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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
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nChrist
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2005, 01:18:57 AM »

From The American Tract Society
Labeled Free Distribution

Father's Love Letter - Page 2

Finding Our Way Home. We were born cut-off from God because of our sin. (Isaiah 59:2) But God the Father made a way for us to come home through His Son. Jesus bore upon Himself the weight of our sin, nailing it to the cross so that we could be born into His family. (Romans 5:10)

Jesus is The Way to the Father. His resurrection from the dead signaled the victory for us! In John 14:6, Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

Would You Like to Receive This Gift? All you need to do is to tell God that you trust in His Son. The words below might help you express your thoughts to God. (John 3:16, Romans 6:23)

Father, I'm coming home. Please make me Your child. I turn from my sin and accept Your forgiveness made possible through Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. I place my faith and trust in Jesus alone to save me. Amen.

Adapted from the book, Father's Love Letter, by Barry Adams. Published by Christian Publications, Inc., Camp Hill, PA. Call toll-free 800-233-4443 or visit our website: www.christianpublications.com.

Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2005
www.FathersLoveLetter.com

Copyright 2005 - American Tract Society

___________________________________

My Note:  I give thanks that this beautiful tract is distributed freely by the American Tract Society. This tract also makes it plain that Barry Adams, another sweet Christian, made the contribution that makes this tract possible.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2005, 12:43:18 AM by blackeyedpeas » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2005, 06:02:22 AM »

August 2

The Drawing of the Father - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him— Joh_6:44

These Words Spoken in Pity

We get some light on these deep words by remembering the occasion of their utterance. They were spoken rather in pity than in sternness. Our Lord had just been speaking of Himself as the bread which cometh down from heaven. It would have been a bold word to say in any company, but to that company, it seemed like madness. They had never dreamed that One could come from heaven by the ordinary way of human birth. They thought Messiah would descend in glory. Do we not know His father and His mother? Do we not remember Him when He was just a child? It was that which irritated them and made them grumble as these stupendous claims fell on their ears. And it was then that Christ, as if pitying their deadness and half-excusing their disbelief in Him, said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." Now in Joh_6:37 of this chapter, there is a statement which appears very like to this one: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." The two are always associated in our thoughts. The one inevitably suggests the other. Yet there is a world of difference in their tone which is well that we should bear in mind. In the one case Christ is gladly confident. He is not disheartened although He is deserted. Let men forsake Him and turn away in anger, ail that the Father giveth Him shall come to Him. But the other is not the utterance of assurance. It is a cry of pity for hearts that were like stone: "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him."

You Come to Christ When You Believe on Him

In passing, let me express the earnest hope that we all know what Christ meant by coming to Him. It is one of those vivid and pictorial words that were so congenial to the Master's lips: "Come unto me, all ye that labor"; "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life"; "No man can come unto me except the Father draw him." Now, had our Lord never looked beyond His earthly ministry, we might have been tempted to take coming literally. We might have thought that Christ, when He said, "Come," spoke of a literal coming to His side. But if there be one thing certain, it is that Christ took a longer view than that. He thought of a coming that would still be possible when He was no longer on the streets of Galilee. Can we now come to Him as Mary came when He was dining in the house of Simon? Can we now come to Him as Jairus came when the keel of His boat was grating on the beach? With His faith in a Gospel that should still be preached when He had gone home to share His Father's glory, Christ thought of something different from that. What then did He actually mean? He has told us that Himself. "I am the bread of life," He said, "he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Clearly, then, in the mind of Jesus, coming and believing were identical; the one was the vivid image of the other. You come to Christ, not by any pilgrimage. You come to Christ when you believe in Him. You come when, both for time and for eternity, all your trust is centered in Him. It is in that sense, and only in that sense, that the words of our text have any meaning— "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him."

This Drawing Does Not Involve Fatalism          

It is then of very great importance that we should understand what this drawing is, and my object in choosing this great text is just to try to make it plain to you. Is it something mysterious and dark, or is it something that fails within our understanding? Is it a special work of the Almighty, or does it blend into our common discipline? Is it something that we may recognize, something which inevitably betrays itself, or may we be subjects of the Father's drawing and all the time be unconscious of it? There are many who have taken this text and made it the excuse for an unworthy and unchristian fatalism. They have made no effort to believe and said they waited the drawing of the Father. I want you to learn how sinful that is, and how opposed to the spirit of the Lord, and how dishonoring to the great thought of Fatherhood which is the thought on which the text is based.

=====================See Page 2
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2005, 06:04:34 AM »

