December 1
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! `John 19:26, 27`

OUR Lord, so far from thinking of himself and his own anguish was thinking of others. As during his ministry he had gone about doing good, so in his dying hour here he thought of the good, the welfare of others, and in the above words committed his mother to the care of the loving disciple. Beautiful is the lesson! How it shows us the largeness of our Lord's heart and sympathy, and how it teaches us not to be entirely engrossed with our own trials and difficulties, large and small, but rather to be burden-bearers of others, allowing our sympathies, our thoughts and our plans to be active for the blessing of all those who in any measure are under our care in matters temporal or spiritual. `Z'08-152` (Hymn 312A)

December 2

Through Him we...have access by one Spirit unto the Father. `Ephesians 2:18`

WE ARE never safe from being sidetracked unless we go often to the throne of grace; we cannot be filled unless we keep very close to the great Fountain from which our infilling comes. We must daily carry our earthen pitcher to this heavenly Fountain to be replenished; for we are leaky vessels. We are not to feel discouraged if we do not find in ourselves the rapid growth that we desire to see. Strong, sturdy trees that can withstand the fiercest storms are not developed in a day. The growth is a slow, steady process. `Z'16-183` (Hymn 229)

December 3

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will. `Philippians 1:15`

LET us guard ourselves that our defense of the truth be not from motives of self-glorification but from love for the truth, love for the Lord, for his people, the brethren. If love be the impelling spirit, or motive, it will show itself accordingly in a loving, gentle, patient, humble course toward all the fellow- servants. Let us be “gentle toward all.” Let “the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God,” which is quick and powerful, do all the cutting. `Z'11-123` (Hymn 182)

December 4

The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. `I Corinthians 3:17`

THE lesson in connection with the building of the temple, the Lord's church, “which temple ye are,” is that worldly persons, worldly methods, and worldly aid and wisdom are to be rejected. As all the living stones are to be polished, fitted, and prepared under the eye and direction of the great Master Builder, the Lord, so all the servants, all the ministers of the truth engaging in this work, are to be, so far as we have to do with the matter, such only as manifest a circumcision of heart, and thus show themselves to be Israelites indeed. Much and serious has been the injury done to the Lord's cause by the selection of workmen whose chief recommendation has been that they had some ability as public speakers, a good address. Rather let us remember that none may engage in this work as true Israelites unless they be in full accord with the Master Builder, and by their ability in rightly dividing the Word of truth show themselves to be workmen that need not to be ashamed. `Z'99-204` (Hymn Appendix K)

December 5

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. `II Peter 1:10`

THE contingency is not in the doing of these things perfectly, and regardless of the righteousness of Christ to cover our transgressions and compensate for our daily shortcomings; but if, added to our faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ, we have cultivated all these graces to the extent of our ability, we shall not fall. When we have done all that we can do, we are still unprofitable servants, not daring to trust in our own righteousness, but in the ample robe which is ours by faith in Christ while, with consistent “diligence,” we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that the righteousness of Christ is only applied to such as desire to forsake sin and to pursue that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” `Z'97-148` (Hymn 183)

December 6

Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. `Colossians 3:23, 24`

THE foundation principles of the Christian religion are laid upon these lines, which are the reverse of the world's lines of thought and conduct; namely, that the greatest one in the church is the one who is the greatest servant, the one who renders most assistance to others. The greatest servant in the church was the great Head of the church himself, who gave even his life on our behalf. And those of his followers who desire to be great in the estimation of the Lord and so esteemed of their fellows, are enjoined that they should follow closely in the Master's footsteps, and with humility of heart be ready and seek to lay down their lives for the brethren. Nor does this mean simply formal service; it means actual service. Our Lord's sacrifice, we see, was not merely a form or a show of interest and of love; it was the giving of his life as the purchase price for ours. So with us; we are not merely to love one another and to serve one another, in word, in profession, in title (as for instance, the word “minister” signifies servant); but we are to serve one another as we are to love one another, “in deed and in truth.” `Z'98-228` (Hymn 157)

December 7

It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. `Matthew 10:20`

ONLY those whom God has ordained in the sense of giving them the Holy Spirit of sonship are in any wise commissioned, or authorized, to preach in the Lord's name. All the ceremonies on earth and all the hands of all the bishops cannot give authority to anybody to speak in the name of God. Our Lord Jesus did not begin his ministry until he had received God's ordination. At the time of his consecration and baptism the Holy Spirit came upon him, anointing him, consecrating him, authorizing him to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to comfort those that mourn. The same Holy Spirit is authority for anybody who has received it to tell all that he understands respecting the plan of God to all who have an ear to hear-- especially to the meek, the brokenhearted, those who are feeling after God. While the Apostle Paul intimates that the female members of the church are not to preach publicly, this does not interfere with the fact that all of them who have received the Holy Spirit have the anointing to preach and to teach according to the limitations and opportunities of their sex, and sometimes the private teaching is equally effective as the more public. `Z'13-365` (Hymn 198)

