoking that must be to the infinitely loving heart in heaven. Yet David could say, as you and I can say, looking back over the winding trail of years, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." Nothing is more provoking to a parent than when a child refuses to take medicine, screaming and fighting against it desperately, though the cup be entirely for its good. The question is, How do you take your medicine? Do you grow faithless, hard, rebellious, broken-hearted? How provoking must that be to our Father. Yes, think on God's power and on His purity, and add to that our human provocation, if you want to feel the glory of His gentleness.

God's Gentleness Implies Our Illness

It always seems to me that tenderness and gentleness implies that we are sick. In our Father's sight we are all ailing children. We have all noticed how when one is sick everyone around grows strangely gentle. There is an exquisite gentleness, as many of us know, in the touch of a true nurse. Even rough, rude men grow very gentle, as is seen so often in war, when they are handling a wounded comrade. When he was well they tormented him; they played their jokes on him and coined his nickname; but when wounded, stricken, bleeding, shattered, they showed themselves as gentle as a woman. And I often think that the gentleness of God, could we track it to its mysterious deeps, is akin to that of soldier and of nurse. We are a sin-sick race. We all have leprosy. We are full of "wounds and bruises and putrifying sores." They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. Love in magnificence may suit the angels. But in the world's great battlefield and hospital, Love binds on the cross and walks in gentleness. "Thy gentleness hath made me great."

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By George H. Morrison
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These beautiful messages by George H. Morrison are distributed freely and Internationally in the excellent freeware Bible Study package called e-Sword. These messages are representative of many sweet Christians who want to put excellent Bible Study material in the hands of many, free of charge.

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« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2005, 05:08:42 PM »

December 31

The Gentleness of God—Part II - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


"Thy gentleness hath made me great." Psa_18:35

What exactly may be meant by greatness is a question that we need not linger to discuss. It is enough that the writer of this verse was conscious that he had been lifted to that eminence. That he had been in extreme distress is clear from the earlier verses of this chapter. His heart had fainted—his efforts had been in vain—his hopes had flickered and sunk into their ashes. And then mysteriously, but very certainly, he had been carried upward to light and power and liberty, and now he is looking back over it all. That it was God who had so raised him up was, of course, as clear to him as noonday. He had sent up his cry to heaven in the dark, and to that cry His greatness was the answer. But what impressed him as he surveyed it all was not the infinite power of the Almighty; it was rather the amazing and unceasing gentleness wherewith that infinite power had been displayed. "Thy gentleness hath made me great," he cried. That was the outstanding and arresting feature. Tracing the way by which he had been led, he saw conspicuous a gentle ministry of God.

The One and Only Gentle God

Let me say in passing that that wonderful concept is really peculiar to the Bible. I know no deity in any sacred book that exhibits such an attribute as that. Of course, when one believes in many gods, it is always possible that one of them is gentle. When the whole world is thought to be tenanted with spirits, some of them doubtless will be gentle spirits. But that is a very different thing indeed from saying that the One Lord of heaven and earth has that in His heart which we can dimly picture under the human attribute of gentleness. No prophets save the prophets of Israel ever conceived the gentleness of God. To no other poets save these Jewish poets was the thought of heavenly gentleness revealed. And so when we delight in this great theme, we are dwelling on something eminently biblical, something that makes us, with all our Christian liberty, a debtor unto this hour to the Jewish prophets for bringing this to our attention.

Now if we wish to grasp the wonder of God's gentleness, there are one or two things we ought to do. We ought, for instance, always to lay it against the background of the divine omnipotence. You know quite well that the greater the power, the more arresting the gentleness becomes. As might advances and energy increases, so always the more notable is gentleness. It is far more impressive in the general of armies than in some retired and ineffectual dreamer. The mightier the power a man commands, the more compelling is his trait of gentleness. If he is ruler of a million subjects, a touch of tenderness is thrilling. And it is when we think of the infinite might of God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, that we realize the wonder of our text. It is He who calleth out the stars by number and maketh the pillars of the heaven to shake. And when He worketh, no man can stay His hand, nor say to Him, What doest Thou? And it is this Ruler, infinite in power, before whom the princes of the earth are vanity, who is exquisitely and forever gentle.

The Wonder of God's Gentleness in View of Sin

Again, to feel the wonder of God's gentleness, we must set it against the background of God's righteousness. It is when we hear the seraphs crying "Holy" that we thrill to the thought of the gentleness of God. There is a kind of gentleness—we are all familiar with it—that springs from an easy and uncaring tolerance. It is the happy good nature of those characters to whom both right and wrong are nebulous. Never inspired by any love of goodness and never touched by any hate of evil, it is not difficult to walk the world with a certain smiling tolerance of everybody.

Now there have been nations whose gods were of that kind. Their gentleness was the index of their weakness. Living immoral lives in their Olympus, why should they worry about man's immorality? But I need hardly take time to point out to you that the one radical thing about the Jewish God—-one unchanging feature of His being—was that He was infinitely and forever holy. He was of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. "The soul that sinneth," said the prophet, "it shall die." And He visits the sins of the fathers on the children, even unto the third and fourth generation. All this was graven on the Jewish heart and inwrought into Jewish history; yet the psalmist could sing in his great hour, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." I beg of you, therefore, never to imagine that the gentleness of God is only an easy tolerance. Whatever it is, it certainly is not that, as life sooner or later shows to every man. Whatever it is, it leans against the background of a righteousness that burns as doth a fire, and I say that helps us to feel the wonder of it.

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