The Drawing of the Father - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


It Involves Man's Will; The Father Draws, Not Drags

The first ray of light upon the text is found in the word which Christ employs. He does not talk of the dragging of the Father. He talks deliberately of the Father's drawing. No man is hurried to the feet of Christ as the heifer was hurried to the Jewish altar. No man is pushed there by an almighty arm and in defiance of a protesting will. The Father does not drag. The Father draws. He bids the soul to come in gentle ways. He will have a man come willingly to Christ, or else He will not have him come at all. We may illustrate this meaning of the word from the only other occasion when Christ uses it: "I, if I be lifted up," He said, "will draw all men unto me." And, tell me, what is the drawing of the cross? Is it anything which tramples on our freedom? It is just the appeal to all that is within us of that spectacle of redeeming love. We are not forced to Christ by what we see. We are only appealed to by that wondrous spectacle. It puts to shame all that is bad in us. It woos and wins all that is best in us. And as it is with the drawing of the cross, so is it with the drawing of the Father. It is but the action of appealing love. I do not say it is not irresistible; but I do say it does not seem so. It is as sweet, as natural, as gentle, as the drawing of the sunshine on the earth. There is no pressure of an arresting hand; no force exerted to overpower the will; a man is not conscious that he is being dragged by a power that is mightier than his own. It is that thought which makes it such a peril for a man to await the drawing of the Father. It is not something that will flash in splendor and overpower a man into belief. It is something blended with the daily providence, and wrought into the fabric of the life, and intermingled with the lights and shadows that make the variables of our common day. Just as the sunshine falling on earth draws it into the pageant of the summer, just as the moon falling on the ocean draws it into the fullness of its tides, so not less silently, not less insensibly, does the grace of the Father fall upon the heart and draw it, when it thinks not of it, into readiness for Jesus Christ. That this is the right tone to give the word we may confirm in an interesting way. Christ found this word He used in the Old Testament, and it is illuminative to notice where He found it. There are three books in the Old Testament which are peculiarly the books of tenderness, three books above all others which contain what I might call the wooing note. The one is that mystical book we call The Song; the second is the Book of Jeremiah; the third is Hosea, who in his ruined home had learned the power and the pain of love. It is in these three books, and these alone, that the thought of drawing is found in the Old Testament. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." That is the accent of the Song of Solomon; that of Jeremiah and Hosea; and it is that accent you must still preserve when the prophet's word is used by Jesus Christ. He is not thinking, anymore than they, of a power that should be mighty to compel. He is not thinking of any sudden energy that should surprise a man into belief. He is thinking, with His prophetic forerunners, of all that wooing ministry of love which none can recognize except the loved one, and to which even he is often blind.

The Father Draws and Man Comes                            

But now we can go a little farther, for we have the commentary here of Christ Himself. In the verses which succeed out text, He throws His thought into another form. "No man can come unto me," He says, "except the Father which hath sent me draw him." And then immediately He adds, "Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto me." And so He tells us that the Father's drawing is just an expression for the Father's teaching, "for," says the prophet, "they shall all be taught of God." Now mark you, there are two kinds of teaching: there is an outward and an inward teaching. And it cannot be of the first that Jesus thinks or else these Jews would have believed in Him. If ever anybody had been taught of God, was it not just these men to whom He spoke? And yet they hated Him and crucified Him. A man may have the Scriptures in his hand; he may enjoy the truest spiritual teaching; he may read the name of God across the stars, and yet never may be drawn to Jesus Christ. It is only when that teaching becomes inward and moves the will and kindles the affections that it becomes the drawing of the Father. Christ does not think of a teaching of the head. He rather thinks of a teaching of the heart. He thinks of every providence that chastens us; of every providence that breaks and humbles us. It is by that teaching that a man is drawn and comes to feel his need of a Redeemer and realizes that his only hope is in the fellowship of Jesus Christ. We are not only taught by every craving. Christ means that by every craving we are drawn, by every sorrow and by every joy, by every touch of pain and hour of sadness, by all the love that meets us when we journey, by all the tears when hours of parting come; by all that, we are not only taught; by all that, we are drawn to Him. Clearly, then, our Savior did not mean that we were to sit inactive and just wait. He meant us to find, even this very hour, that the Father is drawing us to Him. He meant that if we only looked within and read our story in the light of God, we should find there today such elements as would prepare us for the feet of Christ. There was that in these Jews that, had they heeded it, would have proved to them the drawing of the Father. There is that in you today, which is undoubtedly the Father's drawing. Only let God interpret it to you and show you what it implies and what it needs, and it will draw you to the feet of Christ.

==========================See Page 3
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2005, 06:09:32 AM »

The Drawing of the Father - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Drawing and Responding in Marriage

We may further illustrate what Jesus meant by thinking of our earthly friendships. There is a deep sense in which all human love would be impossible without the Father's drawing. Among all the mysteries with which we are engirded, there is none deeper than the mystery of love. It is the heart reaching to its own, and finding in its own its resting place. Viewed on its earthly side it is the drawing of sympathies that answer one another. Viewed on its heavenly side it is far more than that; it is just the drawing of the Father. Does not one of our oldest proverbs tell us that true marriages are made in heaven? It is not often that our proverbial wisdom lights upon a truth so deep as that. For it just means that when two hearts are knit into a union that only death can sever, it is the drawing of the Father that hath done it. The heart of the mother is drawn towards her child. The heart of the friend is drawn towards his friend. God is busy within us in a thousand ways when He is leading us to recognize our own. And so, when He is leading us to Christ, God is busy with us in a thousand ways, and it is in that preparatory ministry that there lies the drawing of the Father. Our loneliness—that is the Father's drawing; it is His whisper to us that we need a friend. Our weakness—that is the Father's drawing; it is His guidance to sufficient strength. And all our haunting sense of inability and our shame when we have sinned again, all that is but the drawing of the Father to the loving mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe as stoutly as the sternest Calvinist, that no man can come to Christ except the Father draw him. But I also believe with all my heart that He is drawing every man this very moment. It is not new drawing that men want. It is new vision to behold its meaning. Lord, open men's eyes, that they may see.

