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Jesus Christ loves you.
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nChrist
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« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2005, 05:30:31 AM »

August 23

The Great Affirmation
by George H. Morrison


In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you— Joh_14:2

Christ Knew about Death; Socrates Only Speculated

It is not by any amplified detail that these words so appeal to human hearts. It is rather by the quiet, assured confidence with which the Savior speaks of the beyond. In the whole of literature there is but one scene worthy to be compared with this. It is where Plato tells of the last hours of Socrates in prison before he drank the poison. I know few things more admirably fitted to reveal the preeminence of Christ than a comparison of these two incidents. Like Christ, Socrates is going to die. Like Christ, his thoughts run on immortality. He discusses it with the friends who come to visit him; he speculates, he argues, and he wonders. What a perfect and stupendous contrast between that and the attitude of Christ. Socrates speculates about a life unknown. Christ speaks of a life that He has known, a realm as real and familiar to Him as my study is to me. It is not what He says so much; rather it is the tone in which He says it that has reached the heart and comforted humanity and given it an anchor for the soul. Where others speculate, the Savior knows. Where others question, He is quietly sure. Where others see but dimly in the shadows, He sees with the certainty of God. And all this on the night of His betrayal, when all that He had lived for seemed in ruins, and nothing seemed to lie before Him but a grave.

Man's Instinct for Immortality

These great words of Jesus corroborate the longings of the heart. All that we crave and hope for in the deeps here is countersigned by the Lord Jesus. Deep and ineradicable is the instinct of man for immortality, witnessed in every age, in every country, in every religion. Even when men deny it with their lips, still do they confess it with their lives, for life has its arguments no less than intellect. By the powerlessness of the whole world to satisfy the poorest heart; by the cargoes we all have on board of things that are not wanted for the voyage; by the passion for truth, the craving for perfection, the glimmering of ideals we never reach, man stretches out his hands to immortality. Whoever loved without longing for forever? Deep affection postulates eternity. Love does not want a year or a millennium. Love cries for immortality. And now comes Christ and looks upon mankind and sees the secret hunger of their souls and says, "If it were not so, I would have told you."

There are beliefs that influence life but little, like the old belief that the sun went round the earth. We may cling to them, or we may give them up, with little difference to conduct. But there are other beliefs that touch and mold and color every action of the common day, and among these is the belief in immortality. In the light of it everything is altered. Altered is our outlook on the world. Altered is the discipline of life, and the import of the chastisements of heaven. Love is different, and hope is different; duty gains august and awful sanction if that instinct of immortality be true. Changed is the face of suffering, of infirmity, of weakness, and of pain. Changed is the loneliness of dying; changed the horrid darkness of the grave. And Christ says, "Children, do you think one instant that if that were an error I would let you keep it? If it were not so, I would have told you. Believe if you like that the sun goes round the earth. That does not matter. I shall not interfere. You may be Mine; you may be washed and sanctified though you believe that the sun goes round the earth. But that deep instinct for immortal life affects profoundly everything you do, and if it were a deception I would have told you."

"I Would Have Told You So"

He would have told us because He loves us and cannot bear to see His own deceived. He would have told us though it almost broke His heart to see the vanishing of hopes and dreams. He would have told us because He was the Truth and refused to let His people live and die under a hope that was the devil's falsehood. Christ corroborates our deepest longing for an immortal life that shall be personal. And He does it in His own quiet way, confidently, with perfect, full assurance. No wonder, then, that this is the favorite chapter with millions of the human race. No wonder that when Lockhart read it to Sir Walter, his big heart was rested and was comforted. No wonder that in Margaret Ogilvy's Bible the pages would fall open at this place, and when she could not read, she stooped and kissed it.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2005, 05:44:19 AM »

August 24

The Way, the Truth, the Life - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life— Joh_14:6

Love Prepares a Welcome

No one was more ready than Jesus to detect the anxieties of those He loved. We picture Him, as He taught the twelve, watching intently the expression on their faces to learn how far His words were understood. Jesus had noted, then, tokens of heart distress (Joh_14:1). The disciples felt His departure like a torture. And it was then that He consoled them with such simple and glorious speech that all Christendom is the debtor to their agony. They thought that His death was an unforeseen calamity. Christ taught them it was the path of His own planning. They thought that heaven was very far away. Christ taught them it was but another room in the great home of whose many mansions this beautiful world was one. He was not stepping out into the dark. He was passing from one room to another in the house. But the mightiest encouragement of all came when He told them, "I go to prepare a place for you." This, then, was the purpose of His going, that love might have all things ready when they arrived. When a child is born here, love has all things ready for it. It will be the same when we awaken in eternity. When a boy or girl comes home from the boarding-school, has not some heart at home been busy in preparation? There is someone at the station, and the bedroom is arranged, and the lights are lit, and the table is spread, and all day there has been happy excitement in the home because James or Mary is coming home tonight. So Jesus says, "I go to prepare a place for you. I go to have all things ready for your coming." And though there are depths in these words we cannot fathom and mysteries we cannot understand, they mean at least that love is getting ready to give the children a real welcome home.

