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nChrist
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« Reply #315 on: November 21, 2006, 09:00:08 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Matthew 20:1-16

Rewardable Service

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

Jesus' favorite method of teaching was by parable. A parable is an account of something that may or may not have actually happened but nonetheless is designed to teach a truth. One of our Lord's most difficult parables is the parable of the kingdom that is likened to a householder.

In summary, the parable is this: Early in the morning one day a householder went out to hire laborers for a vineyard (Matthew 20:1). He agreed to pay the laborers a penny for the day, which were evidently the regular wages for the ordinary laborer. About the third hour the man returned to town and hired others to work in his vineyard, promising to pay them what was fair. At the sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours he returned to find others standing idle and likewise hired them with the same promise of payment.

At the end of the day the householder called his laborers together and had the steward of the house pay them, beginning with the last hired. Each was paid the same, but when those who were hired early in the morning received just a penny, they murmured that it was unfair to pay them a penny when those who had worked only an hour were also paid a penny. The householder replied that he had been just with the day-long workers, as he had been with the hour-long workers, and that whatever funds he had were his; he could do with them as he chose.

What would the Lord have us learn about Him from this parable? There are three things.

First, the Lord Jesus seeks laborers for His vineyard. There is much work to be done if we are going to win the world for Christ and train those who have been won to reproduce themselves and bear fruit in abundance. We are not saved to sit, soak, and sour; we are saved to serve the Lord. The most frustrated person in the world, I believe, is not the unsaved person; he has little understanding of what really awaits him. The most frustrated person in the world is the one who is saved and does not know why God has left him on the earth. Ephesians 2:10 claims, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." The Lord saved us to be laborers in His field.

Secondly, the Lord Jesus hires laborers at various hours and various stages in life. The Church did not begin fully equipped. Throughout history others have been added to the New Testament Church, as we have been added during these last decades. Those who were apostles in the New Testament Church will not receive a greater wage for their labors simply because they entered early into Christ's vineyard. God is interested in rewardable labor, not the hour in which we became laborers. If you have come to know the Lord as Saviour later in life and have not had the opportunities to serve Him as those who have been saved many years, do not despair. God is absolutely just in meting out rewards.

Thirdly, the Lord Jesus rewards generously as well as justly. This final lesson that this parable teaches us is perhaps the greatest of all. Each of these laborers was rewarded in an unexpected manner. Each one received a penny, a day's wage; and no one could complain that he was paid less than fair wages. Beyond acting justly to those who had been hired first, the householder acted generously to the others. When people see generosity to others and not to themselves, they are hurt and accuse the generous person of being unfair. But this is not the case. Having rewarded justly, the Lord Jesus was then free to reward generously.

A kind storekeeper once said to a little girl who was eagerly eyeing a jar of candy, "Take some; take a whole handful!" The little girl hesitated for a moment and then replied, "Will you please give it to me? Your hand is bigger than mine!" When we begin to compare our lives with others and compute our anticipated rewards, we will be dissatisfied. We must let the hand of God reward us as He deems just and fair. Remember, His hand is always bigger than ours. Let us live for Him today; let Him reward us tomorrow

MORNING HYMN
Praise the Saviour, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.

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« Reply #316 on: November 22, 2006, 09:19:38 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Mark 16:1-20

Firm in Faith

And very early in the morning the first day of the week they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Faith is not always a champion which marches alone. Sometimes faith is accompanied by fear. Faith is not the absence of questioning; it is the presence of action in the midst of those questions. Faith does not provide all the answers; it provides a basis for confidence in the midst of unreasonable circumstances.

We do not fully understand how God takes oxygen and hydrogen, both of them odorless, tasteless, and colorless, and combines them with carbon, which is insoluble, black, and tasteless, to produce a beautiful, white, sweet substance we call sugar. Although we do not have all the answers as to how God accomplishes this, in the midst of our circumstances we accept God's product on faith. Real faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is trusting God when you cannot see through the fog.

It was early Easter Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome set out on a mission of faith. These women had covenanted among themselves to purchase spices that were needed to embalm the body of Jesus. They could not do so until after dusk on Saturday. So when the Sabbath was passed, the women purchased the sweet spices that they might come to the tomb of Joseph and there make the body of the Lord Jesus ready for burial.

It was very early in the morning the first day of the week that they came to the sepulcher, at the rising of the sun (Mark 16:2). With the spices that they had purchased the previous evening in hand, the women made their way through the dark streets of Jerusalem just before the sunrise of Sunday morning. As they approached the garden in which the tomb was located, they chattered among themselves, questioning how they would gain access to the tomb. Here is a grand example of faith amid questions. The women could not themselves roll away the stone, for it was simply too cumbersome to do so. Yet they did not stay at home and attend a seminar on stone-rolling, argue the pros and cons of gaining entrance to the tomb, or form a committee to study the problem. In the midst of their concerns about how they would gain entrance to the tomb, they steadily progressed toward the tomb in faith. Faith is not the absence of questions; it is the presence of action amidst those questions.

Once an ocean liner was engulfed in a dense fog off the coast of Newfoundland. It was Wednesday evening and the captain had been on the bridge for more than 24 hours, when he was startled by someone tapping him on the shoulder. As he turned, he saw the great man of prayer and faith, George Mueller. The concerned Mueller stated, "Captain, I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon." Expressing his dismay, the captain replied, "That's impossible!" The fog was so dense and the progress of the ship so slow that the captain knew they would never make it to shore on time. He mumbled, "I'm helpless!" Being a man of faith, George Mueller suggested, "Let's go down to the chart room and pray." The captain, who could see only his circumstances, replied, "Do you know how dense the fog is?"

