Archive for the ‘Daily Relationship’ Category

Spiritual Thirst and Vulnerability

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city’s water supply. Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name.” 2 Sam. 12:27-28

Two thoughts are inspired by 2 Sam. 12:27,28.

(1). If a city’s future is endangered by the loss of its water supply—note the water  supply was the first thing taken by Joab when attacking the people of Ammon, isn’t our spiritual future endangered if we lose our daily supply of the water of life by way of neglect or compromise?

(2). Notice next that Joab rightly recognized that the loss of water made the townsmen particularly vulnerable to any invading army. As a result, he urged David to quickly come and take the city lest he—Joab—take the city and receive the honor as the conqueror! We live among people who are thirsting for the water of life. They are particularly vulnerable to the next scheme of Satan. We also need to make it a matter of urgent priority to reach them before he does.

It goes without say, these verses speak to our need to spend time with Jesus. Did you schedule time with Him this morning? Did you take time to read at least a verse and kneel by your bed and send up a prayer before retiring? Were you at least praying for the people you come in contact with? Maybe God has someone He needs you to speak with.

Read more about David on Dan’s page of writings.

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Kindness Spurned

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

“It happened … that the king of the people of Ammon died…. Then David said, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” 2 Sam. 10:1,2

Last time we saw how David extended kindness to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son who had two lame feet, based on David’s generosity, and not  on the basis of any merit of Mephibosheth.  As a result, Mephibosheth reacquired lands, servants, moved to Jerusalem and ate daily at David’s table.

In the next chapter we find Nahash the king of Ammon dying and David desiring to extend kindness to his son Hanun. But where Mephibosheth gratefully accepted David’s kindness, Hanun spurned it.

I use the word “spurn” because Hanun not only rejected David’s offer, but did so in an insulting and disrespectful, way.

The outcome wasn’t pleasant. The people of Ammon—the Ammonites, quickly realized David was taking the insult personally, wasn’t happy, and sending troops. In response they hired a Syrian army to defend them. Soon, what had started as an effort to show kindness became mortal combat. Lives were lost. Where there could and should have been a positive relationship, everything soured.

What happened?

Unfortunately for Hanun, some of the Princes of his country questioned David’s motives and whispered lies in Hanun’s ears. As a result, instead of welcoming David’s messengers, Hanun shaved off half their beards, cut off their garments in the middle of their buttocks, and sent them away in this most shameful way.

As a result of rejecting David’s generous offer, and adding insult to injury, where there should have been a time of enjoying David’s kindness, Hanun and his people bore the brunt of David’s anger.

We have to wonder what motivated the people who insinuated that David had sinister motives? Lack of power if Hanun and David got along too well? Loss of influence?

As I read this I was reminded of Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

In Hosea’s day, the people had prophets and much knowledge.   But individuals claiming to be prophets had misled them, and therefore they came to have “no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God in the land,” Hosea later warned “You shall stumble in the day; the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night.”

Today, God is extending his kindness to you. Will you accept it? The danger is that someone will come along and whisper negative things in your ear like they did to Hanun, and you will reject what was offered in kindness. And the results may be just as negative!

Among other things His kindness includes His daily presence, His Word, the ongoing help of the Holy Spirit, His messengers, His way of doing things, his way of living, his way of relating to others, and of course most of all His gift of salvation—as Jesus put it, “living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

In too many cases God’s generous offer of kindness is being rejected. Of course that includes His offer of salvation. But another more subtle rejection prevents God from doing a great work in and through His children: the almost universal rejection of His Word, or at least portions—sometimes it seems like much—of what is in His Word. I find it hard to believe but it is true. In many cases, the things recorded in the Old Testament are supposedly only binding on the people who lived at that time. The prophetic books are either past history, or only speak of events coming in the future. We are left with little that applies in our day—and even that is being watered down.

Wouldn’t you agree that God wasted a lot of time and effort to protect the Bible if only a tiny portion of it applies to our day?

