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In Green Pastures
October



 

1. Making Work With Brains 16. What God Grows
2. Making Perfect Work 17. The Wisdom Which Wins
3. Growing Through Struggle 18.  A Lamp for the Foot-Path
4. Appreciation Too Late 19.  The Peril of Failure
5. Divine Guidance 20. The Eternity of Actions
6. The Divineness of Service 21. After-Views—the Truest Views
7. Getting Sorrow's Blessing 22. Living Out God's Thoughts
8. Other People's Convenience 23. Climbing by Self-Conquest
9. Religion in the Common Days 24. Silence Under Calumny
10. Serving Christ in His People 25. Not Claiming Our Privileges
11. Solitariness of Life 26. Love—Ministry
12. The Effects of Words 27. The Blessedness of Death
13. The Path of Glory 28. Finishing Our Work
14. Promises in Reserve 29. Serving the Highest Life
15. Life a Stewardship 30. Obedience to Impulses
  31. Training the Temper
 


October 1

Making Work With Brains

It is a good thing to think. The more thought we put into our work—the better it will be done. Work of all kinds becomes exalted, ennobled, refined, and produces good, lasting effects—just in proportion as men put thought into it. All worthy, noble, useful, beautiful living—must have its dark quarries of purposing, thinking, planning, shaping, polishing, behind its being and doing. Look well to the quarries, and you need not give much thought to the rising of the building. Prepare no stained blocks in your heart-quarries. Train yourself to think only pure thoughts—white, clean thoughts. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

October 2

Making Perfect Work

"Littles make perfection," replied the artist to one who asked him why he spent so much time in giving the little finishing-touches to his statue. There can be no perfection in any kind of workmanship, unless attention is paid to the minutest details of construction or finishing. One smallest flaw or incompleteness left in the work, in any part of it—leaves a blemish on the finished endeavor.

Life is a mosaic, and each smallest stone must be polished and set with greatest care—or the piece will not at last, be perfect. One whose daily life is careless—is always weak in Christian character. But one who habitually walks in right paths, no matter how small and apparently trifling the things may be, grows strong and noble. Littles make perfection. "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory." 1 Corinthians 10:31

October 3

Growing Through Struggle

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14. That Christian life which costs nothing—is worth nothing. There must be self-restraint, discipline, severe schooling. There must be struggle, and the agonizing effort. If you are to reach the goal and win the prize—you must put every energy of your life into the race. There must be sacrifice of indolence and self-will and personal ease. Too much pampering, spoils many a promising Christian. Every noble and godly life, is a struggle from beginning to end. Only those who toil and fight and overcome—are successful in life. This is true in every sphere—in business, in academics, and in spiritual life. Are we resisting sin, overcoming temptation, living victoriously in trial? If not—we are not living worthily. "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." Colossians 1:29

October 4

Appreciation Too Late

We ought not to need night—to teach us the glories of the day. We ought not to have to wait for sorrow, before we can appreciate the sweetness of joy. Yet is it not often true that we learn the value of our blessings—but by their loss? Many a time an empty chair is the first full revealer of the worth and faithfulness of a precious friend. Would it not be best, if we were to seek to appreciate our good things—while we have them? We would then have the joy itself, and not merely the dull pain of regret as we look back at vanished blessings. Besides—we would do more for our friends while they are with us—if we appreciated their worth. Too many of us never understand what we owe to our dear ones—until there remains no further opportunity of paying love's debt.

October 5

Divine Guidance

No ancient pillar ever made the way more plain to those who watched it for guidance, than does God's providence make the path of duty in common days, for those who truly acknowledge God and desire his guidance. It is not because we cannot know God's way that we do not see it—but because we want instead to take our own way. There is no use in our looking into our Lord's face and asking, "What now, dear Master?" if we do not sincerely intend to take the path he marks out. We must have the spirit of obedience if we are to receive the divine direction. "Not my will—but yours," must be the prayer of our heart, cost what it may to surrender our own way—and take God's way.

October 6

The Divineness of Service

"For the Son of Man did not come to be served--but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45. The life of Jesus Christ was the noblest life ever lived. No king of earth ever attained such splendid, such real royalty as did he. No human hero on battle-field ever did deeds of such inherent greatness as those wrought by the hands of the Carpenter of Nazareth. And what was the ruling spirit of his life? Was it not service? "Not to be served—but to serve," was the motto of all his beautiful years. He lived wholly for others. He never had one thought for himself, never did the smallest act for himself. At last he emptied out his very blood—in the greatest of all his acts of service. Shall we not learn from our Lord's example that the truest life in this world is one of self-forgetting love? Selfishness anywhere mars and spoils the beauty of the rarest deed. We must get the spirit of Christ—and then our lives shall be Christ-like.