"No," Mueller said, "My eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life." The captain and Mueller left the bridge and went below where Mueller fell to his knees and prayed. Within a matter of minutes the fog lifted, the ocean liner progressed rapidly, and Mueller was in Quebec before Saturday.

If we are to live a life of faith, we must get our eyes off the stone before the tomb and on the God who does the impossible. The women knew the stone would keep them from their Lord, and yet they purchased their spices, readied themselves early in the morning, and made their way in the darkness toward the garden tomb. Faith is not being free from questions; faith is being firm in commitment to the power of God. How will you demonstrate your faith today?

MORNING HYMN
May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire;
As Thou hast died for me,
O may my love to Thee
Pure, warm and changeless be
A living fire!

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« Reply #317 on: November 23, 2006, 09:19:27 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Psalm 73:1-28

Character

For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

This is the second psalm ascribed to Asaph and the first of eleven consecutive psalms that bear his name. In 2 Chronicles 29:30 King Hezekiah invites the Levites to sing "the words of David, and of Asaph the seer." Asaph was not only a writer but a prophet as well. This psalm deals with the same perplexing subject as that of Psalm 37, curiously the transposition of Psalm 73. It is the subject of Psalm 49 and the entire book of Job. How can an infinitely powerful God be good and still allow the wicked to appear to prosper and the righteous to be in want? Perhaps you have asked the same question of God. If so, your answer is given in Psalm 73.

The way to heaven is an afflicted way, a perplexed, a persecuted way, crushed close together with crosses, as was the Israelites' way in the wilderness. This was true of Asaph the psalmist when his feet were almost gone and his steps had well nigh slipped. He was envious when he looked around and saw the prosperity of the wicked. There were no pangs or pains in their death. The eyes of the wicked ever gloat on the luxuries around them. They increase in prosperity and riches while they curse God, and the Almighty appears to do nothing about it.

On the other hand, Asaph had cleansed his heart and had washed his hands before God. He had lived uprightly and yet he was afflicted and distressed. Why would God allow him to be afflicted when he had lived as God desired? Although God does not daily bring a man to his bed, breaking his spirit and his bones, nevertheless seldom a day passes without some rebuke or chastening from God. It is as much a part of the Christian's life to know afflictions as it is to know mercies, to know when God smites as to know when He smiles.

Still Asaph complains, "For all day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning" (Psalm 73:14). Every morning it appears to the psalmist that he arose after having been whipped by God. His breakfast was the bread of sorrow; his juice was the water of adversity. Morning after morning he would arise only to feel the affliction of God that day. Asaph began to question whether or not it was worth living a godly life, a life pure and unspotted from the world, when those around him refused to do so and prospered. Perhaps this question has crossed your mind as well.

In the forests of northern Europe lives the ermine, a small animal that we know best for its snow-white fur. Instinctively the ermine protects its white coat lest it become soiled. European hunters often capitalize on this trait. Instead of setting a mechanical trap to catch the ermine, they find its home in the cleft of a rock and daub the entrance with tar. A chase ensues and the frightened ermine flees toward its home. When it arrives at the cleft of the rock and finds it covered with dirt, the animal spurns its place of safety. Rather than soil itself and its white fur, it courageously faces the hunters. That's character. To the ermine, purity is dearer than life itself.

Whenever we feel we are being chastised by God unjustly and are tempted to cast off our righteous lifestyle, let's remember the ermine. To keep ourselves "unspotted from the world" (James 1:27) should be as important to the Christian as life itself. Affliction tests character; and character tested, with the right response, is character strengthened. Rejoice today that God loves you enough to afflict you.

MORNING HYMN
In the hour of trial, Jesus, plead for me;
Lest by base denial I depart from Thee;
When Thou see'st me waver, with a look recall;
Nor thro' fear or favor suffer me to fall.

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« Reply #318 on: November 25, 2006, 02:26:09 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Genesis 44:1-17

Foolish Vows

As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.

A weatherman, certain that his prediction for fair weather would be fulfilled, said, "If it rains tomorrow, I'll eat my hat!" Such a lightly considered vow is an invitation to disaster, for it is entirely possible that factors unknown to the weatherman may cause a downpour. The Bible gives many similar examples of foolishly made oaths (cf. Judges 11).

During the worldwide seven years' famine in the days of Jacob, the sons of the patriarch found themselves trapped by such a foolish vow. They had sold their brother Joseph into slavery, and unknown to them he had risen to a position of great authority in the Egyptian government. With the supply of grain in Canaan exhausted, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain. In Pharaoh's land the brothers purchased grain from Joseph, whom they did not recognize. After that grain was gone, they returned to Egypt to buy more.

When they came to Joseph the second time, he invited them to dine; and he commanded the steward to fill the men's sacks with food and put their purchase money back in each sack. Also Joseph specifically instructed that his silver cup be placed in the sack of the youngest brother, Benjamin. "As soon as the morning was light," the brothers embarked on the long trek back to Canaan (Genesis 44:3). Before they had gone very far, Joseph commanded the steward to overtake them and accuse the brothers of stealing his royal cup. This was not done to be vindictive but simply to test the loyalty and integrity of the brothers who had once sold Joseph into slavery.

