Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. Mark 14:38
WHAT may be the character of the temptations, we may not clearly discern until they are upon us; for if we knew all about them in advance they would be but slight temptations. Watch, therefore, and pray always; for the only safe way is to be prepared; because your adversary, the devil, is seeking whom he may devour. He knows your weak points, and is ready to take advantage of them. We will each need the graces of the Spirit in our hearts, as well as the Lord's "grace to help in time of need" if we would overcome. "My soul be on thy guard, Ten thousand foes arise; The hosts of sin are pressing hard To draw thee from the prize."
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10
THE CHRISTIAN is to be ready to do good at the expense of his own time and convenience to all men, but he is to be ready to lay down his life for the brethren--he is to seek opportunities for laying down his life day after day, in the sense of giving his time to the communication of the Truth, or helping the Lord's brethren in any manner, to put on the whole armor of God, and to stand in the evil day.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12
THE works of darkness would be any works whatsoever that would not stand the fullest investigation; that would not stand approval in the light of the new dispensation, if it were fully ushered in. Let us remember that we belong to the new dispensation, and not to the old, and should, therefore, live in accordance with our citizenship and our responsibilities toward the Prince of light and in opposition to the prince of darkness, his works and his ways.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day. Romans 13:13
EACH one should see to it that he is honest, not only in matters of dollars and cents, but honest in his treatment of his neighbors, in his treatment of the brethren, and above all, honest in his confessions respecting his God and his faith. The test is being made along this line, and those who love the favor of men rather than the favor of God, and who dishonestly are willing to confess and profess a lie, will be given up to their lie, will be permitted to blight their eternal interests, will be proving themselves unfit for the Kingdom--whatever else they may ultimately become fit for.
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
PRAYER is not a privilege merely, but also a necessity; --commanded as indispensable to our Christian growth. Whoever loses the desire to thank and worship and commune with the Father of mercies, may rest assured that he is losing the very spirit of sonship, and should promptly seek to remove the barrier--the world, the flesh or the devil. Every additional evidence of the Lord's confidence in us by the revealing to us of His character and plan, so far from diminishing our worship and prayers, should multiply them. If our hearts are good soil they will bring forth the more abundantly.
If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 1 Peter 4:16
SICKNESS and discomfort of any sort, incurred by our energy in the service of the Truth, are permitted by our Father as evidences of our fidelity and love; because if not liable to such tribulations, or if relieved of them instantly by a miracle, the Lord's service would cost us no sacrifice and the test of our willingness to endure for the Truth's sake would be wanting. As it is, however, every ache or pain or wound of person or of feelings, and beheading socially or literally
for the Truth's sake,
becomes a witness of the spirit, testifying to our faithfulness. And in all such tribulations we should rejoice greatly--as say our Lord and the Apostle Peter.
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
IF you have no burning zeal to preach the good tidings of great joy, pray earnestly and faithfully and persistently for it, and strive for it, and you will soon have it. If you have a zeal and love for the gospel, and lack ability to present it, pray for the ability while you make full use of what you have. If you have the zeal and the ability, and lack an opportunity, take it to the Lord in prayer as soon as you can, telling Him that you are faithfully using all the opportunities you have. Then watch for more opportunities, without slacking your hand to use the very humblest and smallest within your reach.
If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:38
THE drawing back may at first be a very slight departure from the narrow way of sacrifice--only a looking back perhaps, with a sigh for the things behind; a little slowing up of speed in the race set before us; then a little disposition to compromise the Truth in favor of the cravings of the fallen nature. Thus the way is prepared for the arts of the tempter, who is quick to note our weak points, and to take advantage of them in a manner best suited to our case. Subtle errors are brought to bear against the judgment; pleasing allurements, with a show of righteousness, are presented to the fleshly mind; and, almost imperceptibly, the soul forgets its "first love" for the Lord, and its first zeal for His service, and drifts away from the Truth and the spirit of it, being no longer led of the Holy Spirit of God.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 1 Corinthians 9:24
TO gain the victory we must not only put on the armor of God, but we must be heroes in the strife, and wage an
warfare upon the lusts of the eye and flesh and pride of life and all the foes of righteousness and purity.