Speaking for myself, I take the whole Bible. That way I don’t have to do any spiritual gymnastics to explain what it means and to whom it applies.

In terms of my personal experience, speaking of prayer and obtaining answers to prayer, it was only when I took EVERYTHING the Bible taught on the subject seriously, that I finally began getting answers.

Notice what Hosea goes on to say: “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Could this lack of knowledge explain the declining conditions in society in our day? Could it explain the deplorable state of our families?

So how is it with you? Today God is wanting to show you kindness. You can either accept it, like Mephibosheth, or spurn his offer like Hanun. God wants to show you kindness in giving you the gift of eternal life in His future Kingdom; he also wants to show you kindness in experiencing a transformed life now. Both of those offers come by way of His Word: the Living Word AND the Written Word—regarding the latter, starting in Genesis, which speaks of how the world began, and continues all the way through to Revelation, which explains how human history will close and God’s eternal kingdom will begin.

I hope you will trust God’s motives, accept His gracious and generous offer, continue to move ever closer to Him, and enjoy the rich food that comes when one discovers that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

So did you spend time with God today? Did that time translate into your talking about God with someone else? I hope so!

Father, bless my friend today. Might my friend accept your offer of kindness. Might he or she trust you enough to say “yes” even if everything isn’t necessarily fully understood. Show that You can be trusted. You know the burdens that are being carried today. Take over those burdens, bringing clear and decided direction and help. I ask all of this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Kindness Accepted

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

“Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Sam. 9:1

After subduing the land and putting into place his administration (2 Sam. 8:15-18), among the first things David did, was to seek someone of the family of Saul to show kindness to, in memory of Jonathan.

There was a candidate: Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth happened to be a son of Jonathan but he was lame in both feet—he had been dropped when family members had hastily fled the palace upon hearing that Saul and Jonathan had died (2 Sam. 4:4).

In showing kindness, David responded out of the generosity of his own heart, not on the basis of Mephibosheth’s merit!.

David restored to Mephibosheth the lands and servants that formerly belonged to Saul. He also invited him to eat at his table—which necessitated Mephibosheth living in Jerusalem with David.

Mephibosheth responded in amazement: “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” He had good reason to be amazed. He was from Saul’s family—didn’t David have reason to hate any family member of Saul? He had no property to offer—at least when David first called for him. And he had two lame feet—he could do nothing productive to act out his appreciation. To all appearances and in his own mind, he was nothing better than a dead dog!

I often hear from visitors to path2prayer.com and readers of the newsletter who lament their inability to serve God as they wish. They are only too aware that earthly blood flows through their veins and characters, and as hard as they try change, they find themselves doing what they don’t want to do, and not doing what they want to do (Rom. 7:19). They mourn their “lame feet” so far as changing anything goes, and see nothing worthy to approve themselves to God.

Fortunately for Mephibosheth, David’s offer was based on his generosity as I said, not Mephibosheth’s merit. All Mephibosheth could do was gratefully accept David’s offer, live in Jerusalem, and enjoy the food from David’s table.

In writing this I am reminded of Eph. 2:5-7 “Even when we were dead (slain) by our own shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; (He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for) it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved….” Amplified Version

Today, like Mephibosheth and other unworthies since—individuals like Manasseh come to mind (2 Chron. 33:10-13), we need to gratefully accept God’s generous offer, live in His presence, and daily eat from His table.

We also need to stop thinking of about our “lame feet” and all the things that have contributed to them being lame. Mephibosheth had not chosen to be dropped, but he was; we didn’t choose to be born in Adam, but we were. He could not change his circumstances of himself; neither can we. He could never adequately show his gratitude, neither can we. But he accepted the offer and made the necessary changes to receive the blessings of that offer, and so should we!

His part was to move to Jerusalem, then remain in Jerusalem and enjoy the food offered at David’s table. Which of course raises the question: Did you linger in the King’s presence and eat from his table this morning?

