September 1
Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. `I Corinthians 13:13`

IT SEEMS impossible to describe love, this wonderful quality without which nothing is acceptable in the sight of God! The apostle does not attempt to define love, but contents himself with giving us some of its manifestations. Those who possess a love with such characteristics are able to appreciate it, but not able otherwise to explain it. The fact is that love, like life and light, is difficult to define; and our best endeavors to comprehend it are along the lines of its effects. It is of God; it is godlikeness in the heart, in the tongue, in the hands, in the thoughts--supervising all the human attributes and seeking to control them. Where love is lacking, the results are more or less evil; where love is present, the results differ according to the degree of love, and are proportionately good. `Z'11-421` (Hymn 165)

September 2

Love is kind. `I Corinthians 13:4`

AM I kind in my methods, seeking to guard my manner and my tones, knowing that they have much to do with every affair of life? Have I this mark of love pervading my actions and words and thoughts? Do I think of and am I considerate of others? Do I feel and manifest kindness toward them in word, in look, in act? A Christian, above all others, should be kind, courteous, gentle in the home, in his place of business, in the church--everywhere. In proportion as perfect love is attained, the constant effort of the heart will be to have every word and act, like the thoughts which prompt them, full of patience and kindness. `Z'11-422` (Hymn 44)

September 3

Love envieth not. `I Corinthians 13:4`

HAVE I the love that “envieth not,” the love that is generous, so that I can see others prosper and rejoice in their prosperity, even if, for a time, my own affairs be not so prosperous? This is true generosity, the very reverse of jealousy and envy, which spring from a perverted nature. The root of envy is selfishness; envy will not grow upon the root of love. Love rejoices with them that rejoice, in prosperity of every good word and work, and in the advancement in Christian grace and in the divine service of all who are actuated by the divine Spirit. `Z'11-422` (Hymn 112)

September 4

Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. `I Corinthians 13:4`

HAVE I the love that is humble, that “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up”? the love that tends to modesty, that is not boastful, not lifted up? Have I the love that would prompt to good deeds, not to be seen of men, but that would do the same if no one saw or knew but God only; that boasts neither of its knowledge nor of its graces, but in humility acknowledges that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father? And do I make return to him in love and service for every mercy? `Z'11-422` (Hymn 224)

September 5

[Love] doth not behave itself unseemly. `I Corinthians 13:5`

HAVE I the love which is courteous, “doth not behave itself unseemly?” Pride is the root out of which grows much of the unseemly conduct, impoliteness, so common to those who think themselves somebody, either intellectually or financially. Politeness has been defined as love in trifles; courtesy as love in little things. The secret of politeness is either surface polishing or love in the heart. As Christians we are to have the heart love which will prompt us to acts of kindness and courtesy, not only in the household of faith, but in our homes and in our dealings with the world. `Z'11-422` (Hymn 267)

September 6

[Love] seeketh not her own. `I Corinthians 13:5`

HAVE I the love which is unselfish, which “seeketh not her own” interests exclusively, which might even be willing to let some of her own rights be sacrificed in the interests of others? Or have I, on the contrary, the selfishness which not only demands my own rights on every occasion, but which demands those rights regardless of the conveniences, comforts, and rights of others? To have love in this particular means that we will be on guard against taking any unjust advantage of others, and will prefer rather to suffer a wrong than to do a wrong; to suffer an injustice than to do an injustice. `Z'11-422` (Hymn 191)

September 7

[Love] is not easily provoked. `I Corinthians 13:5`

HAVE I the love which is good tempered, “not easily provoked” to anger--love that enables me to see both sides of a question, that gives me the spirit of a sound mind, which enables me to perceive that exasperation and violent anger are not only unbecoming but worse than that, injurious to those toward whom they may be directed, and also injurious in their effect upon my own heart and body? `Z'11-422` (Hymn 18)

September 8

[Love] thinketh no evil. `I Corinthians 13:5`

HAVE I the spirit of love which “thinketh no evil,” which is guileless, not suspicious of evil or looking for faults in others, not attributing to them evil motives? Have I the love which seeks always to interpret the conduct of others charitably, to make all possible allowance for errors in judgment rather than to impugn the motives of the heart? Perfect love is good intentioned itself; it prefers and, so far as possible, endeavors to view the words and conduct of others from the same standpoint. It does not treasure up animosities and suspicions, nor manufacture a chain of circumstantial proofs of evil intentions out of trivial affairs. “Faults are thick where love is thin,” is a very wise proverb. `Z'11-423` (Hymn 109)