As soon as the charge was leveled against the sons of Jacob, they indignantly denied it. To think that this steward would accuse them of dishonesty! Unaware that Joseph had planted the cup in Benjamin's sack, the brothers hastily vowed a vow in order to intensify their claim of innocence: "With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's servants." Suddenly they were trapped. They had made an irrevocable oath that would enslave them and bring death to their father's favorite son. When the search was made and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack, the brothers tore their clothes in anguish and returned to Joseph, the Egyptian governor.

It was no sin to vow this vow, for the making of such oaths was entirely voluntary. However, after a vow was made, it was sacredly binding (Deuteronomy 23:21). The Apostle Paul called upon God in making an oath (2 Corinthians 1:23; 11:31) and our Lord Himself did not refuse to answer when put under oath (Matthew 26:63-64). Yet the Lord Jesus refined the general thought of Scripture on vowing vows when He said, "Swear not at all; neither by heaven . . . Nor by the earth . . . Neither shalt thou swear by thy head. . . . But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matthew 5:34-37).

This does not mean that we cannot vow a vow to God. By the time of the New Testament the practice of making hasty and unmeaningful oaths was common. Oriental conversation was sprinkled with expressions like, "I swear that . . . ." This profaned the true meaning and sacred character of a vow, and our Lord condemned the practice. Much better, said He, that others are assured that what you say is true because of your personal integrity, rather than because of an unmeaningful oath.

It would be better to make no oath at all than to make one with no intention of keeping it (Ecclesiastes 5:5). Vows made with pure intentions and based on certain knowledge can bring great blessings. But those hastily made, like those of Jacob's sons, or those loosely used in ordinary conversation, are to be shunned by all who seek a life pleasing to God. Be careful what vows you make today! Be careful to keep those you have made!

MORNING HYMN
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

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« Reply #319 on: November 25, 2006, 06:15:19 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Numbers 22:1-35

Mysterious Ways

Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.

The famous English hymnist William Cowper once wrote, "God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform." Nowhere in the pages of Scripture is this more evident than in the story of Balak, the king of Moab, and Balaam, the false prophet of Pethor in Mesopotamia.

With the conquest of the Amorites the people of Israel neared their goal, the promised land. They descended into the valley of Jordan, opposite Jericho, on the plains of Moab. Such a bold move by Israel aroused the Moabites. Seeing that Israel was too strong for him in the field, Moabite king Balak made a confederacy with the sheiks of Midian. But even the combined strength of Moab and Midian was of doubtful value in the face of mighty Israel. It was evident to Balak that supernatural help must be sought.

The prophet Balaam, son of Beor, was one of those who still retained some knowledge of the true God. It is obvious, however, that he practiced the more questionable arts of divination as well and in fact believed that Jehovah was simply one of many gods. He found it quite to his advantage to believe in all the gods of oriental society. The emissaries from Balak came to Balaam with a strange request. There was a people come out of Egypt who covered the face of the earth. They were a threat to the very existence of Moab, or so the Moabite king believed. If Balaam would curse the intruders, the emissaries were empowered to give him the rewards of divination.

Balaam consulted the God of Heaven as to the advisability of cursing the people who had come out of Egypt. The answer of Jehovah left no room for variant interpretations. "Thou shalt not go with them: thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed" (Numbers 22:12). Balaam rose up in the morning and reported to the princes of Balak that Jehovah had directly forbidden him to curse their enemy Israel.

When the princes returned to Balak with this unexpected news, the Moabite king was undaunted. He sent to Balaam more numerous and more honorable envoys. The king promised the prophet that he would promote him to very great honor and give him any desire of his heart. The greed of Balaam was too much for his loyalty to the God of Heaven, and consequently he wavered in his stand against cursing Israel. Instead of resting confidently on the clear word of the Lord, Balaam hedged on that clarity in order to feed his lustful desire for fame and honor. Thus God gave him his desire and delivered him to the destruction that he courted. Despite the evident will of God to the contrary, Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab (Numbers 22:21).

This Old Testament account features the miraculous happening of a dumb animal speaking to his master in order that the plan of God might be fulfilled. But an even more mysterious way in which God moved to perform His wonders was that He chose a false prophet, one who thought more of himself than he did of God, to advance one of the greatest prophecies of the Old Testament. It was Balaam the son of Beor who brought the message of Christ in the book of Numbers. His messianic prophecy was, "I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth" (Numbers 24:17).

No greater prophecy concerning the messianic kingdom can be found anywhere in Scripture and, in the mysterious plan of God, this prophecy came from the lips of a self-seeking prophet. We may never fully be able to understand the methods or motives of God, but we are not required to understand them, simply to trust them.

MORNING HYMN
Praise to the Lord
Who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under
His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
All that is needful hath been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

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« Reply #320 on: November 27, 2006, 01:35:17 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Job 24:1-25

The Trial of Faith

The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.

Throughout Job's long ordeal one concern continually raced through his mind. He was fully aware that all men are sinners and therefore are justly deserving of divine punishment. His concern was, however, that he had always dealt with sin in an open manner. He had sacrificed daily to the Lord God and had conducted his life in such a way that it was pleasing to God. Throughout the ordeal the so-called comfort afforded him by his three friends was generated by the belief that Job's suffering was the result of secret sin and that if he would confess that sin, God would surely remove the suffering. Job, however, knew of no secret sin in his life and believed that his suffering must be due to his piety. Job's mind was characterized by bewilderment, not by the suppression of known sin.