Finally, the next chapter tells about David wanting to show kindness to the son of the King of Ammon who had just passed away. Instead of responding positively, this boy questioned David’s motives, rejected his offer, and realized a very different outcome. More about that next time.

Father thank you that Your love and attention is not based on our good behavior or our bad behavior, but on what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank You that out of Your love to Jesus, You want to show us kindness today. Help us to accept Your kindness, move into a closer relationship with You, and help us to enjoy the food from Your table. We need Your help with our families, some of which are not accepting Your generous offer of new life. We need Your help with our jobs, because though we may be spiritually living in Your kingdom now, we are still physically living in Satan’s earthly kingdom. Some of us need Your help with our physical health. Others need Your financial help. Whatever the case may be, thank You that Your offer to us is based on Your generosity and not on our merit, though we have to take advantage of Your offer. So bless the one reading this today, and might the time spent in Your presence and eating from Your table be sweet; and might Your presence be with him or her in all that goes on. Might Your blessings be known continually even if there are frequent reminders, so to speak, of “lame feet.” I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have a blessed day!

Proximity and Activity PLUS Obedience!

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

“And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.” 2 Sam. 6:11

All Israel had rejoiced when the ark had been returned by the Philistines on a new cart, pulled by oxen who had been mysteriously directed by an unseen hand, with golden gifts to show respect. The submission and showing of respect by the Philistines was a great triumph for God.

David also wanted to show respect, and arranged for the ark to be transported on a new cart, accompanied by the two sons of Abinadab who were priests, and even recruited 30,000 “choice” men to sing and celebrate.

Unfortunately the oxen stumbled, one of the men, Uzzah, tried to steady the ark with his hand, and was immediately struck down.

David reacted with fear and consternation, and left the ark with Obed-Edom, the Gittite.

Obed-Edom didn’t know what to expect and probably viewed the coming of the Ark with fear and trepidation. But it turned out to be a blessing: “The Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.

It isn’t easy serving God in this day and age. Busy schedules, trials dished out by the devil, limited time, distractions, relationships, financial hardships, even facebook and the internet, etc., combine to make it hard to have quality time with God. But God will bless us for doing so.

In writing I am reminded of a time when George Muller was visiting a  man who was so poor and busy that he did not have time for personal devotions. Muller chided the man and told him that if he took time with God, he would have more time. And so it was.

So do you regularly spend time with Jesus?

But there is a sobering reminder in the story: not only do we need to spend time with God, but we need to also follow what we read. Uzzah had not prepared for taking the ark, nor had he pointed out that the ark was being transported the wrong way—neither for that matter had the 30,000 choice men. So when the Oxen stumbled and Uzzah tried to steady it, he was struck down—proximity and activity with the things of God are good, but not good enough if they are not combined with obedience to the Word of God.

Quoting Muller,

If God does bless us in reading His word, He expects that we should be obedient children, and that we should accept the Word as His will, and carry it into practice. If this be neglected, you will find that the reading of the Word, even if accompanied by prayer, meditation, and faith, will do you little good. God does expect us to be obedient children, and will have us practice what He has taught us. The Lord Jesus Christ says If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” And in the measure in which we carry out what our Lord Jesus taught, so in measure are we happy children. And in such measure only can we honestly look for help from the Father, even as we seek to carry out His will.

Read more of what Muller said on a page at path2prayer.com

Tarrying With Jesus

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Luke 24:25 “But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.”

To the disciples walking to Emmaus, Jesus was only a stranger initially, and an uninformed one as well. As they put it to him: “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” Then they shared the dispiriting events of the weekend and expressed their disappointment that Jesus had not been the one hoped for either.

Jesus responded by opening the scriptures about Himself to them, starting with Moses. Needless to say it was probably one of the most complete Bible studies ever given on the topic, and made for an interesting journey

Concerned for his wellbeing, they invited him home. It was only when they were sharing supper that it suddenly dawned upon them that the stranger was their beloved Master!

