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In Green Pastures
March



 

 

 

March 1

Love's Ministry

Quality is measured by what it will do, give, and what it will suffer. God so loved the world that he gave—gave his only-begotten son, gave all, withheld nothing. That is the measure of the divine love for us—it loves to the uttermost. If you are Christ's, every energy of your mind, every affection of your heart, every power of your soul, every fiber of your body, every particle of your influence, every penny of your money, is Christ's, and all of these are to be used to bless your fellow-men and to make the world better and happier. If we love, we will give, we will suffer, we will sacrifice. If we would be like God, we must live to minister, giving our life, without reserve, to service in Christ's name.

March 2

Before the Sun Goes Down

Estrangements between friends should not be permitted continue over night. It is a scriptural counsel, that we should not let the sun go down upon our anger. Why? Because there may not be another day in which to get the wound healed, and the estrangement removed. "But it was not my fault," you say. Noble souls, inspired by the love of Christ, must not ask whose fault it was, that the estrangement began, nor whose place it is first to seek restoration. If it was not your fault, you are the better one to begin the reconciliation. It is Christ-like for the one who is not to blame to take the first step toward the healing of the breach. That is the way he did—and always does with us. Do not delay too long. What time is it? Is the sun moving toward his setting? Hasten, and before the shadows of evening come on, be reconciled with your friend. Do not let the stars look down on two hearts sundered by anger or misunderstanding.

March 3

Greatness in God's Sight

The greatest men are but fractions of men. No one is endowed with all gifts. Everyone has his own particular excellence or ability. No two have precisely the same gifts, and no two are called to fill precisely the same place in life. The lowliest and the humblest in endowments, is just as important in his place as the most brilliantly gifted. The great life in God's sight, is not the conspicuous one—but the life that fills the place which it was made to fill, and does the work which it was made to do. God does not ask for great things; he asks only simple faithfulness, the quiet doing of what he allots.

March 4

Minor Untruthfulness

There are other forms of untruthfulness besides the direct lie. There are those who would not speak an untrue word, who yet color their statements so as to make them really false in the impression they leave; or they would not speak a lie—but they will act one. Their lives are full of small deceits, concealments, pretenses, insincerities, dissimulations, dishonesties. You know how many of these there are in society. Oh, be true in your inmost soul—true in every word, act, look, tone, and feeling. Never deceive. There are no little white lies in God's sight!

March 5

Today—Not Tomorrow

There are duties that must be done at a particular moment—or they cannot be done at all. It is today, that the sick neighbor needs your visit, your help; tomorrow he may be well, or others will have ministered to him—or he may be dead. It is today that your friend needs your sympathy, your comfort; it will not be of any use to him tomorrow. It is today that this tempted one needs your help in his struggle; tomorrow he may be defeated, lying in the dust of shame. It is today you must tell the story of the love of Christ; tomorrow it may be too late. Learn well the meaning of Now in all life. Tomorrow is a fatal word; thousands of lives and countless thousands of hopes, have been wrecked on it. Today is the word of divine blessing.

March 6

Trusting for Tomorrow

Should the uncertainty of all human affairs sadden our lives? No! God does not want us to bring tomorrow's possible clouds, to shadow our todays. He does not want us to be unhappy while the sun shines because by-and-by it will be dark. He wants us to live in today and enjoy its blessings and do its work well, though tomorrow may bring calamity. How can we? Only by calm, quiet, trustful faith in God and obedience to him at every step. Then no troublous tomorrow can ever bring us harm. Those who do God's will each day—God will hide under his wings when the storm breaks.

March 7

The Beauty Within

Bodily health is beautiful. Mental vigor is beautiful. But heart purity is the glory of all loveliness. The heart makes the life. The inner, fashions the outer. So, above all things, be pure-hearted. That you may be pure-hearted let Christ more and more into your life, that he may fill all your soul, and that his Spirit may permeate all your being. That the beauty of the Lord may be upon you, that the winning charm of God's loveliness may shine in your features, you must first have the beauty of Christ within you. The transfiguration must come from within. Only a holy, beautiful heart—can make a holy, beautiful character.

March 8

Answers That Wait

The day may come to us, as life's meaning deepens, when we shall cry to Christ—and he will not seem to hear. Whenever this experience may come, let us remember that Christ's silence is not refusal to bless. There may be some hindrance in ourselves, and a work of preparation is needed in us before the blessing can come. Instead of doubting or blaming the Master, we should look within ourselves and ask what it is, which keeps the answer waiting. When we are down lower in the dust of humiliation, when our weak faith has grown stronger, when our self-will is gone, and we are ready to take the blessing in God's way and at his time—the silence will be broken by love's most gracious answer.