Job's understanding of the foolish heart of man is theologically correct. He knows that sin can never be successfully hidden from God. So wicked is the heart of man that he will confiscate the property of the fatherless and deny charity to the poor; and as wild asses rising with the light, they kill the poor and needy, assuming that no one will discover their crime (Job 24:14). "The morning is to them even as the shadow of death" (Job 24:17), for the rising of the sun brings to light the wickedness in which they have been engaged throughout the dark hours of the night. Yet Job knows that he has not conducted himself in this manner. It is understandable that God would punish with affliction those who have lived in the way Job has described, but it is not understandable why the righteous should suffer in the same manner. Job was upright before the Lord. How could the Lord allow this to happen to him?

A similar circumstance once occurred in the life of William Carey, the pioneer missionary to India. After his work was established, those who supported him in England sent a printer to assist him in the work. Together they began producing portions of the Bible for distribution in India. One day while he was away from his station, a fire broke out and completely destroyed everything Carey had accomplished. The building, the presses, the Bibles, and worst of all, the manuscripts, grammars, and dictionaries on which he had spent many years of his life were all burned and destroyed. When Carey returned, his servant met him and tearfully relayed the news of the dreadful fire. How would Carey react? Without a word of despair or anger, William Carey knelt and thanked God that he still had strength enough to do that work all over again. Immediately he began, not wasting his time or licking his wounds. Before Carey died, under the direction of the Spirit of God he had not only duplicated his earlier achievements but produced far better grammars, dictionaries, and translations of the Scripture than the first time.

William Carey had learned what Job had learned. Disaster does not necessarily mean the presence of secret sin. Sometimes God allows the pious to suffer just as He allows the impious. It is the trial of our faith that worketh patience, and without this trial the legendary patience of Job would not be such a comfort to us today.

May each of us view those disasters that enter our lives through the godly glasses of courage and patience. May our lives be free from known sin so that with Job we may say of the Lord, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).

MORNING HYMN
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

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« Reply #321 on: November 27, 2006, 09:07:14 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Psalm 143:1-12

Morning Marching Orders

Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk for I lift up my soul unto Thee.

In today's modern, rushing world, many of us have all we can do to get out of bed in the morning and get to work on time. Often our schedule appears to preclude the possibility of morning devotions. Yet under the old dispensation of the law it was the duty of the priestly tribe of the Levites to rise at dawn and give thanks and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). We are not under the dispensation of the law, but as New Testament priests (1 Peter 2:5,9) we too should begin the day with God. If we do, we will have a keen sense of His presence with us throughout the busy hours that follow.

This great truth was obviously known by David. One of the most enjoyable verses to come from his pen is Psalm 143:8, "Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee." In this morning prayer David made two requests: to hear the lovingkindness of God in the morning, and to know the way in which he should walk throughout the day. These two requests bear a definite relationship.

David wanted the lovingkindness of God to engage his thoughts and affections early in the morning. If other thoughts get into our hearts in the morning, we may not be able to burn them away throughout the day. Prayer and praise, reading and meditation will influence our minds for hours throughout the day. Lovingkindness is a favorite theme of David. Simply, lovingkindness is love that shows kindness. By deeds and words it is God living through us to a hurting world. That's the kind of life David wanted to live. The Lord's lovingkindness is our all-sufficient source of joy. Such joy can be sought elsewhere but found only here. It is the divine joy that sweetens every bitter experience of life and makes even those that are sweet, sweeter still. It binds every wound and is the balm for every hurt. It is little wonder that David sought such an experience early in the morning. With that kind of start, what must the rest of the day be like?

The old expression is here very applicable, "Well begun; half done." David began his day well by seeking the Lord and His lovingkindness. Half the battle of a successful day was already won. He continued to ask the Lord to show him the way he should walk throughout the day. Frequently the path we determine to be logical for our daily walk is not the path designed by God. We must keep the same close touch with Him hour after hour that we began with Him in the morning.

Speaking of his mountain-climbing experience, nineteenth century preacher George Barrell Cheever commented on this verse: "The whole valley is surrounded by ranges of regal crags, but the mountain, apparently absolutely inaccessible, is the last point which you would turn for an outlet. A side gorge that sweeps up to the glaciers and snowy pyramids flashing upon you in the opposite direction is the route that you suppose your guide is going to take. So convinced was I that the path must go in that direction that I took a shortcut, which I conceived would bring me again into the mule path at a point under the glaciers; but after scaling precipices and getting lost in a wood of firs in the valley, I was glad to rejoin my friend with the guide and to clamber on in pure ignorance and wonder."

We are tempted to walk our own way when we have no other resource. But as Christians we have a higher resource than our mind. We have the resource of the lovingkindness of God, which can be ours every morning if we but seek it. We should never attempt to walk alone throughout the day and to chart our own course when we have the ability to tap the resources of heaven in the morning and receive our marching orders for the day, marching orders that are always designed to lead to victory. How foolish it is to neglect to seek the Lord in the morning and have to walk without Him the rest of the day.

MORNING HYMN
Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Saviour, let me walk with Thee.

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« Reply #322 on: November 28, 2006, 08:42:18 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: 1 Samuel 25:1-38

Vengeance


And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken. Wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.

One of the most obnoxious men in the Bible is Nabal. Nabal was a wealthy shepherd who had many flocks and servants. It appears that David and his men showed kindness to Nabal's servants and gave protection to them. Subsequently David's men needed provision and refreshment and he sent them to Nabal. But when David's men arrived at Carmel, Nabal lashed out at them, ridiculed them, and refused any help to them. The Bible describes Nabal as a churlish man "and evil in his doings." This simply means that he was hard to deal with, a difficult person to get along with. Not recognizing the anointing of God on David, Nabal demanded, "Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?" He ranked David among the common mavericks of the day. Nabal sent David's men away empty-handed. When the men returned to David and reported to him how offensively Nabal had acted and how unfriendly he had been, David's anger was piqued.

