So close to His heart does Jehovah gather His loyal and faithful children that they feel the warmth of His love, and the responsive language of their hearts is, “I will abide in thy tabernacle”—under Thy protection—”forever”; “I will trust in the covert of thy wings; for thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong Tower from the enemy … for thou, O God, hast heard my vows”—my consecration—”thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name” (Psa. 61: 4, 3, 5). “I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Psa. 59: 16)—Z ’04, 75 (R 3331).
The Laodicean saints are here addressed. A double picture is used to show their security, that of a hen covering her chicks from danger with her feathers, and that of an eagle protecting her young with her wings. The hen’s feathers represent the Lord’s providences, protecting us from some, and amid other experiences. The two wings of the eagle represent the Old and the New Testaments, whose main themes respectively are restitution, the Song of Moses, and the elective salvation, the Song of the Lamb. These truths are our protection. Thus the security of the saints is assured by the Word and providences of the Lord—P ’35, 131.
Hymns: 120, 12, 56, 63, 93, 126, 137.
Poems of Dawn, 181: Grace Sufficient.
Tower Reading: Z ’14, 109 (R 5437).
Questions: Have God’s providence and Word been my protection this week? How? With what effects?
BEAR the burden of the present,
Let the morrow bear its own;
If the morning sky be pleasant,
Why the passing night bemoan?
If the darkened heavens lower,
Wrap thy cloak around thy form;
Though the tempest rise in power,
God is mightier than the storm.
Steadfast faith and hope unshaken
Animate the trusting breast;
Step by step the journey’s taken
Nearer to the land of rest.
All unseen, the Master walketh
By the toiling servant’s side;
Comfortable words He talketh,
While His hands uphold and guide.
Grief, nor pain, nor any sorrow
Rends thy heart to Him unknown;
He today and He tomorrow
Grace sufficient gives His own.
Then bear thy burden with good cheer,
Take promptly up thy daily cross;
Nor hesitate to shed a tear,
Nor reckon o’er thy present loss.
2016-10-01 - 2017-09-30 All day
I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me--Psa. 39: 1.
Probably every person of experience will fully agree with the statement that the tongue is potent in its influence beyond any other member of the body, for either good or evil. Experience teaches also that with the vast majority it is easier to control any other organ than the tongue. So skillful a servant is it that every ambition and passion and inclination of the fallen nature seeks to use it as a servant or channel for evil. It requires, therefore, on the part of the Christian, increased vigilance, wisdom and care so as to govern this member of his body and bring it into subjection to the new mind in Christ, that it shall be, not a hindrance to himself or to others, but, on the contrary, a help in our narrow way—Z '97, 156 (R 2156).
Those who lack secretiveness are liable to sin with their tongues, uttering things unjust to God, themselves or others. Even those who have a large degree of secretiveness are not wholly free from this wrong. For both classes, especially the former, it is necessary to take heed to their dispositions, thoughts, motives, words, acts, surroundings and the influences operating upon them, in order to say the right thing and to avoid saying the wrong thing. God's people at all times must seek to control their tongues; and especially must they do this when in the presence of the wicked, who will pervert their words with selfish intent and wicked design, as all history proves—P '36, 110.
Parallel passages: Psa. 10: 7; 12: 3, 4; 15: 1-3; 37: 30; 141: 3; 34: 13; Job 38: 2; 16: 5; 27: 4; Prov. 10: 11, 13, 19-21, 31, 32; 11: 12-14; 12: 14-23; 13: 2, 3; 14: 3; 15: 1, 2, 4, 7, 14, 23, 26, 28; 16: 21-24; 17: 7, 27, 28; 18: 6, 7, 13; 29: 11, 20; Eccles. 5: 3, 7; Amos 5: 13; Zech. 8: 16; Matt. 12: 37; Luke 6: 45; Eph. 4: 22, 25, 29; Col. 4: 6; Jas. 1: 19, 26; 3: 2, 13; Rev. 14: 5.
Hymns: 183, 130, 277, 150, 1, 116, 260.
Poems of Dawn, 273: Three Gates of Gold.
Tower Reading: Z '11, 126 (R 4804).
Questions: What were this week's experiences in line with this text? What were the circumstances? What were the results?
"THREE GATES OF GOLD"
LET every thought thy lips would utter pass three
gates of gold,--
But, if through these it fails to pass, then let it not
And o'er each gate in silver letters written thou wilt
Above the first one, "Is it true?" the second, "Is it kind?"
And "Is it necessary?" o'er the third one and the
Then guard thy thoughts, let none escape, save those
these gates have passed!
2016-10-02 - 2017-10-01 All day
Forgetting those things which are behind--Phil. 3: 13.
We forget the things that are behind, because it is right that we should do so; because God forgets them and declares that He has cast all of our imperfections behind His back, that our imperfections are all covered from His sight, by the merit of Him who loved us and who died for us, and whom we love, and in whom we are trusting, and in whose steps we are seeking to walk, though having more or less of imperfection according to the defects we have inherited in the flesh. We are not meaning to suggest that slips or failures should be lightly esteemed or quickly forgotten; they should be rectified to the extent of our ability, and Divine forgiveness should be sought for these defects daily—Z '04, 23 (R 3304).
The things that are behind include the things given up in justification, i.e., sin and error, and more especially the things given up in consecration, i.e., the things of self and the world. To forget these things implies the detachment of our affections from them, suppressing their efforts to control us and presenting an impenetrable heart and mind to their enticements. Not only a consideration of their small value, unsatisfactoriness and danger to the new heart and mind, but also more especially of the great value, satisfactoriness and safety to the new heart and mind of the spiritual things, will enable us to forget them. Let the latter things so fill our affections that the former will have no appealing effect upon us—P '30, 165-166.
Parallel passages: Prov. 4: 25; 17: 25, 26; Matt. 10: 37-39; John 12: 25; Psa. 45: 10; Gen. 19: 26; 24: 58-61; Luke 9: 62; 17: 32, 33; Gal. 4: 9; Phil. 3: 7, 8; Heb. 10: 39; 12: 1; 1 Pet. 1: 14; 4: 1-4; 2 Pet. 1: 9.
Hymns: 312, 192, 193, 88, 150, 47, 127.
Poems of Dawn, 179: Beyond the Shadows.
Tower Reading: Z '12, 193 (R 5044).
Questions: Have I been forgetting the things of sin, error, selfishness and worldliness this week? What has helped or hindered therein? What have been the results?
BEYOND THE SHADOWS
FARTHER on—beyond the shadows
Falling darkly o'er my way,
There is home, and rest and shelter,
Where no storms can e'er dismay.
Though the way be rough and narrow,
And a cross must needs be borne,
Farther on—the night is waning
Soon will dawn the welcome morn.
Meekly to His will submitting,
In His love secure and strong,
Jesus whispers, "Bide the shadows,
It is better farther on."
Farther on—O blest assurance!
How it thrills my raptured heart,
Just to know that I shall see Him
When the shadows all depart.
Let me still be strong and patient,
Trusting where I cannot trace,
Farther on—beyond all darkness
Faith can see God's smiling face.
Only waiting, ever praying,
Let my heart be filled with song.
Sweet the promise Jesus gives me,
"It is better farther on."
2016-10-03 - 2017-10-02 All day
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them--Psa. 119: 165.
Our requests should be, increasingly, for grace and wisdom and the fruits of the Spirit and opportunities for serving the Lord and the brethren, and for growing more and more into the likeness of God's dear Son. … Under these conditions who can doubt that the promised "peace of God beyond all understanding" would "guard" such "hearts" and their "thoughts"? This peace would of itself dispel one of the great evils that afflict the hearts of many. Selfishness and ambition would find little room in a heart so filled. Divine peace can dwell in our hearts, and rule in them, so as to keep out the worry and turmoil of the world, even when we are surrounded by these disadvantageous conditions—even when the Adversary himself is besetting us through deceived agents—Z '04, 24 (R 3304).
God's law for His consecrated people consists of duty love and disinterested love. Thus it embraces the precepts of the Word. But many Scriptures use it in a much wider sense, i.e., to mean also the doctrines, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types of the Word, i.e., the contents of the whole Bible. In the widest sense of the word, to delight in the Lord's law means to take keen pleasure in its meditation, spread and practice. Lovers of God's law, knowing that all things are working together for their and humanity's ultimate good unto the Lord's glory, have rest of heart and mind. Amid trials these are kept from falling from God's favor, and thus retain it through the help of the Lord's Word and providence—P '35, 131.
Parallel passages: Psa. 4: 8; 25: 12, 13; 29: 11; Prov. 3: 17, 24; Isa. 26: 3, 12; 28: 12; 32: 2; 54: 10, 13; 57: 1, 2, 19; Luke 2: 14; John 14: 27; Rom. 5: 1; 8: 6; Eph. 2: 14-17; Phil. 4: 7; Col. 3: 15.
Hymns: 128, 3, 27, 56, 57, 93, 244.
Poems of Dawn, 213: Doubt Him Not.
Tower Reading: Z '11, 397 (R 4898).
Questions: What have been this week's experiences in line with this text? What were the circumstances? What was helpful and hindersome therein? In what did they result?
DOUBT HIM NOT
FIGHTING, waiting, struggling, trusting,
Is He sure to bless?
Prophets, fathers, martyrs, Christians,
Fearest sometimes that thy Father
Though the clouds around thee gather,
Doubt Him not!
Always hath the daylight broken,
Always hath He comfort spoken!
Better hath He been for years,
Than thy fears.
2016-10-04 - 2017-10-03 All dayJesus saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men--Matt. 4: 19.
All of life's affairs will teach us lessons profitable throughout its future, if we will receive them. Perhaps there was something peculiarly helpful in the fishing business—something peculiarly like the great work in which the Apostles were to engage the remainder of their lives. Our Lord intimates this in His call. Fishing requires energy, tact, proper bait and that the fisherman keep himself out of sight. And these four things are requisites in the spiritual fishing in which the Lord privileges us to engage. We are to remember that as fish are easily alarmed when they find that anyone wishes to take them, so humanity is shy of being captured by anything, especially if they have the least suspicion that they may lose their liberties; and thus consecration appears to the world—Z '04, 26, 27 (R 3307).