December 8

He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. `Matthew 5:45`

WHEN we read our text we see that it tells us that as our God is gracious, loving, merciful, kind, even to the unthankful, even to the unjust, even to sinners, so we should be kind, generous, loving, should do good unto all men as we have opportunity, and especially to the household of faith. This view of God appeals to our hearts; and the more we study this God of love, the more we realize that he is the only loving and true God, and that all of our previous misconceptions were unreal, unloving, untrue--gods of our own manufacture--and the more do we see that civilized lands have made creed idols with pen, type, ink, and paper, more horrible than any which the heathen ever made of iron, stone, brass, or clay. Let us hold fast that which is good--the sure Word of God. Let us discard the human theories of the Dark Ages, which greatly misrepresented to us the divine message. Thus we shall be giving heed to the Master's words: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” `Z'14-172` (Hymn 165)

December 9

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, even as it is in heaven. `Matthew 6:10`

THIS prayer has been offered for more than nineteen hundred years, and God's children have not yet seen his kingdom established. Shall we cease to pray? Ah, no! We are assured that it will indeed come. Even now it is at the very doors! God's kingdom shall be fully set up; and the time will come when there will be no disloyalty in all the earth, as now there is none in heaven. Our prayers will not bring God's kingdom one minute sooner than he has planned, but we pray by way of assuring the Lord that we are waiting for the kingdom and expecting it in harmony with his sure promise. By so praying and not fainting, the children of the Lord are strengthening themselves. God's glorious kingdom will be manifested--and soon! Then all who have attained the character likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be exalted to reign with him in this kingdom. `Z'15-185` (Hymn 66)

December 10

The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. `Hebrews 13:6`

THE world has often wondered at the calmness of the Lord's humble little ones under circumstances which would cause the stoutest heart to quail. But to follow the course in life which will glorify our God and magnify his grace, to be able to meet wisely and courageously the trials and difficulties as they come to us as Christians, representatives of the King of heaven, and to meet them in the spirit of rejoicing, counting our tribulations all joy, it is necessary that our hearts be in attune with the Lord, that we have no will but his, and that the fear of man, which bringeth a snare, shall be overcome. We cannot accomplish this in our own strength, but in the strength of God alone. We are instructed to fear Jehovah, and not to fear a weak mortal. The righteous are as bold as a lion, as gentle as a dove, as meek as a lamb. This peculiar combination of boldness, gentleness, and meekness should characterize every Christian. `Z'14-282` (Hymn 38)

December 11

The same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me. `John 5:36`

THE miracles which our Lord did were only intended to be sufficient to establish his identity, and were not with the view of establishing a precedent for the healing of the world nor of the church. The Lord's great healing time is designated in the Scriptures, “times of restitution.” When those times shall come, when the millennial kingdom shall be established, the healing of the nations will be the great work; and it will not merely be a physical but also a mental and moral healing, which will gradually bring all in proper condition back to all that was lost in Eden, with increased knowledge through experience. `Z'05-29` (Hymn 212)

December 12

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. `Proverbs 3:3`

FOR one to keep the principles of truth and of righteousness before his own mind is to be a thoroughly upright man or woman, one in whom truth, purity, goodness, will be in control. But a person who has merely these principles in control should cultivate more and more the quality of mercy. We should bind these about our neck. The thought is that of a necklace, or ornamental band. As a man puts around his neck a cravat, with a jewel in it as an ornament, placed where it will be displayed, so these qualities of character are jewels. Give them a prominent place; for they will help to make you better, help to make you more acceptable to the Lord. The preferable place for the display of a jewel is the neck. There a jewel is especially conspicuous and ornamental. So we should fasten these noble qualities of character where they will be manifest in all the affairs of life. Whether we buy or sell, or whatever we do, we should wear these ornaments. They will show what is the character of the man or woman--right on the outside, in the very front. They should be seen as we meet others. There should be nothing mean, nothing contemptible, nothing niggardly about us. `Z'13-275` (Hymn 311)