Four hundred of David's warriors were prepared to march against Nabal and retaliate for his unfriendly attitude. This would have engaged David in a sinful tirade against a sinful tyrant. Had it not been for the intervention of God through the actions of the quick-thinking wife of Nabal, David would undoubtedly have shed innocent blood that day. But Abigail, Nabal's wife, intercepted the irate David, brought gifts to him and persuaded him not to take vengeance against her husband. She was God's messenger to God's man and David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me; and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand." Nabal's attitude was unforgivable, but David's reaction was equally unforgivable. He would heed Abigail's advice, the same advice Paul gave to the Roman believers when he said, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto [God's] wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19).

When Abigail returned to tell her husband what she had done, she wisely decided to tell him nothing until the morning light since he was filled with wine (1 Samuel 25:36). In the morning (verse 37) when Nabal was sober, Abigail related to him what she had done to spare his life and the reputation of David. At that point the churlish man apparently had a stroke and 10 days later the Lord took his life. Abigail's wisdom permitted God to return the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head and still preserve David from making a foolish mistake.

General Robert E. Lee was asked what he thought of one of his fellow officers in the Confederate Army. This officer had made many derogatory remarks about General Lee. Lee rated him as a fine officer and good soldier. Someone questioned, saying, "General, I guess you don't know what he's been saying about you." Lee responded, "I know, but I was asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me!"

Although we may be slandered or maligned by others, we are not at liberty to do anything but show the love of the Lord Jesus unto them. Perhaps today you have an antagonist spreading falsehood about you. Do not plan to avenge the wrong you have been done; give place to God's wrath instead and speak kindly of that antagonist. Then and then alone will a difficult situation bring glory to the name of God.

MORNING HYMN

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes illumine me,
Spirit divine!

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« Reply #323 on: November 29, 2006, 09:17:09 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Judges 19:1-30

Hospitality and Inhospitality

And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel's father said unto his son-in-law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.

In the family life of the ancient Near East, two important and contrasting features stand out in bold relief. They are the hospitality of the common folk and the inhospitality of those who are evil and cruel. The story of Judges 19 portrays both these features.

According to the historical account a certain Levite who resided in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem-Judah. Having proven unfaithful to him, the woman returned to her father's house in Bethlehem and there remained four months. After this separation the Levite decided to propose a reconciliation and thus traveled south to Bethlehem to speak with the woman and her father. Apparently the reconciliation was accomplished immediately, for the father was quite happy to see his son-in-law.

The house of the Bethlehem father-in-law is a prime example of hospitality in the ancient Near East. Three days the son-in-law remained in the house and there "they did eat and drink." It was now time to leave. On the fourth day they arose early in the morning in order to escape the punishing rays of the Palestinian sun (Judges 19:5). But the damsel's father invited his son-in-law to stay and have bread with him one more time. Soon the day had worn away and the invitation to tarry all night and wait for the morrow was given. Again the next day he arose early in the morning with the intent to leave, but the same thing happened (Judges 19:8). As the day wore on, the man received a second invitation to tarry throughout the night, but this time he refused. With his wife he left Bethlehem and began to journey, even though he knew he could not reach Mount Ephraim by nightfall.

Bypassing Jerusalem because the Jebusites lived there, the man chose to travel three miles further north to Gibeah, where he anticipated a more hospitable reception. He found none and thus made preparations to spend the night in the street. Finally he and his wife were taken in by a former resident of Ephraim who now lived in Gibeah.

At this point the story begins to sound like Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. Base men, sons of Satan, encircled the house and began to beat on the door, demanding that these men engage in a homosexual relationship with them. Perhaps taking his cue from Lot (cf. Genesis 19:1-11), unbelievably the master of the house offered his daughter and the Levite's concubine to the vicious mob in place of his house guest. This pacified the bisexual mob who abused the concubine all night long. When the Levite rose up in the morning and opened the doors of the house, there he found the woman lying on the threshold (Judges 19:26-27).

Hospitality and inhospitality, both are seen here. What is it that causes one man to open his home in a gesture of hospitality and another man to beat down the door of a home to perform an act of homosexuality? What brings one man to do what is delightful in the eyes of God and another to do what is despicable in the eyes of God? Perhaps the answer is that we are made in the image of God and therefore have a desire to do good but have been marred by our own sin and have an innate bent toward evil. The Bethlehem father-in-law and the Ephraimite from Gibeah both sought to please others. The homosexual mob of Gibeah sought only to please themselves. Seeking one's own pleasure at the expense of all others arises out of a heart that is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). There is no control over such a heart, only a cure found in the grace of salvation.

MORNING HYMN
Now incline me to repent,
Let me now my sins lament;
Now my foul revolt deplore,
Weep, believe, and sin no more.

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« Reply #324 on: November 30, 2006, 12:02:56 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: 2 Samuel 23:1-17

Hidden Resources

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

David had returned to his capital city, Jerusalem. All serious challenges to his authority were now behind him. He was about to die at age 70, having ruled Judah for 7 years and as king over all Israel for another 33 years.