Two things strike me: (1) Apparently it is possible to hear from God directly without it affecting our hearts. (2) Apparently God will only share some information with us, if we especially invite him to tarry with us—if we take more personal time with Him! I am guessing that some days our busy schedules seem to preclude such tarrying. It goes without saying that we are poorer for our hurry.

So, did you spend time reading your Bible and praying this morning? Did you also tarry to hear from him and enjoy that intimacy where He was able to share Himself with you? I know you want that and so do I. As we take time day after day, we will increasingly have the kind of “supper” moments described above.

Father in heaven, I could stand to have you give me a few Bible studies. I would love to better understand what is going on in the world right now, as well as how to live for you in such a way that all will want to love and honor You. But I want you to touch more than just my mind, but my heart and everything else too. Please do the same for the one reading this. You know what the day holds for him or her. You know the challenges that need to be prepared for. You know the things Satan has been doing to discourage. We come to you together this morning, asking that you would be the GREAT priority in life. Please send angels and help in whatever ways are needed, that every demand of truth and of duty might be met. Please do this for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Have a super day!

Hanging Out With the Enemy

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Isa. 35:3,4 “Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”

1 Sam. 29 finds David hanging out with the enemy Philistines, and marching to battle against the army of his own Jewish people. Immediately ahead of David was Achish, the pagan king who had taken David into his trust, and was believing that David had become his loyal subject. The Philistines were not as convinced of David’s loyalty, and insisted he return home. David loudly protested his dismissal, but I think he was also breathing a sigh of relief.

We’ve all had moments when we were hanging out with the enemy, and marching to his drumbeat more than God’s! Sometimes our plans haven’t worked out, regardless of how we justified our actions, and we’ve found ourselves mercifully dismissed. Deep down we have also been sighing in relief.

That’s where I was going to initially stop reading. Then I ventured to the first verses of 1 Sam 30 where I read of another enemy—the Amelakites—swooping in while David was away with Achish and not keeping a watch on his own family. Taking advantage of his absence, the marauders took David’s wives and children, those of his men, all of their possessions, and also burned their city. Nothing was left.

A lesser man might have thrown in the towel at that point. As it were, David and his men wept, and for good reason. It appeared they had lost everything near and dear, and there was no reason to believe anything would change—they were weeping the consequences of their behavior. I wonder if they were also weeping for their foolish absence when they were marching with the enemy—weeping for their personal responsibility in what had happened? I wonder, do we grieve more for the consequences of our waywardness, than our responsibility for that waywardness?

David more than mourned, however, the Bible says “He encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Sam. 30:6) In spite of his personal chaos, he recognized that God had once again intervened in rescuing him, perhaps so that he could go and rescue his own family.

Have miseries come into your family due to distracting forays with the enemy? Are you too friendly with those who are opposed to God? Please don’t take my questions the wrong way, but it is possible, and important to consider. As a single parent with a less than ideal relationship with my kids, I confess it is a question I ask myself at times. I can point to many “reasons” for what is going on, but I know there is more below the surface and I seek to know God’s opinion on the question, regardless of how unsettling His response may be.

Fortunately there is hope! Like David we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord. Your life may be going to custard right now. Things may seem entirely out of control? But God is still working behind the scenes and He is working ALL things for your good (Rom. 8:28).

As we continue further through the story, we find David asking God very specific questions as to what he should do. He was having personal time with God and His Word. Fortunately he trusted God and obeyed in pursuing the captors.

So the question comes, are you spending time in God’s Word? Are you asking Him the hard questions? Are you asking in order to obey? Your families will thank you if you do.

In David’s case, the story concludes by telling how David attacked the marauders and how not even one of them survived the battle. The enemy was history. Praise God, enemies can become history when we are working according to God’s plan.

It also says David “recovered all that the Amelakites had carried away, and David recovered his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them. David recovered all!” (1 Sam. 30:18,19). Another huge praise God!