As fishermen, we must be watchful, active, temperate, persevering, self-oblivious, tactful and lovers of symbolic fish and fishing. We must be equipped with proper language, the Truth, knowledge of human nature, versatility and imperviousness to disagreeable surroundings. We must seek to "catch men" at all seasons, inside and outside the churches. We must use the hooks of justification and consecration, and the bait of such truths as will appeal to the taste of the symbolic fish. Great care must be exercised as to how we cast in the hooks and lines, and as to how we act before and during bites as well as in drawing the symbolic fish in and in stringing them, if we would "catch men" for the Lord—P '34, 143.
Parallel passages: Ex. 28: 1; 1 Sam. 3: 4-10; 1 Chron. 23: 13; Isa. 6: 8-10; Matt. 4: 18, 20-22; 9: 9; Luke 10: 1, 2; John 1: 43; Rom. 10: 14, 15; 2 Cor. 5: 18-20; Heb. 5: 4; Matt. 10: 7, 11-13, 16, 25, 27, 28; 28: 19, 20; Luke 24: 48.
Hymns: 309, 70, 116, 164, 210, 260, 275.
Poems of Dawn, 166: Enter In.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 308 (R 5554).
Questions: What have been this week's experiences as to this text? How were they met? In what did they result?
FELLOW-CHRISTIAN, enter in--
Into the work that calls for you,
Into the promises grand true:
Into the joy of faith that waits:
Why stand idly without the gates,
When the fields are ripe?
You sadly say you cannot know
What God has here for you to do,
Or the way wherein your feet should go;
But if you enter in today,
He'll show you, in His own sweet way,
Your privileged place.
And when the sheaves are gathered in,
We may be sure, in that blissful day,
To sowers and reapers Christ will say,--
"You who well toiled and labored and bore,
And zealously sought for more and more
Of God's blessed work,--
"Come in, beloved, come in, come in--
Into the rest prepared for you,
Into the glory now brought to view."
Our heavenly Bridegroom will await
Our triumphant entrance within the gate
2016-10-05 - 2017-10-04 All dayConsider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds--Heb. 12: 3.
Alas, how many of God's true children become weary and faint in their minds, and are in danger of losing the chief prize because they have failed to think upon, to study out, to comprehend, to consider the Lord and what He faithfully endured of opposition! As they would consider His perfection and how, as represented in Him, the light shone in darkness and was not appreciated, so they would expect that the light shining from them would not be appreciated either. As they would consider how the Lord suffered in every sense unjustly and for righteousness' sake, and then would reflect that their own conduct, even though well-meant, is imperfect, it would strengthen them to endure hardness as good soldiers, and not to be weary in well-doing, and not to faint under opposition—Z '04, 38 (R 3312).
During His ministry and sufferings, our Lord was opposed by His enemies' words and acts. These contradictions He endured with long-suffering and perseverance. He suffered none of them to sway Him from His steadfast purpose of doing and suffering the Father's will and of attaining the goal. One of the best methods by which we will be enabled to endure successfully similar experiences, which must come to all God's faithful, is a constant and devout contemplation of our dear Redeemer's conduct amid the contradictions that sinners so abundantly gave Him. This will not only prevent our weakening in and giving up the good fight of faith, but also will strengthen and encourage us therein to an ultimate and glorious victory—P '33, 147.
Parallel passages: Matt. 10: 24, 25; John 15: 20-24; Matt. 27: 24-31, 38-44; Luke 4: 28, 29; Phil. 2: 6-8 (ASV); 1 Pet. 2: 21-23; 4: 1; Psa. 31: 22; Isa. 35: 3, 4.
Hymns: 299, 167, 168, 276, 93, 179, 305.
Poems of Dawn, 25: Let Not Doubts O'erwhelm.
Tower Reading: Z '11, 122 (R 4802).
Questions: What have been this week's experiences in line with this text? How were they met? In what did they result?
LET NO DOUBTS O'ERWHELM
HOW oft we doubt
And fear we shall be overwhelmed in sin,
Because temptation grows so strong without,
Because our courage is so faint within.
And thus we sigh:
Then can it be that I have known the Lord?
Can I be one with Him that sits on high?
Have I e'er felt the power of His Word?
Is this poor life
Fit prelude for a high eternity?
Alas! Have I not yet begun the strife,
Or must I fail before the victory?
O heart of doubt!
When wilt thou, O thou foolish heart, be wise?
Thou lookest everywhere, within, without,
Forgetting only to lift up thine eyes.
No more despair,
There is no help for thee in things below;
Search not within for hope—it is not there,
But unto Christ do thou for comfort go.
Christ is thy Rock;
Doubt not this firm foundation, true and tried;
Fear not the gathering tempest's angry shock;
It harms not those that on this Rock abide.
Christ is thy Friend,
He knows thy weakness, He will give thee strength;
Trust! In His name is victory; He will end
The conflict for thee; thou shalt win at length.
Christ is thy Peace;
From penalty and stain He sets thee free;
And in the white robe of His righteousness,
Before the approving God presenteth thee.
Christ is thine ALL:
Forget thyself, and in Him sweetly rest;
And thou shalt enter, whatsoe'er befall,
The everlasting mansions of the blest.
2016-10-06 - 2017-10-05 All dayYe know not what manner of spirit ye are of. The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them--Luke 9: 55, 56.
So with all the Lord's disciples: their continual study should be to avoid that hypercritical disposition to sentence and to destroy other people, while desiring mercy for themselves. The rule which the Lord establishes is that we must expect from Him mercy only in proportion as we shall exercise this grace toward others. The fault-finding disposition that is ready to accuse and condemn everybody, indicates a wrong condition of heart, one against which all the Lord's people should be on guard. Mercy, goodness, love, are the elements of character which He desires to see in the spiritual Israelites, and without which we cannot long continue to be His children—Z '04, 43 (R 3315).
Like John and James many of the Lord's people, when indignity is offered the Lord and His cause, have felt like calling down destruction from God upon the wrongdoers. They did not realize the disharmony between such conduct and their service of the Gospel. It is for the servants of the Truth to remember that as Christians it is for them to seek, by sacrificing themselves for the world, to save the world from the death state and the dying process. Hence they cannot nullify the purpose of their consecration by desiring to wreak vengeance upon their enemies in any sense of the word—P '32, 150.
Parallel passages: Deut. 32: 35; Matt. 1: 21; 5: 44; 18: 11; 20: 28; Mark 10: 45; Rom. 12: 17, 19; 1 Thes. 5: 15; 1 Pet. 2: 23; 3: 9; Luke 19: 10; John 3: 15-17; 10: 10; 12: 47; Rom. 3: 21-27; 4: 24, 25; 5: 6-11; 12: 19-21; 2 Cor. 5: 18-21; Heb. 10: 30.
Hymns: 167, 5, 15, 28, 132, 168, 246.
Poems of Dawn, 226: The Minister's Daughter.
Tower Reading: Z '11, 205 (R 4849).
Questions: Have I this week experienced Jesus' delivering works? How? How did it affect me?
THE MINISTER'S DAUGHTER.
IN the minister's morning sermon,
He told of the primal fall,
And how thenceforth the wrath of God
Rested on each and all.
And how, of His will and pleasure,
All souls, save a chosen few,
Were doomed to eternal torture,
And held in the way thereto.
Yet never, by faith's unreason,
A saintlier soul was tried,
And never the harsh old lesson
A tenderer heart belied.
And after the painful service,
On that pleasant, bright first day,
He walked with his little daughter
Through the apple bloom of May.
Sweet in the fresh green meadow
Sparrow and blackbird sung;
Above him its tinted petals
The blossoming orchard hung.
Around, on the wonderful glory,
The minister looked and smiled:
"How good is the Lord, who gives us
These gifts from His hand, my child.
"Behold in the bloom of apples,
And the violets in the sward,
A hint of the old, lost beauty
Of the Garden of the Lord."
Then up spake the little maiden,
Treading on snow and pink,
"O father! These pretty blossoms
Are very wicked, I think.
"Had there been no Garden of Eden,
There had never been a fall,
And if never a tree had blossomed
God would have loved us all."
"Hush, child!" the father answered,
"By His decree man fell;
His ways are in clouds and darkness,
But He doeth all things well.
"And whether by His ordaining
To us cometh good or ill,
Joy or pain, or light or shadow,
We must fear and love Him still."
"O, I fear Him!" said the daughter,
"And I try to love Him, too;
But I wish He were kind and gentle,
Kind and loving as you."
The minister groaned in spirit,
As the tremulous lips of pain,
And wide, wet eyes uplifted,
Questioned his own in vain.
Bowing his head he pondered
The words of his little one.
Had he erred in his lifelong teachings?
Had he wrong to his Master done?
To what grim and dreadful idol
Had he lent the Holiest Name?
Did his own heart, loving and human,
The God of his worship shame?
And lo! From the bloom and greenness,
From the tender skies above,
And the face of his little daughter,
He read a lesson of love.
No more as the cloudy terror
Of Sinai's Mount of Law,
But as Christ in the Syrian lilies,
The vision of God he saw.
And as when, in the clefts of Horeb,
Of old was His presence known,
The dread, ineffable glory
Was Infinite goodness alone.
Thereafter his hearers noted
In his prayers a tenderer strain,
And never the message of hatred
Burned on his lips again.
And the scoffing tongue was prayerful,
And the blinded eyes found sight,
And hearts as flint aforetime
Grew soft in his warmth and light.
2016-10-07 - 2017-10-06 All dayEvery one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand--Matt. 7: 26.
The hopes built upon the Lord's promises and unaccompanied by works are hopes built upon the sand. It is only a question of time until the great testing time shall come and such hopes will be shown to be worse than useless. They will be shown to have deceived their possessor, who thought himself safe in his assurances of a share in the Kingdom. On the contrary, those who build with obedience, their hearts as well as their tongues confessing and honoring the Lord, their deeds corroborating their faith, and their fruits bearing testimony of their vital relationship with the Lord—these shall pass through all the storms of life and shall never be moved, never be shaken, because they are on the foundation—Z '04, 36 (R 3317).
