Dr Donald MacVicar
Events have moved very rapidly in the week beginning 15th March 2020. We have entered into a period when gatherings for public worship in the East Church have been suspended for an indefinite period. These are, as we are reminded of each day, unprecedented times.
Even in the midst of the two 20th century World Wars the church remained open for public worship. It looks indeed that the last time our church was closed for any significant period was in the year 1898 when there was major reconstruction of the sanctuary to bring it to the current appearance.
This month’s Easterly reflects the enforced changes that we endure. We are very grateful to all contributors. The readings this month are taken from the Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith by CH Spurgeon. Since we do not have our usual church calendar our prayer points have to be different. This month I have prepared a few chapters from Scripture to direct our prayers.
People may use these bible readings as they wish while we pray for the exceptional times we are entering into.
We may pray for an end to this pandemic; for patients and families afflicted; for medical staff developing antidotes to it; for medical staff faced with treating affected patients; for local health and social services which are very strained; for those vulnerable to illness that we may know of; for those in Care Homes; for essential workers of many sorts including those who provide us with essential supplies; for teachers, children, students whose studies have been interrupted; for self employed business people; for people struggling financially and for so many others. Please pray for wisdom for local and national government; for national Church leaders and Presbytery officebearers; Pray for Coronavirus Support a local interchurch initiative; pray for volunteers who will be called upon. Please pray for our church which has been blessed over the generations. Pray it will not be long for return to our normal activities. Pray for ongoing services and pastoral care; for officebearers and Sheila. Pray for unity and patience. Pray for those who will provide the ongoing weekly recorded services.
For everyone there will be so many other matters to pray for in these days.
God’s sovereignty Psalm 24, Nehemiah 9, Psalm 104, Genesis 1
Security in God Psalm 46, Psalm 61, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 43
Hope in Jesus Isaiah 40, Hebrews 10, 2 Corinthians 4
Relief from anxiety Matthew 6, Matthew 11, 1 Peter 5
Daily Readings by C H Spurgeon
From the ‘Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith’
Published by and with kind permission from
Christian Focus Publications
Geanies House, Fearn, Tain
Ross-shire, Scotland, UK, IV20 1TW
Wednesday 1st April
‘The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein’ Isaiah 35:8
The way of holiness is so straight and plain that the simplest minds cannot go astray if they constantly follow it. The worldy wise have many twists and turns, and yet they make terrible blunders, and generally miss their end. Worldly policy is a poor short-sighted thing, and when men choose it as their road, it leads them over dark mountains. Gracious minds know no better than to do as the Lord bids them; but this keeps them in the king’s highway, and under royal protection. Let the reader never for a moment attempt to help himself out of a difficulty by a falsehood, or by a questionable act; but let him keep in the middle of the high road of truth and integrity, and he will be following the best possible course. In our lives we must never practise circular sailing, nor dream of shuffling. Be just and fear not. Follow Jesus and heed no evil consequences. If the worst of ills could be avoided by wrong-doing, we should, in the very attempt, have fallen into an evil worse than any other ill could be. God’s way must be the best way. Follow it though men think you a fool, and you will be truly wise. Lord, lead thy servants in a plain path because of their enemies.
Thursday 2nd April
‘Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all’
1 Timothy 4:15
This is, practically, a promise that, by diligent meditation and the giving up of our whole mind to our work for the Lord, we shall make a progress which all can see. Not by hasty reading, but by deep meditation, we profit by the Word of God. Not by doing a great deal of work in a slovenly manner, but by giving our best thought to what we attempt, we shall get real profit. ‘In all labour there is profit,’ but not in fuss and hurry without true heart-energy.
If we divide ourselves between God and mammon, or Christ and self, we shall make no progress. We must give ourselves wholly to holy things, or else we shall be poor traders in heavenly business, and at our stock-taking no profit will be shown.