In Retrospect, Friendships, Especially with Christ, Were Not the Result of Drifting But of Being Drawn

In closing, I desire to say that this is a truth which is abundantly verified in our experience. As life goes on and its meanings become plainer, our vision also clarifies a little. We stand, as it were, upon a little eminence and see more clearly our path across the heather. And it is then that often looking backwards we can set to our seal that this is true, we were drawn of the Father when we never knew it. Just as our human friendships, when we make them, seem to be often but the child of accident, yet afterwards as we survey it all we recognize that there was more than chance there. So the friendship of the Lord Jesus Christ may also appear to us a casual thing, yet every year that passes makes us surer that our steps were ordered when we knew it not. One of the insights of passing years is to eliminate the thought of accident. They touch as with the light of a great plan what in its hour seemed a happy chance. We come to see in sunshine and in shadow, in sicknesses, in shiftings of our home, the movement of a will that was not ours and that had seen the end from the beginning. So is it, brethren, with that great transaction which seals the covenant between the soul and Christ. It may come suddenly and unexpectedly, and we feel no will in it except our own. Yet as the years go by we trace a change. We waken to a wise and loving leadership. We thought in the passing hour that we were drifting. We now discover that we were being drawn. That strong impression deepens with the years. We become less; the Father becomes more. We realize that we are Christ's today simply and solely because the Father drew us. And so we take this as a word of hope based on the changeless love of Fatherhood, and we believe that now and always, the Father is drawing every human soul.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2005, 03:28:55 AM »

August 18

The Cross and the World - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel— Mat_15:24

I, if I be lifted up…will draw all men unto me— Joh_12:32

Christ Came to and for Israel

We have but to read the record of the Gospels, to find confirmation of the former of these texts. The whole activity of Christ on earth shows Him as sent to the lost sheep of Israel. Within the boundaries of Israel He was born, and within the boundaries of Israel He died. With the one exception of the journey here recorded, He never in His maturity left the Jewish land. His twelve disciples were of the Jewish faith; His friends were inhabitants of Jewish homes; His enemies were not the Romans, but His own, to whom He came and they received Him not. For His teaching He sought no other audience than the men and women of the Jewish villages. For His retirement He sought no other solitude an that of the Galilean hills. And all His miracles, with rare exceptions, which were recorded because they were exceptional, were wrought for the comforting of Jewish hearts, and for the drying of tears in Jewish eyes. The whole story of the Gospel, then, is a witness to the truth of our first text. In the fulfilling of His earthly ministry Christ confined Himself to Jewish limits. And He did so because of His assurance, that He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Christ, However, Anticipated a Wider Ministry

But as we study the words of our Redeemer, one thing gradually grows very clear. It is that He anticipated a ministry that should be wider than these Jewish limits. I am not thinking just now of any words He spoke after He was risen from the dead. I am thinking only of His recorded utterances in those crowded years before the cross. And what I say is that no reasonable man can study the discourse of the historic Jesus without discovering that He foresaw a ministry which was to be as wide as the whole world. There is, for instance, the second of our texts today—"I will draw all men unto me." There is that beautiful word of an earlier chapter, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." There is that utterance at Simon's table, when the woman broke the alabaster box, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, this that she hath done shall be told of her." I ask you to observe that these great sayings have stood the test of the most searching criticism. They are so germane to the mind of Christ that they have come triumphant through the fires. And they tell us this, that through the earthly ministry, confined as it was within the house of Israel, Christ had the outlook of an approaching lordship over the nations of mankind.

The Cross and the Worldwide Empire

But these utterances tell us more than that, and to this I specially invite attention. They tell us that in the mind of Jesus His death and His worldwide empire were related. So far as we can learn about the mind of Christ, we can with reverence say this about it. It was when the cross was clearest in His thought that the worldwide empire was most clear to Him. If you will think of the texts which I have cited, and consider the occasion of their utterance, you will understand quite easily what I mean. Take for instance that most beautiful word, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." What are the words which immediately precede it? "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." At the very moment when the thought of shepherding kindled the vision of the shepherd's death, at that very moment there flashed upon the Lord the vision of the sheep beyond the fold. Take again the scene at Simon's feast where Jesus spoke of a Gospel for the world. "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there this deed that she hath done shall be remembered." And what was it that the woman had done under the interpreting eyes of Jesus Christ? She had anointed His body for its burial. In other words that womanly act of hers had spoken to Jesus of His coming death. Over the table where the guests reclined, it had cast the awful shadow of the cross. And it was then, anointed for His burial by an act which no one else could understand, that Christ in vision lifted up His eyes and saw the Gospel preached to the whole world. Clearly, then, Christ looked upon His death as the great secret of a worldwide empire. When the one grew vivid in His thought, there rose on Him the vision of the other. And that to me is a matter to meditate on, as one of the most momentous of all truths, by every man and every woman who is interested in the world empire of the Lord. Now the question is, can we follow out that thought, and see even dimly where the connection lies? It is that which I should like to attempt to do.

=======================See Page 2
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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2005, 03:31:15 AM »

The Cross and the World - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


The Motive of Missionary Enterprise

In the first place, it is the death of Christ which supplies the motive of missionary enterprise.

We must ever remember that when we speak of the death of Christ, we speak of a death different from our own. Our death is the cessation of activity; Christ's was the crown and climax of His life. "I have power to lay it down," He said, and that is a power no other man has shared. We die when our appointed hour comes, and when the hand of God hath touched us, and we sleep. But Christ never looked upon His death like that, as something inevitable and irresistible. He looked on it as the last free glorious service of a life that had always been a life of love. Here in one gleam, intense and vivid, was gathered up the light of all His years. Here in one action which we name His dying was gathered up the love in which He wrought. And it is just because of the power of that action, concentrating all the scattered rays, that Christ could say, "I, if I be lifted up,…will draw all men unto me." How true this is as a fact of history we see in the story of the Christian Church. There is the closest connection in that story between the death of Christ and missionary zeal. There have been periods in the Church's history when the death of Christ was practically hidden. The message of the cross was rarely preached; the meaning of the cross was rarely grasped. And the Gospel was looked on as a refined philosophy, eminently fitted for the good of men, inculcating a most excellent morality, and in perfect harmony with human reason. We have had periods like that in Scotland, and we have had periods like that in England. God grant that they may never come again with their deadening of true religion. And always when you have such a period, when love is nothing and moral law is everything, you have a period when not a hand is lifted for the salvation of the heathen world. For it is not morality that seeks the world; it is religion centering in love. It is a view of a divine love so wonderful that it stooped to the service of death upon a cross. So always, in evangelical revival, when that has been apprehended in the wonder of it, the passion to tell it out has come again, and men have carried the message to mankind.