Let me say one more thing. Looking back I am convinced that the only safe way to go through life is to go forward in the center of ALL of God’s will. Jesus said under similar distressing conditions, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Living by less than “every” word was the great temptation then; it is still the great temptation in our day.

Father, again I come from Your word in awe that you don’t give up on wayward children. If you didn’t lose hope for David and walk away from his circumstances, than there is surely hope for those reading this and for me. Help us to take a hard look at our lives, to assess in what ways, and to what degree, we may be walking with the enemy. Help us to be sincere and open to your answer. Help us then to take decided steps back to you, and help us to do so today. Thank you that the same victory over the enemy won in David’s day can be won in our day. Thank you that the losses can be recovered somehow as well. I ask this in Jesus’ name, with much gratitude in advance, Amen.

Dan

He Made Everything A Matter of Prayer

Monday, October 4th, 2010

I send out a short note to encourage accountability and prayer and Bible study almost every day. I am going to try and send it to my blog as well so that others can also read it who are not on the direct mailing list. Please write if you want to be on the list directly.

Good morning!

I confess to being distracted by a biography of Louis Harms this weekend. I’ve been reading right along, but Harms accomplished amazing things, and thus I have found it hard to take the time to write the daily note. Please forgive me.

Like Muller, Harms made everything a matter of prayer. He was absolutely convinced that God would come through, and God never disappointed him. He was the pastor in a poor district in Northern Germany. His members were farmers and tradesman. Spirituality had at one time been of such a low ebb in his church that his members had been caught passing a bottle of alcohol from member to member during the preaching. So he prayed. God answered by bringing an awakening that lasted 17 years. He also began organizing his church to do mission service since he was convinced that mission service would maintain the spiritual health of his members. First he bought a farm on ten acres to use as a training institute since he knew he would have to prepare his members to go out as missionaries. Later he had a ship built since God directed him that way–the educated people around thought he was crazy, and reminded of his lack of funds. Eventually he began sending out trained self-reliant missionaries–first to Africa, and later to other continents. He also began a ministry for ex-convicts and began a missionary publication that soon had 13,000 subscribers. Not bad for seven years of effort.

When needing wisdom he prayed. When lacking funds he prayed. God responded every time. Like Muller, Harms didn’t let others know what was needed since he was opposed to beggars of any kind. He also accepted God’s providential leadings in his life, which often included pain since he developed rheumatism early in life. In this regard, he commented: “It is true that I suffer much everyday,” he said, “and more every night. I do not wish it otherwise. My Savior is my physician. I love to lie awake the entire night, because I can then commune with Him.”

From what I have read of Harms, I am pretty certain he would have said that daily Bible study and prayer were the key to God’s blessing in his life. So how are you doing? Did you spend time reading the Bible today? Praying? Is God responding? Are you obeying God’s promptings? I hope so.

Father in heaven, if you were able to do such a work in and through Louis Harms, can’t you do the same in and through me? Can’t you do the same in my friend? I am convinced you can. Please bless my friend this day. Prompt Bible study, prayers and communing with Yourself. Then prompt directions. Help my friend to respond in obeying. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

You can find more about him at the Louis Harms page at path2prayer.com.

I will shortly have audio and other resources from my most recent trip to the South Pacific. I believe the series presented were greatly blessed of the Holy Spirit.

God bless you today!

The River Still Flows

Friday, August 1st, 2008

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God….” Psalms 46:4

I found an old poem this morning which brought joy to my heart. Though I don’t know the author’s name, because it comes from a book of poetry of the German Pietists called, “The Hymns of Tersteegen, Suso and Others,” I am confident it comes from one of the people who so desired to have a heart experience with Jesus in the 1600-1700s.

The River of God

From the Rock that God has riven
Flows the sacred river,
Through the wastes of barren ages,
Ever and for ever.

Still on this side and on that side,
Grow the healing trees-
Bearing fruit for all the hunger
Leaves for all Disease.