Indeed David was a very remarkable man. He had great ability, great insight, great grace. As a soldier he was a mighty man of valor. As a poet he was the "sweet psalmist of Israel." He was decisive in politics and chivalrous in war. But he was as human as he was great. Perhaps it's that quality about David that makes the man so lovable to us. David had boundless love for Jehovah and an unshakable faith and loyalty to Him. While he frequently stumbled and fell, he always knew how to get hold of God, ask forgiveness and go on for God. He had a true hunger to know the will of God and do it.

Second Samuel 23:1 claims to record the last words of David. Although these are the last literary or poetic words, David's final dying words are not recorded until 1 Kings 2. David describes the kind of man God would have as king of Israel. "He that ruleth over men must be just" (2 Samuel 23:3). One who would be king, president, prime minister or any leader can never assume he or she possesses the qualifications for these important tasks unless that person has a sense of justice that is more than human. Human justice views all men as created equal. Divine justice views all men as created equal before God, a God with whom all men have to do. This is why the next clause is so important. A godly leader is one "ruling in the fear of God."

When Jethro counseled Moses about organizing Israel, he said, "Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens" (Exodus 18:21). As important as it is that a ruler be just, the capability to be just arises only out of a fear of God. God would have no one rule Israel who did not fear Him.

How can we draw upon the resource of the fear of God in order to be just to all men? We must depend upon our hidden resources. All nature depends on hidden resources. Rivers, deep and wide, have their sources in the snowcapped mountains. Great trees are only as strong as the part you cannot see, their root system. The entire earth draws upon the water and minerals under the ground, their hidden resources. A ruler in America, in Israel or anywhere in the world will only be as great as his fear of God, and his fear of God will only be as deep as his hidden resources in God. This is why choosing a nation's leader must go beyond partisan politics, beyond basic morality, beyond simple decency.

David was keenly aware that he had not always exhibited the fear of God, the kind of fear that is pure, pristine, and clear. He describes the just man who fears God as one who "shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds" (2 Samuel 23:4). This kind of clearness and brightness comes only to a man who seeks the Lord, his hidden resource, early in the morning, before he begins to make the decisions of his day. Let's pray that God will give us that kind of ruler.

MORNING HYMN
Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always
And feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children,
Help those who are weak
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.

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« Reply #325 on: December 01, 2006, 06:33:24 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: 1 Samuel 29

God's Providence

Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.

When we live lives that are pleasing before the Lord, godly lives, righteous lives, we may always be assured that no matter where our steps take us, we have been led there by the Lord God Himself. Indeed, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD" (Psalm 37:23).

By this time in his life the madness of King Saul had become so notable that he had nearly destroyed himself and his nation as well. His hatred for David and his jealousy of this young Bethlehemite caused David to be resigned to a life of wandering. Once David learned that the Philistines were besieging the city of Keilah, he immediately hurried to rescue the city. Successful in his rescue, he drove off the enemy and scattered them, making this for a short time his headquarters (1 Samuel 23:1-6).

However, whenever Saul learned of the whereabouts of David, he was sure to be persistent in his pursuit of him; again David was forced to flee (1 Samuel 23:7-14). Although during his wanderings David attracted to his side 600 soldiers in support of his cause, nevertheless these were days of hardship and grief for David. Finally he had to leave the kingdom entirely and seek refuge among his former enemies, the Philistines.

Although the enemy clearly remembered that David slew the giant Goliath, now he was an enemy of Israel's king; and so the Philistines made an unlikely alliance with David and his men. With the consent of Achish, king of Gath, David made his headquarters at Ziklag for more than a year (1 Samuel 27:1-7). Because he supported the Philistine king in raids on the tribes to the south of the wilderness of Shur (1 Samuel 27:8-12), David gained the respect and friendship of Achish. Things were fine as long as the Philistines were fighting someone other than the Israelites. But that situation was about to change.

The Philistine armies assembled at Aphek to encounter the Israelites in Jezreel. David was now in a desperately ticklish situation. He was with the armies of the Philistines, arrayed in preparation for battle against his own people, Israel. What would he do? How would God get him out of this jam?

David didn't have to wait long for a resolution to the problem. The princes of the Philistines began to wonder whether or not they could trust David fighting against his own people. If he were to win the favor of King Saul again, what better way than to kill the Philistines. Therefore, Achish commanded, "Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart" (1 Samuel 29:10). Once again, through the suspicions of the Philistines, God had spared David from fighting against his own people.

Rowland V. Bingham, founder of the Sudan Interior Mission, was once seriously injured in a terrible automobile accident. Rushed to the hospital in critical condition, he did not regain consciousness until the next day. When he asked the nurse what he was doing there, she replied, "Don't try to talk now, just rest. You have been in an accident."

"Accident? Accident?" exclaimed Dr. Bingham. "There are no accidents in the life of the Christian. This is just an incident in God's perfect leading." Our attitude toward the Lord's leading our steps ought to be the same. When we live righteously before Him, free from known sin, there are no accidents in our lives, only incidents in His perfect leading. Let Him lead you today.

MORNING HYMN
In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along,
Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet,
God leads His dear children along.
Some thru the waters, some thru the flood,
Some thru the fire, but all thru the blood;
Some thru great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

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« Reply #326 on: December 02, 2006, 10:09:18 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Psalm 113:1-9

Morning Praise

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.

Like the two psalms preceding it, this one is without title. Some commentators have ascribed it to Samuel, others to David. However the authorship is unknown. Whoever the author was, in his best journalistic style he answers the five key questions that any young reporter would ask when writing a story. He answers the five W's: who, what, when, where and why. Let's notice what excited this young reporter to write in such a way.

