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In Green Pastures
July



 

July 1

The Value of Time

Our days, as God gives them to us—are like beautiful summer fields. The minutes are blooming flowers and silvery grass-blades and stalks of wheat with their golden grains. The hours are trees with their rich foliage or vines with their blossom-prophecies of purple clusters. Oh the fair, blessed possibilities of the days and hours and minutes—as they come to us from God's hands! But what did you do with yesterday? How does the little acre of that one day look to you now? What are we doing with our time? Every moment God gives us, has in it a possibility of beauty as well as something to be accounted for. Are we using our time for God?

July 2

For the Sake of Christ

Love to Christ must be the spring and inspiration of all duty, all heroism, all fine achievement, all service to our fellow-men. "In His Name" is the true motto of all Christian living. Serving our fellow-men amounts to nothing in Heaven's sight—if it is not done for the sake of Christ. The service must be really rendered to Christ, no matter to whom the kindness is shown—or otherwise there is no blessing in it, however beautiful it may be in itself. Things we do from any other motive, have no acceptableness in the sight of God.

July 3

Watch Your Heart Life

We need to watch our heart-life, for it is in thoughts, feelings, dispositions, moods, tempers, affections, that all departure from Christ begins. We need to watch our inner spiritual state. The world may see no abatement in our zeal, in our religious activity, in our earnest advocacy of the truth—and yet there may be less prayerfulness, less love for Christ, less tenderness of conscience, less hunger for righteousness, less desire for holiness. Is Christ more to you now, than ever he was before? Does his love constrain you with overmastering sway? Can you say, with Zinzendorf, "I have only one passion—and that is Christ!"? Is your heart right?

July 4

Praying for Our Country

We need to pray much for our country. Perhaps we err in making our prayers ordinarily only for ourselves and for our own little world. Certainly our country ought to have a place in the daily supplications of every Christian. Those who rule over us ought to be continually remembered. They are men, and need divine wisdom and guidance. They are men under the sway of political influence, and we need to pray that they be kept free from any influence which would lead them to forget God. We need to pray for our institutions, that they be kept pure and holy—that righteousness may prevail throughout the land. We need to pray for all our people, that they may be made good citizens—that uprightness and integrity may characterize them. "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord."

July 5

Over-Answered Prayer

No true, faith-winged prayer, goes unanswered. But many a prayer which seems to us unanswered is really over-answered. The very thing we ask God does not grant, because he is able to do something infinitely better for us. We ask only for bodily help or relief, and he sees that we need far more some deep spiritual blessing. He answers our soul's needs—before he gratifies our personal wishes. We ask for a temporal favor; he does not give it to us—but instead he bestows upon us a spiritual good which will enrich us forever. We ask for the lifting away of a burden, or the averting of a sorrow; our plea is not granted in form—but instead we receive a new impartation of the power of Christ. Thus many times our little prayers are really over-answered.

July 6

Pass on Your Blessing

God does not like to bestow his blessings where they will be hoarded—but he loves to put them into the hands of those who will do the most with them to bless their fellows. The central object of true living, is to be helpful to others. The true life is one devoted to Christ, to be used then for him in blessing others. Lay every gift at the Master's feet, and then, when it has been blessed by him, carry it out to bless others. Bring your barley loaves to Christ, and then, with the spell of his touch upon them—you may feed hungry thousands with them.

July 7

Under God's Orders

Wherever God puts us, he has something definite just there for us to do—something which he has brought us there on purpose to do. There is something he created you specially to do. He brings you every day into places where it is true that you are there for a definite duty. Every time we find ourselves in the presence of a need or an opportunity for helpfulness, we may well stop and ask if God has not brought us to this point for this very thing. We are ever really under orders. Ofttimes the orders are sealed, and are opened only as the hours move. To realize this, gives all our commonest life a sacredness that should make us reverent. We are continually serving our King.

July 8

The Beginning of Bitterness

Let us instantly crush the beginnings of envy, jealousy, and hate in our hearts—never allowing the day to close on a bitter feeling. The hour of evening prayer, when we bow at God's feet, should always be a time for getting right, everything which may have gone wrong with us and in us during the day. Then every injury should be forgiven when we pray, "Forgive us—as we forgive others." Then every spark of envy or jealousy or anger should be quenched, and the love of Christ should be allowed to flood our hearts. We should never allow the sun to go down on our anger.