--love for the Lord, for the Truth and for righteousness--must inspire us, or we shall never be victors. Love alone will keep us faithful even unto death, and make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Where fervent love rules the heart it implies that the heart is
to the Lord, and that means that nine-tenths of the battle is already won. But even then, as the apostle says (
), we must
ourselves in the love of God, in watchfulness and prayer and zeal; and grace will abound where love abounds.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
IT is indeed no easy matter to tread the pathway of humility, to continually check the human aspirations and to keep the sacrifice on the altar until it is fully consumed. But thus it is that we are to work out our own salvation to the high calling with fear and trembling, lest we come short of worthiness for the prize of the high calling promised to the faithful overcomers who tread closely in the footsteps of our blessed Forerunner, who was meek and lowly of heart. It is when we are thus humble and faithful that the Lord makes us His chosen vessels to bear His name to others. Thus emptied of self, He can fill us with His Spirit and with His Truth, and we can go forth strong in the Lord of hosts and in His mighty power, to do valiant service as soldiers of the cross.
Let us walk...not in rioting and drunkenness. Romans 13:13
SOME have an intoxication for money, wealth; others an intoxication for business; others for dress; others for music; others for art; but as the Lord's people, who have got a glimpse of the new day, and the great work of God which is to be accomplished in that day, our hearts should be so absorbed in the work of God that these matters, which would be thought proper enough and right enough in others, worldly people--because they are not awake as we are, and because they see not the future as we see it--should be far from our conception and course.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the participation of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the participation of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16,17
IT is one cup, though it be the juice of many grapes, even as it is one loaf, though it be from many grains. The grains cannot maintain their individuality and their own life if they would become bread for others; the grapes cannot maintain themselves as grapes if they would constitute the life-giving spirit; and thus we see the beauty of the apostle's statement that the Lord's people are participants in the one loaf and cup.... There is no other way that we can attain the new nature than by accepting the Lord's invitation to drink of His cup, and be broken with Him as members of the one loaf, and to be buried with Him in baptism into His death, and thus to attain with Him resurrection glory, honor and immortality.
Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. John 6:53
GLADLY, dear Lord, we eat (appropriate to our necessities) the merit of Thy pure nature sacrificed for us--for our justification. Gladly, too, we will partake of the cup of suffering with Thee, realizing it to be a blessed privilege to suffer with Thee, that in due time we may also reign with Thee;--to be dead with Thee, that in the everlasting future we may live with Thee, and be like Thee and share Thy love and Thy glory as Thy Bride. Oh! that we may be faithful, not only in the performance of the symbol, but also of the reality. Blessed Lord, we hear Thy Word saying, "Ye shall indeed drink of My cup and be baptized with My baptism." Lord, we are not of ourselves able thus to sacrifice; but Thy grace is sufficient for us, for we are wholly Thine, now and forever.
He hath poured out His soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12
AS every one who follows the Master's footsteps must needs have some Gethsemane experiences, so also each must have a taste at least of all the Master's experiences. Let us not forget, then, to look about us for opportunities for serving the "brethren," the "little ones," the members of the body of Christ. Let each be careful not to add to the reproaches that must fall upon all the followers of the Lamb, but on the contrary to offer words of sympathy, and to help bear each other's crosses, difficulties and trials by the way. Thus can we best show to our Lord and Head how we would have appreciated the opportunity of helping Him bear His cross on the way to Calvary.
Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit. Luke 23:46
WITH full confidence our dear Redeemer looked up to the Father, and full of faith declared that He committed all of life and all of the blessed hopes for the future to the Father's love and to the Father's power, --to be provided in harmony with the Father's plan and Word. And so must we, as followers in our Master's footsteps, look forward with faith, and in our dying hour commit all our interests to the keeping of Him who has manifested His love for us, not only in the gift of His Son as our Redeemer, but all our journey through,--in His providential care, as well as in the exceeding great and precious promises which go before us and give us strength, comfort and assurance.
They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachi 3:17
HAD the Lord sent us forth to seek His Bride, we might have gathered in some whom He rejects as unworthy--because we are unable to read the heart. This thought should make us very humble, gentle and meek toward all, and very trustful of the Lord, and very much inclined to look for His leading in respect to our labors as His servants, just as Samuel looked to the Lord in connection with the anointing of David.
The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you. 1 John 2:27
THE blessing and power of the Lord accompanied David's anointing in some manner--just how we may not understand--enabling him to progress in knowledge, etc., and fitting and preparing him for the duties of the office to which he had been anointed. May we not consider as an antitype to this, the anointing which comes upon the church from the time of her acceptance with the Lord? Ours is not a physical anointing, nor are the blessings conferred of a temporal character: it is as New Creatures that we grow in grace and knowledge and love; and as New Creatures that, by and by, we shall be perfected in the First Resurrection and come to the throne with our Lord and Master as our Head.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12,13
IN an unfriendly world we can expect to receive only the reproaches of our Master, for the servant is not above his Lord. The world, the flesh and the devil oppose our way: there are fightings within and fears without, and many are the arrows and fiery darts aimed at the righteous. But what is the safe attitude of the soul under afflictions and severe testings? Is it not in silence before God, waiting and watching first to see His leading, His will, in every matter before presuming to touch things that often involve so much? So the Psalmist suggests, saying, "I was dumb with silence: I held my peace, even from good." [even from doing or saying what seemed good in my own sight].
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. Matthew 12:34,35
OUR first concern, then, should be for the heart-- that its affections and dispositions may be fully under the control of divine grace; that every principle of truth and righteousness may be enthroned there; that justice, mercy, benevolence, brotherly kindness, love, faith, meekness, temperance, supreme reverence for God and Christ, and a fervent love for all the beauties of holiness, may be firmly fixed as the governing principles of life. If these principles be fixed, established, in the heart, then out of the good treasure of the heart the mouth will speak forth words of truth, soberness, wisdom and grace.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. Luke 16:10
THIS does not mean that the Lord's people are to be content with the usual routine of daily life in the home or in the shop, and are to say to themselves, "God accepts my labor as though it were given directly to Him in some other more desirable form," but it does mean that each person so situated should day by day carefully scan his earthly duties and obligations to see in what manner he could justly and properly cut off moments, hours or days from the service of earthly things and earthly interests, that now might be given to sacrifice for spiritual things and spiritual interests of himself or others. The consecrated heart, the sacrificing priest, is the one who will improve the moments as they swiftly fly, using them as far as possible in the Father's business.
We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15,16
IN the moment of temptation the heart should lift itself to the great Master, in full assurance of faith, recognizing His love, His wisdom and His ability to help us, and His willingness to make all things work together for good to those who love Him. Asking for assistance in such a time of need would surely draw to us the Lord's counsel and help and strength for righteousness, truth, purity and love; and thus we should be hourly victorious, daily victorious, and finally victorious.
I say unto you, That every idle [unprofitable or pernicious] word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36
IF, in the daily scrutiny of our ways, which is the duty of every Christian, we discover that in any particular our words have been dishonoring to the Lord, we should remember that in the name of our Advocate we may approach the throne of grace, explain to our Heavenly Father our realization of the error, our deep regret at our failure to honor His name and His cause by a holy walk and conversation, and humbly request that the sin be not laid to our charge, but that it may be blotted out through His gracious provision for our cleansing through Christ, humbly claiming that in His precious blood is all our hope and trust. Thus we should render up our account for every idle word; and by our words of repentance, supplemented by the merits of Christ applied by faith, shall we be acquitted.