Who. To whom does the writer speak? To all of us. Anyone who reads this psalm is included in the "ye" of verse 1, most specifically, "O ye servants of the LORD." More than anyone else, the servants of the Lord ought to be involved in the exalted activity of praising God. Each of us who claims to serve the Lord must publicly discharge his or her responsibility. We are best acquainted with the reasons for praising Him, and we are also the best instruments to declare His praise.

What. The responsibility of the servants of the Lord is simply, "Praise ye the LORD . . . praise the name of the LORD." The repetition of this phrase in a single verse is not without significance. You would think that we who have been saved by His grace would automatically and consistently praise His name. However this is not the case, for we are frequently slow in praising God for His blessings. Therefore the psalmist finds it necessary to stimulate us, to cajole us; and the repetition of the stimulus calls us to perseverance in sounding forth the praises of God.

When. To indicate when the servants of the Lord are to be engaged in praising the Lord, the psalmist uses an expression that is more characteristic of the old Greek poets than of the Hebrew prophets. He says, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised" (Psalm 113:3). This poetic expression indicates that there is never a time of the day, never a waking hour, never an inappropriate moment, when the servant of the Lord cannot praise His name. We are to begin His praise at the very rising of the sun, early in the morning, and we are to continue that praise until sunset. Praising the name of the Lord is a daylong, lifelong privilege.

Where. If we are to praise the Lord from the rising of the sun until the going down of the same, where is it that we shall engage in this exalted activity? Since "the LORD is high above all nations, and His glory above heaven," and yet He "humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth," it is incumbent upon us to see that His name is praised wherever His presence is known. Therefore we are to praise His name in the highest heavens and the lowest earth. Just as there is not a waking hour that is inappropriate to praise His name, there is not the slightest place on earth that is inappropriate to the praising of His name. As servants of the Lord, we are to praise Him continually, wherever we find ourselves.

Why. The reasons for praising the Lord are manifold. He is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens. Still He humbleth Himself to observe our affairs on earth. He raiseth the poor out of the dust and the needy out of the dunghill. He makes princes out of paupers and makes the barren woman a homemaker and the mother of children.

Today would be a good day for us to make a praise list. Just as we have a prayer list, Christians ought to have a praise list, a list of reasons for praising the Lord. Begin with His love for you, His death for you, and His salvation of you, and keep listing things for which to praise the Lord from morning to night. Don't be surprised if you have to make a second list, for we have much for which to praise the Lord. A praise list it's an idea worth consideration.

MORNING HYMN
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace.

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« Reply #327 on: December 04, 2006, 12:45:39 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: 2 Samuel 24:1-25

Pride

For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer.

Have you ever noticed that you make your greatest mistakes immediately after your greatest victories? Why is that? The answer is likely pride. The Bible frequently warns us about the penalty of pride. Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall." The pages of the Holy Scriptures are filled with people who have met their defeat, not because of their inferiority, but because of their haughty and arrogant spirit.

A graphic illustration of the penalty of pride is seen in the life of King David. A man after God's own heart, David early won favor with Jehovah for his faithfulness and purity of life. He rose above the usurpation of his throne by two of his sons. He lived down the shame of his sin with Bathsheba. Now he had come to the end of his life, a valiant warrior and a victor.

Following the catalog of David's mighty men is the statement, "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah" (2 Samuel 24:1). The wrath of God was upon His people at this time, not so much for a specific offense as for the general deterioration of their faithfulness to Him. First Chronicles 21:1 indicates that it was Satan who incited David to take this census. Although the penalty for this sin affected all people, David accepted it as the result of his own personal sin. Why? Because the numbering of the people was done in pride, for the purpose of self-glory, and pride always pays a penalty.

Immediately after David learned the strength of his army, he recognized the basis for his need to know their number. "And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done . . . for I have done very foolishly." As soon as David was up in the morning (2 Samuel 24:11), God offered three potential punishments for this pride. David's options were not good: the people could endure seven years of famine; David could flee three months from his enemies; Israel could experience three days of the worst pestilence they had ever seen. David preferred to receive punishment from God rather than from his enemies. Thus the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel in the morning. Because of Israel's continued sin and David's pride, 70,000 men died during the next three days in Israel.

There is an old fable about two ducks and a frog that played together in a small pond. Each summer, when the days got long and hot, the pond shrank to a small puddle, and the ducks and frog were forced to move. The ducks could fly to another place, but not the frog. As the fable goes, the frog finally suggested that the ducks put a stick in their bills so he could cling to it with his mouth and thus fly away with them. The frog was very proud of his brilliant idea. As the ducks took off for a nearby lake, the stick between their bills and the frog clinging tightly, they passed over a farmer, who seeing this strange sight questioned, "Well, isn't that a clever stunt! I wonder who thought of it?" Swelling with pride, the frog said, "I did!" and with that he lost his grip and went crashing to the ground. His own pride had done him in.

Let us beware of our pride today, for it may lead to the same kind of painful end that the frog experienced. Even worse, it may lead to pain inflicted upon others, as was experienced in the life of David. Remember, "Pride goeth before destruction" (Proverbs 16:18).

MORNING HYMN
Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself and whatever I know
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

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« Reply #328 on: December 05, 2006, 12:51:14 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Psalm 127:1-5

Relying on God

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep.

The theme of this delightful little psalm is the folly of human effort apart from God. Anything we attempt in life is doomed to failure unless we rely on the power of God. The psalmist shows us this is true in four aspects of human life: social (verse la); civic (verse 1b); business (verse 2); and domestic (verses 3-5). In each of these there is an unmistakable emphasis on the necessity for reliance on God.