From the everlasting fountains
Still it flows along,
Making glad the holy city
Of eternal song.

From the throne of Christ in glory,
Rock that God has riven,
Onward still the crystal river
Bears the life of Heaven.

Sheep lie yet in quiet pastures
By the waters still,
Lilies grow in God’s green meadows,
Cedars on His hill.

Still to drink the living waters
Come the souls athirst,
Eyes behold the Face of Jesus
Even as at first.

Clad in white there walk beside Him
Still the blessed throng-
Through the ages sound unsilenced
Psaltery and song.

Onwards weary generations
Pass through deserts dread.
Void and silent skies above them,
Under them the dead.

Whilst unseen the Lord’s fair garden
Round about them glows,
And the barren wilderness
Blossom as the rose.

Whilst beside them unimagined
Glide the waters fair-
Whilst around, the psalms ascending
Tell that Christ is there.

C.P.C., From Hymns of Tersteegen, Suso and Others.

Find many more beautiful writings on Christian devotion at path2prayer.com

This link will direct you to pages with information on how to have a stronger devotional life: Help me have a stronger devotional life

You can also find sermons from Gerhard Tersteegen at path2prayer.com

 

Weak Faith

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I was blessed recently in coming across this quotation of Henry Venn. I suspect many of us need to be reminded that a weak faith is still an effectual faith, for it is based on Jesus. Read, rejoice, and share!

“Weak faith seeks salvation only in Christ, and yields subjection to him, and brings the soul to His feet, though without assurance, of being as yet saved by him. There is not one duty a weak believer slights. Weak faith is attended with sorrow and humiliation; as in his case he said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.’ It produces new desires and affections, new principles and purposes, and a new practice, though not in such strength and vigor as is found in old established believers. Ask the weakest and most disconsolate believer, whether he would forsake and give up his hope in Christ; and he will eagerly reply, ‘Not for the whole world!’ There is, therefore, no reason why weak believers should conclude against themselves; for weak faith unites as really with Christ as strong faith, just as the least bud in the vine draws sap and life from the root no less than the strongest branch. Weak believers, therefore, have abundant cause to be thankful; and while they reach after growth in grace, ought not to overlook what they have already received.” Henry Venn, Letter, 1784.

To learn more about having a strong faith, search out the many resources on living more abundantly in Jesus at path2prayer.com. You will be encouraged reading about Christian assurance in Ryle’s chapter on the same subject from his book Holiness.

How To Live On Christ

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

How To Live on Christ is the title of the booklet by Harriet Beecher Stowe which Hudson Taylor sent in 1869 to the missionaries affiliated with the China Inland Mission.

Ever since reading the booklet in Broomhall’s book Hudson Taylor: The Man Who Believed God, I have wanted to locate and read it for myself.

As a result I began searching the internet, used bookstore stores, and other sources to find information on the book. I found nothing. I then contacted other ministry leaders. Once again no success! I even visited an archive of Hudson Taylor’s letters and effects in England to see if a copy might be there, particularly focusing on 1869. But the book remained a mystery.

This evening I began using bits and pieces of the famous lines to see if I could find then using Google Books. I succeeded. Harriet Beecher Stowe words in How To Live On Christ are taken from her introduction to Charles Dean’s book on Anne Peck.

Here is the introduction. Read and be blessed!

You can find more resources on this subject at path2prayer.com.

How To Live On Christ

THE following sketch of one, rendered interesting not only by natural amiableness, but by a singularly early devotion and a premature death, we hope will not be found without its uses, especially among those like her in the morning of life.

To some things in it we would especially direct our readers, as uncommon.

1st. It is the example of one who made it a serious and practical endeavor to do all the good she could.

Many Christians are satisfied if they are doing something –others wish to feel sure that they are doing much; but few admit the obligation, or make serious efforts, to do all they can. Very few seem to have made any practical estimates of what they have to give to Christ, or to be inquiring, with deep solicitude, how it may all be employed in his service.