Friday 3rd April
‘Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord’. 2 Kings 22:19
Many despise warning, and perish. Happy is he who trembles at the Word of the Lord. Josiah did so, and he was spared the sight of the evil which the Lord determined to send upon Judah because of her great sins. Have you this tenderness? Dou you practise this self-humilitation? Then you also shall be spared in the evil day. God sets a mark upon the men that sigh and cry because of the sin of the times. The destroying angel is commanded to keep his sword in his sheath till the elect of God are sheltered: these are best known by their godly fear, and their trembling at the word of the Lord. Are the times threatening? Do Popery and Infidelity advance with great strides, and do you dread national chastisement upon this polluted nation? Well you may. Yet rest in this promise, ‘Thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.’ Better still, the Lord himself may come, and then the days of mourning shall be ended.
Saturday 4th April
‘And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee’ Exodus 23:28
What the hornets were we need not consider. They were God’s own army, which he sent before his people to sting their enemies, and render Israel’s conquest easy. Our God by his own chosen means will fight for his people, and gall their foes, before they come into the actual battle. Often he confounds the adversaries of truth by methods in which reformers themselves have no hand. The air is full of mysterious influences which harass Israel’s foes. We read in the Apocalypse that ‘the earth helped the woman.’ Let us never fear. The stars in their courses fight against the enemies of our souls. Oftentimes when we march to the conflict we find no host to contend with. ‘The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.’ God’s hornets can do more than our weapons. We could never dream of the victory being won by such means as Jehovah will use. We must obey our marching orders and go forth to the conquest of the nations for Jesus, and we shall find that the Lord has gone before us, and prepared the way; so that in the end we shall joyfully confess, ‘His own right hand, and his holy arm, have gotten him the victory.’
Sunday 5th April
‘Thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me’ Isaiah 44:21
Our Jehovah cannot so forget his servants as to cease to love them. He chose them not for a time, but for ever. He knew what they would be when he called them into the divine family. He blots out their sins like cloud; and we may be sure that he will not turn them out of doors for iniquities which he has blotted out. It would be blasphemy to imagine such a thing. He will not forget them so as to cease to think of them. One forgetful moment on the part of our God would be our ruin. Therefore he says: ‘Thou shalt not be forgotten of me.’ Men forget us: those whom we have benefited turn against us: we have no abiding place in the fickle hearts of men; but God will never forget one of his true servants. He binds himself to us not by what we do for him, but by what he has done for us. We have been loved too long, and bought at too great a price to be now forgotten. Jesus sees in us his soul’s travail, and that he never can forget. The Father sees in us his own effectual work. The Lord thinketh upon us. This day we shall be succoured and sustained. Oh, that the Lord may never be forgotten of us!
Monday 6th April
Blessed prospect! This is no dream of an enthusiast, but the declaration of the infallible Word, Jehovah shall be known among all people, and his gracious sway shall be acknowledged by every tribe of man. Today, it is far from being so. Where do any bow before the Great King? How much there is of rebellion! What lords many, and gods many, there are on the earth! Even among professed Christians what diversities of ideas there are about him and his gospel! One day there shall be one King, one Jehovah, and one name for the living God, O Lord, hasten it! We daily cry, Thy kingdom come.
We will not discuss the question as to when this shall be, lest we lose the comfort of the certainty that it shall be. So surely as the Holy Ghost spake by his prophets, so surely shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord. Jesus did not die in vain. The Spirit of God worketh not in vain. The Father’s eternal purposes shall not be frustrated. Here, where Satan triumphed, Jesus shall be crowned, and the Lord God Omnipotent shall reign. Let us go our way to our daily work and warfare made strong in faith.
Tuesday 7th April
‘And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee’ Deuteronomy 28:10
Then we can have no reason to be afraid of them. This would show a mean spirit, and be a token of unbelief rather than of faith. God can make us so like himself, that men shall be forced to see that we rightly bear his name, and truly belong to the Holy Jehovah. Oh, that we obtain this grace, which the Lord waits to bestow!
