He that watereth shall be watered also himself. – Prov 11:25
If I carefully consider others, God will consider me, and in some way or other He will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the Lord will consider me. Let me look after little children, and the Lord will treat me as His child. Let me feed His flock, and He will feed me. Let me water His garden, and He will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the Lord’s own promise; be it mine to fulfill the condition and then to expect its fulfillment.
I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to lament. It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish and out of love to my Lord Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. My tank is getting very low; no fresh rain comes to fill it; what shall l do? I will pull up the plug and let its contents run out to water the withering plants around me. What do I see? My cistern seems to fill as it flows. A secret spring is at work. While all was stagnant, the fresh spring was sealed; but as my stock flows out to water others the Lord thinketh upon me. Hallelujah!
“So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds. ’Put this money to work,’ he said, ’until I come back.’” – Luke 19:13
We are doing business in this world for Christ. Each one of us has something of His–a pound which He has entrusted to us to trade with as his agent. Our life itself, with all its powers, its endowments, its opportunities, its privileges, its blessings, its possibilities–is our pound. Our life is not our own. We are not in this world merely to have a good time for a few years. Life is a trust. We are not done with it either, when we have lived it through to its last day. We must render an account of it to him who gave it to us. Our business is to gather gains through our trading with our Lord’s money. We are required to make the most that is possible of our life!
People often speak of the solemnity of dying. It is a grave and serious matter–but it is a great deal more solemn thing to live. Dying is but giving back into God’s hand his own gift–life. If we have lived well, dying is victory, glory, the trampling of life’s fragile vanities to fragments, as our soul bursts into real and full life and blessedness.
It is living then, which is serious and solemn. Life to its last particle is our Lord’s property, entrusted to us to be used so that it shall grow. Then comes the judgment. We shall have to look up into our Lord’s face, and tell him what we have done with his pound. We shall be expected to return our trust, not , only kept safe–but enhanced in value!
Streams in the Desert
I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. – Phil 4:11
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”
“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.”
They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.
“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on.” – Phil 3:13-14
There is a proper use of past experiences. We should remember our past lost condition–to keep our hearts ever humble. We should remember the lessons learned from past experience so as to profit by our mistakes. The true science of living–is not to make no mistakes, which is impossible—but not to commit the same mistakes a second time.
We should remember past mercies and blessings. If we do, our past will shine down upon us like a sky full of stars. Such remembering of the past will keep the gratitude ever fresh in our heart, and the incense of praise ever burning on the altar. Such a house of memory becomes a refuge to which we may flee in trouble. When sorrows gather thickly; when trials come on like the waves of the sea; when the sun goes down and every star is quenched, and there seems nothing bright in all the present–then the memory of a past full of goodness, a past in which God never once failed us, becomes a holy refuge for us, a refuge gemmed and lighted by the lamps of other and brighter days. Thus there are right uses of the past.
But there is a sense in which we should altogether forget our past. It is unwise to live looking back. We should keep our eyes ever turned forward to new hopes, new attainments, new achievements!
Streams in the Desert
Peter was kept in prison: but prayer [instant and earnest prayer] was made for him. – Acts 12:5
Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.
There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord. How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; loved ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God. —C. H. P.
Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer—the man himself. No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man’s whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn’t withstand such praying. There’s more of this embodied praying needed. —The Bent-knee Time
“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.” —C. H. Spurgeon