March 9

Character Building

That picture of the silent temple-builders on Mount Moriah, is the picture of all the good work of the world. The builders are ever at work on these characters of ours—but they work silently. From a thousand sources come the little blocks which are laid upon the walls. The lessons we get from others, the influences which friends exert upon us, the truths which reading puts into our minds, the impressions which life leaves upon us, the inspirations from the divine spirit—in all these ways, the silent work of building goes on. It never ceases. The builders never rest. By day and by night the character-temple is rising. Is it all beautiful? Are the stones all clean and white?

March 10

Strongest with the Weakest

We are not all alike temptable. There are some with sweet temper and equable disposition, whom nothing disturbs. God seems to have sheltered them by their very nature from the power of evil. Then there are others whose natures seem to be open on all sides, exposed to every danger. To live truly, costs them fierce struggles every day. These easily-tempted ones, are they to whom Christ's sympathy and helpfulness go out in most tender interest. He singles out the one from every circle that is most liable to fall, and makes special intercession for that one. Even the Johns, with their gentle loveliness, receive less of help from the Master, than do the fiery Peters.

March 11

Weakness of Little Faith

It is because of our lack of faith, or of our small faith, that there is so little outcome from our ceaseless rounds of doing. If we had the power of Christ resting upon us as we might have it, with one-tenth of the activity, there would be ten times the result. Only think of the possibilities of our lives, the plainest, commonest of them—if we had all of Christ that we might have! He is ready to do through us greater things than he himself did. We need faith to lay ourselves in Christ's hand—as the chisel lays itself in the hand of the sculptor. Then every touch of ours will produce beauty in some life. Then all the power of Christ will work through us.

March 12

The Sanctity of Consecrated Life

The soul that has had a vision of the Christ, the person in whom Christ is already formed as the "hope of glory," and who is also himself destined to wear the divine image—must never drag his honor in the dust of sin, must never degrade his holy powers in any evil service. Every time we are tempted to commit some sin, if we would stop and think, "I am now a child of God; shall a child of God, destined to wear Christ's image—stoop to be untrue or dishonest or impure, or to nourish wrath or bitterness?" Would we not turn away from the temptation? Could we sin against God—with the consciousness of our high calling in our heart?

March 13

The Law of Amusements

Amusements are proper, both as to kind and degree—just so far as they make us better Christians. Whenever they become hindrances to us in our Christian living or in our progress in sanctification, they are harmful, however innocent they may be in themselves. How do your amusements influence your spiritual life? They may be very pleasing to you. They may afford great gratification. But what is their effect on you as a Christian? In one word, are they means of grace? Or are they making you careless for Christ, and hindering your advancement in spirituality? We ought to be honest enough with ourselves—to answer these questions truthfully, and then act accordingly.

March 14

The Eloquence of Living

Tongues of angels, without love to inspire their silvery strains, are but as tinkling cymbals. Life itself is infinitely more potent than speech. Character far surpasses elocution as a force in this world. The talking standard is a false one, in the estimating of the value and power of Christian workers. Do what you have gifts to do—but be sure of your heart-life. Make your personal character a sublime force in the world. Then when the accents of silvery speech shall have died away, your influence will still remain a living power in the hearts of men, and an unfading light in the world.

March 15

What to do with injuries

What must we do with the wrongs and injustices and injuries inflicted upon us by others—if we are not to avenge them? How are these wrongs to be righted—and these injuries to be healed? Do not fear the consequences of any wrong done to you. Simply roll the matter into God's hands and leave it there, and he will bring all out clear as the noonday. He will not allow us to be permanently and really injured by any enmity. Our duty, then, is to bear meekly and patiently the suffering which others may cause us to endure; to bathe with love the hand which smites; to forgive those who injure us; and to commit all the injustices and inequities of our lives and all wrongs—into the hand of the just and righteous God. The oyster's wounds become pearls; and God can bring pearls of spiritual beauty out of the hurts made by human hands in our lives.

March 16

Learning Meekness

True religion is not believing alone; it is getting the virtues and graces out of the pages of Scripture where we find them—and into our own lives. Meekness as a beatitude is very beautiful. Meekness in Moses we admire greatly. But how much of it are we getting out of beatitude and biography into our experience? In our daily fellowship with men—do we hold our hearts quiet and still under all harshness, rudeness, criticism, injustice? There are countless little irritations and provocations which make friction every day. How do we endure them? Do they polish and refine our natures? These are the lessons of meekness.