"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it." Regardless if it is a private dwelling or the house of God, it is useless to undertake building unless we seek the prosperity of God. The psalmist does not say that unless the Lord consents that the house should be built, he says unless the Lord builds the house. We supply the materials; He does the work in our social lives.

"Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Turning from social to civic life, the psalmist knows the unseen watchman of every city is Jehovah Himself. The constant vigilance of a sentinel is without reward if he watches alone. It does little good for us to stand watch unless the Lord stands with us. Not to set a watch when the enemy is at hand is foolish, but to set a watch in our own strength is just as foolish.

"It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows." Here the psalmist does not counsel us against rising early. His intent is to show us that nothing is accomplished by rising early or staying up late if all we do is fret about our problems. Here too we must have absolute dependence upon God.

Finally, the psalmist turns his attention to reliance on God in domestic matters. He begins with a statement about children that is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of the world today. In a day in which children are frequently viewed as a bother, an infringement on personal freedom, and are therefore aborted before they are born, the psalmist counters, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD." Children come to us from God and are another means of building a house. In fact, in the Hebrew, the word for son (ben) and daughter (bath) both come from the same root word for house (beth). Although building a house is akin to building sons and daughters, building sons and daughters is more important than building a house around them.

A preacher once was entertained by a couple who had two teenage boys. When he entered the house, he noticed immediately a sense of warmth. He also noticed that the living room carpet was very tattered. Before he left, the mother related that one day several boys from the neighborhood were having a good time in her living room. Perhaps they were being a little too rough, and she asked them to play elsewhere. They responded, "But where will we go?" Nodding to one of them she asked, "How about your place?" "Not a chance," replied the boy. "We're not allowed to invite kids into our house." Others questioned gave similar replies. The mother soon sensed that her home was the only one where the boys felt free to come and have fun. From then on they were always welcome.

While the mother did not allow the children to be disrespectful to her property, she nonetheless recognized that the rug was only property, but that children were an heritage from the Lord. She knew if she were to raise a family she would have to show a lot of love and rely on the Lord.

To whatever endeavor God calls you today, whether it be social, civic, business, or domestic, reliance on Him is a prerequisite to success. You cannot build a house fruitfully without the labor of God. You cannot watch a city successfully without the protection of God. You cannot engage in business tirelessly without the strength of God. You cannot raise children lovingly without the wisdom of God. All human activity is but folly unless you rely upon God for success. Ask Him to make you successful today.

MORNING HYMN
If God build not the house, and lay
The groundwork sure whoever build,
It cannot stand one stormy day.
If God be not the city's shield,
If He be not their bars and wall,
In vain is watchtower; men, and all.

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« Reply #329 on: December 05, 2006, 09:05:48 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference: Revelation 22:1-21

Jesus First

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

Just as Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is a book of beginnings, Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is a book of new beginnings. Before these new beginnings can occur, however, a series of endings must transpire. Thus the book of Revelation represents numerous "finals" in the Word of God.

Genesis 3:9 is God's initial call to man: "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" Revelation 22:17 is God's final call to man: "And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Somewhere between Genesis 3:9 and Revelation 22:17 everyone who would enjoy eternity in heaven with Christ must answer one of God's calls. Perhaps you have answered Jesus' call in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Or maybe it was the call of Christ in John 4:14, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." But if you have not responded to the call of Christ, if you have never received Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you must respond to His call in order to receive eternal life.

Once we have responded positively to the Lord's call to salvation, we have a whole new outlook on the future. Our destiny is brighter. Our lives are sunnier. The birds' songs are sweeter. We look forward to serving Jesus every day and anticipate the day we shall live with Him in glory.

Just before God's final call in Revelation 22:17, Jesus verifies that He is indeed the one to whom we are called in salvation. He says, "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16). These titles are applied to Him elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Isaiah 11:1; Numbers 24:17), but nowhere do they take on more meaning than just prior to the final call in the Bible. When we come to God in salvation, we come to the offspring of David. When we leave the darkness of sin, we enter the light of the Bright and Morning Star. It is the shining face of Jesus, the one who died for us, that we will first want to see when we enter the brightness of heaven. After all, being with our Savior is what makes heaven heavenly.

When Fanny Crosby, the hymn writer who wrote more than 8,000 gospel songs even though she was blinded at the age of six weeks, was pitied by a friend because she could not see, Miss Crosby replied, "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I would have been born blind?" The friend was puzzled by this answer and asked her for further explanation. "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!" We too will want to see our Savior first of all.

There is a story about Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, who once captured a prince and his entire family. When they came before the monarch, Cyrus asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" The prince replied, "The half of my wealth." "And if I release your children?" The prince replied, "Everything I possess." Finally Cyrus said, "And what will you give me if I will release your wife?" The prince replied, "Your Majesty, I will give myself." So moved was Cyrus by the devotion of this young prince that he freed him and his entire family. As the prince, his wife and children returned to their home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man!" With a tender look of love in her eyes, the wife said to her husband, "I did not notice. I could only keep my eyes on you the one who was willing to give himself for me."

Morning by morning we arise to give praise to the one who saved us. Day by day we serve the one who saved us. Evening by evening we rejoice in the one who saved us. Let's concentrate today on loving the Lord Jesus and adoring no other face than the one who loved us so much that He died for us (John 3:16).

MORNING HYMN
All hail the pow'r of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

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