Jesus' sayings and the teachings of the Bible are equivalent terms, because God gave the Scriptures through His Son, both during and since His pre-existence. To hear His sayings means to understand them. They effect responsiveness in the meek alone. Foolish indeed is he who, understanding them, does not submit to their influence. All his efforts to do wonderful things in the Lord's name will result in failure, so far as the development of a Christlike and thus a God-pleasing character is concerned. His faith structure, like a house built upon sand, will be swept away by the rain, winds, storms and floods of the great Time of Trouble that will come upon him as well as upon the world—P '26, 156.
Parallel passages: Prov. 10: 8; Matt. 5: 6; 7: 24, 25, 27; 13: 7, 14, 15, 19-23; Ezek. 33: 30-32; Rom. 2: 13; 10: 14-21; Jas. 1: 19, 22-25; Luke 6: 49; 11: 28; 13: 24-27.
Hymns: 49, 22, 79, 296, 306, 311, 332.
Poems of Dawn, 217: One Here, One There.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 59 (R 5407).
Questions: What kind of a hearer of the Word am I? How did I hear the Word this week? What were the causes, spirit and results?
ONE HERE, ONE THERE
OF all we meet in life's great stream,
There's but one here and there
Who treasure most the better things;
Each man to self most tightly clings,
For self he toils, for self he sings,
Except one here, one there.
The world would be a desolate place,
But for one here and there,
Whose heart with self hath not been filled,
Whose love for God hath not been killed,
Whose thankful praise hath not been stilled;
There's one such here and there.
And this hath been the Lord's wise will,
To find one here, one there,
Who counting earthly gain but dross,
Would daily take the Chrisitian's cross,
E'en at the risk of any loss:--
God finds one here and there.
'Tis not the numbers that He seeks,
But just one here, one there;
He seeks not souls, but jewels fair,
For those who will His suff'ring share,
And for His sake reproaches bear;
They're few; one here, one there!
But oh! The grandeur of the work
For this one here and there,
To join in lifting up our race,
To wipe away of sin each trace,
To make of earth a perfect place,
Put glory everywhere!
2016-10-08 - 2017-10-07 All dayBe not deceived … he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting--Gal. 6: 7, 8.
We sow to the flesh every time we allow the fleshly, selfish, unjust, unrighteous desires of the flesh to have sway in our hearts and lives, and each sowing makes easier the additional sowing and makes more sure the end of that way which is death—the Second Death. On the contrary, each sowing to the Spirit, each resistance to the desires of the flesh toward selfishness, etc., and each exercise of the new mind, of the new will, in spiritual directions toward the things that are pure, the things that are noble, the things that are good, the things that are true, is a sowing to the Spirit, which will bring forth additional fruits of the Spirit, graces of the Spirit, and which, if persevered in, will ultimately bring us in accord with the Lord's gracious promises and arrangements—everlasting life and the Kingdom—Z '04, 57 (R 3321).
As he deceives himself who sows natural seed of a certain kind and expects to reap a crop of another kind; so he deceives himself who sows a figurative seed of one kind and expects to reap a symbolic crop of another kind. Like produces like. Therefore if one who has received the holy Spirit sows to the flesh, he deceives himself, if he expects to reap of the Spirit. He will from his fleshly sowing reap a fleshly harvest eventuating in death. Consolatory to us is the fixity of the law that a spiritual sowing will produce a spiritual harvest. If, therefore, we sow to the Spirit—faithfully study, spread and practice spiritual things, we will experience no disappointment, for our harvest will be eternal life—P '36, 110.
Parallel passages: Job 4: 8; Prov. 11: 18; 22: 8; Hos. 8: 7; 10: 12; Rom. 8: 1, 6, 7, 12-14; 6: 6; 7: 22, 23; 13: 14; Gal. 5: 16, 17; 2 Cor. 9: 6; Heb. 6: 10; John 4: 14; Jude 18-21; 1 Pet. 2: 11; Eph. 4: 22-24.
Hymns: 192, 4, 47, 74, 78, 196, 198.
Poems of Dawn, 75: Transverse and Parallel.
Tower Reading: Z '15, 108 (R 5665).
Questions: What have been this week's sowings? In what did they result? How could they be improved?
TRANSVERSE AND PARALLEL
MY will, dear Lord, from Thine doth run
Too oft a different way;
'Tis hard to say, "Thy will be done,"
In every darkened day!
My heart longs still to do Thy will
And all Thy Word obey.
My will sometimes would gather flowers;
Thine blights them in my hand;
Mine reaches for life's sunny hours;
Thine leads through shadow land;
And many days go on in ways
I cannot understand.
Yet more and more this truth doth shine
From failure and from loss:
The will that runs transverse from Thine
Doth thereby make its cross;
Thine upright will cuts straight and still
Through pride, and dream, and dross.
But if in parallel to Thine
My will doth meekly run,
All things in heaven and earth are mine;
My will is crossed by none;
Thou art in me, and I in Thee:
Thy will and mine are done.
2016-10-09 - 2017-10-08 All day
2016-10-10 - 2017-10-09 All dayYe have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him--Col. 3: 9, 10.
Only in our minds, in our wills, have the old things passed away and all things become new. Actually, this change will be accomplished when this mortal shall have put on immortality, when this corruptible shall be raised in incorruption—raised in glory, in power, as spirit beings. But meantime, in order to be counted worthy of a share in the resurrection of the just, it is required of us that we shall demonstrate our willingness of mind, our earnest desire to be all that the Lord would have us be; and in no way can this be better demonstrated to the Lord and to ourselves, or prove more helpful, than by keeping a strict surveillance of our hearts and of our thoughts—Z '04, 25 (R 3304).
God's people have put off the old man in the sense of giving up the human will selfward and worldward. They have put on the new man, in the sense of taking God's will as their own, not only in human but also in spiritual respects. Thus the image of God is being daily renewed in them, as they are being changed from the glory of a less near to the glory of a more near likeness, until the image, character, of God is perfected in them. And the means by which this change is wrought is the Word of God understandingly received into, and faithfully practiced by, good and honest hearts, amid life's experiences—P '35, 131.
Parallel passages: Eph. 2: 10; 4: 22, 24, 25; Rom. 6: 4, 6, 13, 14; 12: 2; Ezek. 36: 26; 2 Cor. 3: 18; 4: 6; 5: 17; Psa. 51: 10; 1 Pet. 1: 15, 16; Gal. 6: 15; Titus 2: 11, 12; Gen. 1: 27.
Hymns: 105, 78, 198, 114, 196, 74, 4.
Poems of Dawn, 170: The Changed Cross.
Tower Reading: Z '15, 147 (R 5685).
Questions: What have been this week's experiences with the old man and the new man? How were they met? In what did they result?
THE CHANGED CROSS
IT was a time of sadness, and my heart,
Although it knew and loved the better part,
Felt wearied with the conflict and the strife,
And all the needful discipline of life.
And while I thought of these as given to me--
My trial tests of faith and love to be--
It seemed as if I never could be sure
That faithful to the end I should endure.
And thus no longer trusting to His might,
Who saith we "walk by faith and not by sight,"
Doubting, and almost yielding to despair,
The thought arose—My cross I cannot bear.
Far heavier its weight must surely be
Than those of others which I daily see;
Oh! if I might another burden choose,
Methinks I should not fear my crown to lose.
A solemn silence reigned on all around--
E'en Nature's voices uttered not a sound;
The evening shadows seemed of peace to tell,
And sleep upon my weary spirit fell.
A moment's pause, and then a heavenly light
Beamed full upon my wondering, raptured sight;
Angels on silvery wings seemed everywhere,
And angels' music thrilled the balmy air.
Then One, more fair than all the rest to see--
One to whom all others bowed the knee--
Came gently to me as I trembling lay,
And, "Follow Me," He said, "I am the Way."
Then speaking, thus, He led me far above;
And there beneath a canopy of love,
Crosses of divers shape and size were seen,
Larger and smaller than mine own had been.
And one there was most beauteous to behold--
A little one, with jewels set in gold;
Ah! this, methought, I can with comfort wear,
For it will be an easy one to bear.
And so the little cross I quickly took,
But all at once my frame beneath it shook;
The sparkling jewels, fair were they to see,
But far too heavy was their weight for me.
This may not be, I cried, and looked again,
To see if any here could ease my pain;
But one by one I passed them slowly by,
Till on a lovely one I cast mine eye;
Fair flowers around its sculptured form entwined,
And grace and beauty seemed in it combined;
Wondering, I gazed, and still I wondered more
To think so many should have passed it o'er.
But, oh! that form so beautiful to see
Soon made its hidden sorrows known to me;
Thorns lay beneath those flowers and colors fair:
Sorrowing, I said, "This cross I may not bear."
And so it was with each and all around--
Not one to suit my need could there be found;
Weeping, I laid each heavy burden down,
As my Guide gently said, "No cross, no crown!"
At length to Him I raised my saddened heart;
He knew its sorrow, bid its doubts depart.
"Be not afraid," He said, "but trust in Me--
My perfect love shall now be shown to thee."
And then, with lightened eyes and willing feet,
Again I turned, mine earthly cross to meet,
With forward footsteps, turning not aside,
For fear some hidden evil might betide.
And there, in the prepared, appointed way--
Listening to hear and ready to obey--
A cross I quickly found of plainest form,
With only words of love inscribed thereon.
With thankfulness I raised it from the rest,
And joyfully acknowledged it the best--
The only one of all the many there
That I could feel was good for me to bear.
And while I thus my chosen one confessed,
I saw a heavenly brightness on it rest;
And as I bent, my burden to sustain,
I recognized mine own old cross again!
But, oh! how different did it seem to be,
Now I had learned its preciousness to see!
No longer could I unbelieving say,
Perhaps another is a better way.
Ah, no! henceforth mine own desire shall be
That He who knows me best should choose for me;
And so whate'er His love sees good to send,
I'll trust it's best, because He knows the end.
2016-10-11 - 2017-10-10 All dayBe ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD--Isa. 52: 11.
The Divine method seems to be to make a clear separation between the servants of God and the servants of evil. The privilege of testifying for God or being ambassadors for the Truth is a favor reserved for the Lord's own people. He seeketh not the evil one nor the fallen demons nor evil men or women to be heralds of the good tidings. The Lord's people should note this matter carefully and resent the services of any who do not give evidences of being in heart union with the Lord. "Unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to … take my covenant into thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee?" (Psa. 50: 16, 17)—Z '04, 28 (R 3309).