For Wanderers in the Night: I Am the Way

Then Jesus utters the Via Veritas Vita: and first of all He says, "I am the way." It was the very word that the disciples wanted, for they all felt like wanderers that night. Do you know what it is like to lose the road? Did you ever, when out walking across the fields, find the track through the heather grow faint and disappear? There was a helplessness like that in the disciples when Jesus announced that He was soon to leave them. So far, they had all walked with Jesus. Now, at the cross, that pathway seemed to cease. We can hardly grasp the depth of comfort in it when they heard that Christ was to be the Way forevermore. It was in Him they were to fight and conquer. It was in Him they were to live and die. It was in Him they were to reach the glory and stand in the presence of the Father at the end. They felt there was a new and living way. Among the wonders of the old Roman people were the roads they made from end to end of Europe. And the Roman cities are in ruins now, and their palaces and their temples are destroyed, but men are still walking on the Roman roads. So Jesus, our Redeemer, is still the Way. A thousand things have gone, but that remains. It is through His death, and His rising from the dead, and through our daily fellowship with Him that we walk heavenward and reach home at last.

He Is the Truth That Sheds Light on Darkness

Then Jesus says, "I am the truth." He does not say, observe, I speak the truth. There was a deeper meaning in His mind than that. I hope that every child will speak the truth; yet every child, as his experience grows, will discover with shame how untrue he is at heart. Christ is the sum and center of all truth. Where Christ is not, there is a false note always. And one of the great joys of knowing Jesus is the sweet assurance that truth is ours at last. Before the discovery of the law of gravitation, there were a thousand facts that no man could explain. There was no key to them. There was no plan in them. They could never be gathered into a worthy system. But when the great truth of gravitation was discovered—so simple, so universal, so sublime—a flood of light fell on the darkness, and disorder became order everywhere. And it is just so when we discover Jesus. That truth sheds light upon a thousand facts. Things that were quite inexplicable once—sorrows and joys and hopes and fears and haunting—become intelligible through this great discovery. Did not some one say that if you would find the truth you must seek for it at the bottom of a deep well? The glory of the truth that is in Jesus is that it is found in no dark well, but on the way. Quid est veritas? asked jesting Pilate. And in one of the best anagrams the world has ever had, the answer is given, Est vir qui adest.

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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2005, 05:48:23 AM »

The Way, the Truth, the Life - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


He Is the Source of Life

Then lastly Jesus says, "I am the life." In Thackeray's great story, Vanity Fair, we read of Amelia Osborne and her baby George. And Thackeray, speaking of the baby, says, "How his mother nursed him and dressed him and lived upon him need not be told here. This child was her being." That is a little picture of the way in which one person can be the life of another. It helps us to understand what Jesus meant when He said to the disciples, "I am the life." There is no book in any literature so filled with the message of life as the New Testament. If there is one word that sums up the Gospel, it is life. And here we are taught that that life is in Jesus Christ. He is the source of it. It is treasured in Him. And there is no way to gain it and to keep it but by trusting and by loving Him.

I cannot solve mysterious things,
That fill the schoolmen's thoughts with strife;
But oh! what peace this knowledge brings—
Thou art the Life!
Hid in thy everlasting deeps,
The silent God His secret keeps.
The Way, the Truth, the Life, Thou art!
This, this I know; to this I cleave;
The sweet, new language of my heart—
"Lord, I believe."
I have no doubt to bring to Thee;
My doubt has fled, my faith is free!

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2005, 06:01:33 AM »

August 25

The Ladder of Promise - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


I will love him, and will manifest myself to him .... we will come unto him, and make our abode with him— Joh_14:21-23

The Ascending Scale of Promise

Out of all the riches of these verses, let us take what the Lord says about Himself. Let us select the words He uses of Himself. We may not disentangle in experience the acting of the Father and the Son, but often we may disengage in thought what we cannot disentangle in experience. So here we may reverently lay aside, in thought, what the Lord says about the Father and think only of what He says about Himself. When we do that, how beautiful it grows! We see a gradually ascending scale of promise. We see the Master adding thought to thought till He reaches at last a magnificence of climax. And all this in glorious response to the great waves of doubt and depression which must have rolled over the hearts of His disciples. Let us try, then, to view this ladder of promise from their standpoint.