October 7

Getting Sorrow's Blessing

To all, in some form or other, suffering will sometime come. Only if it is borne in the true way, will it will bring rich blessings. It will produce in us, even in this world, the fruits of righteousness. It will make us greater blessings to others, since the things we learn in pain—we can teach in joy and song. Are you in sorrow? Do not fail to get the blessing from it—which it has certainly brought to you from God. It is only when we do the right thing in our troubles, that they do us good. Many people let their cares and worries into their hearts, and when they do this, their lives are spoiled and harmed, and not blessed, by them. It is only when we keep God's peace within us in sorrow—that we get the blessing.

October 8

Other People's Convenience

We ought to think of other people's convenience more than some of us do. The home is the place where this thoughtfulness ought to begin, and be cultivated. One who comes late to breakfast may apologize to the others—but forgets that he has marred the harmonious flow of the household life, and caused some confusion and extra work. The other day an important committee of fifteen was kept waiting for ten minutes for one tardy member, who came sauntering in at last without even an apology for having caused fourteen men a loss of time, that to them was very valuable, besides having put a sore strain on their patience and good nature. Common life is full of just such thoughtlessnesses, which cause untold personal inconvenience, and ofttimes produce irritation, and hurt the hearts of friends. We ought to train ourselves in all our life—to think also of other people.

October 9

Religion in the Common Days

One of the most harmful practical errors of common Christian living—is the cutting of life into two sections—a religious section and a secular section. We acknowledge God in the religious part. We fence off days and little spaces of time in each day which we profess to give to worship and devotion. But the danger is—that we confine our acknowledging of God to these set times and seasons, while we shut him out of our real life. That is not true religion—which prays well, and soars away into celestial raptures and holy dreams—while it has no effect on one's daily common life down here in the paths of toil and duty. We should have our pious visions—but we must bring them down into our earthly experience and make them real there.

October 10

Serving Christ in His People

When we lay our lives at Christ's feet in consecration, and tell him that we want to serve him with our lives. He gives them back to us again, and bids us to use them in serving his people, our fellow-men. In the humblest and the lowliest of those who bear Christ's image—Christ himself comes to us. We do not know when he stands before us, in a lowly one who needs our sympathy or our help. It would be a sad thing if we turned him away unfed from our doors some day, or neglected to visit him in his sickness. Let us not say that we love Christ—if we are not ready to serve those whom he sends to us to be served.

October 11

Solitariness of Life

We talk about companionships—and they certainly are very sweet. There is immeasurable helpfulness in strong, true friendships. Still, it is true that however many, faithful, and sympathetic our friends may be—we must enter and pass through every life's crises alone. Everyone of us lives really a solitary life. We do not fight in companies and battalions and regiments—but as individuals. Each one must live his own life. "Everyone must bear his own burden."

"We should we fear to live alone,
Since all alone—we die.
Not even the tenderest heart, next to our own,
Knows half the reasons, why we smile and sigh."

October 12

The Effects of Words

There are words spoken quietly and coldly—which break like the lightning-flash, bearing on their blighting wings, sad desolation which years cannot repair. On the other hand, there are simple words which, treasured in memory, hang like bright stars of joy and cheer, in dark nights of sorrow and trial. Keep ever speaking true words, kindly, loving words, the words of Christ, wherever you go—and you will some day find them again in blessings in the hearts of those who have heard them.

October 13

The Path of Glory

The path of glory for a life—does not lie far away among the cold mountains of earthly honor, nor yet in any paths of fame where worldly ambition climbs—but close beside us, in the lowly ways of Christ-like ministry. He who stoops to serve the poor and the suffering, in Christ's name, will find at length that he has served Christ himself. Jesus lives in this world, in his people—in everyone of them, in the least of them—the poorest, the obscurest, the most down-trodden and despised. He calls them all "my brethren." The smallest kindness done to one of them—he accepts as though done to himself in person!

October 14

Promises in Reserve

He who has not in the sunny days made the divine promises his own—has no comforts to sustain him when trouble comes. But he who has pondered the Scriptures, and laid up in memory the precious truths and assurances—when called to pass through affliction, has light in his dwelling. Words of promise in which he had never before seen any special comfort, shine out now like stars when the sun has gone down. Like lamps above his head, unnoted before, they pour their soft beams upon his soul. This is a provision all of us should make in youth and health and happiness, for the dark days which will surely come.

October 15

Life a Stewardship

We are not all apostles in the sense that Paul was; but to every Christian, Christ has given a solemn and sacred trust in our own salvation. We are to be true to him, in a world of sin and temptation. We are to be faithful to duty wherever we stand. We each have a mission which we must strive to fulfill. Are we keeping the faith—are we true to every sacred trust which God has placed in our hands? Are we taking care of the part of the vineyard assigned to us, and rendering the fruits to him who has committed it to our care? Not to fulfill our mission is soon to be left without a mission, dropped out, set aside, while others do our work and receive the honor and reward which would have been ours.