July 9

Written Not With Ink

The world does not read the Bible, nor come to church to hear the gospel. All it learns about Christ and the Christian life—it must learn from those who bear Christ's name and represent him. If all church-members lived truly consecrated lives—holy, beautiful, separate from the world; loyal to Christ in business, in pleasure, in all things—it is impossible to estimate what the powerful influence of the Church would be, in example alone. It is an awful thought, that professing Christians, by the inconsistencies of their personal lives, lead souls to reject the Savior. We are all responsible for the influence of our example. Our lives should be New Testament pages, that all can read. "You show that you are a letter from Christ—written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God." 2 Corinthians 3:3

July 10

Grace for the Day

God does not give us his grace as he gives his sunshine—pouring it out on all alike. He discriminates in spiritual blessings. He gives strength according to our need. His eye is ever on us in tender, watchful love, and what we need at the time—he supplies. He gives us grace for grace. When one grace is exhausted, another is ready. The grace is always timely. It is not given in large supply in advance of the need—but is ready always in time. It may not always be what we wish—but it is always what we really need.

July 11

The Transfigured Life

Holy thoughts in the heart, transfigure the life. Your daily thoughts build up your character. Our hearts are the quarries where the blocks are fashioned, which we build into our life-temple. If our thoughts and meditations are holy, beautiful, true, pure, loving, and gentle—our life will grow into Christ-likeness. Drummond tells of a young girl whose character ripened into rare beauty—one of the loveliest lives, he says, that ever bloomed on earth. She always wore about her neck a little locket. But no one was ever allowed to open the locket or to know what it contained. Once, however, in a time of dangerous illness, she permitted a friend to look within it, and there she saw the words, "Whom having not seen—I love." That was the secret of the dear child's transfiguration of character—loving the unseen Christ. The same love—warm, tender, earnest, glowing in the heart year after year, will transfigure any life into heavenly beauty.

July 12

The Blessing of Doing

It is the building of godly character, which should be our central aim in all life. Business, school, home, church, reading, pleasure, struggle. work, sorrow—all are but means to that one end. I do not care how much money you made last year; but let me ask earnestly what mark last year's business made upon your character. The growth of one's graces, is of infinitely more importance than the growth of one's fortune. Everything we do leaves its impress within, upon our soul. We are building life all the while, whatever we are doing. The work itself may fail—but in the worker's disappointment, amid the failure of his plans—the work on his character goes on. Even in defeats, the struggling leaves a recompense within. Giving, though nothing good comes from the gift, blesses the giver.

July 13

The Influence of Words

Words are so easily spoken, that we forget what power they have to give pleasure or pain. They seem to vanish so utterly, the moment they have dropped from our lips—that we forget they do not go away at all—but linger, either like barbed arrows in the heart where they struck—or like fragrant flowers shedding their perfumes. No matter when we talk with others or on what theme, however playful or light—we should always try to speak some thoughtful word before we part, some word that will give strength or hope or cheer or help. We may not meet our friend again.

July 14

Seeing Only the Faults


There are some people who walk through God's fair world, and in the midst of men and women whose lives shine with bright qualities and dazzling gems of character—and yet they have no eyes for any of these radiant beauties. But for every fault and blemish—they have the sharpest vision! They judge uncharitably. They think evil—where there is none. This is one of the things Christ condemns. We should train ourselves away from a habit of life, which is so unchristian. We should seek to have eyes only for the beauty—and not for the blemishes.

July 15

Home-Work for Christ

We are not truly Christians, if we are doing nothing for our Lord. But the work of Christ is not all found in the things we do in the Church. Let no one fret who finds no time from love's devoted service for outside or public work for Christ. You are doing most beautiful things for Christ in your unselfish toil, in your sick-room ministry, in your care for your children, in your deeds of kindness to the invalid within your own doors. Only do all in Christ's name—and it will shine like angels' work! Some people God seems to ordain for just such ministry, and to keep ever busy, and out of the world's sight. Let none such fret that they cannot take part in the public work of the Church.