Be assured that ungodly men have a fear of true saints. They hate them, but they have a fear of true saints. They hate them, but they also fear them. Haman trembled because of Mordecai, even when he sought the good man’s destruction. In fact, their hate often arises out of a dread which they are too proud to confess. Let us pursue the path of truth and uprightness without the slightest tremor. Fear is not for us, but for those who do ill and fight against the Lord of hosts. If indeed the name of the Eternal God is named upon us, we are secure; for, as of old, a Roman had but to say Romanus sum, I am a Roman, and he could claim the protection of all the legions of the vast empire, so everyone who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty heaven of angels than leave a saint without defence. Be braver than lions for the right, for God is with you.
Wednesday 8th April
‘The Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome’ Acts 23:11
Are you a witness for the Lord, and are you just now in danger? Then remember that you are immortal till your work is done. If the Lord has more witness for you to bear, you will live to bear it. Who is he that can break the vessel which the Lord intends again to use?
If there is no more work for you to do for your Master, it cannot distress you that he is about to take you home, and put you where you will be beyond the reach of adversaries. Your witness-bearing for Jesus is your chief concern, and you cannot be stopped in it till it is finished: therefore be at peace. Cruel slander, wicked misrepresentation, desertion of friends, betrayal by the most trusted one, and whatever else may come, cannot hinder the Lord’s purpose concerning you. The Lord stands by you in the night of your sorrow, and he says, “Thou must yet bear witness for me.” Be calm, be filled with joy in the Lord.
If you do not need this promise just now, you may very soon. Treasure it up. Remember also to pray for missionaries, and all persecuted ones, that the Lord would preserve them even to the completion of their life work.
Thursday 9th April
‘Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them’ Psalm 119:165
Yes, a true love for the great Book will bring us great peace from the great God, and be a great protection to us. Let us live constantly in the society of the law of the Lord, and it will breed in our hearts a restfulness such as nothing else can. The Holy Spirit acts as a Comforter through the Word, and sheds abroad those benign influences which calm the tempests of the soul.
Nothing is a stumbling-block to the man who has the Word of God dwelling in him richly. He takes up his daily cross and it becomes a delight. For the fiery trial he is prepared, and counts it not strange, so as to be utterly cast down by it. He is neither stumbled by prosperity, as so many are, nor crushed by adversity, as others have been; for he lives beyond the changing circumstances of external life. When his Lord puts before him some great mystery of the faith which makes others cry, ‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’ the believer accepts it without question; for his intellectual difficulties are overcome by his reverent awe of the law of the Lord, which is to him the supreme authority to which he joyfully bows. Lord, work in us this love, this peace, this rest, this day.
Friday 10th April
‘And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live’ Numbers 21:8
This is a glorious gospel type, Jesus, numbered with the transgressors, hangs before us on the cross. A look to him will heal us of the serpent-bite of sin; will heal us at once – ‘When he looketh upon it, he shall live.’ Let the reader who is mourning his sinfulness note the words – ‘Everyone that looketh upon it shall live.’ Every looker will find this true. I have found it so. I looked to Jesus and lived at once. I know I did. Reader, if you look to Jesus you will live too. True, you are swelling with the venom, and you see no hope. True, you are swelling with the venom, and you see no hope. True, also, there is no hope but this one. But this is no doubtful cure – ‘Everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.’
The brazen serpent was not lifted up as a curiosity to be gazed upon by the healthy; but its special purpose was for those who were ‘bitten’. Jesus died as a real Saviour for real sinners. Whether the bite has made you a drunkard, or a thief, or an unchaste or a profane person, a look at the Great Saviour will heal you of these diseases and make you live in holiness and communion with God. Look and live.
Saturday 11th April
‘And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord’ Jeremiah 31:34
Truly, whatever else we do not know, we know in the Lord. This day is this promise true in our experience, and it is not a little one. The
The least believer among us knows God in Christ Jesus. Not as fully as we desire; but yet truly and really we know the Lord. We not only know doctrines about him, but we know HIM. He is our Father and our Friend. We are acquainted with him personally. We can say, ‘My Lord, and my God’. We are on terms of close fellowship with God, and many a happy season do we spend in his holy company. We are no more strangers to our God, but the secret of the Lord is with us.
