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In Green Pastures
June



 

June 1

Beauties of Nature

They miss many a tender joy—who do not always hold their hearts in sympathy with nature. They lose many a whisper of love which drops from God's lips—who have not ears open to catch the voices of nature. They fail to behold many a lovely vision of beauty—who have not learned to use their eyes in admiring the exquisite things which God has scattered everywhere in such glorious profusion. Yet most of us walk amid these inspirations, these rare pictures, these sweet voices—and neither feel, nor see, nor hear. God never meant us to get so little comfort or joy, from the lovely things with which he has filled our earth.

June 2

Failing in our Little Part

God is not so limited in his resources of power, that if one little human hand somewhere fails to do its appointed duty—his great cause will be defeated. He has large plans, in which the humblest of us have our own allotted place and part. But there is no compulsion brought to bear upon us. We can refuse to do our little piece of work if we choose. God's plan will then go on without us, and other hands will do what we refuse to do. The only effect of our failure in the duty assigned to us—will be in ourselves. Our own hearts will be hurt by our failure in duty, and we shall be set aside, missing the honor and blessing which would have been ours—had we done our part.

June 3

Leaving All to God

As we go through life, we learn more and more to doubt our own wishing and choosing, as we see how little good, really comes from our own ways and plans. We learn not to choose at all ourselves—but to let God choose for us. No doubt we miss heavenly blessings many a time, because we have not faith to take them in their disguise of pain or grief, preferring our own way, to our Father's. God sometimes lets us have what in our wilfulness we persist in choosing, just to teach us that our own way is not the best. We learn at last to plead, "Bless me, my Father!" not daring to indicate in what manner the blessing shall come—but preferring that it shall be as God wills.

June 4

"As We Forgive"

We ought to keep no count of offences and forgivenesses. The time never ought to come, when we shall say we can forgive one no more. When we are smarting under some injury done to us by another, and when our feeling of resentment is burning into a flame within us—we should remember that the wrong we have done to God, is infinitely greater, and that he in his love has freely forgiven us. Should we not, then, be willing to forgive others, their little wrongs against us? This is why our Lord put into the prayer he taught his disciples the words, "Forgive us our debts—as we forgive." He wants us always to remember that we ourselves need forgiveness, and that if we would be like him—we must forgive as he does.

June 5

The Blessing of Assurance

Every Christian's privilege is to enjoy unbroken assurance while living close to Christ. God wants us to trust him just as fully in the shadow—as in the sunshine. There is grace enough in Christ, to give light and joy in the darkest experience. Yet it is just as true that many of God's noblest saints, in all ages, have had seasons of depression, when they lost the joy of salvation, and could not speak triumphantly of their hope. It is true, also, that there have been many devoted followers of Christ who never in their life could get farther than to hope that they were Christ's disciples. Is this the best that the love of God and the grace of Christ can do for those who are saved?

June 6

I am Ready

Whatever command God gives, we should instantly and cheerfully answer, "Yes, Lord—I am ready to obey!" It is not hard to say "Yes" when God leads us only in easy paths, where the flowers are strewn, where the way is smooth and agreeable. But sometimes the path is covered with thorns, and is rough and steep, or is through fire or flood; still we are always to say, "Yes." If it is to some trial or cross-bearing or sacrifice that God calls us—our answer should ever be the same. We ought to be able to trust him, when our eyes can see no blessing or good in the way he would take us. Every path of God leads to a rich joy.

June 7

Choice of Friends

We should choose friends whom we can take into every part of our life, into every closest communion, into every holy joy of our heart, into every consecration and service, into every hope—and between whom and us, there shall never be a point at which we shall not be in sympathy. We ought to accept only the friendship which will bring blessing to our lives, which will enrich our character, which will stimulate us to better and holier things, which will weave threads of silver and gold into our web of life, whose every influence will be a lasting blessing.