The vessels used by the typical priests in their ministries in the tabernacle and temple represent the Biblical doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types, which are used in ministrations for teaching, refutative, cleansing and character-developing purposes, combined with Bible passages. To bear these vessels would signify to minister with them. Cleanliness from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit is becoming to God's people in their ministrations. Therefore, they should daily wash themselves with the water of the Truth contained in the Bible. This will purify them for their service and fit them properly to administer the Word—P '34, 143.
Parallel passages: Num. 4: 1-20; 18: 1-7; Ezra 1: 7-11; Ezek. 3: 4; Matt. 10: 5-16, 38, 39; 2 Cor. 7: 1; 1 Tim. 1: 18-20; 3; 4; 5: 21, 22; 2 Tim. 2: 21-26; 3: 1-14; 4: 1-5.
Hymns: 246, 1, 20, 78, 95, 130, 198.
Poems of Dawn, 45: The Refining.
Tower Reading: Z '13, 184 (R 5258).
Questions: Has the cleansing work gone on this week? How? What hindered or helped therein? What did it effect?
MAL. 3: 3
"TIS sweet to feel that He who tries
The silver takes His seat
Beside the fire that purifies,
Lest too intense a heat--
Raised to consume the base alloy--
The precious metals, too, destroy.
'Tis good to think how well He knows
The silver's power to bear
The ordeal through which it goes;
And that with skill and care
He'll take it from the fire when fit,
With His own hand to polish it.
'Tis blessedness to know that He
The piece He hath begun
Will not forsake till He can see--
To prove the work well done--
His image, by its brightness known,
Reflecting glory like His own.
But ah! how much of earthly mould,
Dark relics of the mine,
Lost from the ore, must He behold--
How long must He refine,
Ere in the silver He can trace
The first faint semblance of His face!
Thou great Refiner! sit Thou by,
Thy promise to fulfil!
Moved by Thy hand, beneath Thine eye,
And melted at Thy will,
O may Thy work forever shine,
Reflecting beauty pure as Thine!
2016-10-12 - 2017-10-11 All dayConsider the lilies of the field, how they grow--Matt. 6: 28.
Our Lord calls attention to how such simple things in nature should be studied, be considered. The lessons to be learned in connection with all the affairs of life will be helpful to such as approach the study from the right standpoint, of faith in the Creator, and a realization that He is necessarily the embodiment and representative of the very highest and very noblest qualities of which the human mind could conceive; that He is perfect in Justice, perfect in Wisdom, perfect in Power, perfect in Love. … The heart that thus considers makes progress, grows in grace, in knowledge, in love. The heart that fails to consider the little things fails to be able to appreciate the larger things, and thus is hindered from a proper consideration of God and from a proper appreciation of His plan, and thus from a proper appreciation of His character—Z '04, 37, 38 (R 3312).
The lesson which the Lord here inculcates is not that we should be inactive and indolent, but that we be free from worry, while co-operating with Him in producing our growth in grace and knowledge; for the lilies of the field do work, but do so without worry or exercise of anxiety. They absorb the sap which they imbibe. In doing this free from worry, as they grow in beauty, they teach us that we are faithfully to imbibe the Truth and absorb its Spirit, and while doing so to be free from worry and anxious care. Such a course will enable us to grow beautiful spiritually, with a beauty surpassing that of the lilies of the field. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished!—P '33, 147.
Parallel passages: Prov. 16: 3; Jer. 17: 7, 8; Matt. 6: 25-27, 29-34; Psa. 55: 22; Luke 12: 23; Phil. 4: 6; 1 Pet. 5: 7; Job 38: 41; Psa. 104: 10, 11.
Hymns: 313, 56, 63, 87, 99, 330, 333.
Poems of Dawn, 185: I Can Trust.
Tower Reading: Z '16, 341 (R 5990).
Questions: Have I this week worried or trusted? Why? What helped or hindered therein? With what results?
I CAN TRUST
I CANNOT see, with my small human sight,
Why God should lead this way or that for me;
I only know He saith, "Child, follow me."
But I can trust.
I know not why my path should be at times
So straitly hedged, so strangely barred before;
I only know God could keep wide the door.
But I can trust.
I often wonder, as with trembling hand
I cast the seed along the furrowed ground,
If ripened fruit for God will there be found.
But I can trust.
I cannot know why suddenly the storm
Should rage so fiercely round me in its wrath;
But this I know, God watches still my path--
And I can trust.
2016-10-13 - 2017-10-12 All dayI will show thee my faith by my works--Jas. 2: 18.
While the Lord's people of the present age are not to be judged by their works but by their faith, nevertheless, works will be required. By our works we demonstrate our faith, and, thank God, imperfect works can demonstrate to Him the loyalty of our intentions, our wills. … If our works demonstrate to the Lord the sincerity of our faith, that faith will be acceptable to Him, and we will be counted perfect and be granted a share in the Kingdom and all the great and precious things which the Lord has in reservation for those who love Him—not merely in word but also in deeds—for those who strive by the deeds of life to show forth, to demonstrate, their love—Z '04, 45 (R 3317).
Faith does not consist simply in belief in understandable propositions, though it requires such a belief as a foundation. It must be fully persuaded of the thing believed, make it its own and act upon it. Such a faith is a living power energizing one's thoughts, motives, words and acts. A true faith will, therefore, evidence itself in works; and wherever these are absent, the presence of a real faith may well be questioned. Let us therefore demonstrate that we possess an enlightening, justifying, sanctifying and delivering faith by corresponding works; for in Christ Jesus a faith that works by love is alone availing—P '32, 150.
Parallel passages: Matt. 5: 16; 7: 16-18, 20; John 13: 38; 15: 5, 8; Gal. 5: 6; Jas. 1: 27; 2: 17, 19-26; 3: 13; Gen. 22: 9, 12; 15: 6; Rom. 4: 3; Gal. 3: 6; 6: 9, 10; Phil. 2: 12, 13; Titus 3: 14; Heb. 11:1-40; 1 John 2: 6; Rev. 2: 19.
Hymns: 196, 198, 34, 4, 114, 125, 78.
Poems of Dawn, 21: It Is Not the Deed We Do.
Tower Reading: Z '16, 139 (R 5892).
Questions: Have I this week evidenced by works the genuineness of my faith? How? What did they effect?
IT IS NOT THE DEED WE DO
IT is not the deed we do,
Though the deed be ever so fair,
But the love that the dear Lord looketh for,
Hidden with holy care
In the heart of the deed so fair.
The love is the priceless thing,
The treasure our treasure must hold;
Or ever the Lord will take the gift,
Or tell the worth of the gold
By the love that cannot be told.
2016-10-14 - 2017-10-13 All day
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice--Prov. 21: 3.
We are to grow in love, and love is the principal thing; but before we can make much development in the cultivation of love, we must learn to be just, right, righteous. It is a proper presentation of the matter that is given in the proverb, that a man should be just before he is generous. It behooves the Lord's people, therefore, that they study this subject of justice continually and daily put into practice the lessons inculcated in the Divine Word. Such as get this proper foundation of character before they begin to build love will find that they are making progress properly. All love that is founded upon injustice or wrong ideas of righteousness is delusive, is not the love which the Lord will require as the test of discipleship—Z '04, 56, 57 (R 3321).
By justice righteousness, and by judgment true instruction are here meant. Sacrifice ordinarily means the good works of love, but here sacrifice means good works done contrary to justice and truth. The text does not mean that sacrifice is not desired by the Lord; nor that the good works of love, when in harmony with justice and truth, are not more pleasing to the Lord than justice and truth without the good works of charity. Rather the thought is that the Lord prefers to have us perform the works of righteousness and truth without sacrificial service to having us perform sacrificial service contrary to justice and truth—P '26, 156.
Parallel passages: 1 Sam. 15: 22; Psa. 1: 3; 15; 24: 3-5; 106: 3; 112: 4-8; Prov. 2: 5-20; Isa. 32: 16-18; Hos. 6: 6; Mic. 6: 6-8; Matt. 5: 20; John 14: 21-24; 15: 4, 5, 8; Rom. 6: 19-22; 14: 17-19; 1 Cor. 13: 1-7.
Hymns: 125, 296, 79, 99, 54, 187, 190.
Poems of Dawn, 133: Steadfast, Immovable.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 100 (R 5430).
Questions: Have I this week practiced truth and righteousness rather than sacrifice in violation of these? What were the circumstances and effects?
TO play through life a perfect part,
Unnoticed and unknown;
To seek no rest in any heart
Save only God's alone;
In little things to own no will,
To have no share in great,
To find the labor ready still,
And for the crown to wait;
Upon the brow to bear no trace
Of more than common care;
To write no secret in the face
For men to read it there;
The daily cross to clasp and bless
With such familiar zeal
As hides from all that not the less
Its daily weight you feel;
In toils that praise will never pay
To see your life go past;
To meet in every coming day
Twin sister of the last;
To hear of high, heroic things,
And yield them reverence due,
But feel life's daily offerings
Are far more fit for you;
To woo no secret, soft disguise,
To which self-love is prone;
Unnoticed by all other eyes,
Unworthy in your own;
To yield with such a happy art
That no one thinks you care,
Yet say to your poor bleeding heart,
How little you can bear;--
Oh! 'tis a pathway rough to choose,
A struggle hard to share,
For human pride would still refuse
The nameless trials there;
But since we know the gate is low
That leads to heavenly bliss,
What higher grace could God bestow
Than such a life as this!
2016-10-15 - 2017-10-14 All dayHave faith in God--Mark 11: 22.
Our daily experiences since we became the Lord's followers have been guided and guarded apparently by the power unseen, to the intent that as pupils in the school of Christ, we may all be taught of Him and develop more and more of the graces of the Spirit, and particularly more faith. How important this item of faith is we probably cannot fully appreciate now. It seems to be the one thing that the Lord specially seeks for in those now called to be followers. … So according to our faith will we be able to rejoice even in tribulation. We cannot enjoy the sufferings; we can enjoy the thought which faith attaches to them, namely, that these are but light afflictions working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory—Z '04, 59 (R 3324).