This is more than nature could have taught us. Flesh and blood has not revealed God to us. Christ Jesus has made known the Father to our hearts. If, the, the Lord has made us know himself, is not this the fountain of all saving knowledge? To know God is eternal life. So soon as we come to acquaintance with God we have the evidence of being quickened into newness of life. O my soul, rejoice in this knowledge, and bless thy God all this day!
Sunday 12th April
‘For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more’ Jeremiah 31:34
When we know the Lord, we receive the forgiveness of sins. We know him as the God of Grace, passing by our transgressions. What a joyful discovery is this!
But how divinely is this promise worded: the Lord promises no more to remember our sings! Can God forget? He says he will, and he means what he says. He will regard us as though we had never sinned. The great atonement so effectually removed all sin, that it is to the mind of God no more in existence. The believer is now in Christ Jesus, as accepted as Adam in his innocence; yea, more so, for he wears a divine righteousness, and that of Adam was but human.
The Great Lord will not remember our sins so as to punish them, or so as to love us one atom the less because of them. As a debt when paid ceases to be a debt, even so doth the Lord make a complete obliteration of the iniquity of his people.
When we are mourning over our transgressions and shortcomings, and this is our duty as long as we live, let us at the same time rejoice that they will never be mentioned against us. This makes us hate sin. God’s free pardon makes us anxious never again to grieve him by disobedience.
Monday 13th April
‘Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body’ Philippians 3:21
Often when we are racked with pain, and unable to think or worship, we feel that this indeed is ‘the body of our humiliation’; and when we are tempted by the passions which rise from the flesh we do not think the word ‘vile’ at all too vigorous a translation. Our bodies humble us; and that is about the best thing they do for us. Oh, that we were duly lowly, because our bodies ally us with animals, and even link us with the dust!
But our Saviour, the Lord Jesus, shall change all this. We shall be fashioned like his own body of glory. This will take place in all who believe in Jesus. By faith their souls have been transformed, and their bodies will undergo such a renewal as shall fit them for their regenerated spirits. How soon this grand transformation will happen we cannot tell; but the thought of it should help us to bear the trials of today, and all the woes of the flesh. In a little while we shall be as Jesus now is. No more aching brows, no more swollen limbs, no more dim eyes, no more fainting hearts. The old man shall be no more a bundle of infirmities, not the sick man a mass of agony. ‘Like unto his glorious body.’ What an expression! Even our flesh shall rest in hope of such a resurrection!
Tuesday 14th April
‘He shall choose our inheritance for us’ Psalm 47:4
Our enemies would allot us a very dreary portion, but we are not left in their hands. The Lord will cause us to stand in our lot, and our place is appointed by his infinite wisdom. A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny. The ordaining of all things is with God, and we are glad to have it so; we choose that God should choose for us. If we might have our own way we would wish to let all things go in God’s way.
Being conscious of our own folly, we would not desire to rule our own destinies. We feel safer and more at ease when the Lord steers our vessel that we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgment. Joyfully we leave the painful present and the unknown future with our Father, our Saviour, our Comforter.
O my soul, this day lay down thy wishers at Jesus’ feet! If thou hast of late been somewhat wayward and wilful, eager to be and to do after thine own mind, now dismiss thy foolish self, and place the reins in the Lord’s hands. Say, ‘He shall choose.’ If others dispute the sovereignty of the Lord, and glory in the free will of man, do thou answer them, ‘He shall choose for me. It is my freest choice to let him choose. As a free agent, I elect that he should have absolute sway.
Wednesday 15th April
‘The desire of the righteous shall be granted’ Proverbs 10:24
Because it is a righteous desire it is safe for God to grant it. It would be neither good for the man himself, nor for society at large, that such a promise should be made to the unrighteous. Let us keep the Lord’s commands, and he will rightfully have respect to our desires.