His Departure Did Not Separate Them from His Love

I take it that the primary dread within their hearts was that, departing, He would cease to love them. He was going away far beyond their presence, and His love would be nothing but a memory. So long as He had companied with them, His love had made all the difference in the world. It had wrapped them round and sheltered them. It had been their refuge and their tower. Now He was about to leave them—to pass over into another realm—and that love would be nothing but a memory. They knew perfectly that for full rich life something more than memory is needed. Left with memories of love and nothing more, how could they be strong to face the future? And then the Lord said (for He knows our thoughts), "Children, I will love you, in the future just as in the past." His love was not to cease when He was slain. It was not to cease when He went home to heaven. It was to be as real, as watchful, and as comforting as in the dear dead days beyond recall. What a joyful message for these poor disciples aware that something awful was impending, dreading the bitter thought of separation!

His Love Would Manifest Itself to Them

Then would follow another wave of doubt: He will love us, but shall we ever know it? Separated from us and far away in glory, if He loves us shall we be conscious of it? Many a congregation loves its minister, but it never tells him of that love. Many a husband loves his wife, but the years go by and the husband never utters it. And I suppose the disciples, in that parting season when their Lord assured them He would love them still, fell to doubting if they would ever know it. When He was with them, they knew it every hour. He showed His love in innumerable ways. Now He was going home, and though He loved them still, would there be any apprehension of that love? And it was then that the Lord, the Master of the heart and of all the swift questionings of the heart, said, "Children, I will manifest Myself to you." That is, not only was He going to love them, but He was going to show them that He loved them. He was going to make His love as clear and manifest as in the days when He walked with them in Galilee. And one can picture the gladness of His own and the new light that would leap into their eyes when they heard that second promise of their Lord.

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« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2005, 06:04:35 AM »

The Ladder of Promise - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


His Promise to Come to Them Personally

But a new wave was on the point of breaking. Doubts and difficulties had not vanished yet. Would the showing of His love include His presence? If not, the past was richer than the future. Men can tell their love by letter. They can tell it and be a thousand miles away. Many a young fellow in the war did that, and the letters are cherished to this hour. At home and living in the house, they never told their mothers how they loved them, but they wrote it from faraway places. Now try to get inside the hearts of the disciples; they were hearts extraordinarily like our own. Would they not instantly begin to speculate how the Lord was going to show His love? And I daresay, being Jews, they thought of the mediators of the ancient law, and began dreaming of angelic messengers. Tidings would be flashed from far away. White-robed ministers would bring the news. The Lord, remote, in the land of the far distances, would have His means of showing that He loved them. And immediately every one of them would feel that this was something less than the dear past when they had His presence in the fields of Galilee. Then, in early morning, He had come to them. He had come to them across the sea. He had come in the hour of their utmost need as from the mountain of Transfiguration. And our blessed Lord, understanding perfectly these thoughts that were surging in their hearts, said thirdly, "Children, I will come to you." I am not going just to send a message, telling you that My love is still unaltered. I am not going to commission any angel. As in the old days, when My presence went with you and gave you rest, I am going to come to you Myself.

His Promise Was to Come and Stay

But when we love somebody very much it is not enough that he should come to us. We want him—do we not?—to stay with us. Now, then, think of these disciples. The Lord had promised that He would come to them. But if He came and swiftly went away again, how their house would be left unto them desolate! And yet what more could they expect, a little band of very lowly folk, now that their Master was the King of glory? If the government was on His shoulder, if He was seated at the right hand of power, if He was in control of the whole universe and Captain of the hosts of heaven, how much of His time could they expect, a little handful of humble Galileans? At the most, a brief glance, a passing word—and before, they had had Him all the time. At the most, a coming for a few blessed moments, followed by the sadness of farewell. And then the Lord, reading all their thoughts and, it may be, smiling at their childishness, said, Children, I will abide with you. I will love you. Yes, Lord, we believe it, but what if we should never know it? I will show my love to you. Yes, Lord, we believe it, but Thou mightest be very far away and show it. I will come to you. Yes, Lord, we believe it, but think of the darkness when Thou goest away again. Foolish children, I will abide with you. There is nothing more to be said. It is all there. Love's questionings and anxieties are silenced. The ladder of promise is complete.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2005, 06:23:05 AM »

August 27

Peace, the Possession of Adequate Resources - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


My peace I give unto you— Joh_14:27

What Is Peace?