Faith is a mental appreciation of, and heart's reliance upon, some person or thing. Christian faith is a mental appreciation of, and heart's reliance upon, God and Christ. These exercise themselves toward God and Christ along certain lines set forth in the Scriptures, i.e., their persons, characters, words and acts. In these respects they have demonstrated themselves as being absolutely reliable and, therefore, worthy of our confidence. Our experiences have demonstrated this to be true in innumerable instances. And, for this reason, Jesus can, without any impropriety in Himself or disadvantage to us, appeal to us to trust the Father and Him—P '36, 110—111.
Parallel passages: Josh. 1: 9; 2 Chron. 15: 7; 20: 20; 32: 7, 8; Neh. 4: 14; Job 35: 14; Psa. 4: 5; 27: 14; 31: 19, 24; 37: 3, 5, 7, 39, 40; 55: 22; 115: 9, 11; Prov. 3: 5, 6; Matt. 17: 20.
Hymns: 56, 93, 87, 176, 12, 104, 106.
Poems of Dawn, 103: Prayer of the Consecrated.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 282 (R 5539).
Questions: Have I exercised faith this week? How? With what results?
PRAYER OF THE CONSECRATED
WE seek not, Lord, for tongues of flame,
Or healing virtue's mystic aid;
But power thy Gospel to proclaim--
The balm for wounds that sin hath made.
Breathe on us, Lord; Thy radiance pour
On all the wonders of the page
Where hidden lies the heavenly lore
That blessed our youth and guides our age.
Grant skill each sacred theme to trace,
With loving voice and glowing tongue,
As when upon Thy words of grace
The wondering crowds enraptured hung.
Grant faith, that treads the stormy deep,
If but Thy voice shall bid it come;
And zeal, that climbs the mountain steep,
To seek and bring the wanderer home.
Give strength, blest Savior, in Thy might;
Illuminate our hearts, and we,
Transformed into Thine image bright,
Shall teach, and love, and live, like Thee!
2016-10-16 - 2017-10-15 All dayHe maketh the storm a calm--Psa. 107: 29.
We of today represent the Lord's cause in the midst of the raging elements of human passions, oppositions, etc., and our hearts would be at times dismayed except as faith is able to see the Lord with us in the ship, and able to grasp the thought of His mighty power in His own time and way to speak peace to the world. … It must not surprise us, however, if a dark hour is before us, if the time shall come when the stormy winds will be so fierce that many will cry out in fear and trembling. Let us learn well the precious experiences of the present time, so that then our faith shall not fail us, so that in the darkest hour we shall be able to sing and to rejoice in Him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood, and to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb—Z '04, 60 (R 3324).
There have been many figurative storms in human experience. Among these are the experience of the race with evil, and the sufferings of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, Israel, the Little Flock and the Great Company. After all these the Lord has made or will make a calm. The storm of this text applies particularly to the unparalleled sufferings of the Time of Trouble. The ships of human organizations will be completely wrecked in this storm; and many of the sailors, officers and passengers will sink beneath the waves of anarchy. Later all will rejoice in the calm after the storm in the Millennial haven—P '30, 166.
Parallel passages: Lev. 26: 6; 1 Kings 19: 11, 12; Job 5: 19; Psa. 34: 13; 107: 21-28; Dan. 12: 1, 2; Hos. 2: 18; Nah. 1: 12; Zeph. 3: 8, 9; Luke 2: 14; Isa. 26: 3; John 14: 27; 16: 33; 1 Cor. 10: 13; Heb. 12: 11; 1 Pet. 5: 10.
Hymns: 270, 271, 244, 233, 43, 305, 179.
Poems of Dawn, 257: Afterward.
Tower Reading: Z '15, 163 (R 5695).
Questions: How did God give me peace? What did I do therein? What resulted therefrom?
GOD'S ways are equal: storm or calm,
Seasons of peril and of rest,
The hurtling dart, the healing balm,
Are all apportioned as is best.
In judgments oft misunderstood,
In ways mysterious and obscure,
He brings from evil lasting good,
And makes the final gladness sure.
While Justice takes its course with strength,
Love bids our faith and hope increase:
He'll give the chastened world at length
His afterward of peace.
When the dread forces of the gale
His sterner purposes perform,
And human skill can naught avail,
Against the fury of the storm,
Let loving hearts trust in Him still,
Through all the dark and devious way;
For who would thwart His blessed will,
Which leads through night to joyous day?
Be still beneath His tender care;
For He will make the tempest cease,
And bring from out the anguish here
An afterward of peace.
Look up, O Earth; no storm can last
Beyond the limits God hath set;
When its appointed work is past,
In joy thou shalt thy grief forget.
Where sorrow's plowshare hath swept through,
Thy fairest flowers of life shall spring,
For God shall grant thee life anew,
And all thy wastes shall laugh and sing.
Hope thou in Him; His plan for thee
Shall end in triumph and release;
Fear not, for thou shalt surely see
His afterward of peace.
2016-10-18 - 2017-10-17 All dayHe that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster--Prov. 18: 9.
We cannot see wastefulness in any of the Lord's consecrated people without feeling that, however great progress they have made in understanding the mind of the Lord in some respects, they are still deficient in this particular. An appreciation of the gift and respect for the Giver implies carefulness and a stewardship in respect to all that comes to us from our Heavenly Father—things temporal and things spiritual. According to our Lord's parables, He is measuring our love and zeal in a considerable degree by our use or abuse of the talents, opportunities, blessings, temporal and spiritual, now bestowed upon us—Z '04, 77 (R 3332).
The spirit of the slothful man is that of waste. He wastes his time, which is precious and irredeemable. He wastes his talents, which are improvable. He wastes his opportunities, which flee to others. He wastes his energy, which rusts from inactivity. He wastes his reputation, which may never return. He wastes his friends, who forsake him. He wastes his possessions, which are taken from him. He wastes his character, which debases him. He wastes his life, which is taken from him. He wastes eternity, which is lost to him. Let slothfulness, therefore, be far from us, as saints of the Lord—P '34, 143.
Parallel passages: Prov. 6: 6-11; 10: 4, 5, 26; 12: 11, 24, 27; 13: 4; 15: 19; 19: 15, 24; 20: 4, 13; 21: 5, 25; 22: 29; 23: 21; 24: 30-34; 26: 13-16; 27: 23-27; 30: 25-28; 31: 13-27; Eccles. 10: 18; Isa. 56: 10; Matt. 25: 26, 27; Rom. 12: 11; Eph. 4: 28; 1 Thes. 4: 11, 12; 2 Thes. 3: 10-12; Heb. 6: 12; 1 Tim. 5: 8.
Hymns: 20, 25, 32, 78, 201, 224, 225.
Poems of Dawn, 161: "A Cup Of Cold Water."
Tower Reading: Z '05, 43 (R 3502).
Questions: What has this text meant to me this week? How did I respond to its thought? What were the results?
"A CUP OF COLD WATER"
THE Lord of the Harvest walked forth one day,
Where the fields were white with the ripening wheat,
Where those He had sent in the early morn
Were reaping the grain in the noonday heat.
He had chosen a place for every one,
And bidden them work till the day was done.
Apart from the others, with troubled voice,
Spake one who had gathered no golden grain:
"The Master hath given no work to me,
and my coming hither hath been in vain;
The reapers with gladness and song will come,
But no sheaves will be mine in the harvest home."
He heard the complaint, and He called her name:
"Dear child, why standest thou idle here?
Go fill the cup from the hillside stream,
And bring it to those who are toiling near;
I will bless thy labor, and it shall be
Kept in remembrance as done for Me."
'Twas a little service, but grateful hearts
Thanked God for the water so cold and clear;
And some who were fainting with thirst and heat,
Went forth with new strength to the work so dear;
And many a weary soul looked up,
Revived and cheered by the little cup.
2016-10-19 - 2017-10-18 All day
Freely ye have received, freely give--Matt. 10: 8.
Let us be on the alert to give to all who are hungering and thirsting for the blessed food which has so greatly refreshed and strengthened us. If they do not get it they will faint by the way as they go looking for other provisions. We have the very thing which all of the household of faith need; without it they cannot maintain their standing, they cannot press on, they shall surely become discouraged. Whatever we may have of financial means for sending forth the bread of life to others, or whatever we may have of knowledge of the Truth, is neither to be selfishly hoarded nor selfishly partaken of by ourselves. It is to be consecrated to the Lord, and out of that consecration the Lord will bring blessings to others and increased blessings upon our own heads and hearts—Z '04, 78 (R 3332).
A review of God's gifts to us reveals how freely, i.e., how liberally and graciously, He has given us the blessings of creation, providence, redemption, instruction, justification, sanctification and deliverance. These blessings contain everything that we need for life and godliness. Freely indeed have we received. Therefore in the same spirit let us give of our knowledge, affections, time, strength, means, health, life, service, ease, influence, reputation, safety, yes, our little human all, to and for our dear Heavenly Father, the Giver of every good gift and every perfect gift! Nor would these gifts be sufficiently large and good to be worthy the One who has given us our all—P '33, 148.
Parallel passages: Acts 8: 18-20; Psa. 34: 10; 68: 18, 35; 84: 11; Eccles. 2: 26; Isa. 42: 5; Ezek. 11: 19; Dan. 2: 21-23; Matt. 11: 28; 25: 14-30; John 6: 27; 16: 23, 24; 17: 22; Rom. 5: 16-19; 8: 32; 12: 6-8; 1 Cor. 13: 1-3; 1 Pet. 4: 10.
Hymns: 70, 326, 11, 1, 68, 286, 28.
Poems of Dawn, 292: A Dead Sea or a Galilee?
Tower Reading: Z '16, 217 (R 5926).
Questions: What return have I made for God's gifts? How? Why? What helped or hindered therein? With what results?
A DEAD SEA OR A GALILEE?
LIFE adorns the Sea of Galilee:
Its bosom teems with fish; its shores are green;
But to the south there lies the Salty Sea,
So desolate: no fish, no life is seen.
And yet from Jordan's waters both receive.
Then why doth one have life; the other death?
'Tis Nature's law, to take and then to give;
For every breath we take we give a breath.
The Dead Sea drinks far more than Galilee,
But has no outlet in its selfishness;
While Galilee bestows its bounties free--
It issues forth its life mankind to bless.
Am I a Dead Sea, or a Galilee?
More blessed 'tis to give than to receive;
If I confine my thoughts to my and me
I'll not bless others, but myself deceive.