When righteous men are left to desire unrighteous desires, they will not be granted to them. But then these are not their real desires; they are their wanderings or blunders; and it is well that they should be refused. Their gracious desires shall come before the Lord, and he will not say them nay.
Does the Lord deny us our request for a time? Let the promise for today encourage us to ask again. Has he denied us altogether? We will thank him still, for it always was our desire that he should deny us if he judged a denial to be best.
As to some things, we ask very boldly. Our chief desires are for holiness, usefulness, likeness to Christ, preparedness for heaven. These are the desires of grace rather than of nature – the desires of the righteous man rather than of the mere man. God will not stint us in these things, but will do for us exceeding abundantly. ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.’ This day, my soul, ask largely!
Thursday 16th April
‘In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD’ Zechariah 14:20
Happy day when all things shall be consecrated, and the horses; bells shall ring out holiness to the Lord! That day has come to me. Do I not make all things holy to God? These garments, when I put them on or take them off, shall they not remind me of the righteousness of Chris Jesus, my Lord? Oh, that today my clothes may be vestments, my meals sacraments, my house a temple, my table an altar, my speech incense, and myself a priest! Lord, fulfil thy promise, and let nothing be to me common or unclean.
Let me in faith expect this. Believing it to be so, I shall be helped to make it so. As I myself am the property of Jesus, my Lord may take an inventory of all I have, for it is altogether his own; and I resolve to prove it to be so by the use to which I put it this day. From morning till evening I would order all things by a happy and holy rule. My bells shall ring – why should they not? Even my horses shall have bells – who has such a right to music as the saints have? But all my bells, my music, my mirth, shall be turned to holiness, and shall ring out the name of ‘The Happy God.’
Friday 17th April
‘When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him’ Proverbs 16:7
I must see that my ways please the Lord. Even then I shall have enemies; and, perhaps all the more certainly because I endeavour to do that which is right. But what a promise this is! The Lord will make the wrath of man to praise him, and abate it so that it shall not distress me. He can constrain an enemy to desist from harming me, even though he has a mind to do so. This he did with Laban, who pursued Jacob, but did not dare to touch him. Or he can subdue the wrath of the enemy, and make him friendly, as he did with Esau, who met Jacob in a brotherly manner, though Jacob had dreaded that he would smite him and his family with the sword. The Lord can also convert a furious adversary into a brother in Christ, and a fellow-worker, as he did with Saul of Tarsus. Oh, that he would do this in every case where a persecuting spirit appears!
Happy is the man whose enemies are made to be to him what the lions were to Daniel in the den – quiet and companionable! When I meet death, who is called the last enemy, I pray that I may be at peace. Only let my great care be to please the Lord in all things. Oh, for faith and holiness; for these are a pleasure unto the Most High!
Saturday 18th April
‘I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee’ Joshua 1:5
This word to Joshua is often quoted; it is the basis of that New Testament word, ‘He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’
Beloved, a life of warfare is before us, but the Lord of Hosts is with us. Are we called to lead a great but fickle people? This promise guarantees us all the wisdom and prudence that we shall need. Have we to contend with cunning and powerful enemies? Here is strength and valour, prowess and victory. Have we a vast heritage to win? By this sign we shall achieve our purpose; the Lord himself is with us.
It would be woe to us indeed if Jehovah could fail us; but, as this can never be, the winds of disquietude are laid to sleep in the caverns of divine faithfulness. On no one occasion will the Lord desert us. Happen what may, he will be at our side. Friends drop from us, their help is but an April shower; but God is faithful, Jesus is the same for ever, and the Holy Spirit abideth in us.
Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away. Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail; and, as he will not forsake me, neither will I forsake him. Oh for a restful faith!