December 13

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. `Ephesians 5:16`

THIS signifies buying back the time, as though the time were already mortgaged. And this is so; the cares of this life, its necessities, the customs of the world, our fallen tendencies, all would absorb every hour of life in the things pertaining to this life, whereas as new creatures our new hopes and aims and efforts are properly centered upon things above, the heavenly, the King's matters. Where may we obtain the necessary time wherewith to study and to refresh ourselves in rehearsing the blessings, the promises, and favors which are ours as new creatures? And where may we obtain the time for telling these good tidings to others? If we allow the spirit of the world to direct us we shall have no time for any of these things and shall fail, but as wise and not as foolish children of the Lord, we will see and appreciate the greater importance of the heavenly things, and be ready to sacrifice our earthly interests and customs and ambitions in favor of the heavenly. Thus we may redeem or buy back the time that we had previously spent for worldly things, that we may henceforth spend such time in the interest of ourselves and others of the new creation and in the service of our Lord and Master, to whom we have consecrated our all, which we find to be so little over and above the things necessary to provide honestly for the life that now is. `Z'08-185` (Hymn 210)

December 14

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear. `I John 4:18`

THERE is a proper fear or reverence and disinclination to offend our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer, which we wish never to lose. Perfect love will not cast out this fear, but rather intensify it. The fear which love casts out is timidity, a servile fear or dread of the Lord or of Satan, or the fallen angels, or of men and what they might do unto us. Perfect love cannot be attained without knowledge, faith, courage, and overcoming. It is the result of the exercise of all this divine arrangement that brings us nearer to God and makes us truly thankful and appreciative of his gracious purposes and omnipotent power for their accomplishment. `Z'09-122` (Hymn 305)

December 15

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. `II Corinthians 4:10`

WE UNDERSTAND Paul here to be referring to the human body. The new creature owns this body. With the people of the world there are not two personalities, but merely the one creature. This quality of personality is applicable only to those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit. The old body is suffering; but the new creature rejoices, glad to be in the service--gives thanks to God day by day respecting its tribulations, knowing that these are working out “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Thus the life of Jesus is manifested through us to the world, and to the brethren. The world cannot understand. They say, “If I were in your place in such a trial, I would be miserable. But you are rejoicing!” So they cannot understand. But we have a newness of life that the world cannot appreciate. All who can appreciate this should daily grow in grace and knowledge. We should show forth more and more of the Lord's life in our characters and in our bodies. Thus we shall be manifesting more and still more of the Lord's Spirit, doing more of the Lord's work, becoming more like Jesus--all of which will prepare us for the glory beyond, when the new creature shall be completed, when all the perfections and glories of the new nature will be ours. `Z'15-121` (Hymn 13)

December 16

The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. `John 10:11`

OUR Lord wished it to be understood that his life, which would shortly be given, was voluntarily submitted on his part. It was necessary that his disciples should know this, not merely that they might esteem their Lord more highly, but especially that they might realize him as the Redeemer whose voluntary sacrifice for our sins redeemed father Adam and his entire race. To have confidence in the result they must have confidence in his resurrection--that the Father had so pleased and had given his sanction or authority or power to this end. Our Lord acknowledged that all the authority, all the power in connection with his resuscitation was of the Father. He was trusting implicitly to the Father, and so doing was able to lay down even life itself on behalf of the flock. The same will be true of all who would walk in his steps. In order to be faithful in the laying down of our lives, we must have faith in the Father and in the great plan of salvation which hinges upon the sacrifice of our Lord. With this matter clearly before our minds we may have grace and strength for every time of need. `Z'05-91` (Hymn 257)

December 17

And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. `Judges 7:20`

OUR Captain, the Lord, has given special instructions to those whom he will specially use in the conflict of evil now in progress. Each one shall follow the example of the Captain of our Salvation. First, he shall blow upon the trumpet, representing the proclamation of the truth, and proclaim that the sword of the Spirit of truth is of Jehovah and of his anointed Son; and secondly, they shall break their pitchers and let their light shine out. The pitchers represent our earthly vessels, and the breaking of them in order to let the light shine out signifies that to which we are exhorted by the apostle, saying, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, ...your reasonable service.” We see how our Chief- Captain broke his earthen vessel; we see what a light streamed forth. Our highest ambition must be to follow his example, to walk in his steps, to lay down our lives for the brethren as he laid down his life for us. Meantime the blowing of the trumpet is to progress as well as the shouting in the name of Jehovah, our Captain, and the sword of the Spirit of truth is to be wielded. The result will be victory; the enemies of the Lord will be overwhelmed. `Z'07-331` (Hymn 24)