And may I say that it is along these lines that the road must lie to a deepening of interest. To realise what it means that Christ died, is to have a Gospel that we must impart. There are many excellent people who, in their secret heart, confess to a very faint interest in missions. They give, and it may be they give generously, and yet in their hearts they know that they are not interested. They know almost nothing about mission-fields, and are never seen at missionary meetings, and take the opportunity to visit a sister church when a missionary is advertised to preach in theirs. With such people I have no lack of sympathy, for I think I understand their position thoroughly. I have the gravest doubt if any good is done by trying excitedly to lash up their interest. But I am perfectly confident that these good people would waken to a new and lively interest, if only they realised a little more the wonder of the love of God in Christ. What think you, my brother and my sister, is the most wonderful thing that ever happened? It is not the kindling of the myriad stars, nor the fashioning of the human eye that it might see them. It is that once the God who is eternal stooped down from heaven and came into humanity, and bore our burdens, and carried our sorrows, and died in redeeming love upon the tree. Once realise what that means, and everything else in the world is insignificant. Once realise what that means, and you must pass it on to other people. And that is the source of missionary zeal—not blind obedience, nor any thoughts of terror, but the passing on of news so wonderful that we cannot—dare not—keep it to ourselves.

The Answer for a Universal Need

In the next place, the death of Christ interprets and answers a universal longing. It meets with perfect satisfaction the deepest need of all the world.

One of the great gains of this age of ours is that it has drawn the world together so. There is now an intermingling of the nations that but a few decades ago was quite impossible. Thanks to the means of transport we possess, and to the need of expansion on the part of nations; thanks to the deathless spirit of adventure, to the gains of commerce and to the march of armies, there is a blending now of the whole earth such as was undreamed of once. Now one result of all that intermingling has been a new sense of the oneness of humanity. No longer do we delight in travellers' tales, such as captivated the Middle Ages. Men push their way into untravelled forests, and they come to us from Arabia and Tibet, and under all that is strange they bring us tidings of the touch of nature that makes the whole world kin. We realise today as men have never done, how God has made all nations of one blood. Deeper than everything that separates, there are common sorrows and elemental hopes. There is one common heart by which we live; one common life in which we share; one common enemy awaiting all, when the pitcher is broken at the fountain.

=====================See Page 3
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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2005, 03:34:14 AM »

The Cross and the World - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


But especially has this oneness of humanity been made evident in the religious life. That has been one incalculable gain of the modern study of comparative religion. It has investigated a thousand rites, and found at the back of them a common longing. It has touched the foundations of a thousand altars, and found they were built upon a common need. It has gathered from Africa, from India, from China, the never-failing story of religion, and always at the very heart of things it has discovered one unchanging element. It is not enough to say that all men have religion. That is now an accepted commonplace. Something far more wonderful and thrilling has been slowly emerging into prominence. It is that under a thousand different rites, from those of Patagonia to those of China, there lies the unquenchable desire of man to get into right relationship with God. Deeper than all sense of gratitude, though gratitude is very often there—deeper than unreasoning terror, though heathen religion is always big with terror deeper than that, this fact stands out today, based on exhaustive and scientific study, that the deepest longing in the soul of man is the longing to get right with God. It is that in the last analysis which explains sacrifice, and where is the heathen tribe that does not sacrifice? It is that which explains the sway of heathen witchcraft, of which the evils can never be exaggerated. The religious life is the deepest life of man, and in that life, over the whole wide world, the one determining and vital question is, how can mortal man get right with God?

My friend, I almost ask your pardon for having taken you so far afield. But you see, I think, the point which I am driving at, and from which there is no possible escape. That very question, so vital to humanity, is the question which the atonement answers. It answers the cry that is rising to the heavens from every heathen rite and heathen altar. It tells men in language that a child can grasp, yet with a depth that angels cannot fathom, how sinful man by an appointed sacrifice can be put right with the eternal God. I believe with all my soul in educational missions, but at the heart of missions is more than education. I believe with all my soul in medical missions, but at the heart of missions there is more than healing. Christ never said, "My teaching shall draw all men," nor yet, "My healing power shall draw all men"; He said, "I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men, and this spake He of the death that He should die." That means that in the atoning death there is the answer to man's deepest need. It means that the deepest cry of all humanity is answered in the message of the cross. And I venture to say that all we have learned today in the modern study of comparative religion, corroborates, and authenticates, and seals that certainty upon the lips of Jesus.

The Necessary Step before the Comforter Could Come

Then, lastly, we have the thought that the death of Christ has liberated His influence. It has opened the window of the ark, if I might put it so, that the dove might fly abroad over the waters. "It is expedient for you that I go away," He said, "for if I go not away the Comforter cannot come." Now the Lord is that Spirit, says the apostle—it is that same Jesus glorified and liberated. So by the lifting up upon the cross Christ was set free from local limitation, to pass into a spiritual ministry that should be co-extensive with the world. No longer can any village of far Galilee claim the present monopoly of Christ. No longer can loving hearts in Bethany say, "He is our guest and ours only for tonight." He is at present now by the lake shores of Africa as He is within the house of God where you worship—because He lived and died. We often talk of the story of the cross as if in that story lay the world's redemption. But I beg of you to remember that while that is true, it is far from being all the truth. Christ spoke not a word of the story of the cross. He said, I—persisting through the cross—I, the living Christ, will draw the world—I whom death is powerless to hold. In other words, when our missionaries go forth, they go with something more than a sweet story. They go with Him of whom the tale is told, so wonderful, so unspeakable, so moving. They go with Him who, having tasted death, is now alive and lives for evermore, and who is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2005, 04:16:20 AM »

August 19

Seeing Jesus Is Seeing God
by George H. Morrison


He that seeth me seeth him that sent me— Joh_12:45

Utterances of Transcendent Importance

That these words are of profound importance we may gather from two considerations. The one is that our Savior cried them (Joh_12:44). As a rule our Savior did not cry nor lift up His voice in the streets. But now and then, in some exalted hour, the Gospels tell us that He cried (Joh_7:37). And in every instance when He cried, we have words that take us to the very heart of things. Also, remember that in these verses we have our Lord's last public sermon. From the beginning of chapter thirteen onwards our Lord is in seclusion with His own. And we may be certain that every word He uttered in His final and farewell discourse would be of infinite significance.