Talking with a young fellow some time ago, I was struck by a remark he made. It followed on a sermon which we both had listened to on the subject of interior peace. "It's not peace," he said, "we young fellows want. What we want is thrills." That was a very candid utterance, and one likes young fellows to be candid. It set me wondering whether inward peace was really so grey as it is sometimes painted. And just then, in the book of an honored friend, I lit on a sentence which arrested me. He said peace is the possession of adequate resources. That seemed to me a very fruitful thought with a strong appeal in it for vigorous minds, and it is well worth considering a little.

Peace in Business Is the Possession of Adequate Resources

Think, for instance, how true that is of business. When long seasons of depression come and when business is stagnant, if not moribund, what is it that makes all the difference between intense anxiety and peace? It seems to me, who am not a business man but one who watches things with an observant eye, that it is just the possession of adequate resources. If there be little capital and almost no reserves, how terrible these dead times must be! I sometimes wonder how a business man can sleep not knowing if he can tide it over. But how different, when these dead seasons come, for any business that has great reserves and is strong in the possession of vast capital. Scanty capital means sleepless hours. Inadequate resources spell anxiety. What fears and miseries must haunt the breast when there is almost nothing to fall back upon! I venture to think that in the realm of business when times are bad and everything is stagnant, peace is the possession of adequate resources. The multimillionaire does not need to be unduly concerned about paying his current expenses or investing a sum of money in some new venture.

Creative Genius Means Possessing Adequate Mental Resources

The same thing is true of other spheres. Think, for example, of creative genius. Contrast the toiling literary hack with the man of genius like Sir Walter Scott. The one, very imperfectly endowed, is always in misery lest he be running dry. I have known preachers who were just like that, haunted by the fear of running dry. But the man of genius is serene and confident as Sir Walter was serene and confident, because he is conscious of perfectly adequate resources. "Here is God's plenty," as Dryden said of Chaucer. I have known three or four great men in my life, and there was one feature common to them all. They never worried and they rarely hurried. There was a leisurely serenity about them. And that peace, whatever their task might be, whether laying the Atlantic cable or building the Forth Bridge, found its basis in the possession of adequate resources, not in the bank but in the brain.

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« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2005, 06:27:57 AM »

Peace, the Possession of Adequate Resources - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Christ's Peace Was the Result of Adequate Resources

Then one turns to our Lord and at once discovers how true that was of Him. It was one of the secrets of His rich serenity. Look at Him in the storm—how calm He is! Look again—He is lying fast asleep. He is peaceful amid the raging elements, slumbering like an infant in its cradle. And all the others, Peter, James, and John, agitated, excited, and alarmed, are fearful amid the terrors of the sea. Their fear betrayed their helplessness. It showed them unequal to their problem. They were not equipped for battling with storms. They had no reserves to call up for a tempest. But He was peaceful and sleeping like a child though the wind was howling and the boat was filling, and His peace was the possession of adequate resources. Picture the anxious look upon the host's face when the wine gave out at the marriage feast at Cana. Even Mary was distressed about it, worrying over the honor of the family. Christ alone was carefree. Christ alone was radiant and serene because He was conscious of perfectly adequate resources. "My peace"—it was a very wonderful peace. No sounding of our thought can ever fathom it. There was perfect fellowship with God in it. There was full and unconditional surrender. But one element, one vital element, witnessed in a score of incidents, was the possession of adequate resources.

By Possessing Christ, You Can Possess Adequate Resources

Then the Master comes to you and says, "My peace I give unto you." And, perhaps, like my young friend, you say, "I do not want that peace. I want to have a vivid, thrilling time of it." Many people are saying that today. Well, now, think of it like this—lay aside the unwelcome sense of peace, as if peace meant taking the color out of life and robbing experience of its vividness. Instead of that, say to yourself quietly, and say it again and again till you have mastered it: peace is the possession of adequate resources. You want to live a full, abundant life; but are you really equipped for such a life? Is your will strong enough—your feeling fine enough—your conscience quiet enough—your heart deep enough? Then Christ comes, and says, "Friend, enter into My fellowship today, and I shall give you the resources that you need." Christ can take the sting out of the conscience. Christ can strengthen the weak, unstable will. Christ can exalt and purify the feeling. Christ can deepen the undeepened heart. He can possess you with His divine resources for a full, abundant, and victorious life, and in that possession there is peace. Peace is harmony. Peace is intense life. Peace is being equal to the problem. Peace is possessing adequate resources for an overcoming and abundant life. That is the kind of peace which Jesus gives, not a dull and joyless resignation, but all the resources a guilty sinner needs to enjoy eternal life "in Him" now.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2005, 06:48:17 AM »