October 16

What God Grows

The "crown of righteousness" is not given for much service or for great sacrifices—but for Christ-like character. The crown is in reality the efflorescence of the life itself, its bursting into glory and beauty. It is not something else, however brilliant, prepared and brought and set upon the head. The crown of righteousness, is righteousness in character, blossoming into heavenly radiance under the smile of God. Let us not forget that tireless activity is not enough to win this crown; that heroic struggle is not enough. We must be holy, sanctified in our moral nature, righteous in life and character. It is not what we do that is crowned—but what we are!

October 17

The Wisdom Which Wins

It is not worldly wisdom which is required to win souls—great learning, knowledge of science and philosophy. It is spiritual wisdom which is needed—the wisdom which comes down from God, the wisdom of faith, of love, of prayer, of humility. It is the wisdom Christ gave his disciples before he sent them out. Soul-winning is earth's holiest work. He who adds the least touch of beauty to a sacred life does more than he who paints a masterpiece. He who brings a lost soul to the Savior, who seeks and finds a wandering sheep and bears it back to the fold—does the noblest, greatest work possible on this earth!

October 18

A Lamp for the Foot-Path

God's Word as a guiding light, is a lamp unto our feet—not a sun flooding a hemisphere. It is not meant to shine upon miles of road—but in the darkest night it will always show us the one next step; then when we have taken that, carrying the lamp forward, it will show us another step, and thus on until it brings us out into the full, clear sunlight of coming day. It is a lamp, and it is designed to lighten only little steps, one by one. We need to learn well the lesson of patience—if we would have God guide us. He does not lead us rapidly. Sometimes we must go very slowly if we wait for him. Only pace by pace does he take us; and unless we wait—we must go in darkness. But if we wait for him, it will always be light for each step.

October 19

The Peril of Failure

To be faithless in duty, is to lose all the blessing which is promised to those who are loyal and true. No matter how perilous the duty that comes to you, you cannot decline it—but at your own peril. The only safe way in life's thronging field—is straight on in the path of duty. No duty, however perilous or hard, should be feared half so much as failure in the duty. Stand where Christ places you, and be simply true—that is all. Make no effort to be great. The greatest thing possible to you any day, is faithfulness. Only be faithful. He requires no more of the highest angel in glory.

October 20

The Eternity of Actions

Since every impression is enduring; since every act leaves its mark on the life itself, as well as on other lives; since the smallest things we do become parts of our own being, while they also touch and affect others—what tremendous destinies are folded up—in each quiet day of ours! The things you are doing these swift hours—are for eternity! The words you spoke yesterday for Christ in the ear of the weary sufferer, the strong, helpful words you spoke to the discouraged one, the tempted one, the burdened one, the thought of comfort you breathed softly and with a prayer in the home of grief—do you know that the ministry of these good words will never cease?

October 21

After-Views—the Truest Views

The real character of our actions is seen only when we look at them from the side next eternity. You had a duty to perform which at the time was a cross to you. It required courage. It involved self-denial and personal sacrifice. It was very hard to do. You look back upon it, however, and it appears a beautiful act, and you are not sorry you made the sacrifice. This after-view is the true one. Sin in the form of temptation seems fascinating—but sin committed looks horrible. Again the after-view is the true one. The point from which we see a human life in its truest light is its end—looking back over it from the edge of eternity. The false colors fade out—in the light of the judgment.

October 22

Living Out God's Thoughts

Let your highest ambition be to become what God has planned for you to be. Lay all your plans at his feet. Let God's will be your will—and he will lead you to just that life which will be for you—the most beautiful, the most honorable, and the most blessed. If you would have God's thoughts to live out in your life, you must go to God for them. You must sit down often with him in the silence. You must look reverently into the divine Word and ponder deeply its holy sentences. You must turn your steps habitually to the place of prayer. You will not have heavenly visions—if you never look upward for them!

October 23

Climbing by Self-Conquest

Every low desire, every bad habit, all longings for ignoble things, all wrong feelings which we conquer and trample down—become ladder-rounds for our feet, on which we climb upward out of groveling and sinfulness, into nobler, grander life. If we are not living victoriously these little common days—we are not making any progress in true Christian living. Only those who climb—are getting toward the stars. Heaven at last, and the heavenly life here—are for those who overcome!

October 24

Silence Under Calumny

Many of us may sometime become the innocent victim of calumny. Pure in our heart and life—we may have to endure suspicion of evil. As Christians, what should we do? In some cases vindication may be possible, and it may be our duty to seek it in the right way. But there may be instances when we cannot free ourselves, without bringing dishonor upon others. Then we must be silent and bear our load. We are not likely to err in the direction of too great patience and silence under wrong; our danger lies the other way. So let us beware lest, when others injure us or defame us—we sin against God in trying to vindicate ourselves. Let us rather suffer—and leave our vindication with God—committing ourselves to him who judges righteously.