September 9

[Love] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. `I Corinthians 13:6`

HOWEVER profitable error might be, love could take no part in it, and could not desire the reward of evil. But it does take pleasure in the truth--truth upon every subject, and especially in the truth of divine revelation, however unpopular the truth may be; however much persecution its advocacy may involve; however much it may cost the loss of the friendship of this world and of those who are blinded by the god of this world. The spirit of love has such an affinity for the truth that it rejoices to share loss, persecution, distress, or whatever may come against the truth or its servants. In the Lord's estimate it is all the same whether we are ashamed of him or ashamed of his Word; and of all such he declares that he will be ashamed when he comes to be glorified in his saints. `Z'11-423` (Hymn 261)

September 10

[Love] beareth all things. `I Corinthians 13:7`

HAVE I the love that “beareth all things”; that is impregnable against the assaults of evil; that resists evil, impurity, sin, and everything that is contrary to love; that is both able and willing to endure for the cause of God, reproaches, reproofs, insults, losses, misrepresentations, and even death? “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith”--the very life and center of which faith is the Holy Spirit of love for the Lord and for those that are his, and sympathetically, for the world. Perfect love can bear up under all circumstances and by God's grace, bring us off conquerors and “more than conquerors through him that loved us.” `Z'11-423` (Hymn 209)

September 11

[Love] believeth all things. `I Corinthians 13:7`

HAVE I the love that “believeth all things”; that is unwilling to impute evil to another unless forced so to do by indisputable evidences; that would rather believe good than evil about everybody; that would take no pleasure in hearing evil, but would be disposed to resent it? Perfect love is not suspicious, but is, on the contrary, disposed to be trustful. It acts on the principle that it is better, if necessary, to be deceived a hundred times than to go through life soured by a suspicious mind--far better than to accuse or suspect even one person unjustly. This is the merciful disposition, as applied to thoughts, and of it the Master said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” `Z'11-423` (Hymn 267)

September 12

[Love] hopeth all things. `I Corinthians 13:7`

THIS hopeful element of love is one of the striking features in the perseverance of the saints, enabling them to endure hardness as good soldiers. Its hopeful quality hinders it from being easily offended, or easily stopped in the work of the Lord. Where others would be discouraged or put to flight, the spirit of love gives endurance, that we may war a good warfare, and please the Captain of our Salvation. Love's hopefulness knows no despair, for its anchorage enters into that which is beyond the veil, and is firmly fastened to the Rock of Ages. `Z'11-424` (Hymn 201)

September 13

If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. `II Peter 1:8, 11`

ALL of God's people, all begotten of the Holy Spirit, are inspired by the spirit of the Father, the spirit of love, the spirit of justice and loyalty. But how about the degree, the abounding, the having of this love permeate all of life's affairs? If this spirit of the Lord abounds in us it will influence our business, our pleasure, our homes, our workshops, our kitchens, our dining rooms, our bed chambers, our very thoughts. It is the abounding love, the all-pervading influence of our Lord in the lives and in all life's affairs of those who would have the abundant entrance into the kingdom of Messiah as members of the bride class, that is required. `Z'11-442` (Hymn 1)

September 14

With us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. `II Chronicles 32:8`

WHAT a lesson is here for all of the Lord's people of spiritual Israel today! When our proudest, strongest foes seem triumphing over us the most, when they are loudest in their denunciations of the Lord and his promises, is the very time when we should lay hold on the Lord's promises with the greatest confidence. Indeed, we give it as our experience that those who are most thoroughly rooted and grounded, whose hopes are most surely anchored within the veil, are those who have been attested very trying experiences, and have had occasion to call mightily upon the Lord for help, when there was no earthly arm to lean upon. How many have found that the breaking of earthly ties has meant the strengthening of the heavenly ones, that the opposition of the world and the Adversary has meant increase of spiritual favor, because “greater is he that is for us than all they that be against us.” `Z'05-191` (Hymn 301)