July 16

Prayer Without Promise

There are human lives that never learn to sing the songs of faith and peace and love—until they enter the darkness of sorrow and trial. Would it be true love for these—for God to hear their prayer for the removal of every sorrow and pain? There is no promise—for the prayer that God would take out of our life—all the hindrances, the griefs, the bitternesses. If we pray such a prayer, it must be simply a humble, shrinking request, which we shall refer at once, without undue urging, to the wise and perfect will of God.

July 17

You Did It Not

We are too apt to neglect opportunities of helping others and of relieving distress; never thinking that we are sinning against Christ, that we are indeed leaving him unhelped and unrelieved when we might have given him sweet comfort. We forget that neglects are sins. "You did it not" is the charge, in our Lord's picture of the Judgment, against those who are bidden to depart. The things we have failed to do, will be the things that shall turn the scales on that great trial-day. We must meet our neglects as well as our sins.

July 18

Visions in the Words of Christ

Every word of Christ that we ponder deeply, opens to us a vision of beauty or excellence— something very lovely, a fragment of Christ's own image—and we should instantly strive to paint the vision on our own life, to get the beauty, the excellence, the loveliness into our own life. Let us learn to be loyal to the word of Christ; not only to know it and ponder it and meditate upon it—but to do it, and to allow it thus to shape and mold our whole being into its own holy beauty. If we hide Christ's words in our hearts, they will transform us into his likeness.

July 19

Our Weak Hours

We are not at all times equally strong. There are days with all of us when we throw off temptation with almost no effort. But none of us are so every day. There are hours with the strongest of us—when we are weak. These are the times of peril for us, and our adversary is watching for them. In your weak hours keep a double guard, therefore, against temptation. Keep out of its way. Throw yourself with mighty faith on Him who was tempted in all points as we are, and knows therefore how to deliver us when we are tempted. In time of special weakness—run to Christ for shelter! "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour!" 1 Peter 5:8

July 20

Individual Responsibility

God looks upon us as individuals. We come into this world, one by one. We live in one sense, alone with our own personal responsibilities. We die one by one. As individuals, not as crowds, must we stand before God. Your destiny will not depend on any chance of the moment; you are fixing it yourself in your choices and acts, in your habits and life. Your own faith and obedience must weave the garment of beauty for your life. God gives the materials—but after that each one is the weaver of his own "wedding-garment."

July 21

Doing Things for Christ

We often imagine that it was a great deal easier for our Lord's first disciples to do things for him, than it is for us. They could see him and hear his voice and do errands really for him, and coming back hear his approval or his thanks; but we cannot hear him telling us what to do, nor can we see his pleased look when we have done anything for him. So we find ourselves wishing he were here again, that we might get our duties right from his very lips. We sometimes ask how we can do things for him—when he is not here. But we have only to remember his promise: "I am with you all the days." He is here, though unseen, just as really as he was with his first disciples. We can do things for him all the time. Every loving obedience is something done for Christ. Every kindness shown to another in his name and for his sake—is shown to him. Every piece of common, routine task-work, if done through love for him, becomes something done for Christ. So we can make all our dull life, as radiant as angels ministry, by doing all for Christ!

July 22

God's Unchanging Love

Human love may change. The friendship of last year—has grown cold. The gentleness of yesterday—has turned to harshness. But it is never thus with God's love. It is eternal. Our experience of it may be variable, but there is no variableness in his love. Our lives may change, our consciousness of his love may fade out; but the love clings forever, the gentleness of God abides eternal. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you."

July 23

God's Present Help

There is never a moment, nor any experience, in the life of a true Christian, from the heart of which a prayer may not instantly be sent up to God, and back to which help may not instantly come. God is not merely off in some remote heaven. He is not far away, looking down upon us in serene calm and watching us—as we struggle upward in pain and tears. He is with each one of us on every part of the way. His promise of presence is an eternal present tense—"I am with you." So "God, you see me" becomes to the believer a most cheering and inspiring assurance. We are never out of God's sight for a moment! His eye watches each one of us continually, and his heart is in his eye. He comes instantly to our help and deliverance, when we are in any need or danger.

