We all of us, I hope, love the Bible, but I doubt whether we get all the personal help from it that we might do. We have often I am sure, proved what an immense value it is to us at times of great pressure. But it is also true that we often feel on looking back upon some event of our past lives, that if the word of divine counsel and promise had come to us at a given moment we might have been saved from an act of folly and sin which now we deeply deplore.
Peter remembered the warning word of the Lord when it was too late. After his denials he heard the cock crowing, and the sound recalled the Master's warning to him, "I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me."
We should have thought that any man would have carried such a solemn forecast vividly in his mind and have taken some precautions against the committal of such sin. But Peter did not, and some of us do not. It is not till the evil plan is mature, the evil word spoken, the evil deed committed that the word we had read in the Scripture comes to convict us and send us weeping into the darkness of shame because we did not "remember His commandments to do them."
The word of God in the course of its pages tells us faithfully of our secret and our public faults, and it is an appointed means of our practical sanctification. Does not the Psalmist say, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word." — Psalm. 109:9.
But God's word shows us the right way as well as condemns us if we take the wrong turning. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," the Psalmist sings, and we like him should desire that our steps may be ordered in His word. — Psalm 119:105, 133.
What then is the secret of going wrong? It is surely in most cases the neglect to take counsel of God. Starting without Him, carrying on without Him, what wonder if there should be lamentable failure in our life.
"Cast the net on the right side of the ship and ye shall find," the Lord said to His disciples who had fished all night and caught nothing. — John 21. They had started that fishing excursion without consulting the Master; they carried on all night without Him, and it was a barren dawning for them without Him.
But the Lord gave them His word of advice even before they sought it. They then threw the net at His bidding, and immediate success was theirs.
Nevertheless behind them was the wasted night — much toil, no spoil. Throughout its wearisome hours they had not the comfort of the Master's word of approval, nor of the Master's presence. They had not consulted the One who was able to bring the fish to their net, and to direct them when and where to throw the net over the fish. They had forgotten the Lord's own promises of guidance for those who sought it. — Matt. 7:7.
Ask, and it shall be given you;
Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
I beg you not to forget to take counsel of that "Blessed Book for the love of which thousands have died, and by the power of which thousands have been made alive." And "if sinners entice thee consent thou not." Seek wisdom from the Scriptures, and grace from the Saviour.
Thoughts in Camp.
For months after I joined the Service I was kept in a Depot waiting to be posted somewhere and to be set to work. It seemed such utterly wasted time to remain idle all that while, doing nothing when there was so much work elsewhere requiring to be done.
But somewhere unknown to me my name was scheduled, and no doubt I was periodically discussed by Heads of departments, until finally there was a call for a certain unit, and I was chosen to fill the vacancy.
So, surely, are our daily lives regulated by the Heavenly Command. There is work for each Christian to do in God's good time and at His direction. So we do well to leave our affairs to Him in the sure confidence that He will send us where we can do the most and the best for Him.
Do not be impatient at enforced idleness, but always be ready for the call to action when it comes. The soldier who springs smartly to attention at the word is of more military value than he who does what and when he thinks best.
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You will all have experienced the feelings of disappointment and disgust which comes over you at being sent to do a "fatigue" just when you are hoping to have a little time to yourself. Sometimes it happens that you are selected for some-particularly uncongenial task when you are on the point of going to meet some special friend or relation. Then it needs all the grace you can muster to do your job cheerfully and with all your might; does it not?
But consider for a moment. Did not the Lord Jesus undertake for us a difficult but voluntary task? or may I not reverently call it a "fatigue" Enthroned in the heavens, with all power His own, and with legions of angels to do His bidding, why should He come here to be a "Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief"? Alas, we all know why it was necessary for Him so to come. And we can praise and thank Him for taking up our case. But does not this thought fill us with shame for grumbling, and drive us to do our earthly tasks cheerfully and well, since all we do should be for His sake?
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Are you discouraged or disheartened? Read: Psalm 31:24.