Morning and Evening

June 28

“Looking unto Jesus.” —Hebrews 12:2

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

Evening

“But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” —Exodus 7:12

This incident is an instructive emblem of the sure victory of the divine handiwork over all opposition. Whenever a divine principle is cast into the heart, though the devil may fashion a counterfeit, and produce swarms of opponents, as sure as ever God is in the work, it will swallow up all its foes. If God’s grace takes possession of a man, the world’s magicians may throw down all their rods; and every rod may be as cunning and poisonous as a serpent, but Aaron’s rod will swallow up their rods. The sweet attractions of the cross will woo and win the man’s heart, and he who lived only for this deceitful earth will now have an eye for the upper spheres, and a wing to mount into celestial heights. When grace has won the day the worldling seeks the world to come. The same fact is to be observed in the life of the believer. What multitudes of foes has our faith had to meet! Our old sins—the devil threw them down before us, and they turned to serpents. What hosts of them! Ah, but the cross of Jesus destroys them all. Faith in Christ makes short work of all our sins. Then the devil has launched forth another host of serpents in the form of worldly trials, temptations, unbelief; but faith in Jesus is more than a match for them, and overcomes them all. The same absorbing principle shines in the faithful service of God! With an enthusiastic love for Jesus difficulties are surmounted, sacrifices become pleasures, sufferings are honours. But if religion is thus a consuming passion in the heart, then it follows that there are many persons who profess religion but have it not; for what they have will not bear this test. Examine yourself, my reader, on this point. Aaron’s rod proved its heaven-given power. Is your religion doing so? If Christ be anything he must be everything. O rest not till love and faith in Jesus be the master passions of your soul!

Spurgeon, C. H.

Amazing Grace Hymns

June 27

MY SINS ARE BLOTTED OUT, I KNOW!

Words and Music by Merrill Dunlop, 1905–

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)

Forgiveness—when God buries our sins and does not mark the grave.
Louis Paul Lehman

Many Christians have suffered great emotional, mental, and even physical disorders throughout life because they could never accept the fact that God has totally forgiven them. How important it is to realize that when God offers us His forgiveness, it is never a partial but always a total forgiveness—the slate is forever clean. In God’s family there are only forgiven children. Then, if we are forgiven by God, we are to accept with gratitude His cleansing provision and, by His help, blot out from our memories all hurting reminders of the past. We should also become a more forgiving person with others, free of the resentments and prejudices that will shackle our spiritual lives. Someone has made this humorous but wise observation: “Christians should keep a cemetery in which to bury the faults and failures of their fellow believers.”

The author and composer of this popular gospel hymn, Merrill Dunlop, gives this account of its origin:

It was written in a very few minutes, although only after much deliberation, while I was crossing the Atlantic in 1927 on a liner, The Leviathan, and meditating upon the verses in Micah 7:18, 19 and upon the great dimensions of the sea—the breadth and depth and what the Bible says about our sins—buried in those depths—removed—blotted out! Then, making it personal, I said: “My sins are blotted out, I know!” The melody came almost simultaneously with the words. I jotted the chorus down aboard the ship, as I walked the deck. Later, in Ireland, I added the words and music to the stanzas. It took hold immediately and quickly spread across America and across the seas.
* * * *

What a wondrous message in God’s Word! My sins are blotted out, I know! If I trust in His redeeming blood, my sins are blotted out, I know!

Once my heart was black, but now what joy; my sins are blotted out, I know! I have peace that nothing can destroy; my sins are blotted out, I know!

I shall stand some day before my King; my sins are blotted out, I know! With the ransomed host I then shall sing: “My sins are blotted out, I know!”

Chorus: My sins are blotted out, I know! My sins are blotted out, I know! They are buried in the depths of the deepest sea: My sins are blotted out, I know!

For Today: Psalm 103:1, 3, 11, 12; Isaiah 1:18; 43:25; Micah 7:18, 19

Live in the assurance of God’s complete forgiveness. Then determine to forgive and forget the wrongs that others may have done to you. Let your heart be glad as you rejoice in this musical truth—

Osbeck, K. W. 