2016-10-20 - 2017-10-19 All dayBe ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves--Matt. 10: 16.
Oh, that all the Lord's dear people could learn the value of wisdom in connection with their endeavors to serve the Truth! Our Lord not only taught us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, but He exemplified this lesson in His own course, saying on another occasion to the Apostles, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." We, too, should learn that there are opportune and inopportune times for mentioning certain truths, and that there are wise and unwise methods of presenting them. It is not enough that we do not speak untruths; it is not enough that we speak the truth; additionally we should see to it that we speak the truth in love, and love that is trained uses wisdom that it may accomplish more good—Z '04, 91 (R 3339).
To have the serpent's wisdom and the dove's harmlessness means to possess a combination of tact and guilelessness. This combination is necessary in a herald of the Kingdom coming with a beneficent message, and mingling with people who generally misunderstand, sometimes pervert and not infrequently persecute. These qualities should be balanced and blended. Our tact should not be hypocritical, nor should our guilelessness be tactless. The higher primary graces most of all contribute to this happy balance. Its effect is, gathering and edifying the Church, testifying to the world and co-operating in overthrowing Satan's empire with a minimum of opposition—P '32, 150.
Parallel passages: Luke 10: 3; Rom. 16: 19; Eph. 5: 15; 1 Cor. 14: 20; Phil. 2: 15; 1 Cor. 9: 19-23; 2 Cor. 12: 6; Judg. 8: 1-3; 1 Kings 3: 24-28; Acts 23: 6-10.
Hymns: 44, 95, 125, 136, 145, 164, 198.
Poems of Dawn, 201: Only a Little While.
Tower Reading: Z '12, 393 (R 5151).
Questions: Have I this week blended tact and guilelessness? How? Why? With what results?
ONLY A LITTLE WHILE
ONLY a little while to walk with weary feet,
Only a little while the storms of life to meet,
Only a little while to tread the thorny way,
Only a little while, then comes the perfect day.
Only a little while to spread the truth abroad,
Only a little while to testify for God,
Only a little while, the time is fleeting fast,
Only a little while, earth's sorrows all are past.
Only a little while, then let us do our best,
Only a little while, then comes the promised rest.
Only a little while, oh, what a word is this!
Only a little while, then comes the perfect bliss.
Only a little while, then death shall be withdrawn,
Only a little while, then pain and tears are gone;
Only a little while, then by the Crystal Sea,
Only a little while, then we shall dwell with Thee.
Only a little while, Lord, let Thy Kingdom come!
Only a little while, Thy people sigh for home;
Only a little while, the City bring to sight,
Only a little while, come end earth's dreary night!
2016-10-21 - 2017-10-20 All dayOur Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name--Luke 11: 2.
This expresses adoration, appreciation of Divine goodness and greatness, and a corresponding reverence. In addressing our petition to the Lord our first thought is to be, not a selfish one respecting ourselves, nor a thought respecting the interests of others precious to us, but God is to be first in all our thoughts and aims and calculations. We are to pray for nothing that would not be in accord with the honor of our Heavenly Father's name; we are to wish for nothing for ourselves, or for our dear ones, that He would not fully approve and commission us to pray for. Perhaps no quality of heart is in greater danger of being blotted out among professing Christians than this thought of reverence for God—Z '04, 118 (R 3351).
God does for His children all and more than a good earthly father does for his children. Accordingly He begets, loves, fellowships, provides for, trains, prepares and gives an inheritance to His children. As our Heavenly Father, He does all of these things in the superlative degree. Most appropriately, therefore, should we hallow His name. This we do when we give Him the supreme reverence and devotion of our hearts, minds, souls and strength. This implies in ultimate analysis such conduct on our part as crystallizes Christlikeness in us, and fits us for the Kingdom. Nor do we desire to give Him a less honor—P '26, 156.
Parallel passages: Isa. 63: 17; Matt. 5: 44, 45; 6: 4; 8: 13; Rom. 8: 15; 1 Cor. 8: 6; 2 Cor. 1: 3; 6: 18; Gal. 4: 4-7; Eph. 1: 3, 17; 3: 14; 5: 20; Col. 1: 3, 12; Jas. 1: 17; 1 John 3: 1; Rev. 3: 5; 14: 1.
Hymns: 11, 45, 46, 83, 89, 193, 176.
Poems of Dawn, 255: The Divine Weaving.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 8 (R 5378).
Questions: Did I this week glorify God's Name? How? Under what circumstances? With what results?
THE DIVINE WEAVING
SEE the mystic Weaver sitting
High in Heaven—His loom below;
Up and down the treadles go.
Takes, for web, the world's dark ages,
Takes, for woof, the kings and sages,
Takes the nobles and their pages,
Takes all nations and all stages.
Thrones are bobbins in His shuttle,
Armies make them scud and scuttle--
Web into the woof must flow;
Up and down the nations go!
At the Weaver's will they go!
Calmly see the mystic Weaver
Throw His shuttle to and fro;
'Mid the noise and wild confusion,
Well the Weaver seems to know
What each motion, and commotion,
What each fusion, and confusion,
In the grand result will show!
Glorious wonder! What a weaving!
To the dull, beyond believing!
Such no fables ages know,
Only faith can see the Mystery,
How along the aisles of history,
Where the feet of sages go,
Loveliest to the fairest eyes,
Grand the mystic tapet lies!
Soft and smooth, and ever-spreading,
As if made for angel's treading--
Tufted circles touching ever:
Every figure has its plaidings,
Brighter forms and softer shadings,
Each illumined—what a riddle--
From a cross that gems the middle.
'Tis a saying—some reject it--
That its light is all reflected;
That the tapet's lines are given
By a Sun that shines in Heaven!
'Tis believed—by all believing--
That great God, Himself, is weaving,
Bringing out the world's dark Mystery,
In the light of faith and history;
And, as a web and woof diminish,
Comes the grand and glorious finish,
When begin the Golden Ages,
Long foretold by seers and sages.
2016-10-22 - 2017-10-21 All dayAre ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?--Matt. 20: 22.
The courage of the Lord in the narrow way fills us with admiration. What a strong character was His! He had no thought of turning back; He was intent upon accomplishing His Father's will—upon sacrificing Himself in the interest of others. A noble pattern the Apostles saw before them—greatness in humility, victory through service. It is well that we should have clearly before our minds that unless we partake of His cup, we can have no share in His Kingdom of glory. Let us then count all things else as loss and dross to obtain this necessary experience. As it comes to us let us not be fearful, nor think strange of the fiery trials that shall try us, as though some strange thing had happened unto us. On the contrary, even hereunto were we called, that we might now suffer with the Lord and by and by be with Him in the Kingdom—Z '04, 138, 139 (R 3362).
A cup symbolizes experiences of bliss and woe. Though, generally speaking, our Lord's cup consisted of His experiences from Jordan to Calvary, yet in its extreme sense the cup represents the shame and disgrace heaped upon Him as one excommunicated and outlawed, dying under the sentence of blasphemy and rebellion. If we are His, we are privileged to undergo like experiences. Of ourselves we are not able to do this, but a faithful use of the Spirit, Word and providences of God will give us the necessary faith, hope, love and obedience that will make us willing and thus able to drink the Lord's cup with Him—P '36, 111.
Parallel passages: John 4: 6; 11: 33, 34; 12: 27; Acts 3: 18; 17: 3; 2 Cor. 1: 5; Phil. 2: 7, 8; Heb. 4: 15; 5: 7; 12: 2, 3; Rom. 6: 1-11; 8: 10, 17; 1 Cor. 15: 29-34; 2 Cor. 4: 8-10; Phil. 3: 10; Col. 1: 24; 2 Tim. 2: 10-12; Heb. 13: 10-13; 1 Pet. 2: 21-23; 4: 12-14.
Hymns: 322, 5, 350, 134, 279, 299, 326.
Poems of Dawn, 282: "And There Was a Great Calm."
Tower Reading: Z '14, 382 (R 5599).
Questions: Have I drunk of His cup this week? How? Why? What helped or hindered? With what results?
"AND THERE WAS A GREAT CALM"
AS the green waves bear on their crest
The foam, and ever shoreward come,
So, moving surely to our rest,
Slowly we all like bits of foam
Come drifting home.
He whom we loved has reached the shore
In peace; and all the billows vast--
The stormy waves of life that bore
Him on—have ceased their strife at last.
The storm is past!
We thought, because the waves of life
Were high and rough, the end would be
'Mid scenes of tumult and of strife,
As mighty billows of the sea
Break loud and free.
But there was calm instead! The waves
Of life were stilled, and up the strand
Slipped noiselessly, as ocean laves
In quietness the silver sand,
An ending grand!
How sweet to know his weary life
At last to rest and quiet wore!
Oh, may we all, through peace or strife,
Be gathered on that silver shore
2016-10-23 - 2017-10-22 All dayWhosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant--Matt. 20: 27.
Among the Gentiles the rulers are lords, who do no serving but are served; but among the followers of Jesus the rule is to be reversed: he who would serve most was to be esteemed most highly. What a beauty there is in the Divine order of things! How thoroughly all who are right-minded can sympathize with the principles here laid down! How reasonable they are and how contrary to the spirit of the world. Truly, the Lord's followers will in this sense of the word be a peculiar people in their zeal for good works—for serving one another and for doing good unto all men as they have opportunity—Z '04, 140 (R 3362).
The world's ideal of greatness is unusual talent, wealth, power, authority, knowledge, reputation or achievement. The Lord's ideal of greatness is the service of disinterested love. Therefore in His eyes we are great in proportion as we render service from a disinterested love, in harmony with wisdom, power and justice, laying down our lives in the interests of His Plan, especially in gathering and edifying the elect. To such a greatness as this we may aspire; yet not with the idea of surpassing others, whom we are to prefer in honor. We are to be useful to others in every good way in our power. Because He was such, Jesus is the greatest of all—P '30, 166.
Parallel passages: Prov. 15: 33; Matt. 18: 1-6; 20: 20-26, 28; 23: 11; Mark 10: 42-45; Acts 20: 35; Rom. 12: 10, 16; 15: 1-3; 1 Pet. 5: 3, 5; Isa. 14: 12-15; Gal. 6: 2, 10; Phil. 2: 5-9; Luke 22: 27; John 13: 14.
Hymns: 95, 299, 114, 198, 47, 229, 146.
