Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Monday, October 27, 2014

The word of truth

One of the many titles given to the Holy Scriptures is “the Word of Truth” (2Ti 2:15). They are such because a communication from “the God of Truth” (Isa 65:16), a revelation from Him “that cannot lie” (Tit 1:2). O the privilege of possessing such a boon! Do we definitely and thankfully realize when we take up the Bible to read that it is nothing less than a message from Heaven, reliably translated into our mother tongue? What a priceless treasure! “The Word of Truth”: no errors or fables in it, nothing to mislead or deceive; but inerrant and absolutely trustworthy. How grateful is this writer that from the cradle he was trained to receive the Sacred Scriptures as the Word of Truth, and that his parents in their turn had received the same pious teaching in their infancy. True, that training had been lost upon him unless God had been pleased to sanctify the same and in His appointed time to grant him a personal and saving knowledge of the Truth. Yet it is His way to honour those who honour Him (1Sa 2:30), though He reserves to Himself the sovereign right to do so in whatever manner pleases Him.

The Word of Truth: what a peerless and priceless treasure is this! Not a production of the Church nor even the composition of the holy angels, but the Word of God Himself. It is a “light that shineth in a dark place” (2Pe 1:19). It is a life-giving Stream for parched pilgrims as they journey through this “wilderness of sin.” It is the Word of Truth in pointed contrast from all “science falsely so-called” (1 Tim 6:20) and “philosophy and vain deceit” (Col 2:8). Living as we are in a world of shams and make-beliefs, of exaggeration and prevarication, of fiction and falsity, how inestimably valuable is this “Thus saith the Lord”! Well may we say of the Scriptures “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold” (Psa 19:10). In the midst of so much conflicting opinion, speculation and uncertainty, where should we be if the Word of Truth had not been vouchsafed to us? We should be mariners upon the sea of life without chart or compass. We should be ignorant alike of our origin, our duty, and our destiny. 

What a blessing it is when all doubt as to their Divine Authorship is removed and we are favoured with a definite assurance that the Holy Scriptures are “the Word of Truth”! One of the chief elements in “the faith of God’s elect” (Tit 1:1) is a deep conviction, an unshakable confidence, that the Bible is a Divine revelation. Neither the arguments of men nor the assaults of Satan can move its possessor from what has been rightly termed this “impregnable rock.” The Christian knows it is the Word of God for it has spoken to his heart in a way nothing else has or can. It would make no difference to him if every one else on earth was a sceptic or infidel, for his faith stands not in the wisdom of men but in the power of God, and neither human sophistry nor Satanic malice can destroy it. How could they, when God has given him to “know the certainty of the words of Truth” (Pro 22:21). Hence it is that he can exclaim with one of old “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jer 15:16). 

What an unspeakable mercy it is when we are given a love of the Truth! By nature both writer and reader are liars. “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies” (Psa 58:3). No child has to be taught to lie—it comes naturally to him; nor does he have to be corrupted by contact with others—he is born corrupt at the core of his being. This is the just entail of the Fall. Our first parents preferred the Devil’s lie to God’s Truth, and all of their descendants inherit the poisonous virus which then entered into them. In consequence “the whole world lieth in the wicked one” (1Jo 5:19) and he is “a liar and the father of it” (Joh 8:44). Thus by nature we have no love for the Truth, but instead a strong antipathy and resistance against it. The unregenerate do not want to know the truth about themselves: no, they wish to be flattered and encouraged to entertain a good opinion of themselves. Hence, the Lord Jesus declared “Because I tell you the Truth, ye believe not” (Joh 8:45)—had He told them lies they had welcomed Him. 

Since the whole world lieth in the wicked one and he is the arch-liar, we should not be surprised at the world being so full of pretence and hum-buggery and that the Truth of God is so bitterly hated. A striking illustration of this solemn feature, now spread before us on a lower plane, appears in the outlook of most of our fellows toward the war. The great majority do not want to know the truth but wish to hear fairy tales. The popular speaker or writer is the one who airily announces that victory is just round the corner and who heralds each minor success as proof that the end of the awful conflict is near at hand. Such a statement is likely to be hotly challenged, yet while many say and probably think they want to be told the real facts and know the worst, deep down in their hearts they do not. They pride themselves on being optimists and denounce as pessimists any who differ from them. Since this be the case in connection with temporal things,who is likely to tolerate the truth concerning Eternity! The fact is that “Truth is fallen in the street” (Isa 59:14) and is now being ruthlessly trampled on on every side. 