March 17

Silence which is Golden

It is easy for one to poison a person's mind concerning another. There is measureless ruin wrought in this world by the slanderer. Characters are blackened, friendships are destroyed, jealousies are aroused, homes are torn up, hearts are broken. Let us never take up an evil report—and give it wing on breath of ours. Let us never whisper an evil thing of another. We know not where it may end, to what it may grow, what ruin it may work. Words once spoken, can never be gotten back again. We had better learn to keep the door of our lips locked and never say evil of any one. This is a silence we shall never regret.

March 18

Silence that is Golden

Is there a grief in your heart, which grows into a sore pain? Is there a shadow of a coming sorrow, that you see drooping down over you? Remember it is the shadow of God's wing, and therefore it is a safe shadow. Creep closer under it, closer yet. Earth has nothing human so gentle as true mother-love; but God's wing that folds down over you, is gentler than even mother-love; and you can never get out from beneath it. It holds you close to the gentle heart of the divine Father. You need never be afraid while resting there. In all the universe, there is no harm which can come near you. From your eternal shelter you can look out with confidence, as from a window of heaven, on the fury of earth's storms, and be at peace. The wildest of them cannot touch you in your pavilion!

March 19

The Beauty of True Religion

While Christian life is firm and unflinching in its integrity and uprightness, it is yet beautiful in its amiability and gentleness. The immutable principles of uprightness, like mountain crags, are wreathed over with the tender vines and covered with the sweet flowers of grace and love. True religion is never meant to dry up the life and make it cold, hard, and dead. It is meant to bring out ever-new beauties, to clothe the soul in garments of loveliness. It insists on the development of every power of body, mind, and soul to the farthest possibility. It presents the strongest motives. It points to the finest examples. Its ideal includes not only "whatever things are true, whatever things are just," but also "whatever things are lovely."

March 20

Self-Renunciation

They are highest in the ranks of men who serve—who live for others, whose lives are given out in loving, unselfish ministry; and they rank highest of all—who serve the most deeply and unselfishly. It is only in serving that we begin to be like the angels, and like God himself. It is when the worker for Christ utterly forgets himself, sacrifices himself in the fire of his love for Christ—that his labor for souls yields the richest and best results. When we care only that Christ may be magnified, whether by honor or dishonor, by life or death, in us—then will he honor us by using us to win souls for his kingdom.

March 21

Saying "Yes" to Christ

To believe on Christ as a disciple, is to say "Yes" to him always, with the whole heart, with the whole being. It is giving up the sins that grieve him. It is cutting loose from whatever displeases him. It is renouncing every other master, and taking orders from him only. It is going with him, following him wherever he leads—without question, without condition, without reserve, not counting the cost. It is saying "Yes" to Christ whatever he may ask us to do, or to give up, or to sacrifice, or to suffer. That was the way his first disciples followed him. That is the way his disciples must follow him now. Absolute obedience to him is the condition of following.

March 22

Unto the End

The most wonderful thing in the universe, is our Savior's love for his own people. Christ bears with all our infirmities. He never tires of our inconsistencies and unfaithfulnesses. He goes on forever forgiving and forgetting. He follows us when we go astray. He does not forget us—when we forget him. Through all our stumbling and sinning, through all our provocation and disobedience, through all our waywardnesses and stubbornnesses, through all our doubting and unfaithfulness, he clings to us still, and never lets us go. Having loved his own, he loves unto the end.

March 23

"Afterward"

In the divine providence, nothing comes a moment too soon or too late—but everything comes in its own true time. God's clock is never too slow. Every link of the chain of God's providence fits into its own place. We do not see the providence at the time. Not until afterward, will you see that your disappointments, hardships, trials, and the wrongs inflicted on you by others, are parts of God's good providence toward you, full of blessing. Not until afterward will you see it—but the "afterward" is sure, if you firmly and faithfully follow Christ and cleave to him. The "afterward" of every disappointment or sorrow is blessing and good. We need only to learn to wait in patience.