December 18

The Lord preserveth all them that love him. `Psalm 145:20`

WHEN we note the divine providential care over God's typical people it increases our faith and trust as his spiritual children, for with the apostle we reason that if God so loved us while we were yet sinners as to give his Son for us, much more does he love us now that we are no more sinners, aliens, strangers, foreigners, but consecrated to him and seeking to walk in the footsteps of our Redeemer. Likewise we reason that if God exercised his providential care in the interests of the typical people he is both able and willing to do as much and more for his spiritual Israel--Israelites indeed in whom there is no guile--those who have entered into covenant relationship with him and are seeking to walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Our text is in accord with this thought. “The Lord preserveth all them that love him.” True, he has a sympathetic love for the world which has led him to provide a redemption for all in due time--all the redeemed ones will have a manifestation of divine love and care over their interests --but now, during the Gospel age, divine blessings are conferred upon those who will constitute the church, the body of Christ, who love him more than they love houses or lands, parents or children, or self. All who can thus affirm to their own hearts their loyalty to the Lord, their faith and trust in him, may be assured that all things are supervised for their good and working out for their welfare, in matters temporal and eternal. `Z'05-332` (Hymn 252)

December 19

If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. `John 7:37`

OUR text is quite in line with the lesson intimated --that before anyone can come to the Lord he must thirst, he must have an appreciation of that which the Lord has to give--the water, the refreshment, of eternal life. This means that he must learn that he is a sinner, and under sentence of death, and that there is no hope for a future life except through Christ. The coming to the Lord is the approach of faith. Our thirst is our desire. We drink, or appropriate to ourselves the divine message. “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth.” Water is the symbol of truth. The promise of a blessing to those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” is in full accordance with this. And the promise is, “They shall be filled.” This, too, is in harmony with our Lord's statement in our lesson, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” `Z'08-44` (Hymn 290)

December 20

Beware of the concision; for we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. `Philippians 3:2, 3`

NO NATURAL man of the fallen race ever had a fully circumcised heart. And such as have it are dead to the world. Its hopes, aims, and ambitions are crucified to them, and they are alive toward God. Anyone who has the realization of such a condition of heart has in this fact a blessed evidence of his acceptance with God and of his heirship of all the exceeding great and precious promises--if so be that he so continue faithful even unto death. But let all such beware of the concision, the spirit of strife and division; for in the fiery trials of this evil day all such will surely fall, and only such as worship God in Spirit and in truth can stand. Already the test of endurance is proving a severe test for some; and it will surely be yet more severe. “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” There is no assurance whatever that any will be able to stand in this evil day who have not devoted themselves fully and unreservedly to the Lord. But those who have done so, and who are still faithful to their covenant, have cause to rejoice in Christ Jesus, whose grace is sufficient for them, and whose precious blood purchased their ransom. `Z'94-219` (Hymn 48)

December 21

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. `Proverbs 29:2`

OUR text can only have a partial application to any kingdom of man during “this present evil world,” of which Satan has attempted control as the prince thereof. Owing to the inherent weakness of our race even its best specimens are far from absolute righteousness, and consequently no government of the present time, no government under imperfect men, can fulfil the predictions of our text. This is implied throughout the entire Scriptures, in which the Lord promises that he will establish his kingdom among men, and that under Immanuel's government all the families of the earth shall be blessed. It is for this reason that the Lord's people still pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”; it is for this reason that the apostle declares that the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now” waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. The sons of God, the little flock with their Head the Lord Jesus, will by and by constitute the righteous who will be in authority, in power, in governmental control of the world by divine arrangement, based upon the great atonement sacrifice. Of that time and of that great Ruler, Head and body, it is written, “In his day shall the righteous flourish.” In his day Satan shall be bound a thousand years to deceive the people no more, and all the influences of righteousness and truth shall be let loose, that the world may be flooded with the light and knowledge of the glory of God. Under those blessed conditions whosoever will may take of the water of life freely and live forever. `Z'03-446` (Hymn 149)

December 22

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. `Psalm 51:15`

THIS expression implies that none need expect to have a proper opening of their mouths to show forth the Lord's praises, and give the call from darkness into his marvelous light, unless the Lord shall first have opened their lips with his mercy and truth; for otherwise how could any expect to tell the glad tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people? This equally implies that all who have had forgiveness of sins should be in a condition of spirit to make a full consecration of their all to the Lord, and then all such should expect an unsealing of their lips, that the message of God's truth and grace may flow out from them for the instruction and blessing of others--as it is written, “Grace is poured upon thy lips.” “Thou hast put a new song in my mouth, even the loving-kindness of our God.” While these are appropriate specially to our dear Redeemer, they are appropriate also to every member of “the church which is his body,” and all claiming to be of “the body” who have never had their lips unsealed to confess the Lord to the extent of their opportunity, have reason to question everything pertaining to their relationship to the Lord. `Z'03-383` (Hymn 319)