Poems of Dawn, 169: The Time is Short.
Tower Reading: Z '15, 312 (R 5785).
Questions: Have I this week sought to serve? Did I seek to do something to be seen or to be useful? What helped or hindered therein? What was the effect so far?
THE TIME IS SHORT
UP, up, my soul, the long-spent time redeeming;
Sow thou the seeds of better deed and thought;
Light other lamps, while yet the light is beaming;
The time, the time is short.
Think of the eyes that often weep in sadness,
Seeing not the truth that God to thee hath taught;
O bear to them this light and joy and gladness;
The time, the time is short.
Think of the feet that stray from misdirection,
And into snares of error's doctrine brought:
Bear then to them these tidings of salvation;
The time, the time is short.
The time is short. Then be thy heart a brother's
To every heart that needs thy help in aught.
How much they need the sympathy of others!
The time, the time is short.
2016-10-24 - 2017-10-23 All day
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon … and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus--Luke 23: 26.
We have often wondered, Where were Peter and John and James that they did not see the Master's burden and run to proffer assistance? If disposed to envy Simon his privilege of assisting the Master in the bearing of the cross, let us reflect that many of the Lord's brethren are daily bearing symbolic crosses, and that it is our privilege to assist them, and that the Lord agrees to reckon any service done to His faithful followers as though it were rendered to His own person. … As the wooden cross was not our Lord's heaviest burden, so, too, His followers have crosses which the world sees not, but which the "brethren" should understand. "Bear ye one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ"—Z '04, 155 (R 3369).
Because of His weakened condition, the cross taxed Jesus' strength beyond endurance; and God then provided the needed help, even though Simon was an unwilling helper. The text implies that Jesus bore the cross where the beams met; thus He bore its heavier part. Surely Jesus bore a heavier cross than ours. As we bear ours, we find that Jesus bears its heavier part. He considers our frame; He knows our weakness; therefore He goes before us, carrying the heavier part of our burden; and thus by His grace He enables us to persevere unto the end in spite of all obstacles—P '35, 131-132.
Hymns: 121, 63, 99, 124, 129, 149, 252.
Poems of Dawn, 215: The Hidden Cross.
Tower Reading: Z '13, 120 (R 5221).
Questions: Has this week brought me ameliorating providences? What were they? What were the results?
THE HIDDEN CROSS
THE multitude saw but the cross of olive-wood
The Man of Sorrows bore, nor knew how
Close-pressed upon His heart, a hidden cross He wore,--
A dark and bleeding weight of sin and human woe,
Made heavier with the sentence of God's broken law,
And crowned with thorns of scornful and malicious
A cross the world's Redeemer found on Jordan's
Nor laid it down until He came to Calvary.
Ofttimes it seemed He almost craved some human aid,
Some sympathizing heart to share that cruel cross.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, hadst thou but known
What time that cross bore heaviest on the yearning
Of Him, thy King!—And yet, O, slow of faith and hard--
Of heart, "Ye would not,"—and the King passed on--
And of the people, there was none with Him, He
Alone the winepress of this dark world's shame and
O, chosen three, had ye but watched with Him "one
That awful night in dark Gethsemane, ye might
Have lightened some the cruel weight of that dread cross,
Have known and shared with Him that agonizing
Alas! Alas! Your eyes were heavy, and ye slept.
So now, "sleep on and take your rest," ye weary one,
A holy angel's wing hath eased the hidden cross,--
Your Master, strengthened, waits that other cross to
Which cross bore heavier on the way to Calvary,--
The cross the cruel Roman soldiers laid upon
That Blessed One? Ah! no, it was the unseen cross
That crushed Him to the earth, that wrung from those
The agonizing cry, "My God, My God, oh, why
Hast Thou forsaken Me?" The temple's veil was
The sun grew dark. 'Tis finished, and the price is
The hidden cross had pierced that loving, tender
2016-10-25 - 2017-10-24 All dayDeal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good--2 Chron. 19: 11.
Whoever has a duty to perform, let him not fear, and while seeking to do unpleasant tasks in a kindly manner, both justly and lovingly, let us fear not man, but rather fear the Lord and be intent on pleasing Him. Let the world fight its fight; the Lord will supervise and the results will be glorious eventually. Let us who belong to the new nation, to the new Kingdom that is not of this world, who use no carnal weapons, but the sword of the Spirit—let us fight the good fight of faith, lay hold upon the glorious things set before us, and not only stand ourselves but also help all those with the same Spirit and members of the same spiritual army corps to stand, complete in Him who is the Head, the Captain of our Salvation—Z '04, 207, 205 (R 3393).
To deal courageously does not imply that we underrate our difficulties, tasks or enemies, nor that we overrate our abilities and attainments. It implies that we soberly estimate everything connected with our Christian warfare; and therefore realize that greater are they that are for us, than they that are against us. This will enable us with hearts full of hope for victory bravely to face all dangers. If to our courage we add goodness of heart, He who works all things for good to them that love God will give us mercy for our human lacks, faults and weakness and our immaturities of the new heart, mind and will, and grace to help in every time of need—P '34, 143.
Parallel passages: Josh. 1: 1-9; 2 Chron. 15: 7, 8; Prov. 28: 1; Ezek. 2: 6; 3: 9; 1 Cor. 16: 13; Phil. 1: 27, 28; 2 Tim. 1: 7; Gen. 22: 1-14; Judg. 6: 25-31; Ezra 8: 22, 23; 5: 11; Dan. 3: 16-18; 6: 10; Acts 4: 19; 5: 29; Rev. 2: 10.
Hymns: 13, 20, 136, 183, 261, 266, 272.
Poems of Dawn, 44: Gideon's Band.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 71 (R 5413).
Questions: What has this text done for me this week? How? What were the results?
"COUNT me the swords that have come."
"Lord, thousands on thousands are ready."
"Lo! These are too many, and with them are some
Whose hearts and whose hands are not steady.
He whose soul does not burn,
Let him take up his tent and return."
"Count me the swords that remain."
"Lord, hundreds on hundreds are daring."
"These yet are too many for Me to attain
To the victory I am preparing.
Lead them down to the brink
Of the waters of Marah to drink."
"Lord, those who remain are but few,
And the hosts of the foe are appalling,
And what can a handful such as we do?"
"When ye hear from beyond My voice calling,
Sound the trump! Hold the light!
Great Midian will melt in your sight!"
2016-10-26 - 2017-10-25 All dayCasting all your care upon him; for he careth for you--1 Pet. 5: 7.
This is a very consoling and encouraging suggestion from the Word. However, the Lord's people are to learn more and more distinctly, as their years of membership in God's family and tutelage in the school of Christ go on, that they are not to ask the Lord to guide their efforts according to their wisdom; that they are not to request that their wills shall be done either on earth or in heaven, but rather, telling the Lord their burdens, great and small, they are to realize and appropriate to themselves His sympathy and love, and to apply to their own hearts as a balm the consoling assurances of His Word, that He is both able and willing to make all their experiences profitable to them, if they abide in Him with confidence and trust—Z '04, 237 (R 3409).
Our cares are the things that try us, such as losses, disappointments, delays, restraints, shelvings, responsibilities, faults, lacks and weaknesses of ourselves and others, failures, differences, hardships, divisions, siftings, necessities, oppositions, sickness, weariness, pain, sorrow, treasons, oppressions, persecutions, etc. Their natural tendency is to absorb the attention of our hearts, and minds, causing worry. While we are to be commendably diligent in our affairs, acting as though everything depended on us, let us heartily believe that all depends on God! Ours it is to exercise diligence; His to exercise care. He is faithful in performing His engagements, and as our Helper and Caretaker He arranges all things in our interests. Therefore we may well entrust our interests to Him—P '33, 148.
Parallel passages: Psa. 37: 5; 127: 2; Matt. 6: 25-34; 11: 28-30; 13: 22; Luke 21: 34; Rom. 8: 28; Phil. 4: 6, 7, 19; Prov. 16: 3; Jer. 17: 7, 8; Heb. 13: 5.
Hymns: 328, 67, 228, 293, 305, 330, 294.
Poems of Dawn, 74: Oh, Who Shall Roll the Stone Away?
Tower Reading: Z '14, 230 (R 5508).
Questions: What have I done with care this week? How? Why? With what results?
OH, WHO SHALL ROLL THE STONE AWAY?
A NAMELESS chill pervaded all the air,
On that gray morn, long centuries ago,
As through the city's narrow streets there crept
Two women on their way to Calvary.
The fragrant odors of sweet spices told
Of their sad errand to the tomb of Him
They loved. And as they neared the garden where
Their blessed Lord was laid, a sudden fear
Took hold upon their eager, loving hearts--
(The sepulchre was hewn from solid rock,
A great stone had been rolled before the door,
And sealed with Pilate's royal signature)--
They felt their weakness, and in anguish cried,
"Oh, who shall roll for us the stone away?"
But faith grew bold, they urged their faltering steps--
When lo! they found an Angel from the Lord
Had rolled away the stone, and sat thereon!
Thus often, when with loving zeal we seek
To serve the Lord, a great fear chills our hearts,
The door of opportunity seems closed,
And in our weakness and distress we cry,
"Oh, who shall roll for us the stone away?"
but when with faith and courage we press on,
We find the Angel of the Lord hath gone
Before, and lo! the stone is rolled away!
2016-10-27 - 2017-10-26 All dayMy times are in thy hand--Psa. 31: 15.
All of the Lord's consecrated servants devoted their lives to sacrifice when they became followers of the Lamb; and if they could but realize their consecration continually, they would be ready for the consummation at any moment at the Lord's pleasure and by whatever means or channel His providences may permit. The Lord's consecrated ones … are to remember that not a hair of their heads could fall without their Father's knowledge and permission, and the attitude of their hearts should be that expressed by our dear Redeemer. … The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?" The language of their hearts should be that expressed by the poet:
Content whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.
—Z '04, 237 (R 3407).
This statement is true of the whole Church and of its individual members. God has a due time for all things connected with His Plan. Accordingly we see marvelous time features marking the experiences of the Church. The parallel dispensations especially prove this in many details, the exact time being observed to a day. Thus God allows no slips in the time features pertaining to the Church. This same care He exercises toward its individual members. He arranges each experience, attainment, work and privilege at the time that will most glorify Him and profit them—P '32, 150.
