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people upon their holy faith; (2) in leading His children so to delight in the daily reading of His Holy Word as to read the whole of it from cover to cover every year; and, finally, (3) in enabling His messengers to know the marvellous messages that are scattered throughout the sacred Scriptures, to believe them, to obey them, to honour them, and to spread them, and so unite with the Psalmist in exclaiming : Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name (Ps. cxxxviii. 2).
July 11th, 1923.
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee."-ISA. xli. 10.
BEFORE reading the following pages, or beginning any duties of the coming year, it will be well to spend a few moments in prayerful meditation upon Isa. xli. 10.
This is a message suitable for every day. The first fact to be noted is The Creator of the Universe is our God. Everything we need is included in that fact. He who says, "I am thy God," is a Rock, a Refuge, and a Defence; a Commander, Leader, Guide; an Almighty Being and an Everlasting Friend.
Note next the threefold encouragement. 1. Power. "I will strengthen thee.' Therefore never complain of weakness. sistance. "I will help thee." Therefore never complain of loneliness. He will not only put strength in us to enable us to do His work, but go forth with us to help us do it. 3. Safety. "I will uphold thee," or hold thee up." Therefore never be afraid of falling. Never was a babe so safe in the arms of its mother as I shall be, held up in the arms of Omnipotence. But further, I am to be held up by "the right hand of His righteousness," and therefore not at the expense of the downfall of another. My safety and success shall be right and just.
Troubles and difficulties may be awaiting me, but God says, “I will be with him in trouble" (Ps. xci. 15), and "when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee " (Isa. xliii. 2). I may have special duties to perform, but not more so than Moses, to whom God said, "Certainly I will be with thee." Therefore my meditation to-day—and frequently through the year-shall be: "Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea I will uphold thee, with the right hand of My righteousness."
* Gen. i.
+ Gen. i.-iii.
"In the beginning-GOD."
THESE are the first words of the Bible, and they express the key note of this marvellous book-God First. There are a number of wonderful revelations made to us in this first chapter of Genesis. The origin of all things is briefly and wonderfully described. But God is mentioned first, and for this reason-He is first. He is at "the beginning. The first page of the Bible may indeed be called
"God's own page,
It tells us that God
" for it is full of God. created-moved-said-saw-divided-called-made-set-blessed -finished—and rested. God's name occurs no less than 46 times in the first two chapters of this book; and as we thus find God at the opening of the Bible, so we should find Him at the opening of the year; we should begin the New Year with God first. He should be first in our thoughts and first in our words, and then all through the year it should still be the same-God first. If we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, He will see that all other necessary things are added unto us. Put God first in everything and we shall know the meaning, through receiving the fulfilment, of that promise to the Philippians (iv. 19)" My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
46 Another year is dawning! Dear Master, let it be,
* Gen. v. 18-24 and Heb. xi. 5, 6. + Gen. iv.-vi. DIVINE COMPANIONSHIP
"Enoch walked with God."
ENOCH was a family man. He lived many years after the birth of his eldest child, and had both sons and daughters." But during the whole of this period he "walked with God," and he not only walked with God, but he also "pleased" God, and had the testimony or witness of the Spirit that he did so, "for before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God" (Heb. xi. 5). He must, therefore, have been saved from all sin and kept by the power of God from sinning. Now, if Enoch was thus kept thousands of years ago, and long before the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, then surely we may have the experience to-day, for God, and Christ, and faith are still the same. Walking peacefully with a friend implies union, fellowship, and progress by interchange of thought.
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos iii. 3). We are exhorted in Rom. vi. 13 to yield ourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead," and by doing so we manifest our oneness with Him. We live in fellowship with Him and so make real and continual progress in the divine life. Oh that we may this day and every day of this year thus "walk with God."
"Walk in the light! so shalt thou know
That fellowship of love,
His spirit only can bestow
Who reigns in heaven above.
“Walk in the light! and sin abhorred
The blood of Jesus Christ thy Lord
"Walk in the light! thy path shall be
For grace, by grace, shall dwell in thee
* Gen. viii. + Gen. vii., viii., ix. to verse 19. GOD'S MEMORY
"God remembered Noah."
GOD is able both to remember and to forget. If we have confessed to Him our sins, and trusted Him for pardon, they are all thrown into the sea of His forgetfulness, and His word to us this morning is_" Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more. He will remember them no more because they are not only forgiven but for ever put away. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us." But glad as we are that God is thus able to forget our sins, yet we want Him ever to remember us. This He is willing to do. "God remembered Noah." But why did God remember him? Because He had saved him from the flood by shutting him in the Ark. If we are saved from sin through Him or put by faith "into Jesus Christ," then God will remember us, and that for good, both this day and for evermore. Let this, then, be our morning prayer-" O Lord, remember me.
"Was it for crimes that I had done,
"Dear Saviour, I can ne'er repay
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
* Gen. xii. 1-8.
+ Gen. xi.-xiii.
"Thou shalt be a blessing."
THERE is only one way by which I can live every day a truly happy life, and that is by seeking to bless those whom God has placed round about me, and I can only do this by being definitely blessed myself. Before God said to Abraham, "Thou shalt be a blessing," He had said to him, "I will bless thee," and when God fulfilled His promise what a blessing Abraham became! Yea, and what a blessing to mankind he still continues to be! for is he not a blessing and an inspiration to all those who read his life and study his character to-day? Let me, then, this morning, by communion with God and meditation upon His truth, get really blessed before going forth to this day's duties, and then I may expect and believe to be made a blessing to others. Lord, bless me now.
"Oh, Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end,
"Oh, let me see Thy footsteps,
Is in Thy strength alone.
And then in heaven receive me,
* Gen. xv. 1-8.
+ Gen. xiv.-xvii.
NOTHING is more common or natural than for a man to fear in the time of danger or trouble. But "the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, ' Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.' And God is just as willing to speak to my heart thus, as He was to Abram. First, He bids me not to fear." But why does He do this? Because He is my "shield "! Do I really believe this statement? If so, how can I fear? of what, or of whom can I be afraid? Surely nothing can touch my spirit, soul, or body without His permission, if He is my "shield " It may be safely said of all who have God for their shield that no weapon formed against them shall prosper. Therefore I will take