September 15

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. `Ephesians 1:18`

IT REQUIRES time for heart and head so to expand as to take in a glimpse of such a wonderful blessing as this which God has provided for the elect. But whoever gets even a faint glimpse of the greatness of God's favor toward the church will not be surprised that in the divine plan so liberal an allowance as nearly nineteen centuries was made for the calling and chastisement and perfecting of the saints for the great and glorious work to which they, as joint-heirs with Messiah, are called. Neither will they think strange the fiery trials which try all of these whom the Lord our God calls, and accepts as probationary members of the elect kingdom class. They will perceive, readily enough, that if it was expedient, yea, necessary, that our Lord Jesus, with all of his experience in the heavenly courts, must “learn obedience by the things which he suffered,” and prove his loyalty to the Father by faithfulness even unto death, much more must his followers--whose previous history was that of sinners-- be tried and thoroughly tested in respect to their loyalty to the Lord. `Z'03-93` (Hymn 291)

September 16

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. `I John 5:21`

EVIL is insidious, and every parting of the ways, every leaving of the divine path, signifies a separation from righteousness to a degree we are unable to estimate at the beginning. Let us learn that the only safe course to pursue is to trust in the Lord and to be glad to have whatever his providences may mark out for us, and to refuse to have anything contrary to his will, however desirable it might be, however gratifying to human ambition. Let us learn the lesson that ambition is a dangerous thing--especially in our present imperfect condition, where our judgments are more or less warped from the fall, where our knowledge is imperfect, and where Satan is sure to put light for darkness and darkness for light. Our ambitions must be curbed, yea, every thought must be brought into subjection to the will of God in Christ, if we would be on safe ground as new creatures in Christ Jesus. `Z'04-189` (Hymn 272)

September 17

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. `Psalm 24:3, 4`

THOSE who have made a full consecration of heart to the Lord constitute the pure in heart under the law of love. But notwithstanding the purity of their hearts, their intentions, their wills, to fulfil the royal law of love, these have a battle to wage. The law of their members, depraved through inherited sin, is the strong law of selfishness, in opposition to the new law to which they have pledged themselves--the law of love. Yet their inability to live up to the requirements of that new law must be through no lack of will, no lack of intention of the pure, loyal heart. Whatever failure they make, however short they may come at times of obtaining the victory, it must be solely because of weakness of the flesh and the besetments of the Adversary, which their pure hearts failed to resist. Here the Lord's promises are helpful, assuring them that he knows their weaknesses and frailties, as well as the wiles of the devil and the influence of the spirit of the world, which are contrary to the spirit of love. He tells them that they may go freely to the throne of heavenly grace, there to obtain mercy in respect to their failures to live up to the high standard which their hearts acknowledge and to which they strive to conform. He also assures them that they may find grace to help in every time of need. `Z'12-336` (Hymn 150)

September 18

At evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. `John 20:19`

MANY are so situated that they are unable to gratify the desires of their hearts in respect to assembling frequently with others of like precious faith, to talk over the good things of the Lord's Word of promise; but the isolated should not feel disappointed that the Lord's Word says that he will meet with the twos and threes, and does not promise the same to the solitary. They should rather look about them to see what provision the Lord has made whereby at least two can meet and discuss his Word together....We may be well assured that those who have opportunities for meeting together, and speaking together, and who fail to use the opportunities, are manifesting a lack of interest in our great salvation, and that such are very likely to lose the remainder of their interest, and failing of the Lord's instructions given to such, may fail also to be among the “jewels” whom he will gather. If on the contrary one feels little interest in the heavenly things, little disposed to discuss the features of the divine plan and its promises, and happy only when conversing on worldly matters, business, etc., it is an unfavorable sign. The Lord is not likely to approach such and open their understanding respecting the Scriptures, as he surely is pleased to do to those who are hungering and thirsting after truth. `Z'01-136` (Hymn 329)

September 19

Brethren, pray for us. `I Thessalonians 5:25`

IT IS not for us to exert force in opposition, not to shout loudly about our rights. We are to remember that in becoming soldiers of the cross we voluntarily gave up all earthly rights in order that we might be participators with the Captain of our Salvation, who permitted all of his rights to be taken from him, even unto death. As the followers of Jesus are made a spectacle to the world and to angels, they are also permitted to strengthen and build up one another in the most holy faith by their love and zeal for the Lord and his message. We may well remember our privilege of praying one for another under such circumstances. We may not pray for the Lord to hinder others or ourselves from having trials or tests along these lines, for it is for the divine wisdom to determine what these shall be, but it is our privilege to pray for one another and for ourselves--to pray for that grace to help in every time of need which the Lord has promised he will grant. `Z'16-221` (Hymn 115)