Does God Meet Man's Need?

We recognize that infinite significance when we face the problem of our faith today. Our problem is not to believe there is a God, but to be sure that He answers to our highest thought of Him. We may justly and seriously question if any man be really an atheist. Some think they are, in moments of recoil; others assert it on street corners. But it seems to me that the thought of God is intermingled with our deepest being, as the sunshine is intertangled with the daffodils which are making the world beautiful. Our difficulty is not to believe there is a God. The atheist has been replaced by the agnostic. Our real difficulty centers in His character—is He equal to our highest thought of Him? For when life is difficult, and ways are shadowed, the soul can never have quietness and confidence unless the Rock be "higher than I."

Is There Any Cruelty in God?

This difficulty is profoundly felt in the modern study of the world of nature. "I find no proof in nature," wrote Huxley once to Kingsley, "of what you call the Fatherhood of God." Nature is quick with whisperings of God as every lover of her knows. That was one reason why our Savior loved her and haunted the places where the lilies were. But no one can seriously study nature without finding there elements of cruelty, and at once the thoughtful mind begins to ask, "Is there, then, cruelty in God?" If there be, He may be still "the Rock," but He is not "the Rock that is higher than I." We never can trust Him in an entire surrender if there be a shadow of cruelty in His nature. And that is the difficulty of many students now, not to credit the existence of a God, but to believe that He is higher than our highest.

Is There Any Injustice in God?

Or, again, we turn to human life, eager to find God in human life. That is a perfectly reasonable inquiry, for "in Him we live and move and have our being." Now, tell me, when we turn to human life are there not things in it that look like gross injustices — injustices that do not spring from character nor from any harvesting of sin? And if man be not responsible for these, at once the thinking mind begins to ask, "Is it God, then, who is responsible for these?" Granted that He is, God may still exist. Atheism is an illogical conclusion. But granted that He is, how can we ever love Him with our whole soul and strength and mind? If in Him in whom we have our being there be the faintest suspicion of injustice, we never can trust Him in utter self-surrender. Take everything you find in life and nature and transfer it to the heart upon the throne, and how extraordinarily difficult it is to believe that the Rock is higher than ourselves. And yet unless it be infinitely higher, there is no help for us when the golden bowl is broken nor when the daughters of music are brought low.

God Is What Jesus Is

And then we hear the word of the Lord Jesus, "He that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me." Or, as He said to Philip only a little later, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." We are not commanded to take all we find in nature or in life and carry it up to the heart upon the throne. "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." But we are commanded, over and over again, to take everything we find in Jesus, and by that to read the character of God. Just as a little moorland pool will reflect all the glory of the heavens, so Christ, in the limits of His humiliation, is the mirror of the heart of God. That is what the writer to the Hebrews means when, at the beginning of his magnificent epistle, he calls Christ the "reflection of His glory" (Heb_1:3). That is a very splendid act of faith in this seemingly unjust and cruel world. But that is the act of faith which marks the Christian. We by Him do believe in God (1Pe_1:21). If he who hath seen Christ hath seen the Father, then we can trust the Father to the uttermost, and leave all other difficulties to be cleared when the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

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By George H. Morrison
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« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2005, 04:29:11 AM »

August 20

The Washing of the Disciples' Feet - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples, feet and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded— Joh_13:5

Jesus' Love for His Disciples

From this point onward in the Gospel of St. John, we have the private communion of Jesus with His disciples. When one is leaving for a distant country, and has transacted all necessary business with the outside world, he is fain to spend the few remaining hours in the sweet intimacy of the family circle. So Jesus, when the shadows of His departure stole around Him, dwelt in loving communion with His own. It is to this that John is pointing when he says, "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end" (Joh_13:1). He does not mean until the end of life. He means unto the end and limit of all love. Christ's love, like His life, is endless and unchangeable. There is no yesterday and no tomorrow in its depths. But in the latter hours of that now shadowed communion, there was such outwelling of the eternal passion, that John felt that its tides were at the full. Christ always loved them; now He loved them utterly. That was the thought borne in on the disciple. Yet mark that this uttermost showing of Jesus' love did not lie in unchecked and passionate avowals, but in an action of the lowliest service, and in teaching that would make the loved ones strong. The noblest love must always keep its secrets. It becomes weak when it protests too much. The love of Jesus is the perfect pattern of what the love of every young man and woman ought to be. Note, too, that in this little prologue (Joh_13:1-3), there is the note of knowledge as well as of love. The proverb has it that love is blind; but the love of Jesus was very far from that. He knew that the hour was come that He should depart (Joh_13:1). He knew that the Father had given all things into His hands (Joh_13:3). He knew who should betray Him (Joh_13:11). It was under the illumination of that knowledge that Jesus washed the feet of John and Judas. Does not that augment the wonder of the deed? Does it not set the crown upon its lowliness? Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich.