Parallel passages: Gal. 4: 4; Rom. 5: 6; Dan. 9: 24-27; 12: 11-13; Luke 23: 46; John 13: 1; 17: 1; Acts 1: 6; 1 Tim. 2: 6; 6: 15; 1 Pet. 2: 23; Rev. 6: 11; 11: 2, 3; 14: 15.
Hymns: 186, 99, 333, 110, 293, 328, 63.
Poems of Dawn, 105: My Times Are in Thy Hand.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 230 (R 5508).
Questions: What have been this week's experiences as to the text? How were they met? What was their effect?
MY TIMES ARE IN THY HAND
PSALM 31: 15.
FATHER, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me;
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see:
But I ask Thee for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.
I ask Thee for a thankful love,
Through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
To wipe the weeping eyes,
And a heart at leisure from itself,
To soothe and sympathize.
I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do,
Or secret thing to know;
I would be dealt with as a child,
And guided where to go.
I ask Thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied;
And a mind to blend with outward life,
While keeping at Thy side,
Content to fill a little space,
If Thou be glorified.
2016-10-28 - 2017-10-27 All dayThe Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me … to comfort all that mourn … to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning--Isa. 61: 1-3.
Our commission is to seek out the meek and the mourning ones, who have appreciated their own shortcomings and weaknesses, and who are looking for refuge and deliverance. It is part of our commission to point them to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, to point them to the beauty of the resurrection for the ashes of death, and the glories which the Lord has promised by and by to take the place of the spirit of heaviness and disappointment and sorrow and trouble of this present time. It is our commission to tell such that "Joy cometh in the morning," and to assist them to arise and at once put on the garments of praise, and to begin to walk in newness of life, with a "new song in their mouths—even the loving-kindness of our God"—Z '04, 295 (R 3434).
God's holy heart and mind is upon His consecrated people. It is their qualification for service. By this spirit are their minds given the capacities to perceive, remember, reason on and express spiritual things, as by it their hearts are given the capacities necessary for the faith, hope, love and obedience to perform acceptably the sacrifices connected with their service. Truly this spirit enables them to comfort Zion's dear mourners and bring them out of the ashes of sorrow into the beauty of holiness and joy in the Lord—P '26, 156.
Parallel passages: Matt. 3: 16, 17; Acts 10: 38; 4: 1-4; 2 Cor. 1: 21, 22; 1 John 2: 20, 27; Psa. 119: 50, 52, 54, 92, 143; 147: 3; Isa. 40: 1, 2; 51: 3, 12; John 16: 33; 2 Cor. 1: 2-7; Ezek. 9: 3, 4; 1 Thes. 4: 18.
Hymns: 25, 38, 57, 93, 108, 228, 278.
Poems of Dawn, 198: Consolation.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 277 (R 5536).
Questions: Have I this week comforted and gladdened others? How? Why? Under what circumstances?
WHEN thy pathway straitened lies, beloved,
Call on Me;
Ever fix on Me thine eyes, beloved,
I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,
Lean on Me!
When with trials sore beset, beloved,
Come to Me;
Calvary's hour do not forget, beloved,
Think on Me;
I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,
Trust in Me!
When the dark night darker grows, beloved,
Cry to Me;
When the cold stream colder flows, beloved,
Cling to Me;
I will never leave thee, but will take thee
Home with Me!
2016-10-29 - 2017-10-28 All dayWe are troubled on every side, yet not distressed: we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus--2 Cor. 4: 8-10.
Those who joyfully endure for the Lord's sake, the Truth's sake, the greatest shame, the greatest ignominy, the greatest trials, the greatest persecutions in this present life, and thus have experiences most like those of the Master and Pattern, we may be sure will in proportion to their faithfulness manifested in such sacrifices, have a future great reward—as the Apostle has declared, "Star differeth from star in glory"—Z '01, 55 (R 2760).
The Lord is not well pleased to permit our lives to be wholly calm in external matters. Such a course would unfit us for the present and future ministry of the saints. On the contrary, the Lord is pleased to permit all sorts of untoward experiences to be ours; and amid some of them our strength almost snaps. Fitting the burdens to our backs and our backs to the burdens, He gives us grace sufficient for every time of need, and thus, gradually, as in our Lord's case, He brings us to perfection of character as His disciples who daily lay down our human lives with our dear Lord in loving sacrifice—P '36, 111.
Parallel passages: Acts 9: 16; Rom. 8: 17, 18, 23; 1 Cor. 4: 12, 13; 2 Cor. 1: 5-7; 4: 11-18; 6: 4, 5; 11: 23-28; Phil. 1: 29; 2: 27-29; 2 Thes. 1: 4, 5; Jas. 5: 10; 1 Pet. 5: 10.
Hymns: 3, 47, 150, 160, 244, 277, 307.
Poems of Dawn, 98: A Little Talk With Jesus.
Tower Reading: Z '15, 120 (R 5670).
Questions: What have I suffered this week? How? Why? With what effects?
A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS
A LITTLE talk with Jesus,--
How it smoothes the rugged road!
How it seems to help me onward,
When I faint beneath my load!
When my heart is crushed with sorrow,
And mine eyes with tears are dim,
There is naught can yield me comfort
Like a little talk with Him.
I tell Him I am weary,
And I fain would be at rest;
But I still will wait His bidding,
For His way is always best.
Then His promise ever cheers me
'Mid all the cares of life:--
"I am come, and soon in glory
Will end thy toil and strife."
Ah, that is what I'm wanting,
His lovely face to see--
And I'm not afraid to say it,
I know He's wanting me.
He gave His life a ransom
To make me all His own,
And He'll ne'er forget His promise
To me, His purchased one.
The way is sometimes weary
To yonder nearing clime,
But a little talk with Jesus
Hath helped me many a time.
The more I come to know Him,
And all His grace explore,
It sets me ever longing
To know Him more and more.
2016-10-30 - 2017-10-29 All dayNo man can serve two masters--Matt. 6: 24.
"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Experience and observation corroborate this; and hence as a rule we find that people are either cold or hot in spiritual things. … We are to "seek first [chiefly] the Kingdom of God." It is to be our chief concern and to receive from us all the time, attention, thought, energy, influence and means we have—the things needful for the present life being understood to be excepted; and our love and zeal will be manifested by the proportion of even these we are willing to sacrifice in the interest of heavenly things—Z '01, 61 (R 2764).
Our Lord here means by two masters, not two whose interests and aims are one, but whose interests and aims conflict. Otherwise we could not serve God and Christ, as our Masters. We can serve these because their interests and aims are identical. But the interests and aims of God and Satan conflicting, we cannot serve both of them. For the same reason we cannot serve Christ and Antichrist, the flesh and the Spirit, this world and the next, and error and the Truth. The sooner we realize and act upon this principle the better for us as Christians—P '30, 183.
Parallel passages: Gen. 39: 9; Hos. 10: 2; Dan. 1: 8-16; 3: 12-25; Luke 16: 13; 1 Kings 18: 21; Josh. 24: 14-25; Matt. 4: 8-10; 12: 25; Mark 10: 21-23; John 10: 41, 42; 1 Cor. 10: 21; Heb. 11: 24-26; Jas. 1: 8.
Hymns: 8, 160, 191, 208, 224, 16, 109.
Poems of Dawn, 42: Full Consecration.
Tower Reading: Z '15, 109 (R 5666).
Questions: Have I been single in my devotion this week? Whom did I serve? What helped or hindered singleness of devotion? What results did I achieve?
O SACRED union with the Perfect Mind!
Transcendent bliss, which Thou alone canst
How blest are they this Pearl of price who find,
And, dead to earth, have learned in Thee to live!
And thus, while dead to human hopes I lie,
Lost, and forever lost, to all but Thee,
My happy soul, since it has learned to die,
Has found new life in Thine infinity.
With joy we learn this lesson of the cross,
And tread the toilsome way which Jesus trod;
And counting present life and all things loss,
We find in death to self the life of God.
2016-10-31 - 2017-10-30 All dayBecause thy lovingkindness [favor] is better than life, my lips shall praise thee--Psa. 63: 3.
Those who have tasted of the Lord's grace, those who have come to realize his favor as better than life, and who have joyfully laid upon His altar every earthly good thing, and hope and ambition, rejoice to tell the good tidings to others; they rejoice to tell forth the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. The message is too good to keep; they not only do not require to be hired to tell it, but they are willing that the telling of it, and the enjoying of God's favor in connection with the telling, shall cost them something—cost them trouble, cost them money, cost them the loss of earthly friendships, cost the straining, if not the breaking, of some home ties, cost them the frown of the world and of churchianity—Z '01, 246 (R 2850).
God's loving kindness to us consists of His favors to us in Creation, Providence, Redemption, Instruction, Justification, Sanctification and Deliverance. But the particular lovingkindness here meant is the calling to the heavenly nature with Christ, extended and realized. This is much better than human life, and its privileges are higher, as the heavens are higher than the earth. Such a calling gives lips, truthful teachings, that manifest Jehovah's praises, His glorious wisdom, power, justice and love. Therefore, let us declare His marvelous Plan, which makes His praises known—P '35, 132.
Parallel passages: Ex. 15: 1, 2; Job 36: 24; Psa. 7: 17; 9: 11; 22: 22-25; 28: 6, 7; 30: 4; 33: 1-3; 35: 18; 43: 3, 4; Isa. 38: 17; Luke 1: 46, 47; John 14: 23.
Hymns: 238, 235, 236, 237, 273, 19, 37.
Poems of Dawn, 283: Will His Work Endure?
Tower Reading: Z '14, 118 (R 5440).
Questions: What were this week's experiences in line with this text? How were they met? What helped or hindered therein? What were the results?
WILL HIS WORK ENDURE?
WILL "that Servant's" work endure?
Ah, yes! Of this we may be sure:
For he was faithful, wise and true
And brought forth truths, both old and new.
Though Satan's error now enshrouds
And hides the light with darkest clouds,
Our God will shake and then remove
All things that He cannot approve.
"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again"
And in its purity remain,
Unconquered by the Devil's arts
In even its minutest parts.
Will "that Servant's" work endure?
Ah, yes, with all that's good and pure!
For sin and error flee away
Before the light of coming Day!