Sunday 19th April
‘For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search for my sheep, and seek them out’ Ezekiel 34:11
This he does at the first when his elect are like wandering sheep that know not the shepherd or the fold. How wonderfully doth the Lord find out his chosen! Jesus is great as a seeking shepherd as well as a saving shepherd. Though many of those his Father gave him have gone as near to hell-gate as they well can, yet the Lord by searching and seeking discovers them, and draws nigh to them in grace. He has sought out us: let us have good hope for those who are laid upon our hearts in prayer, for he will find them out also.
The Lord repeats this process when any of his flock stray from the pastures of truth and holiness. They may fall into gross error, sad sin, and grievous hardness; but yet the Lord, who has become surety for them to his Father, will not suffer one of them to go so far as to perish. He will by providence and grace pursue them into foreign lands, into abodes of poverty, into dens of obscurity, into deeps of despair; he will not lose one of all that the Father has given him. It is a point of honour with Jesus to seek and to save all the flock, without a single exception. What a promise to plead, if at this hour I am compelled to cry, ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep’!
Monday 20th April
‘The just shall live by faith’ Romans 1:17
I shall not die, I can, I do believe in the Lord my God, and this faith will keep me alive. I would be numbered among those who in their lives are just; but even if I were perfect I would not try to live by my righteousness; I would cling to the work of the Lord Jesus, and still live by faith in him and by nothing else. If I were able to give my body to be burned for my Lord Jesus, yet I would not trust in my own courage and constancy, but still would live by faith.
‘Were I a martyr at the stake
I’d plead my Saviour’s name;
Intreat a pardon for his sake,
And urge no other claim’
To live by faith is a far surer and happier thing than to live by feelings or by works. The branch, by living in the vine, lives a better life than it would live by itself, even if it were possible for it to live at all apart from the stem. To live by clinging to Jesus, by deriving all from him, is a sweet and sacred thing. If even the most just must live in this fashion, how much more must I who am a poor sinner! Lord, I believe. I must trust thee wholly. What else can I do? Trusting thee is my life. I feel it to be so. I will abide by this even to the end.
Tuesday 21st April
‘He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again’ Proverbs 19:17
We are to give to the poor out of pity. Not to be seen and applauded, much less to get influence over them; but out of pure sympathy and compassion we must give them help.
We must not expect to get anything back from the poor, not even gratitude; but we should regard what we have done as a loan to the Lord. He undertakes the obligation, and, if we look to him in the matter, we must no look to the second party. What an honour the Lord bestows upon us when he condescends to borrow of us! That merchant is greatly favoured who has the Lord on his books. It would seem a pity to have such a name down for a paltry pittance; let us make it a heavy amount. The next needy man that comes this way, let us help him.
As for repayment, we can hardly think of it, and yet here is the Lord’s note of hand. Blessed be his name, his promise to pay is better than gold and silver. Are we running a little short through the depression of the times? We may venture humbly to present this bill at the Bank of Faith. Has any one of our readers been a bit of a screw to the poor? Poor soul. May the Lord forgive him.
Wednesday 22nd April
‘The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down’ Psalm 146:8
Am I bowed down? Then let me urge this word of grace before the Lord. It is his way, his custom, his promise, his delight, to raise up them that are bowed down. Is it a sense of sin, and a consequent depression of spirit, which now distresses me? Then the work of Jesus is, in this case, made and provided to raise me up into rest. O Lord, raise me, for thy mercy sake!
Is it a sad bereavement, or a great fall in circumstances? Here again the Comforter has undertaken to console. What a mercy for us that one person of the Sacred Trinity should become the Comforter! This work will be well done, since such a glorious One has made it his peculiar care.
Some are so bowed down that only Jesus can loose them from their infirmity, but he can, and he will, do it. He can raise us up to health, to hope, to happiness. He has often done so under former trials, and he is the same Saviour, and will repeat his deeds of loving-kindness. We who are today bowed down and sorrowful, shall yet be set on high, and those who now mock at us shall be greatly ashamed. What an honour to be raised up by the Lord! It is worth while to be bowed down that we may experience his upraising power.