EZC

  • My soul, praise thou the Lord, and all that is within me, praise his holy NamePsalm 103:1
  • Which forgiveth all thine iniquity, and healeth all thine infirmities. Psalm 103:3
  • For as high as the heaven is above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:11
  • As far as the East is from the West: so far hath he removed our sins from us. Psalm 103:12
  • Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins were as crimson, they shall be made white as snow: though they were red like scarlet, they shall be as woolIsaiah 1:18
  • I, even I am he that putteth away thine iniquities for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isaiah 43:25
  • Who is a God like unto thee, that taketh away iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage! He retaineth not his wrath forever, because mercy pleaseth him. He will turn again, and have compassion upon us: he will subdue our iniquities, and cast all their sins into the bottom of the seaMicah 7:18-19

Connect The Testaments

June 27: The Truth about Truth

Nehemiah 12:1–13:31; 2 John 1–6; Psalm 115:1–18

John the Evangelist’s letter to the “elect lady” presents a picture of joy and hope, as he “rejoiced greatly to find some of [her] children walking in truth, just as we were commanded by the father” (2 John 4). One word keeps reappearing in John’s letter, focusing his message: truth. John says that he loves the elect lady and her children “in truth” (2 John 1). He says that all who know the truth also love them. His reason is simple: “the truth … resides in us and will be with us forever” (2 John 2). When John speaks of truth, he’s referring to Jesus (John 14:6).

After his initial greeting, John goes on to express his wishes: May “Grace, mercy, [and] peace … be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love” (2 John 3). In acknowledging the source of truth, John acknowledges his connection to it. All believers live in truth because they are linked to God, who is the Truth. He is the source for all they do (that is godly), all they are (that is holy), and all that they will become (that is virtuous).

In a few brief statements, John teaches us an important lesson: God is the source of all the goodness in the world. Even in acknowledging others, we must acknowledge Him. If we’re to discuss truth, then we must talk about Him.

The elect lady that John addresses is not only truthful—she also leads others to the truth. When we act to encourage someone to work toward who they’re meant to be, we need to follow her example. We need to first lead them to truth: God.

What is God teaching you about truth? How can you live it?