August 30

The Joy of the Lord - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full— Joh_15:11

The Joy of Christ Was an Intense Reality

Our Lord, especially as the days advanced, frequently spoke about His joy, and the notable thing is that when He spoke so, none of His disciples were surprised. Nobody ever asked Him what He meant. They did not look at each other in perplexity. To them it seemed entirely natural that the Master should make reference to His gladness. From this we gather that the joy of Christ was something they were perfectly familiar with, both in His radiant and lofty hours and in His periods of lowly duty. There is much that is quite dark to us unless His joy was an intense reality. There is the note of exultancy in the New Testament. There is the attitude of His Pharisaic enemies who, trained in the prophets, understood His sorrow but never could understand His joy. It was not because He was a man of sorrows that the religious leaders looked askance at Him. It was because He was a man of joy, utterly different from John the Baptist. They were looking for a lone Messiah whose face would be marred more than any man's, and our Lord proclaimed Himself a bridegroom. His joy, then, was an intense reality even on the witness of His enemies. It is because He stands at the back of the New Testament that the New Testament is an exultant book. And it is a profoundly interesting question, and a question which concerns us all, to try to discover at least some of the sources of the joy of Christ.

His Joy Resulted from the Fullness of His Life

One of the sources of His joy, for instance, was the fullness of life which He possessed. It is remarkable how often that word tidiness is brought in as descriptive of the Lord. We all know how when physical life is full, its concomitant and sacrament is joy. We see that on every hand in nature; we see it in the healthy little child. And when one thinks of the inner life of Christ and of the fullness that characterized that inner life, one begins to understand His joy. Morally, He was in perfect poise with heaven. Spiritually, He had the fullness of the Spirit. No slightest disobedience to the Highest ever cast its shadow on His soul. And that fullness of His inward life, like the fullness of physical life in nature, had its concomitant and sacrament in joy. I am come, He said, that others might have life, and that they might have it abundantly. He came to give what He Himself possessed. And that abundant life, rooted in His sinlessness and continually enriched by new obedience, was one of the splendid secrets of His joy.

His Joy Resulted from the Father's Abiding Love

Another never-failing source was His abiding in His Father's love. We see that very clearly in the verse which immediately precedes our text (Joh_15:10). From it we gather that the joy of Jesus was rooted in the presence of the Father, realized every moment that He lived. There is a well-known story of a Scots divine, how once, walking on the grassy hills, he met a shepherd with a joyless look and said to him quietly, "Do you know the Father?" And some years afterwards, so the tale is told, when the minister had forgotten all about it, the shepherd, with gladness in his face, came up to him and said, "I know the Father now, sir." That shepherd had passed out of his isolation into the great fellowship of God. He had moved out of all his worrying care into the calming certainty of love. And in a vision of that love unparalleled, the Good Shepherd lived and toiled and died, and that was one great secret of His joy. To Him it was a shelter from the storm and a shadow from the heat of life. It comforted His heart when men were mocking Him. It sustained Him in the hour of agony. His joy was not only rooted in His fullness, it was rooted in the love of Heaven which to Him, every moment that He lived, was closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet.

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« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2005, 06:50:56 AM »

The Joy of the Lord - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


His Joy Resulted from His Entire Surrender to Vocation

And then we must not forget one other source: it was His entire surrender to vocation. Our Lord gave Himself, in utter self-surrender, to the task appointed Him of God. The first impression which the Gospels make on us is that of the freedom of the life of Jesus. He moves hither and thither in sweet liberty. Like the song of the thrush, His words are unpremeditated. And then we read more closely and discover that through all the varied freedom of that life, like the beat of the screw in some great ocean liner, is the throb of a sovereign dominating purpose. "I come to do thy will, O God. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me. I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished." And that devotion, that utter self-surrender, that dedication to a high vocation, was for Him, as it is for every man, one of the deep sources of His joy. Neglect your work and you are never glad. Do it half-heartedly, and gloom is everywhere. But give yourself to it, with heart and soul and strength, and all the birds are singing in the trees. And it was just because our Lord so gave Himself to a vocation which led Him to the cross that "God, even his God, anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows."