October 25

Not Claiming Our Privileges

Are not many of us conscious that we are living far below our privileges? Do we not understand that we are not as good Christians, as rich in character, as fruitful in life, as we might be? Do we not know that there is a possible fullness of spiritual blessedness which we have not yet attained? Why is it? Is there any lack in God, from whom all good gifts come? Is not the reason in ourselves? Is it not because we cling to other things, earthly things, which fill our hearts and leave but small room for Christ? We have not the hunger for righteousness, for holiness, and though there is abundance of provision close before us—yet our souls are starving. If we would have the abundant life which Christ wants to give us—we must empty out of our hearts the perishing trifles that fill them, and make room for the Holy Spirit. We must pray for spiritual hunger; for only to those who hunger—comes the promise of filling and satisfying.

October 26

Love—Ministry

Love for Christ in human hearts, shapes itself into manifold forms of gentle, helpful ministry, according to the quality, the circumstances, and the relation of each life. What we need to make sure of—is that we truly have the spirit of service, "the mind that was in Christ Jesus." It is not great deeds which God expects or requires of us, unless he has endowed us with large gifts and has given us great things to do. He gives us certain talents and puts us in certain relations, and then asks us to be faithful—nothing more. The man with the plain gifts and the small opportunities, is not expected to do the great things that are required of the man with the brilliant talents and the large opportunities. "She has done what she could" is the highest approving word which could be spoken of anyone, and it may be only for a smile of love, and a crust given in Christ's name.

October 27

The Blessedness of Death

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21. The Christian life is not a voyage in the sunshine, darkening as it progresses and growing stormy, ending in utter wreck on death's shores. Rather, it is a voyage through earthly storm and shadow—but at last out into the broad ocean of eternal blessedness. Death is not the end—but the beginning. It is not loss—but gain. It is not into darkness—but into marvelous light. It is not to silence and stillness—but into life far more real and active. It is not away from joy and gladness and beauty—but is out of the mere shadows and hopes of blessedness, into the full revelation of Christ, into his very presence, where there is fullness of joy, where there are pleasures forevermore. "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

October 28

Finishing Our Work

God first puts the good thoughts and the holy impulses into your heart. Then when you try to obey and do what he commands and suggests—he helps you to do it. "It is God who works in you both to will and to work." If character is a web, and we are weavers—we cannot ourselves prepare white, clean threads of thought and purpose and love, for our hearts are unclean. Nor can we weave the threads into a pure, unsoiled web—for our hands are stained. God must put into our hearts the beautiful threads. He must give us the pattern, too, into which he would have us fashion the fabric. Then he must cleanse our hands and guide our fingers. In weaving this web we must not miss a thread, for if we do the loom goes on and the web rolls by—but the place of the dropped thread remains unfilled. Would you be able to say at your life's end, "I have finished the work which God gave me to do"? You must be sure that each smallest duty is done in its own time. To have at last a finished life, each day must close with its duty all done, no tasks remaining unfinished. That is, each day's work must be left complete, with life's duty done up to that moment, as if we should never come again to our tasks.

October 29

Serving the Highest Life

God gives us in the darkness of this world, many glimpses of heaven's blessed life. The Scriptures are full of windows through which the light pours. And every disclosure of heavenly existence that is made to us, shows us life without one trace of selfishness, earnestly devoted to the service of others. Angel-life is very pure, holy, and blessed—and yet these celestial beings, the angels, find their employment in serving. It is their joy to minister, not to be ministered unto. If we would be as the angels—we must have the same spirit. Then the Son of God came, and his life's spirit was described in his own words, "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto—but to minister." Serving is therefore the most exalted, the divinest thought of life.

October 30

Obedience to Impulses

We all have our impulses to duty. We know what we ought to do. What do we do with the calls of duty and the cries and appeals of human distress? Do we allow them to die away unheeded? If we do, our own souls shall be losers. We walk about at town, and we see heathenism, misery, and squalor under the very shadows of our churches. We see on all sides, the sobs and moanings of human distress. And we are ordained by Christ to carry his salvation, his comfort, his grace—to our fellow-men. The news of God's love which has come to you—is not for yourself; you get the full, rich blessing of it—only when you tell it to another. Do we obey these divine impulses?

October 31

Training the Temper

Christian duty touches all relations of life. It does not have to do only with communions and prayer-meetings. It includes all other actions. It tells us the kind of citizens we ought to be, how we should live with people, that we should not speak evil of anyone, that we should not be contentious—but be gentle, showing meekness and patience even toward those who seem not easy to get long with. Once we were not Christians, and did not know the law of love—but lived in malice and envy, hateful and hating others. But now the kindness of God and His love have touched our lives, and we are to put away the things of our old life.

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