A Lesson on Humility

While supper, then, was proceeding, on the night before the Passover [for so we ought to translate it, instead of "supper being ended" (Joh_13:2)], Jesus rose from the table to perform this deed. Now the customary time for washing the feet of guests—and where men wore sandals and the heat was sweltering it was a very grateful and a very gracious practice—the customary moment for cleansing the feet was not during the mealtime, but before it. Here, then, there had been some little delay. The service had been omitted on this occasion. And I feel certain it had been omitted because no disciple was lowly enough to offer it. Probably it was about this very hour that they were disputing who should be the greatest (Luk_22:24). They were men like ourselves (we may thank God for it), and they had almost everything yet to learn. And was Peter, who had been arguing for his precedence, going to stoop down and wash the feet of John? And was John (who had his own thoughts about the traitor) going to play the servant to Iscariot? It was intolerable. It was impossible. They were willing to do much, but never that. So with hot feet (and hotter hearts) they went to supper, and Jesus saw it all and loved them still. Then Jesus rose and laid aside His garments. The bitterest rebukes are deeds, not words. He poured the water into a basin. He took the towel and girded Himself for service. And I think that when John, in his revelation on Patmos, saw the Son of Man girt with a golden girdle (Rev_1:13), he would recall this girding at the supper. So Jesus (whose own feet were to be pierced so soon) washed His disciples' feet, and dried them. Did He say to Himself, as He washed the feet of Thomas, "These feet will be beautiful upon the distant mountains"? Or did He say, as He dried the feet of Judas, "These will soon lead the mob into the Garden"? I do not know. But I am sure that in the stern and stormy years to come, not one of the eleven would ever have his tired feet washed, but he would recall this memorable hour.

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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2005, 04:32:55 AM »

The Washing of the Disciples' Feet - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


One Major and Many Minor Cleansings

Meanwhile Jesus was approaching Peter, and the eleven were wondering what Peter would do. Perhaps Peter had been the noisiest in asserting that they would never catch him playing the foot-washer. And now, what a tumult there was in Peter's breast. What a tangle of good and evil in the man. All that was best in him (his reverence for his Lord), and all that was worst in him (his pride), made him draw up his foot as if the Lord's hand had stung it. But there was one thing that was all the world to Peter. It was the friendship of his glorious Master. And his Master (who is the unrivalled Master of the heart) touched, with His exquisite tenderness, that chord. "If I wash thee not, thou has no part with me." The very suggestion stabbed like a dagger. Peter thrust out his hands and bent down his head to Jesus: "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Then Jesus teaches the lesson of the bath (Joh_13:10). If a man has bathed, and then has soiled his feet, must he plunge his whole body into the bath again? Will he not be truly cleansed (after his bath) if the particular defilement be removed? So, once and for all, a man is justified; once and for all, he is regenerated. And it is the stain here and the defilement there (contracted on the hot and dusty highway) that the risen Savior cleanses every sunset.

Deferred Understanding / Conditional Partnership / Humble Service

Now let us note three lessons on the story. First, we may not understand Christ at the time (Joh_13:7). There is not a child but must do a hundred tasks that she cannot see the worth and meaning of. There is not a mother but might croon to her little baby, "What I do, thou knowest not now." Do not wonder, then, if Christ acts as our mothers do. All children live by faith and not by sight. Next notice Christ's condition of having part with Him. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." It is not, "If I teach or lead thee not"—far less is it, "If I love thee not." The one condition of partnership with Jesus is to be cleansed by His Spirit and His blood. Last, note Christ's call to loving and lowliest service. That is the center and sum of the whole story. "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet" (Joh_13:14). We sometimes talk of the language of the hands. And sometimes of the language of the eyes. But I think there is also a language of the feet, and I could translate the whole Gospel into it. For first comes Jesus (when we are bowed with sin) and He says, "Son of man, stand upon thy feet." And then comes Jesus (when we wish to serve Him), and He says to us, "Wash one another's feet." And then in the morning, when we are His forever, it is at His feet that we shall cast our crowns.

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By George H. Morrison
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« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2005, 04:51:47 AM »

August 21

The Loneliness of Sin - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night— Joh_13:30

He Made His Bed in Hell

What first strikes us here is the utter loneliness of Judas. No word-painting, however vivid, could give a deeper impression of that than these few words of John: "He ... went immediately out: and it was night." Within, there was light and gladness, and the richest fellowship this world had ever known. For Christ was there, and John was leaning upon Jesus' bosom, and the talk was on high and holy themes that evening. Outside was fierce hostility. Outside was dark. And no man drove out Judas. No push and curse hurried him to the door. It was the momentum of his own heart and life that impelled him to choose the darkness rather than the light.

Shall we follow Judas into the dark street? He turns and looks, and the light is gleaming from the window of the upper chamber. He hurries on, and the streets are not empty yet. A band of young men, like himself, goes singing by. The sounds of evening worship come stealing from the houses. And everything that tells of love, and breathes of fellowship, and speaks of home, falls like a fiery rain on Judas' heart. The loneliness of Judas was intolerable. He had made his bed in hell. A friend of mine was once preaching on that text in the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh. And when he left the hall and was stepping homewards, a young man rushed across the street and grasped him by the arm and cried, "Minister, minister, I have made my bed in hell," and disappeared. And the lonely misery of that cry will ring in my friend's ears till his dying day. There was a loneliness in it like that in Judas. He was estranged, apart. "He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night."