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2005, 07:09:34 AM »

September 2

It Is Finished - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


He said, It is finished…and gave up the ghost— Joh_19:30

The Power of a Single Word

These three words, "It is finished," are in the original a single word. That has been called the greatest single word which ever broke upon the ear of man. Often, when one is preaching, it is not the whole sermon that God uses. It is a single word or thought coming home with power to the hearer. The one word Yes uttered by a woman may alter the whole future of a man and lead his life to power or ineffectiveness. A single word has changed the course of history and affected the destiny of empires. Who can exhaust the heartbreak and the tears that are hidden in the word Farewell ? But the greatest of all single words that ever broke upon the ear of man is this word of Jesus upon Calvary. Finished was His work on earth for God, finished His work for man. Finished were those sufferings which made His face marred more than any man's. We have security and peace and joy, not less than absolution and release, in the finished work of our Redeemer.

The First Utterance of Jesus Was about His Life's Work

As we read this word our thoughts go winging back to the first recorded utterance of Jesus. He was a lad of twelve when He said, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Some people saunter through the world; their great ambition is an easy life. But our Lord, even in His boyhood, had an intense conviction of vocation. The claims of home and the appeal of family were submerged in the intense conviction that He must be about His Father's business. What that conviction meant to Him in boyhood it is impossible for us to estimate. It would grow with every prayer He prayed; it would deepen as He pored over the Old Testament. But even then it mastered and controlled Him, and to the end this was His burning thought: "I must work the works of him that sent me." It is always a quietly glad thing to complete the task even of a day. But when the task is lifelong and has absorbed the years, far greater is the gladness of completion. That is why we never really penetrate the gladness of this cry of Jesus till we remember that His labor was His life. It was not a service of selected hours. It was a service that included everything. His sufferings and His prayers were part of it as surely as His teaching on the hill. There was in it an obedience which was passive as well as an obedience which was active—and now that work for God and man was ended.

The Joy of Performing One's Work Faithfully

Again, we reverently remember the fidelity with which that work was done, and done in the teeth of every temptation, for He was tempted in all points like as we are. When we do the humblest bit of service faithfully there is always a certain joy when it is done. Perhaps there is no joy to equal that, unless it be the happiness of home. It does not matter what the task may be, whether in the kitchen or the college—to do it faithfully sets the joy-bells ringing. The man who is unfaithful in his duty is continually defrauding other people. But he is doing something even worse than that—he is continually defrauding his own soul. For him the joy-bells never ring, nor does he hear the music of high heaven, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Now think of the fidelity of Christ, tempted in all points like as we are; tempted by weariness and by His friends and by all the appearances of ghastly failure, yet through the bitterest and darkest hours faithful to His vocation till He cries on Calvary, "It is finished."

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« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2005, 07:11:46 AM »

It Is Finished - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Jesus and His Work Were One

Again the moment of this cry reveals to us that Jesus and His work were one. His work was not finished even in Gethsemane: it was finished in the article of death. There are multitudes whose work is over before the hour when they are called to die. The teacher must retire at the age limit; the preacher must hand his scepter to another. And there are many whose work is just beginning, like some fair flower opening in the garden, when "comes the blind fury with the abhorred shears, and slits the thin-spun life." With Jesus it was different. He cried, "It is finished," and gave up the ghost. His task was not ended before the final breath, nor did death smite Him and leave it incomplete. Bound together into a radiant unity were the vocation of our blessed Lord and the life and death appointed Him of God. You cannot separate Jesus from His words, and you cannot separate Jesus from His work. I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. Come unto Me and I will give you rest. That is why all fellowship with Christ gives us a richer conception of His work and why the humblest sharing in His work gives us a deeper knowledge of His person.

The Finishing of Christ's Work on Earth Was the Beginning of Another in Heaven

But the finishing of work, in our experience, is not invariably a happy thing. If we have loved our work and given our hearts to it, the hour of ending may be an hour of sadness. There are well-known instances of writers who laid down their pen with an infinite regret. They have told us that as they wrote the closing sentences their eyes were wet with tears. And sometimes when one resigns his post and honorable men convene to do him honor, no praiseful fellowship can quite conceal his bitterness that the career is over. One thing alone can dissipate that bitterness. One thing alone can banish it entirely. It is the assurance that what we call an end is in another aspect a beginning. And for Jesus there was that full assurance, for did He not say to the penitent thief on Calvary, "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise"? He was dead and is alive forevermore. The end was the beginning. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. In pardoned sin, in present fellowship, in the conquering power of His completed work, He sees of the travail of His soul.