September 20

For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. `John 6:33`

THE more people are satisfied with earthly things the less inclination they will have for the heavenly things, and the more we are satisfied with the heavenly things the less of appetite will we have for the earthly things. The new nature flourishes at the expense of the old nature, and the new ambitions, hopes, and desires at the expense of the old. Likewise when the old nature flourishes it is at the expense of the new in all of life's affairs. Let us, then, realizing the difference between the food that perisheth and the food that brings divine blessings--eternal life--let us choose the latter, let us feed more and more upon the Lord and upon his Word, and thus grow strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, and be more and more weaned from the world, its spirit, its hopes, its ambitions. We seek a heavenly country, a heavenly kingdom, a heavenly nature, and heavenly qualities, fitted and prepared for that heavenly nature. We have found the great Life-giver, the One who can and does supply this Bread from heaven. It is our great privilege to be the dispensers of this Bread. “Give ye them to eat.” “He that hath an ear let him hear.” `Z'04-79` (Hymn 96)

September 21

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. `Ephesians 6:11`

THE Lord's children are to see to it that they are not deluded into sin and into the service of sin; to that extent they would be deserting their colors and taking their stand as opponents of the Lord. When Christians take a decided stand against Satan and his wiles they are relieved from his attacks--not that he flees from them in the sense that he is fearful of harm to himself, but that he will leave them. He will retreat just as a general of an army would retreat from a city after having found that its gates were strongly protected and that attack was useless. If the Adversary finds one well protected and resisting him with a firm will, he will at once retreat. But if there be any parley with sin, any tendency to consider a matter when it is seen to be sin, an entrance is at once made for the Adversary; and he will renew the attack and press the matter, placing it in the most alluring light, in order that he may take control, that he may enter the heart where he has found the weakness. Hence it is of the utmost importance that the child of God should make a positive and prompt decision when he realizes that he is being enticed to evil. A moment's hesitation is very dangerous. Those who take their stand for the Lord, who give themselves fully and unreservedly to him, he has agreed to protect. He may permit them to be assailed for a time, but he will deliver them so long as they remain loyal and true; and they will be made stronger as the result of the temptations. `Z'16-148` (Hymn 44)

September 22

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying,...The Lord, is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. `Exodus 15:1, 2`

IF IT was appropriate, as we all admit that it was, that the Israelites should give glory to God for their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, much more is it appropriate that spiritual Israel should recognize the still greater deliverance from the power of Satan and the thraldom of sin accomplished for us through the blood of the Lamb of God who died for our sins. If the illiterate people who had been in a measure of slavery for a long period and who had not the advantages of this Gospel age were prompted to give thanks to the Lord, how much more should we, who have tasted of his goodness, show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light! (`I Peter 2:9`) What wonder, then, that the Scriptures everywhere refer to the Lord's people as being ministers, servants, of the truth, and declare that the Lord has not only lifted our feet from the horrible pit and miry clay of sin and death, but has additionally put into our mouths a new song, even the loving-kindness of our God. `Psalm 40:2, 3` `Z'07-158` (Hymn 79)

September 23

Be thou strong and very courageous. `Joshua 1:7`

THERE never was a time when more strength of character and more courage were needed than just now. We need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might....We do not know in what form some of our trials and tribulations will come. But we who are living in this “evil day,” yea, in the very close of this day--in the final “hour of temptation”--surely need to have on the whole armor of God. We need to have our loins girt about with truth; we need the helmet to protect our minds, our intellects, from the shafts of error; we need the breastplate of righteousness; we need the sword of the Spirit--the broad twoedged sword; we need the sandals of the “preparation of the Gospel of peace.” We need all of these to overcome the Canaanites in our own breast, and to overcome all the surrounding obstacles. `Z'15-182` (Hymn 300)

September 24

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: when I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches. `Psalm 63:5, 6`

WHOEVER has time for meditation will receive a great blessing if his thoughts shall turn toward the Almighty, acknowledging his goodness, seeking to give praise to God for all his manifold mercies, meditating upon God in the night watches....We should think of God as the personification of all that is just, loving, kind, wise, in character and principle. This should stimulate us to be like him. The more we appreciate a noble character the more we desire to emulate it. The more we see of God's mighty works in nature and his mercies toward us, in that same proportion our hearts and lips shall praise him. `Z'15-312` (Hymn App. A)