In a Sense Everybody Is Lonely

There is a sense in which every person is lonely. Each has his different road, his different trial, his different joy; and these differences are invisible barriers between us, so that even in fellowship we walk apart. We say we know that woman thoroughly, and we believe we do, till someday there comes a new temptation to her, or a new chance to be heroic, and all our reckoning are falsified, and there are depths our plummet never sounded. I cannot utter forth all that I am. Gesture, speech, even music are but rude interpreters. The dullest has his dream he never tells. The very shallowest has his holy ground. There is an isolation of the soul that brings the note of pathos into history, and makes me very reluctant to judge my friend, and leads me to the very feet of Christ.

In a Sense Christ Was Lonely

For there is a deep sense in which Christ was lonely too. And it is strange that on the night of the betrayal, perhaps the two loneliest figures in the world were the sinful disciple and his sinless Lord. But oh, the world of difference between the two! Christ lonely because He was the Son of God, bearing His cross alone and going out into the glory. And Judas lonely because he was the son of perdition, with every harmony destroyed by sin, and going out into the night. Now towards which figure are you making, friend? For towards one or the other your feet are carrying you. There is a loneliness upon the mountain top. There is a loneliness in death and in the grave. And the one is the isolation of the climbing heart, and the other the isolation of the lost. Towards which are you headed? Is it "To the hills will I lift up mine eyes" or "The wages of sin is death"?

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« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2005, 04:54:07 AM »

The Loneliness of Sin - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Sin Separates

This, then, is one continual effect of sin. In every shape and form, in every age and country, it intensifies the loneliness of life. We talk of social sins. All sin is ultimately anti-social. We hear of comradeship's based upon common vices. All vice in the long run grinds the very thought of comradeship to powder. Sin isolates, estranges, separates; that is its work. It is the task of God ever to lead us to a richer fellowship. It is the work of sin, hidden but sure, to make us lonelier and more lonely till the end. From all that is best, and worthiest, and purest, it is the delight of sin to separate. And I want to touch on the three great separations that sin brings, making life a lonely thing.

Sin Separates Man from His Ideal

First, then, sin separates man from his ideal. When I have an ideal, I can never be quite lonely. When I have the vision beckoning me on, when I have something to live for and to struggle for higher than coin or food, there is a fervor in my common day, and a quiet enthusiasm for tomorrow, that are splendid company for my secret heart. And even if my ideal be a dream, it is so. In the famous battle between the clans on the North Inch of Perth, rendered immortal in the story of Sir Walter Scott, you will remember how the old chieftain Torquil sent out his sons to fight for Hector. And as one son after another fell under the smiting blows of Hal of the Wynd, the old chief thundered out, "Another for Hector," and another of his sons stepped forward to the battle. And they were all slain, every one of them, for Hector—and Hector was a coward. Let the ideal be a dream, yet men will fight for it; and fighting, the heart forgets its loneliness.

And the work of sin has been to separate the world from its ideals—to blot out the vision and to say to men, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Sin lays the emphasis on what I see. Sin holds me back from what I would be, and binds me a prisoner to what I am. Until, at last, through years of weary failure, all that we hoped and longed to be is gone, and the beckoning hands have vanished, and the vision is fled, and we are alone with our own poor selves. Sin separates a man from his ideal. Judas had his ideal once, but the devil entered him, and the ideal died out; and from that hour Judas drew apart.

Sin Separates Man from Man

Not only does sin separate man from his ideal, it separates man from man. When Cain slew Abel, he became an outcast. When David fell, he had to fly. When Peter denied Christ, he went out and wept bitterly. Sin broke life's ties for them, sundered the bonds that bound them to their fellows. Read over every narrative of sin within the Bible, and underneath the outward form of it—it may be passion, envy, treachery, revenge—you will detect, from Genesis to Revelation, the sundering of ties between man and man.

And sin is always doing that. There is not a passion, not a lust or vice, but mars and spoils the brotherhood of life, and tends to the loneliness of individual souls. God meant us to be friends. God has established numberless relationships. And God is righteousness and God is love, and the Spirit of righteousness and love inspires them all. And sin has been unrighteous from the first, and shall be cold and loveless till the end. O sin, thou severing and separating curse! There is no tie so tender but my vice will snap it. There is no bond so strong but sin will shatter it. It separates the father from his child; it sunders hearts; it creates distances within the home, till the full harmonies of life are lost, and the deep fellowships of life impossible. And the world is lonelier because of sin.

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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2005, 04:58:11 AM »

The Loneliness of Sin - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


And Jesus Christ knew that. Christ saw and felt sin's separating power. And so the Gospel, that rings with the note of brotherhood, centers in Calvary upon the fact of sin. The social gospel is but a shallow gospel, false to the truth and alien from Christ, unless it roots itself in the divine forgiveness and the inspiring power of the Holy Ghost. The poet Whittier tells a story of the Rabbi Nathan, who long lived blamelessly but fell at last, and his temptation clung to him in spite of his prayers and fastings. And he had a friend, Rabbi Ben Isaac, and he felt that his sin had spoiled the friendship. But he would go to him and speak to him and tell him all. And when they met, the two embraced each other; till Rabbi Nathan, remembering his sin, tore himself from his friend's arms and confessed. It was the separating power of sin. But when Rabbi Ben Isaac heard his words, he confessed that he too had sinned, and he asked his friend to pray for him as Rabbi Nathan had asked himself. And there in the sunset, side by side, they knelt and each prayed with his whole heart for the other. "And when at last they rose up to embrace, each saw God's pardon in his brother's face."

Sin, separation—pardon, brotherhood; it is the order of the universe and God.

Sin Separates Man from God

And so sin separates a man from his ideal and a man from men. But the most awful separation of all, the one that reaches the very heart of loneliness, is this: sin separates a man from God.

I can never be lonely in God's fellowship. When I detect His glory in the world, and trace His handiwork in field and sunset; when I recognize His voice in conscience, when I feel the power of His love in Christ; "there is society where none intrudes," there is the sweetest company in solitude; and I may dwell alone, but I can never be a lonely man. "For me to live is Christ," said the apostle; and the friendship of God was so intense for him, that even in the prison at Philippi he had society.