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By George H. Morrison
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« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2005, 07:22:18 AM »

September 3

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


In the place where he was crucified there was a garden— Joh_19:41

The Proximity of the Cross and the Garden

To a deep-seeing eye like that of John, this proximity was more than a coincidence. John felt that there was an inward harmony between the garden and the cross. The cross was the crowning service of Christ's life. It was love going to the uttermost. It was the final and voluntary sacrifice for the salvation and service of the world. And to John it was no mere coincidence that in the place of that supreme surrender there should be the fragrance and the blossoming of flowers. One might have thought to find a desert there. One might have counted on a bleak and dreary scene. What struck the mystical eye of the apostle was that everything was the opposite of that. Christ died. He gave Himself for men. He poured out His life in full surrender—and in the place where all this happened was a garden.

There Is Always a Garden When We Share in the Self-Surrender of Our Lord

So do we touch the profound truth that John, in the spirit of poetry, is hinting at. He hints that there always is a garden when we share in the self-surrender of our Lord. Let any man deny himself, let him willingly lay down his life for others, let him surrender what is dearest to him in the self-abandonment of love, and the strange thing is that everything grows beautiful, and the flowers begin to blossom at his feet in a way they never did before. It seems to be a hard, bleak life, the life of a continuous self-denial. It seems to rob one of self-realization and of many a sweet thing which is the gift of God; but John saw it was entirely otherwise. Live for self, and you move into a wilderness. Sooner or later the scenery grows desolate. The music goes; the fragrance disappears; the world grows cold and meaningless and ugly. Live for others; give yourself for others; lose your life for the sake of those who need you; and in the place where you are crucified there is a garden.

Joy Seekers Are Unhappy

One might think of daily work a moment, for work, to many, is uncongenial drudgery. It is hard to be tied to counter or to desk when the voices of the bigger world are calling. To feel that one is missing things always brings an ache into the soul. And there are multitudes, chained to their day's drudgery, who have the restless feeling that they are missing things. What a wonderful difference it would make to them, burdened with their daily crucifixion, if they would write this text upon their hearts. I was talking to a doctor once who practices on the Riviera. Most of his patients are the kind of people who spend their lives following the sun. And when I asked him if such folk were happy, he answered in words I never can forget: "Happy! They're the most miserable people on God's earth." We are not here to follow the sun. We are here to follow Christ. We are not here to do just what we like. We are here to do just what we ought. Did not Wordsworth say of the man who does his duty, "Flowers laugh before him in their beds"? When we do our bit we never miss the best. The road to the garden always lies that way. Sometimes it seems a daily crucifixion, especially in the leafy months of summer. But sooner or later do we all discover what the eye of John was quick to note, that in the place where He was crucified there was a garden.

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« Reply #42 on: August 20, 2005, 07:24:49 AM »

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


Cross-Bearers Find Themselves in a Garden

Or, once again, we think of cross-bearing, for cross-bearing is a universal thing. Every life has the shadow it must enter, and every life the cross that it must bear. Now sometimes it is very hard to bear the cross. There are seasons when we are tempted to rebel. If our cross were gone, how happy might we be. Life would be like "a melody in tune." Yet who can look on life and watch its issues and follow the track of patient cross-bearing without discovering that the flinty track is God's appointed road into the garden? I knew a girl who was left motherless. She had to be mother to the younger children. And sometimes she was tempted to grow bitter, for it meant stern self-surrender every day. But the children have grown up and call her blessed now, and they enfold her with loving admiration, and in the place where she was crucified there is a garden.

Self-Denial Is the Way to Joy

Lastly, one's thoughts turn to the Christian life, for the Christian life is never easy. I always distrust things that are too easy, especially a too easy Christianity. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way. If thy right hand offend thee, cut if off. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh. Is that an easy life? One might well think that such a life as that would be a desolate and dreary business, and there are many who shun it on that score. What! Surrender up my life with its freedoms and its sweet and secret pleasures? Turn my days into an arid desert where no passion-flowers can ever grow? But the strange thing is that with the great surrender there comes gladness, and birds begin to sing, and every common flower takes new beauty. Self-surrender is the road to service. Self-denial is the way to song. To be made captive by the Lord Jesus Christ is to have the freedom of the universe. Then one goes back to this quiet word of John and begins to understand the depth of it—in the place where He was crucified there was a garden.