September 25

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his Word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. `Psalm 130:5, 6`

IN EVERY experience of sorrow and distress, and when the strain of the jarring discords and the stinging vexations and wounds that make the heart bleed, threaten to overwhelm the spirit, let the child of God remember that he “knows, and loves, and cares,” and that his ministering angel is ever near us, and that no trial will be permitted to be too severe. The dear Master is standing by the crucible, and the furnace heat will never be permitted to grow so intense that the precious gold of our characters shall be destroyed, or even injured. Ah no! If by his grace the experiences may not work for our good they shall be turned aside. He loves us too well to permit any needless sorrow, any needless suffering. `Z'15-345` (Hymn 12)

September 26

Go ye,...and teach all nations. `Matthew 28:19`

SURELY He who was careful to supervise the sowing work is not less interested and careful in respect to the reaping. Let us then thrust in the sickle of truth with energy and courage, remembering that we serve the Lord Christ, remembering that we are not responsible for the harvest, but merely for our energy in gathering what ripe “wheat” we can find. If the labor be great for the finding of few grains of ripe wheat we are to rejoice the more in those we do find, and learn to love and appreciate the more that which is scarce and precious. Let us remember, too, while using all the wisdom we can in this service, that the Lord's object in giving us a share in his work is not so much what we can accomplish as in the blessing that the labor will bring upon us. This will be an encouraging thought to the dear ones who are engaged in the “volunteer” work; and if they find many discouragements and but small results, the reflection that the Master knoweth them that are his, and that he appreciates every sincere effort made to serve his cause and to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren, will give courage and strength to those who otherwise might faint by the way. `Z'01-155` (Hymn 309)

September 27

I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. `John 14:3`

LET us, dear brethren, keep well before our minds the Master's promised return, and now in the time of his <parousia> (invisible presence) let it have its full weight and influence upon our every word and act; yea, upon our very thoughts. Let us hope that we shall soon experience our resurrection change, and be made like our dear Redeemer, and see him as he is, and share his glory in the great <epiphania>, or shining forth of the sons of God in the glory of the kingdom, enthuse us--let this energize our hearts, loose our lips, and strengthen us for every duty, privilege, and opportunity-- to serve our Master and the household of faith. If this hope has been an anchor to the Lord's people for so many centuries, how much more does it mean to us who are living now in the very time of his presence, waiting for his <apokalupsis>--his revealing in the glory of the kingdom. `Z'03-150` (Hymn 30)

September 28

The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. `Psalm 45:13`

THE Lord is seeking those who worship him with all their souls, with all their strength, and with all their minds. These whole-souled ones are the class the Lord is especially seeking as the queen of the millennial kingdom, the bride, the Lamb's wife, and joint- heirs with him. He has already foreordained that only such may be members of the royal family and partakers of the divine nature, saying, “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” To these he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them, because they walk uprightly. `Z'08-299` (Hymn 78)

September 29

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. `John 13:17`

WE MAY never become entirely satisfactory to ourselves in thought, word, and deed while in the flesh; and we may never, therefore, be entirely satisfactory either to others; but we can, we should, we must, and by the grace of God let us each resolve that we will, attain to all of this so far as our hearts are concerned. Nothing short of this will be satisfactory to our Lord, to whom we are “betrothed” as members of the chaste, virgin church. If we fail to come up to this reasonable, possible, standard, we will fail to make our calling and election sure to a place in the bride company. But if we do these things, if at heart we are at this standard, and are daily seeking to live it to the best of our ability, the Heavenly Bridegroom will rejoice to own us as members of his elect. Oh, how much depends upon our learning this lesson! `Z'09-255` (Hymn 109)

September 30

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light. `Exodus 13:21`

WHAT was thus done every day by the Lord's direction in natural Israel surely takes place with equal regularity in spiritual Israel. All who will be found faithful, all Israelites indeed, as they go forth every morning to the journey of life, to the battle of life, to the trials and testings by the way, must surely learn to look unto the Lord as the Captain of their Salvation, as the one through whom alone Satan and his hosts can be defeated, through whom alone we can have the victory....Which spiritual Israelite can afford to retire at the close of the day without retrospectively calling to mind the goodness of the Lord and desiring his continued favor and protection in the shades of night? `Z'07-236` (Hymn 110)