How thankful we should be if we can honestly say “I have chosen the way of Truth” (Psa 119:30). The religious realm is a veritable “babel” or confusion of tongues, wherein are innumerable controversies and doubtful disputations, all varnished with specious pretence, until many are at their wit’s end and the “unlearned and unstable” are in despair. But not so the one who is resolved to be directed by the Word of God and who brings all he hears and reads to the touchstone of the Truth, proving all things and holding fast that which is good (1Th 5:21). One reason why God permits so much disputing and doctrinal differences is that His own people may be stirred up to the more diligent search for Truth itself. Even though I have chosen the way of Truth I shall still need to pray, “Remove from me the way of lying” (Psa 119:29), to which the flesh is ever prone. “Lead me in Thy Truth” (Psa 25:5), must be my daily cry. Best of all is it when we are found “walking in the Truth” (2Jo 4), for it is then God is most glorified. His Word is given to us for this very purpose: to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path—to direct our conduct and regulate our deportment. In proportion as our daily life is ordered by the Word do we evince the sincerity and reality of our profession. The extent to which we actually walk in the Truth will determine the measure of our enjoyment of God’s approbation: “If a man love me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him” (Joh 14:23). “His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psa 91:4): our defence and protection—panoplied in “the whole armour of God” the Christian is safe in the day of battle. By walking in the Truth we find rest unto our souls (Jer 6:16). —AWP

His guidance

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go; I will guide you with My eye." — Psalm 32:8

No more precious assurance can I have, than this — that I am under the constant, loving guidance of my heavenly Father — that He appoints the bounds of my habitation, and overrules all events for my good — that my whole life is a plan arranged by Him. Every apparent little contingency, as well as every momentous turn and crisis-hour — forms part of that plan! "God examines every path a man takes." "A man's heart devises his way — but the Lord directs his steps."
"I will instruct you and teach you." How patiently does this almighty Preceptor train, and with what infinite wisdom and tenderness does He adapt His varied teachings to the needs and requirements of His people! It is "line upon line;" — or if need be, cross upon cross — trial upon trial. Or it may be that startling providences are no longer required — the gentle indications of His will are enough, "I will guide you with My eye." The earthquake — the hurricane — the wind — the fire, may now have fulfilled their mission. "The still, small voice" is now sufficient.
And HOW does He promise to teach and to guide? Not in the way that we would like to go — the way of our own choosing — but "the way which you shall go." Often we would decide on pursuing the sunny highway. But God says, 'the rough mountain-track is best for you!' Often we would, like Israel, take the near and smooth road to Canaan by the land of the Philistines. But God's pillar-clouddecides otherwise, and takes us by a circuitous route "by the way of the wilderness." Often we would prefer, like the disciples at sea of Tiberias, the safe path by the seashore, so as to avoid the gathering storm, "for the wind is contrary." But God says, "No!" He constrains us to get into the ship.
"He led them by the right path — to go to a city where they could live!" It is not for us to question His plans. He led His people of old — He leads them still — by the right path. There is a day coming when, in the words of Augustine, "both vessel and cargo safe, and not a hair of our heads hurt — we reach the haven of our desire," we shall own the wisdom of every earthly lesson, the "needs-be" of every wave in the troubled sea!
The gardener has occasionally to subject his plants to apparently rough usage — cutting, lopping, mutilating; reducing them to unsightly shapes — before they burst into flower. Summer, however, before long, vindicates the wisdom of his treatment, in its clusters of varied fragrance and beauty. So also, at times, does our heavenly Gardener see fit to use His pruning-knife. But be assured there is not one superfluous or redundant lopping. We shall understand and acknowledge an infinitely wise necessity for all — when the plant has unfolded itself into the full flower, bathed in the tints and diffusing the fragrance of Heaven.
Believer, go up and on your way — rejoicing in the teaching and guidance of unerring Wisdom! "I will guide you with My eye." The sleepless eye of Israel's un-slumbering Shepherd is upon you by day and by night — in sickness and in health — in joy and in sorrow — in life and in death! "Does not He who weighs the heart, perceive it? Does not He who guards your life, know it?" "But the Lord watches over those who fear Him, those who rely on His unfailing love."