July 24

The Greatest Attribute

The greatest attribute in God is not his power, though it is omnipotence; not his knowledge, though it is omniscience; not his glory, though it is burning majesty: it is his love. He is greatest—as he blesses and serves. The brightest hour in Christ's life was not the hour of his transfiguration, or of his miracle-working, or of his sublime teaching—but the hour when he hung in the darkness on his cross. Then it was, that his love shone out in the most wondrous revealing. We need to remember for ourselves, that the greatest thing in the world is love—that serving is the path to highest honor.

July 25

Of His Fullness

Every life will have its times of sore testing, its times of sharp trial, its experiences in which ordinary strength and preparation will not avail. It is when we have Christ behind our own little strength, when we are abiding in Christ, when our faith links us to his everlasting fullness—that we have the reserve we need for any future necessity. True religion binds the soul to God, so that from his divine fullness supply comes for every emergency. We cannot fall—if God is behind us. Our lamps can never go out—if they are fed from heaven's olive trees. But if we have no such reserve, our own feeble strength will soon be exhausted, and there will be no refilling of the emptied vessel.

July 26

Shrinking From Duty

When we stand before any duty, whatever peril or cost it may involve, let us not hesitate to do it. You cannot turn away from duty, but at the peril of your soul. Forget not the momentous word of Christ: "Whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." There are times when the best use we can make of our life—is to give it up. Life that which is saved by shrinking from duty—is not worth saving. It has been stained, and has lost its glory in the saving. It is infinitely better to die in the way of duty—than to live by cowardice or disloyalty to Christ or by any unfaithfulness.

July 27

As a Flower Scatters Fragrance

Stay at Christ's feet—until your heart overflows with love for all, even for people you have not liked before. Then begin to think about them and to live for them. Begin to scatter happiness as a flower scatters fragrance, as a lamp scatters beams of light. Christ was always making people happy. Shall we not take the same aim for ours? It is a wonderful power, too—a power that we all have in a greater or smaller measure—to put gladness and joy into others' hearts. No mission in life can be nobler—than to live to be a happiness-maker.

July 28

Prayer and Answer

True prayer is earnest, not tiring nor fainting. It takes every burden to God—the small and the large alike. It is submissive, referring all to the Father's will. Its answer may not come in the direct granting of the request we make—but may come instead in more grace and strength, enabling us to keep the burden and yet rejoice. Lying at our Father's feet in the time of need, with our strong cryings and tears—we learn obedience. Our sobbings end in praises, our struggles end in acquiescence, our tears are dried, and we rise victorious.

July 29

Taking Short Cuts

We should never take short-cuts, even to things that we are sure will some day be ours. Life is full of these opportunities to shorten the path to success, to achievement, to position. God's way ofttimes seems long and far around. But any other way, however short it seems, is longer. Though there may be no sin committed in taking the short-cuts, nothing dishonorable done, nothing to stain the soul—still it is better to go only as God leads. His way is always in the end the shortest.

July 30

What We Try to Do

Christ accepts—whatever we try our best to do for him, whatever we truly want to do, even though no results come from our efforts. This ought to be a comfort to many of us—for we do not do, any of us, indeed, what it is in our hearts to do. Our hands are awkward and unskillful, and fail to work out the beauty which our mind dreams. We go out with high resolve and loving thought, to do some sweet service for our Lord—and come back with tears and sad regret over the failure, or the marring of what we meant to do. But Christ knows what our hearts planned and what we wanted to do—and that is what he counts and sets down on his books.

July 31

Blessing of Daily Crosses

A true Christian life never grows easy, never becomes entirely agreeable to our natural tastes. Every day is, in a certain sense, a crucifixion, a nailing of self on the cross. But this very hardness is a means of grace. The cross lifts us upward. We grow under the burden of our daily duties and cares. So it comes that the things we would like to be freed from—are the things we could least afford to lose. What we consider our disadvantages, may really be our most indispensable advantages. We grow best under pressure, under the hard necessity of toil and care.

 

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"I am the light of the world" John 8:12