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« Reply #43 on: August 20, 2005, 07:38:15 AM »

September 4

The Resurrection - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre— Joh_20:1

Failure to Believe Christ for the Present

Although Jesus had been teaching His disciples with increasing clearness that He would rise from the dead, none of them had grasped the full meaning of His words. The company of Jesus had been so sweet to them that they had refused to let their minds dwell upon His death, and the hints of death and of His resurrection were so vitally connected in the teaching of Jesus that to ignore the one fact was to reject the other. When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, Martha answered that she knew he would rise at the last day. So, doubtless, when Jesus spoke darkly of His own resurrection, the disciples would dream of some far distant hour. Long ages after Elijah had been carried heavenward, some of them had seen him on the Mount of Transfiguration. So it might be that when the centuries had run, they would meet in glory the Lord they loved so well. They could believe for some far distant day. Their point of failure was not the future but the present. The day would come, no doubt, when Christ would rise. The incredible thing was that He was risen now. Are we not all tempted to an unbelief like that? Is it not easy to believe that God will work, but very hard to believe that God is working? Strong faith not only deals with the far past and with the years that are still hidden behind the veil, it is radiant for the present hour and sees the hand of God at work today.

Mary Magdalene's Mission to the Tomb

Early in the morning, then, of the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala steals out into the garden. She had been there before when they were burying Jesus, and she had marked the spot where they had laid her Lord. Now it was dark; the sun had not yet risen; the children in Jerusalem were dreaming happy dreams. But the Sabbath had been one of misery for Mary, and little sleep had visited her that night. And what was it that drew her to the garden? It was not curiosity; it was love. It was love with a passion for service at the heart of it—there was still something she could do for Jesus. Joseph and Nicodemus had embalmed the body. But it had been hastily done, for the Sabbath was at hand. Mary was going to complete the embalming, and she would have the quiet hour of dawn for her sad task. But who would help her to roll away the stone? That thought had been troubling her all the weary night. Her heart was full of it as she lifted the latch of her lodging and stepped out into the chill morning air. As she entered the garden, the sky was reddening. The dawn was flushing up out of the East. And she looked and saw at a glance that something strange had happened—the stone, that she had been vexing herself about all night, was gone! Now often, when one trouble is removed, there comes a greater trouble in its place. We looked for peace when the thing that vexed us vanished, and instead of peace we were plunged in deeper sorrow. So Mary, instead of rejoicing at what she saw, was launched out upon a wider sea of agony. It flashed on her in a twinkling that the body was stolen. Under cover of night her Lord had been taken away. She dropped the spices and ointments she was carrying. There were other women there; Mary forgot them. She hurried back through the streets of the wakening city. Breathlessly she told Peter and John what she had seen. And then we read how Peter and John ran out and how Peter impetuously pushed on into the tomb. And there were the graveclothes lying on the stone slab; and on the stone pillow, raised a little above them, the napkin, still coiled in a circle as when it bound His head. The linen clothes, weighted with spices, had sunk flat; but the empty napkin kept the form of the Savior's brow.

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« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2005, 07:40:39 AM »

The Resurrection - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


The Risen Christ Appeared to Mary First

Then follows the appearance of the risen Lord to Mary. It was not to Peter that Jesus first appeared. It was not even to John, "whom Jesus loved." It was to Mary out of whose heart Jesus had cast seven devils; it was to Mary who loved much because much had been forgiven her. After discovering that the grave was empty, the disciples had gone away home again (Joh_20:10). But Mary, whose home had been the heart of Jesus, could not tear herself away from the garden and the grave. It was desolation to think that Christ was lost. Not even the white robed angels could console her. We are never so sure of the depth of Mary's love as when we see her weeping by the tomb. A great scholar, in studies of the resurrection, points out the different features emphasized in the accounts of the four evangelists. Matthew dwells chiefly on the majesty and glory of the resurrection. Mark insists upon it as a fact. Luke treats it as a spiritual necessity; and John, as a touchstone of character. And when we see Mary weeping in the garden, overwhelmed with her unutterable loss, we feel that here is the touchstone of her character. In the depth of her loss we find the depth of her love, and she loved much because she was forgiven much. So Mary stood in her sorrow beside the grave, thinking perhaps that Jesus was far away; and Jesus was never nearer to her than in that moment when she thought Him lost. She turned round; there was someone behind her. It was Jesus, but she thought it was the gardener. Some mysterious change had come on the Lord she loved, and it was dawn, and her eyes were dim with tears. Then Jesus said, "Mary," and she knew the voice. What a glorious joy must have taken her poor heart! She cried, "Rabboni!" She would have clung to Him. She would have held Him in the old grasp of human tenderness. And Jesus had to say to her, "Cling not to Me; hereafter, Mary, you shall walk by faith and not by sight." Then Mary received Christ's message for the disciples; and with a new heart, and in a world that was all new, hastened to tell them that she had seen the Lord.

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By George H. Morrison
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