2d. The motive in her case, seems not to have been conscience, nor a sense of obligation working with a powerful and wearying force, but love.

It is this that gives the impulsive, free, and beautiful character to all her efforts. Why, at the age of fourteen, did she go from dwelling to dwelling, urging with childlike simplicity the tender love of Christ; comforting the sick, and praying with the dying? Not because she felt it to be her duty and dared not to do otherwise, but because, full of love to our unseen Saviour, and of pity for those who neglected him, she, like his apostles, ‘could not but speak the things she had seen and heard;’ and so far from regarding it as a wearisome effort to perform these offices, it would have been a more difficult task for her to refrain from them. This explains the reason, why, though she was diffident and retiring, it seemed to her not an obligation, but a privilege, to pour forth her soul in prayer at the social altar. So full of gratitude, devotion, and love was she always, that prayer was to her sweet necessity, a rest, a relief. Hence the frequency of her seasons of prayer, and her artless declaration, that she ‘could not help praying oftener.’

These remarks may assist those, who, conscientiously attempting the duties of religion, find them so often a hard and painful endeavor, and who progress by a constant and desperate struggle. How is all to be made easy?–to flow forth spontaneously and delightfully? Christ certainly had some meaning when he said, ‘Learn of me and ye shall find rest;’–he meant just what he declared, when he said, ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light;’ and they who do not find them easy and light, may be persuaded that they are not following the practice of religion in Christ’s way, but in some colder and more difficult mode of their own. They may be Christians, and their sad and disheartened endeavors may be very precious in the eyes of Him who will not break even a bruised reed; but while their whole life is a constant conflict of a sense of obligation and duty with an ever rebellious heart, they may be persuaded that they do not yet understand the terms on which their Saviour would have them live with him; nor the perfect ‘freedom of the sons of God.’ There is such a way of living with, or in Christ, that watchfulness, prayer, devotion, patience, gentleness, meekness, become so many sweet and spontaneous impulses, instead of labored acquisitions, alternately the subjects of hope and of despair; and this is true freedom .

The very figure which Christ uses illustrates this idea; ‘as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ Now how does a branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine and air; not by vain struggles for those vivifying influences which give beauty to the blossom, and verdure to the leaf;–it simply abides in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union; and the fruit and blossoms appear as of spontaneous growth.

How, then, shall a Christian bear fruit? By efforts and struggles to obtain that which is freely given; by meditations on watchfulness, on prayer, on action, on temptation, and on dangers? No, there must be a full concentration of the thoughts and affections on Christ; a complete surrender of the whole being to him; a constant looking to him for grace. Christians in whom these dispositions are once firmly fixed, go on calmly as the sleeping infant borne in the arms of its mother. Christ reminds them of every duty in its time and place–reproves them for every error–counsels them in every difficulty, excites them to every needful activity. In spiritual, as in temporal matters, they take no thought for the morrow–for they know that Christ will be as accessible tomorrow as to-day, and that time imposes no barrier on his love. Their hope and trust rest solely on what he is willing and able to do for them; on nothing that they suppose themselves able and willing to do for him. Their talisman for every temptation and sorrow, is their oft repeated, childlike surrender of their whole being to him; as the infant in every trouble, finds a safe asylum in the bosom of its mother. That such was the course of the subject of this narrative is shown by her great and uncommon activity in every good thing; for, we read, ‘He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit ; for without me ye can do nothing.’

Some may say, ‘Truly this is a very delightful state of feeling, but how shall we obtain it? How shall we begin?’

We answer, just in the same way that a sinner begins the Christian life, by coming to the Saviour, and making a full, free and hearty surrender of his body, soul and spirit; fully resolved in future to resign the whole to the Redeemer’s direction. And having made this general surrender, make it also in particular, in reference to every circumstance of every day.