But from the first it has been sin's great triumph to separate the soul from God; and the deepest loneliness of sin is this, that it blinds me to One whom not to see is death, and bars me from the fellowship of Him whose friendship is of infinite value to my heart. If in the sky and sea, if in the call of duty, if in the claims of men, if in the love of Christ, if in all these I see and hear no God. this is a lonely world. And sin has blinded me, and made lonely, as the prodigal was lonely when far from his father and father's home. Shall I arise and go to Him tonight? Shall I return by the way of Calvary to God? I have been separated from holiest and the best. I have been living far from goodness and from God. But -

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
—Charlotte Elliott

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By George H. Morrison
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« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2005, 05:13:58 AM »

August 22

Tribulation and the Untroubled Heart - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions— Joh_14:1-2

He Speaks Peace in the Midst of Tribulation

There are few more profitable studies than that of comparing spiritual things with spiritual. In the light of this, I should like to compare our text with that of Joh_16:33 —"In the world ye shall have tribulation." In certain selected seasons of our life it is easy to keep the heart untroubled. There are days in life, as in the world of nature, when everything is radiant and serene. But when our Lord says, "Let not your heart be troubled," He is not thinking of such days as that, as is evident from our texts. Tribulation is a spacious word. It comprehends a largeness of experience. It embraces everything from common worry up to fierce and bitter persecution. And it is in lives familiar with all that, and moving in an atmosphere like that, that our Lord looks for the untroubled heart. He is not legislating for recluses. He is not counseling such as live in shelter. He is speaking to men who are thoroughly familiar with the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." It is to them He says, in that quiet way of His, which in its quietness carries the ring of sovereignty, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Jesus Promises a Peaceful Heart, Not an Untroubled Life

From this we gather that in our Lord's intention great emphasis is to be laid on the word heart. And when we turn to the Greek we find that this is so, for the word heart is put in the last place. Our Lord does not call us to an untroubled life. His own life was very far from that. He never asks us to shirk responsibilities, nor to rid ourselves of duties or of cares. But He wants us, as we move through life, playing our part and shouldering our burdens, to have a kind of interior tranquillity. In the world we may have tribulation, and the world for each of us is just our own environment; we may have dark anxieties in business; we may have a heavy load of care at home. But through all that, however hard and worrying, we are to move with a quiet undisturbedness, if we are to live as He would have us do. On the circumference may be a score of frets: these frets are never to reach into the center. Whatever the noise of battle in the field, the soul is to be garrisoned with peace. It is of that interior and sweet serenity that the Lord is thinking when He says, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Three Things Necessary: A Quiet Faith in God

For this undisturbedness, He tells us, there are three things which are necessary. The first of them is a quiet faith in God. If He be the God of Abraham and of Isaac, then He is the God of individuals. He does not deal with us upon the scale of thousands; He deals with us upon the scale of one. And our Lord means that to recognize that dealing, and to trust Him, often in extreme opposition to the senses, is one great secret of interior peace. If trials be only the bludgeoning of fate, if things that meet us be only chance occurrences, it is incredibly hard for common men and women to be victoriously serene within. But the moment we say, "This thing is of God," however dark and inscrutable it be, then the birds start singing in the trees. If underneath are the everlasting arms, if not a sparrow can fall without our Father, if He who sees the end from the beginning is ordering everything in perfect wisdom, however hard life be, or unintelligible, there comes a radiant quietness at the center, and in that quietness we overcome the world. We are not here to be beaten. We are here, the weakest of us, to be more than conquerors. A deep faith in the sovereignty of God overthrows the tyranny of things. All of which our blessed Savior knew so well, from His immediate communion with the Father, that He could say, "Let not your heart be troubled."

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« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2005, 05:18:57 AM »

Tribulation and the Untroubled Heart - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Faith in Jesus Christ

The next secret of the untroubled heart is a strong faith in the Lord Jesus. To trust Him fully is to be at rest. One is ready to think that when we follow Christ there is going to be exemption from life's hardships. But discipleship gives no exemptions—in the world ye shall have tribulation. Discipleship may not remove the trouble, but it gives such a new setting to it all, that the interior disquiet departs, and there comes the peace that passes understanding. Through Him we get a grip of God that was simply impossible before. Walking with Him, we learn the love of God with a fullness hitherto unknown. Looking to Him, so radiant and restful, under the very shadow of the cross, we find His spirit entering into us. When we do that, life may not grow easier. The thorn in the flesh may not be taken away. Burdens may weigh heavy on us still, and uncongenial tasks be very irksome. What is given is not a tranquil world, nor is there any promise or a tranquil life—what is given is the tranquil heart. We lose the fearfulness of manhood and reach the happy confidence of childhood. We have a Friend beside us in the darkest mile. We have a Savior who can save unto the uttermost. All of which, in the deep places of our being, unseen by any human eye, ushers in a certain shining peacefulness which the world can never take away.

A Living Faith in the Beyond

The last secret of the untroubled heart is a living faith in the beyond. "In my Father's house are many mansions ... I go to prepare a place for you." There every question will be answered, and every chastisement reveal its loving-kindness. There we shall reach the crowning and completion of all we have tried to do and failed to do. There these partings, which were so very bitter that for a time they almost wrecked our faith in God, will be justified in the gladness of reunion. Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work for us an exceeding weight of glory. We shall arrive, and arriving understand. Heaven will make perfect our imperfect life. It was because our blessed Savior lived and died in this divine assurance that He said to His disciples, and says still, "Let not your heart be troubled."

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By George H. Morrison
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