June 8

Lost Opportunities

All the days come to us, filled with opportunities. There are opportunities for gathering knowledge and for growing wise. There are opportunities for growing in character, becoming stronger, truer, purer, nobler, more Christ-like. There are opportunities for doing heroic things for Christ. There are opportunities for performing gentle ministries and for rendering sweet services in Christ's name, to those who need loving sympathy and deeds of kindness. Opportunities come to all—come continually, on all the common days, and come ofttimes in the simplest common things. The trouble with too many of us, is that we do not improve them, do not seize them as they pass.

June 9

Victory by Standing

One of the first things in military training, is to learn to stand well. Old soldiers will tell you that there is nothing which so tests the courage and the obedience of men—as to be required to stand still on the field and hold a position in the face of the enemy. Ofttimes the battle depends upon standing firm. The same principle applies in all life. Much of Christian duty is not active, bustling work—but quiet, patient waiting. There come many times in the experience of every life when victory can be gained in no other way. We must stand still—and wait for God. Immeasurable harm is wrought in personal lives and in the work of God, by the impatience which cannot wait for the divine bidding to go forward.

June 10

Power of the Tongue

The tongue's power of blessing is simply incalculable. It can impart valuable knowledge, making others wiser. It can utter kindly words, which will comfort sorrow or cheer despondency. It can breathe thoughts which will arouse, inspire, and quicken heedless souls, and even call up dead souls to life. It can sing songs which will live forever in blessed influence and ministry. Such power we should consecrate to God, and hold ever pure for him. The lips which speak God's name in prayer and Christian song, and that utter vows of fidelity to Christ, should never defile themselves with any forms of corrupt speech. They should be kept only for Christ.

June 11

Individuality of Character

Character is personal. It is not a possession which we can share with another. We can give a hungry man part of our loaf of bread; we can divide our money with one who needs; but character is something which we cannot give away or communicate. The brave soldier cannot share his courage with the pale, trembling recruit who fights by his side in the battle. The pure, gentle woman cannot give part of her purity and gentleness to the defiled and hardened woman whom she meets. Character is our own, a part of our very being. It grows in us along the years. Acts repeated become habits, and character is made up in the end—of the habits which have been repeated so often as to become a permanent part of the life.

June 12

Work for Others

We can always do our best work, when we do it not for ourselves—but that it may bless others. If the motive in all ambition, all toil, all effort is to become wiser, stronger, greater, more influential, in order that we may do more in Christ's name for our fellow-men, then whatever we do will be beautiful and noble. The motive exalts and ennobles the work. We get the largest measure of good for ourselves, from what we do when our first aim is to do good to another. If you would get the best from any good thing, receive it from God and then hasten to minister it in Christ's name to others. The richest blessing comes not in the receiving—but in the giving and doing.

June 13

Second-Hand Bible Truths

Many Christians have their heads stored full of teachings, catechisms, creeds, and Scriptures—and yet when trouble comes, they have not one truth on which they can really lean or trust their weight, or which gives them any actual support or help to walk with over the dark mountains. They have piles of doctrines—but no rod and staff to lean on in weakness. They have lamps hung away in great clusters—but not one of them burning to throw its light upon the darkness. Let us learn to study the Scriptures for ourselves, and to know what we believe. Second-hand Bible truth, is not the kind of food our souls need.

June 14

Misreading Providences

We are all apt to interpret "providences" in accordance with our own desires. When we are wishing to be led in a certain way, we are quite sure to find "providences" which seem to favor our own preference. We must be careful in interpreting the meaning of events and occurrences. We are not to enter every door which is thrown open before us. The devil opens doors of temptation—but we are not to call opportunities to sin guiding "providences." God's voice in providence never contradicts the voice of his Word.

June 15

Keeping a Child's Heart

We ought to keep our hearts warm and full of kindliness and sweetness, even through the harshest experiences. Many of us find that life is hard and full of pain. We meet misfortunes, sore trials, disappointments. We should not allow these harsh experiences to deaden our sensibilities or make us stoical or sour. Nothing but the love of God shed abroad in us by the Holy Spirit—can keep any of us in such gentleness and tenderness, amid the stern and severe experiences of life. Yet it is possible to carry the gentle heart of a little child, through all life's hardness and chill, into the fullest and ripest old age. "Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

June 16

Setting Pain to Music

The religion of Christ teaches us to put every anguish and all sorrow, into song. It would set to music our deepest, saddest experiences. It would have us sing even our heart's bitterest plaints. It gives us anthems rather than dirges, for the utterance of our sorest griefs. It helps us to do this by revealing to our faith's vision, something of beauty and blessing, in every dark hour; something which other eyes cannot see. It lets us hear in our deepest trials, the voices of divine love, encouraging, cheering, assuring us. Surely the lesson is worth the learning. It is nobler to sing a victorious song in time of trial, than to lie crushed in grief. Songs bless the world more than wails and tears. They also honor God more. It is better for our own heart, too, to put our sorrows and pains into songs.