JOHN D. BARRY

EZC

  • These also are the Priest and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: to wit, Seraiah, Jeremiah: Ezra., Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hiilkiah, Jedaiah: these were the chief of the Priests, and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua. And the Levites, Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, Matttaniah were over the thanksgivings, he, and his brethren. And Bakbukiah and Unni, and their brethren were about them in the watches. And Jeshua begat Joiakim: Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada. And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua, And in the days of Joiakim were these the chief fathers of the Priests: under Seraiah was Meraiah, under Jeremiah, Hananiah, Under Ezra, Meshullam, under Amariah, Jehohanan, Under Melichu, Jonathan, under Shebaniah, Joseph. Under Harim, Adua, under Mataioth, Helkai, Under Iddo, Zechariah, under Ginnethon, Meshullam, Under Abijah, Zichri, under Minjamin, and under Moadiah, Piltai, Under Bilgah, Shammua, under Shemaiah, Jehonathan, Under Joiarib, Mattenai, under Jedaiah, Uzzi, Under Sallai, Kallai, under Amok, Eber, Under Hilkiah, Hashabiah, under Jedaiah, Nethanel,. In the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan and Jaddua were the chief fathers of the Levites written, and the Priests in the reign of Darius the Persian. The sons of Levi, the chief fathers were written in the book of the Chronicles even un to the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib. And the chief of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, and their brethren about them to give praise and thanks,, according to the ordinances of David the man of Godward over against ward. Mattaniah and Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon and Akkub were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds of the gates. These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the captain, and of Ezra the Priest and Scribe. And in the dedication of the wall at Jerusalem, they sought the Levites out of all their places to bring them to Jerusalem to keep the dedication and gladnes, both with thanksgivings and with songs, cymbals, viols, and with harps. Then the singers gathered themselves together both from the plain country about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi, And from the house of Gilgal, and out of the countries of Geba, and Azmaveth: for the singers had built them villages round about Jerusalem. And the Priests and Levites were purified, and cleansed the people, and the gates, and the wall. And I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies to give thanks, and the one went on the right hand of the wall toward the drug gate. And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah, And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, And of the Priest’s sons with trumpets, Zechariah, the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph. And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God: an dEzra the Scribe went before them. And to the gate of the fountain, even over against them went they up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up o fthe wall beyond the house of David, even unto the water gate Eastward. And the second company of them that gave thanks, went on the other side, and I after them, and the half of the people was upon the wall, and upon the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall. And upon the gate of Ephraim, and upon the old gate, and upon the fish gate, and the tower of Hananel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood in the gate of the ward. So stood the two companies (of them that gave thanks) in the house of God, and I and the half of the rulers with me. The Priests also, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, Hananiah, with trumpets. And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, adn Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer: and the singers sang loud, having Jezrahiah which was the overseer. And the same day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced: for God had given them great joy, so that both the woman, and the children were joyful: and the joy of Jerusalem was heard far off. Also at the same tie were men appointed over the chambers of the store for the offerings, (for the firstfruits, and for the tithes) to gather into them out of the fields of the cities, the portions of the Law for the Priests, and the Levites, for Judah rejoiced for the Priests and for the Levites, that served. And both the singers and the Levites kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification according to the  commandment of David, and Soloon his son. For in the days of David and Asaph, of old were chief singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God. And in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah did all Israel give portions unto the singers and porters, every day his portion, and they gave the holy things unto the Levites, and the Levites gave the holy things unto the sons of Aaron. And on that day they did read in the book of Moses, in the audience of the people, and it was found written therein, that the Amonite, and the Moabite should not enter into the Congregation of God, Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and iwth water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: and our God turned the curse into a blessing. Now when they had heard the Law, they separated from the Israel all those that were imxed. And before this had the Priest Eliashib the oversight of the chaber of the house of our God, being kinsman to Tobiah: And he had made him a great chamber, and there had they aforetime laid the offerings, the incense, and the vessels, and the tithes of corn, or wine, and of oil (appointed for the Levites, and the singers, and the porters) and the offerings of the Priests. But in all this time was not I in Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artachshashta King of Babel, came I unto the King, and after certain days I obtained of the King. And when I was come to Jerusalem, I understood the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in that  he had made him a chamber in the court of the house of God, And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the vessels of the house of Tobiah out of the chamber. And I commanded them to cleanse the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessles of the house of God with the meat offering and the incense. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given, and that everyone was fled to his land, even the Levites and singers that executed the work. Then reproved I the rulers and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I assembled them, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithes of corn and of wine, and of oil unto the treasures. And I made treasurers over the treasures, Shelemiah the Priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah, and under their hand Hanan the son of Zaccur the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren. Remember me, O my God, herein, and wipe not out my kindness that I have showed on the house of my God, and on the offices thereof. In those days saw I in Judah them, that trod wine presses on the Sabbath, and that brought in sheaves, and which laded asses also with wine, grapes, and figs, and all burdens, and brought them into Jerusalem upon the Sabbath day: and I protested to them in the day that they sold vittles. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish and all wares, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah even in Jerusalem. Then reproved I the rulers of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and break the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and our God brought all this plague upon us, and upon this city? yet ye increase the wrath upon Israel, in breaking the Sabbath. And when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded to shut the gates, and charged, that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath, and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day. So the chapmen and merchants of all merchandise remained once or twice all night without Jerusalem. And I protested among them, and said unto them, Why tarry ye all night about the wall? If ye do it once again, I will lay hands upon you. From that tie came they no more on the Sabbath. And I said unto the Levites, that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and pardon me according to thy great mercy. In those days also I saw Jews that married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab. And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak inthe Jews’ language, and according to the language of the one people, and of the other people. Then I reproved them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and pulled off their hair, and took an oath from them by God, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, neither shall ye take of their daughters unto your sons nor for yourselves. Did not Solomon the king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no King like him: for he was beloved of his God, and God had made him King over Israel: yet strange women caused him to sin. Shall we then obey unto you, to do all this great evil, and to transgress against our God, even to marry strange wives? And one of the sons of Joaida the son of Eliashib the high Priest was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite: but I chased him from me. Remember them, O my God, that defil the Priesthood, and the covenant of the Priesthood, and of the Levites. Then cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the Priests and of the Levites, every one in his office, And for the offering of the wood at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, in goodness. Nehemiah 12:1–13:31
  • The Elder unto the beloved Gaius whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish chiefly that thou prosperedst and faredst well as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiceth greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee how thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than these, that is, to hear that my sons walk in verity. Beloved, thou doest faithfully, whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers, Which bore witness of thy love before the Churches, Whom if thou bringest on their journey as it seemeth according to God, thou shalt do well2 John 1–6
  • Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name give the glory for thy loving mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore shall the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in heaven: he doeth whatsoever he will. Their idols are silver and gold, even the work of men’s hands. They have a mouth, and speak not: they have eyes, and see not. They have ears, and hear not: they have noses and smell not. They have hands, and touch not: they have feet, and walk not: neither make they a sound with their throat. They that make them are like unto them: so are all that trust in them. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: for he is their help, and their shield. O house of Aaron trust ye in the Lord, for he is their helper, and their shield. Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: for he is their help, and their shield. Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: for he is their helper, and their shield. The Lord hath been mindful of us, he will bless us, he will bless the house of Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great. The Lord will increase his graces toward you, even toward you, and toward your children. Ye are blessed of the Lord, which made the heaven and the earth. The heavens, even the heavens are the Lord’s: but he hath given the earth to the sons of men. The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into the place of silence. But we will praise the Lord from henceforth and forever. Praise ye the LordPsalm 115:1–18