Let us imagine a day spent on this principle. You awake in the morning and commend yourself to Christ’s care for the day. The first temptation that besets you may lead you to a waste of time. Say immediately, ‘Lord, assist me in this particular.’ The next may be a temptation to irritation. Cast yourself again on Christ for this. A few hours after you may be tempted to censorious remarks on some neighbor. Cast yourself upon Jesus. A while after, you may perhaps forget yourself and give utterance to some hasty or ill-judged expression. Turn instantly to Christ, confess your fault, and ask for further help. If you find yourself beset with uncommon difficulties and temptations, and in danger of forgetting what manner of spirit you are of,–steal from your avocations though but for a few moments, and ask help of Jesus. The example of the subject of this memoir, in having a full and stated season of prayer at noon, cannot be too highly commended. The middle is usually the most unspiritual part of the whole day. The cool of the morning is generally to every one a time of good purpose and resolution, and the quiet of the evening is often devoted to penitence and retrospection; but the noon is too often a season of hurry and bustle–there is therefore so much the greater need that we then consecrate a portion of the time as a stated season of prayer. But the Christian, who would live as Christ directs, must beware of making seasons of prayer the substitute for that constant recurrence to him which we have endeavored to inculcate. Morning and evening the little child is with its mother in a long and fond embrace; it listens with rapture to the expressions of her affection, and willingly renders the tribute of promised obedience. But in times of difficulty or danger, it instinctively runs to the same arms for protection, without reflecting whether the danger be great or small.

A direction of great importance to one who would live this life, is this:–In your sins, troubles, and temptations, make no distinction between great and little things. Remember that nothing that has the slightest bearing on your improvement and spiritual progress is insignificant in the estimation of Christ. Now it is a fact, that Christians are more impeded in their progress by little things, than by great ones;–because, for great things, they seek the strength of Christ, and for little ones, they act in their own. But if the little accidents of every day’s occurrence, the petty annoyances to which every one is subjected, be sufficient to ruffle the temper and excite an unchristian spirit, they are to you matters of very serious moment; and as such, you must regard them–nor can you fully abide in Christ by attaching to such things that just importance, which shall lead you to refer them to Him with the same freedom that you feel in reference to what you commonly call serious affairs. If you are conscious of peculiar and besetting faults, familiarize your mind to those incidents of the life of Jesus, which show a particular bearing on them.

If you are irritable, examine all those incidents which show his untiring patience; if you are proud, those which exhibit his humility; if you are worldly, those that show his spirituality; if you are negligent and careless in duty, those which show his incessant zeal and activity. Study them, understand them, keep them in memory, and pray to him to infuse into you the same spirit. The memory too may well be stored with those sacred songs descriptive of the character of the Saviour, or imploring his divine aid; for their sweet words will sometimes come to you in hours of temptation like gentle messages from your Lord.

The remarks now made are intended as general hints; but the only teacher of the true life of faith, is Christ. Go to him and ask him to direct you. Remember the remarkable dying words of the subject of this memoir, in relation to the Saviour, ‘He came and looked upon me and said, “I am willing to make you just as meek as I am, just as patient, just as lovely. Indeed it seemed as if he had been by me long before, only I had not perceived him.”‘ Christ in the Bible says this to every Christian, when he says, ‘I will put my law into their hearts and write it in their thoughts.’ Christ is willing to make you just as meek, just as patient, just as lovely as he is; and if you desire it earnestly, if you desire it more than everything else, if you are willing to give up all beside for it, he will explain to you practically what is meant by ‘abiding in him,’ and by his coming to make his abode with you. Then your Christian race will be full of love and joy; more like the free flight of a bird, than the struggles of a captive. You will naturally lay aside every weight, and the sin that easily besets you, and run with patience the race that is set before you, because your whole soul will be so filled with the view of Jesus at its termination; you will be so inspired with admiration, hope and joy, that you will run because you cannot hold back;–the spectators, the race-course, all about you, will be forgotten in the view of Jesus, at once your helper, your judge, and your eternal reward.

Harriet Beecher Stowe