March 24

Victory by Yielding

Jacob got the victory and the blessing, not by wrestling—but by clinging. His limb was out of joint, and he could struggle no longer—but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist, and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered. We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, give up our own will and throw our arms about our Father's neck in clinging faith. What can puny human strength take by force, out of the hand of omnipotence? Can we wrest blessings by force from God? It is never the violence of willfulness which prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith which gets the blessings and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will—but when humility and trust unite in saying, "Not my will—but yours be done." We are strong with God only in the degree that SELF is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling—but by clinging, can we get the blessing.

March 25

The Lessons of Peace

Where Christ places us—we are to remain; where he sends us—we are to go. In the heat of life's conflicts, set upon on every hand by a multitude of things which tend to distract our peace—we are to maintain an unruffled calm, and all the tenderness and simplicity of the heart of a little child. That is the problem of life and of living which Christ sets for us, and which he will help us to solve, if we accept him as our teacher. As the tender grass and even sweet flowers live and grow all through the winter under the deep snows, and come forth in the spring-time in beauty—so our hearts may remain loving, tender, and joyous through life's sorest winter under the snows of trial and sorrow.

March 26

Climbing Upwards

Someone asked an old minister, "What is repentance?" "The first turn to the right," was his answer. If you want to grow into Christ-likeness, rising at length into radiant purity and holiness, you must begin with the first simple duty that comes to your hand. Resist the first temptation. Do the first right thing which offers. Paint on your soul the first vision of divine loveliness you see. You cannot reach holiness at a bound; you must conquer your way up, step by step.

"Heaven is not reached by a single bound,
But we build the ladder by which we rise,
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round"

March 27

Always our Best

All Christ wants from any of us—is what we have ability to do. He asks no impossibilities. He accepts our humblest, poorest gifts or services—if they are indeed our best—and if true love to him consecrates and sanctifies them. We need to concern ourselves only about two things—that we always do our best, and that we do what we do, through love for Christ. If we are faithful up to the measure of our ability and opportunity, and if love sanctifies what we do—we are sure of our Lord's approval. But we should never offer less than the best that we can do; to do so is to be disloyal to our Lord and disloyal to our own soul.

March 28

Thinks No Evil

Love thinks no evil. It does not suspect unkindness, in kindly deeds. It does not imagine an enemy, in every friend. It does not fear insincerity in sincere professions of esteem. It does not impugn men's motives, nor discount their acts. On the other hand, it overlooks foibles, and hides the multitude of faults which belong to every human being, even those who are the holiest and the best. It tries to think of others, always at their best, not at their worst. It looks, too, at the possibilities which are in men—what they may become through divine love and grace—and not merely at what they now are. It is wonderful how seeing through love's eyes changes the whole face of earthly life, transfiguring it. If the heart is filled with suspicion, distrust, and doubt of others—the world grows very ugly. But love sees brightness, beauty, and hope everywhere.

March 29

Need a Revealer of Love

Whatever makes us forget ourselves and think of others—lifts us upward. This is one reason why God permits suffering. We would never know the best and richest of human love—if there were no pain, no distress, no appeal of grief or of need. The best and holiest of mother-love would never be brought out—if the child never suffered. The same is true of God's love. God would have loved his children unfallen, just as much as he loves them fallen—but the world would never have known so much of God's love—had not man fallen. Our sore need called out—all that was richest, holiest, and divinest in our Father's heart. If no night came, we would never know that there are stars. Darkness is a revealer.

March 30

Faithfulness

Whatever your duty is, you cannot be faithful to God—unless you do your work as well as you can. To slur it is to do God's work badly. To neglect it is to rob God. The universe is not quite complete without your little work, well done. "Be faithful" is the word which rings from heaven in every ear, in every smallest piece of work we are doing. "Faithful" as a measure of requirement, is not a pillow for indolence. It is not a letting down of obligation to a low standard, to make life easy. Faithfulness is a lofty standard. It means always giving your very best. Anything less is unfaithfulness. Thus the universe suffers, for the smallest duty not done or badly done, leaves a lack or a blemish on the whole world's work.

March 31

Blessed to be a blessing

God blesses you—that you may be a blessing to others. Then he blesses you also a second time, in being a blessing to others. It is the talent which is used, which multiplies. Receiving, unless one gives in return, makes one full and proud and selfish. Give out the best of your life in the Master's name for the good of others. Lend a hand to everyone who in need. Be ready to serve at any cost, those who require your service. Seek to be a blessing to everyone who comes for but a moment under your influence. This is to be angel-like. It is to be Godlike. It is to be Christlike. We are in this world to be useful. God wants to pass his gifts and blessings through us, to others. When we fail as his messengers, we fail of our mission.

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