Thursday 23rd April
‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death’ Revelation 2:11
The first death we must endure unless the Lord should suddenly come to his temple. For this let us abide in readiness, awaiting it without fear, since Jesus has transformed death from a dreary cavern into a passage leading to glory.
The thing to be feared is not the first, but the second death; not the parting of the soul from the body, but the final separation of the entire man from God. This is death indeed. This death kills all peace, joy, happiness, hope. When God is gone all is gone. Such a death is far worse than ceasing to be: it is existence without the life which makes existence worth the having.
Now, if by God’s grace we fight on to the end, and conquer in the glorious war, no second death can lay its chill finger upon us. We shall have no fear of death and hell, for we shall receive a crown of life which fadeth not away. How this nerves us for the fight! Eternal life is worth a life’s battle. To escape the hurt of the second death is a thing worth struggling for throughout a lifetime.
Lord, give us faith, so that we may overcome, and then grant us grace to remain unharmed though sin and Satan dog our heels!
Friday 24th April
‘Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of host, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it’ Malachi 3:10
Many read and plead this promise without noticing the condition upon which the blessing is promised. We cannot expect heaven to be opened or blessing poured out unless we pay our dues unto the Lord our God and to his cause. There would be no lack of funds for holy purposes if all confessing Christians paid their fair share.
Many are poor because they rob God. Many churches, also, miss the visitations of the Spirit because they starve their ministers. If there is no temporal meat for God’s servants, we need not wonder if their ministry has but little food in it for our souls. When missions pine for means, and the work of the Lord is hindered by an empty treasury, how can we look for a large amount of soul-prosperity?
Come, come! What have I given of late? Have I been mean to my God? Have I stinted my Saviour? This will never do. Let me give my Lord Jesus is tithe by helping the poor, and aiding his work, and then I shall prove his power to bless me on a large scale.
Saturday 25th April
‘The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him’ Proverbs 20:7
Anxiety about our family is natural, but we shall be wise if we turn it into care about our own character. If we walk before the Lord in integrity, we shall do more to bless our descendants than if we bequeathed them large estates. A father’s holy life is a rich legacy for his sons.
The upright man leaves his heirs his example, and this in itself will be a mine of true wealth. How many men may trace their success in life to the example of their parents!
He leaves them also his repute. Men think all the better of us as the sons of a man who could be trusted, the successors of a tradesman of excellent repute. Oh, that all young men were anxious to keep up the family name!
Above all, he leaves his children his prayers and the blessing of a prayer-hearing God, and these make our offspring to be favoured among the sons of men. God will save them even after we are dead. Oh, that they might be saved at once!
Our integrity may be God’s means of saving our sons and daughters. If they see the truth of our religion proved by our lives, it may be that they will believe in Jesus for themselves. Lord, fulfil this word to my household!
Sunday 26th April
‘And the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest’ Deuteronomy 15:18
An Israelitish master was to give his bond servant liberty in due time, and when he left his service he was to start him in life with a liberal portion. This was to be done heartily and cheerfully, and then the Lord promised to bless the generous act. The spirit of this precept, and, indeed, the whole law of Christ, binds us to treat work people well. We ought to remember how the lord has dealt with us, and that this renders it absolutely needful that we should deal graciously with others. It becomes those to be generous who are the children of a gracious God. How can we expect our great Master to bless us in our business if we oppress those who serve us?
What a benediction is here set before the liberal mind! To be blessed in all that we do is to be blessed indeed. The Lord will send us this partly in prosperity, partly in content of mind, and partly in a sense of his favour, which is the best of all blessings. He can make us feel that we are under his special care, and are surrounded by his peculiar love. This makes this earthly life a joyous prelude to the life to come. God’s blessing is more than a fortune. It maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow therewith.