That on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:15
EVERY one who will be a sacrificer must of necessity be meek, humble, teachable, else very shortly he will get out of the way. He must also learn to develop the grace of the Lord along the line of patience, because it certainly requires patience to deny ourselves and to submit at times to injustice where there is no proper means of avoiding it without doing injury to the Lord's cause or to some of His people. It also implies a cultivation of brotherly kindness and, in a word, the development of the whole will of God in our hearts and lives; namely, love, which must be attained in a large and overcoming measure ere we shall have completed our earthly work of sacrificing.
Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. Romans 15:2
THE lesson to each member of the Royal Priesthood is that the special mission of their office, vocation, calling in the present time, is to sacrifice....Another form of service frequently not discerned by the royal priesthood is the opportunity of renouncing our own ways or plans, our own methods or preferences, and in the interests of peace accepting instead the plans, the preferences of others--where it is merely a matter of personal preference, and where we believe the Lord will be as willing to have the matter one way as another. We can in the interests of peace sacrifice our preferences to the wishes of others if we see some good can be gained by such a course.
Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
"ACCORDING to thy faith be it unto thee," would seem to be the Lord's method of dealing with all who are His disciples, from first to last of their Christian walk and experience....faith when He seems not to notice us; faith when things seem to be going prosperously with us in our spiritual affairs and in our temporal affairs; and faith equally strong when the currents and forces seem all to be against us. The victory that overcometh the world is the faith that in all conditions is able to look up to the Lord with absolute confidence in His goodness and faithfulness, and to realize that according to His promise, eventually all things will work together for good to us because we are His people.
He that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Hebrews 4:10
INSTEAD of demanding one day of the seven the law of love really controls, regulates our entire time; seven days of the week we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength; and seven days of the week we are to love our neighbor as ourselves; and seven days in the week we are to rest also--rest from our own works--rest by faith in the finished work of Christ--rest in the love of God-- rest in the peace of God which passeth understanding, ruling in our hearts continually.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
TO have the mind of Christ is indeed the one requirement of lawful striving--a mind which humbly and faithfully submits itself to the will of God as expressed in His great plan of the ages, and which devotes all energy to the accomplishment of His will, because of an intelligent appreciation of the ends He has in view. If so filled with the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, we, like Him, will desire to be as free as possible from entangling earthly affairs, and to have our time as free as possible for the Lord's service, and then to devote all energy, ability and effort to that service.
We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5
WE have need of patience, and that can only be gained by trials. We have need of faith, and that can only be developed by necessities. We have need of experience for our future work, which can be gained only by such experiences which permit us to be touched with a feeling of the infirmities and difficulties and trials of those about us, to whom we shall be ministers and representatives when we reach the throne. For us, then, the lesson of present experiences is to resist evil,--and not with evil but with good.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. Psalm 91:15
IT is always our blessed privilege to carry our sorrows and vexations to the Lord; "For He knows How to steal the bitter from life's woes." He does it by showing us, through experience, the vanity of all earthly things and their utter inability to satisfy the soul's cravings, or to comfort the wounded spirit. Then comes the thought that however vexing our experiences, they will soon be over; and if we permit them to do so they will only work out in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness, and develop in us strong and noble characters, disciplined to thorough self-control, thoughtful consideration, patient endurance of affliction and loving loyalty and faithfulness and trust in God.
Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
THE very object of our being called into this light is that we may let it shine. If we do not let it shine we are unworthy of it, and the treasure will be taken away and we will be left in darkness. If indeed we have received the light and have consecrated ourselves fully to God, let us ask ourselves, What am I doing to show forth the praises of Him who hath called me out of darkness? Am I going forth with these tidings to my neighbors near and far? Can I truly affirm that I am:-- "All for Jesus, all for Jesus-- All my being's ransomed powers; All my thoughts, and words, and doings, All my days and all my hours?"