June 17

Divine Discontent

The ideal Christian life is one of insatiable thirst, of quenchless yearning, of divine discontent, wooed ever on by visions of new life, new joy, new attainments. The trouble with too many of us—is that we are too well satisfied with ourselves as we are. We have attained a little measure of peace, of holiness, of faith, of joy, of knowledge of Christ—and we are not hungering for the larger possible attainments. O pray for discontent! With all the infinite possibilities of spiritual life before you—do not settle down on a little patch of dusty ground at the mountain's foot in restful contentment. Be not content until you reach the mountain's summit!

June 18

The Power of Faith

God can use very weak and imperfect agents. He can do great things with poor instruments. But there is one kind of person he will not use. He will not send blessing to the world, through an unbelieving heart. If you would be a vessel fit for the Master's use, you must have faith. Believe in Christ. Believe that he is able and willing to do the "greater things" which he has promised to do through his disciples. Open your heart to receive him, and all that he brings. Expect him to do great things through you. If we have faith, there is no limit to what Christ will do for us. Faith lays our powers in Christ's hands, as the chisel lays itself in the hands of the sculptor for the carving of the marble statue

June 19

Blessed are the Peacemakers

There are causes enough to separate people and to produce frictions and alienations. Let us not add to the world's bitterness and grief by ever encouraging strife, or putting a single coal on the fire of anger. Rather let us try to heal the little rifts we find in people's friendships. The unkind thoughts of another we find in any one's mind—let us seek to change to kindly thoughts. We can do no more Christ-like service in this world, than habitually and continually to seek to promote peace between man and man, to keep people from drifting apart, and to draw friends and neighbors closer together in love. "Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9

June 20

"Whatever is Lovely"

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8. We become truly beautiful, just in the measure that we become like God. There are some who are Christians—but who are not lovely. They have qualities which repel others. But true holiness is attractive. We ought to make our religion so beautiful—that all who look upon us shall be drawn to our Master. We do dishonor to Christ, when we profess to be His people, and yet show in our character, disposition, and life—things which are unlike Christ. How will men of the world know what true religion is—if you and I do not show them its beauty in our lives? We should seek not only whatever is just and true and honest—but also whatever is lovely.

June 21

Love for the Brethren

It is easy enough to love some people—people with tastes like ours, people who belong to our "set," people who are particularly kind to us. But that is not the way Christ wants us to live and to love. True Christian fellowship takes in all the followers of our Lord, all who bear his name. We are to be known as disciples by our love for one another. It requires grace—to love all Christians. We must have the love of God in our hearts before we can do it. We must be close to Christ before we can be close to each other. We must cultivate the thoughts and feelings of brotherhood, to those who are in Christ. The humblest believer is our brother, because he is a Christian. We are one in Christ.

June 22

Between You and Him Alone

Let us learn to seal our lips forever on the wretched, miserable habit of telling the world about the motes in our neighbor's eye. Who made us a judge over him? Tell him his faults, between you and him alone. You can find chapter and verse for that. Tell him his faults, if you will, with love and sympathy in your heart, confessing, your own faults to him meanwhile. Tell him his faults because you want to help him to become nobler, lovelier, and better, because you cannot bear to see a stain upon him—and not because you want to humble him or vaunt over him. Tell him his faults in secret—if you are ready for such holy work; but do not, do not tell the world of his faults!