Monday 27th April
‘The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me’ Psalm 138:8
He who has begun will carry on the work which is being wrought within my soul. The Lord is concerned about everything that concerns me. All that is now good, but not perfect, the Lord will watch over, and preserve, and carry out to completion. This is a great comfort. I could not perfect the work of grace myself. Of that I am quite sure, for I fail every day, and have only held on so long as I have because the Lord has helped me. If the Lord were to leave me, all my past experience would go for nothing, and I should perish from the way. But the Lord will continue to bless me. He will perfect my faith, my love, my character, my life-work. He will do this because he has begun a work in me. He gave the concern I feel, and, in a measure, he has fulfilled my gracious aspirations. He never leaves a work unfinished; this would not be for his glory, nor would it be like him. He knows how to accomplish his gracious design, and though my own evil nature, and the work, and the devil, all conspire to hinder him, I do not doubt his promise. He will perfect that which concerneth me, and I will praise him for ever. Lord, let thy gracious work make some advance this day!
Tuesday 28th April
‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’ 2 Corinthinans 6:16
Here is a mutual interest. Each belongs to each. God is the portion of his people, and the chosen people are the portion of their God. The saints find in God their chief possession, and he reckons them to be his peculiar treasure. What a mine of comfort lies in this fact for each believer!
This happy condition of mutual interest leads to mutual consideration. God will always think of him. This day my God will perform all things for me; what can I do for him? My thoughts ought to run towards him, for he thinketh upon me. Let me make sure that it is so, and not be content with merely admitting that so it ought to be.
This, again, leads to mutual fellowship. God dwells in us, and we dwell in him; he walks with us, and we walk with God. Happy communion for this!
Oh, for grace to treat the Lord as my God: to trust him, and to serve him, as his Godhead deserves! Oh, that I could love, worship, adore, and obey Jehovah in spirit and in truth! This is my heart’s desire. When I shall attain to it, I shall have found my heaven. Lord, help me! Be my God in helping me to know thee as my God, for Jesus’ sake.
Wednesday 29th April
‘Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee’ Proverbs 20:22
Be not in haste. Let not anger cool down. Say nothing and do nothing to avenge yourself. You will be sure to act unwisely if you take up the cudgels and fight your own battles; and, certainly, you will not show the spirit of the Lord Jesus. It is nobler to forgive, and let the offence pass. To let an injury rankle in your bosom, and to meditate revenge, is to keep old wounds open, and to make new ones. Better forget and forgive.
Peradventure, you say that you must do something or be a great loser; then do what this morning’s promise advises: ‘Wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.’ This advice will not cost you six-and-eight pence but it is worth far more. Be calm and quiet. Wait upon the Lord: tell him your grievance: spread Rab-shakeh’s letter before the Lord, and this of itself will be an ease to your burdened mind. Besides, there is the promise, ‘He shall save thee.’ God will find a way of deliverance for you. How he will do it neither you nor I can guess, but do it he will. If the Lord save you, this will be a deal better than getting into petty quarrels, and covering yourself with filth by wrestling with the unclean. Be no more angry. Leave your suit with the Judge of all.
Thursday 30th April
‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it’ Revelation 2:17
My heart, be thou stirred up to persevere in the holy war, for the reward of victory is great. Today we eat of heavenly food which falls about our camps; the food of the wilderness, the food which comes from heaven, the good which never fails the pilgrims to Canaan. But there is reserved for us in Christ Jesus a still higher degree of spiritual life, and a food for it which, as yet, is hidden from our experience. In the golden pot which was laid up in the ark there was a portion of a manna hidden away, which though kept for ages never grew stale. No one ever saw it; it was hid with the ark of the covenant, in the Holy of Holies. Even so, the highest life of the believer is hid with Christ, in God. We shall come to it soon. Being made victorious through the grace of our Lord Jesus, we shall eat of the King’s meat, and feed upon royal dainties. We shall feed upon Jesus. He is our ‘hidden manna’ as well as the manna of the wilderness. He is all in all to us in our highest, as well as in our lowest estate. Helps us to fight, gives us the victory, and then is himself our reward. Lord, help me to overcome.