June 23

Christ-likeness at Home

Keep the lamp of love shining day after day amid the multitude of home cares and home duties; amid the annoyances of home interactions and thoughtlessness; amid the thousand little irritations and provocations of home life, which so tend to break peace and mar sweet temper. Let home love be of the kind that never fails. Wherever else, far away or near, you pour the bright beams of your Christian life—be sure you brighten the space close about you in your own home. No goodness and gentleness outside the home, will atone for unlovingness and uncharitableness in the home.

June 24

Getting Ready for Temptation

We must all meet temptation, and the tempter comes so suddenly and so insidiously, that if we cannot instantly repel his assault, we shall be foiled. There is nothing like texts of Scripture to drive Satan away. We need to have our quiver full of these polished shafts, these invincible darts, and to keep them ever ready to draw out on a moment's notice to hurl at our enemy. The only way to do this is to make the Word of God our daily study, storing in our memory its precious texts, its counsels, its promises, its warnings. Then we shall never be surprised unprepared or defenseless—but for every temptation shall have a dart ready to draw out and hurl at our adversary.

June 25

The Love of Christ

God helps and blesses us through our friendships—but these are meant only to help us up to himself. Christ Jesus is the only man in whom we may have eternal trust. All other friendships are but fragments; his is the perfect friendship. Behind the sweet, gentle humanities in him, which make it so easy for us to come to him and repose in him—is the might of the eternal God. When we come to this precious human love, for which our hearts crave, and which seems so satisfying, we know that infinite divine fullness lies behind the tender warmth. The humanity comes very close to us, and it is for us to lay our heads upon its bosom. Then when we lean on him—we are lifted up in the arms of Omnipotence!

June 26

Whatever Your Hand Finds to do

Find your work wherever Christ has put you. Do whatever he gives you to do. Strive to be full of Christ; then strive to be Christ to the souls about you, who are lost and perishing, or who are in need or sorrow. Seek to make one little spot of this world brighter, better, purer. Christ has redeemed you and lifted you up—that you may lift up other souls about you. If your hand is only ready for service, you will always find work ready for your hand.

June 27

Doing God's Will

We are never to be rebellious or slow to submit to God—but we must be sure that we have done all we can, before we fold our hands and say, "Your will be done." There come many experiences, however, in which we can do nothing, and can only submit. We must not only ourselves strive faithfully in all things to do the will of God—but must allow it to be done in us, even when it lays us low in the dust, even when it strips us bare and shatters all our joys. This will is to be accepted, too, not rebelliously, with murmuring and complaint—but songfully, joyfully, lovingly.

June 28

Creed and Life

"It makes no difference what a man believes, what doctrines he holds—it is conduct which counts." That is the way some people talk, as they fling their flippant sneers at creeds. But it does matter what one believes. Wrong believing leads to wrong living. The heathen who worships a god that he conceives of as lustful, cruel, and unholy—becomes himself lustful, cruel, and unholy. The Christian who worships a God who is revealed to him as holy, righteous, pure, and good—becomes himself holy, righteous, pure, and good. Thus, beliefs shape the life. It is important, therefore, that we know the truths about the character and will of Christ, as our conception of Christ will print itself upon our life.

June 29

Finding the Good in God's World

Thankfulness or unthankfulness is largely a matter of eyes. Two men look at the same scene—one beholds the defects, the imperfections; the other beholds the beauty, the brightness. If you cannot find things to be thankful for today, every day—the fault is in yourself, and you ought to pray for a new heart, a heart to see God's goodness and to praise him. A happy heart transfigures all the world for us. It finds something to be thankful for in the barest circumstances, even in the night of sorrow. Let us train ourselves to see the beauty and the goodness in God's world, in our own lot—and then we shall stop grumbling, and all our experience shall start songs of praise in our heart.

June 30

Not Your Work—but You

It is not so much your work, as you—that God wants; at least he wants you first, and then your work. Service from hearts which are not really consecrated to God, is not pleasing to him. We are in danger of forgetting this in our busy, bustling days. It is easier to offer God a few activities, than to give him our heart. The tendency of the many at present—is to work, to service, rather than to loving God. So we need to remind ourselves continually that loving must come before doing and serving. The largest and most conspicuous work will find no acceptance with God—if our hearts are not his.
 

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