December 23

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in his throne. `Revelation 3:21`

THOSE who have faith in God still have battles to be won, but not with carnal weapons. Their victories, nevertheless, are based upon the same principle which operated favorably with David. Faith in God lies at the basis--the realization that the cause in which they fight is one approved of God. A courage proper to their faith--a faith gradually developed in previous victories over lesser foes, as in David's case--helps to give courage and strength for battling with the most terrifying giants we may encounter. `Z'15-104` (Hymn 200)

December 24

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. `Luke 2:10`

WHEREVER the story of God's redeeming love has gone, even though confused by various falsities, it has carried more or less of blessing with it--even to neglectful hearers and not doers of the Word, it has brought blessing; and still more blessing to others who hear partly and obey partly. But its greatest blessing has been to the little flock, the royal priesthood who, entering into the spirit of the divine arrangement, have realized themselves justified through faith in the precious blood, and in harmony with the invitation of the Lord have gone forward presenting themselves living sacrifices that they might have fellowship with Christ in the sufferings of this present time, and also, by and by in the kingdom glories that shall follow. It is this class chiefly that is now rejoicing in a still fuller opening up of the divine Word so long beclouded by the falsities coming down from the Dark Ages; it is this class that is chiefly now rejoicing in the discernment of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine love and of the divine plan which has purchased the whole world and will eventually recover from present degradation all who under the favorable conditions of the millennial kingdom will develop the character which God demands of all who shall have eternal life--a love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity. `Z'02-364` (Hymn Appendix S)

December 25

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. `Luke 2:11`

LET us rejoice at this joyful season of the year and have our hearts filled with appreciation of the divine love and generosity, which gave us the great gift of Messiah, and thus indirectly a knowledge of the kingdom yet to come and of our share in that kingdom, which shall bless the world. As we have freely received, let us freely give, and thus copy our Lord and the Heavenly Father. Some may have the opportunity of giving many gifts of many kinds. All will have the privilege of offering to their fellows, directly or indirectly, gifts of God's love, by making known to them the riches of his grace, as presented in the “Divine Plan of the Ages.” The message of God's love is the most precious thing we have ever received, and let us have this in mind when offering gifts to others that, whatever else we may or may not be able to give our dear friends and neighbors and loved ones, we may offer them this; and our manner and general deportment should show how we value it above rubies, and thus we may best commend the Gift of God to others and help them to appreciate it. In such presentations kind words, kind looks, will proceed from the loving heart, which has itself been saved by the power of the truth from the domination of the Adversary and sin and selfishness. Let us learn to scatter these gifts of grace and truth and happifying influences to all about us, not merely once a year, but every day and every hour, and not merely upon our friends, but, godlike, upon our enemies also, for “He is kind to the unthankful, and causes his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good.” `Z'08-380` (Hymn Appendix W)

December 26

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head. `Psalm 141:5`

IN THIS use of the word righteous, the text seems to imply that all who are the Lord's people should be able to give reproof and correction in righteousness in a manner that would be helpful to those corrected, and for their good; in a way that would bring a measure of comfort and blessing and refreshment; in a manner that would be like excellent or fragrant oil, whose perfume would linger for hours. With this thought before our minds, there is a valuable lesson here. First of all, we should be of those who receive the corrections as of the Lord; and who are glad to be set right if we are wrong in any manner; secondly, we should be of those who recognize that if reproof be proper to give, it should be of a kind that would not be injurious, but such as would be spiritual, uplifting, and refreshing. `Z'12-66` (Hymn 172)

December 27

Let all your deeds be done in love. `I Corinthians 16:14` (Diaglott)

GOD is the very personification of sympathy and love. As the Scriptures declare, “God is love.” And all who will be God's children, developed in his likeness, will be loving children. As John says, “He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” In proportion as we develop strength of character as new creatures, this quality of love increases. In addition, we should find our judgment also becoming more accurate. Those who are developed in the Spirit of the Lord have better judgment than they formerly had. As the days go by, they know better how to sympathize with the world; how to deal with mankind; they are getting more and more of the wisdom which cometh from above. `Z'14-77` (Hymn 23)

December 28

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. `I John 1:9`

IT WAS evidently because the Lord foresaw that his people might become so abashed by their repeated failures through inherited weaknesses of their flesh that he provided the special exhortation for their encouragement, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” This is a point well to be remembered. At this, the close of another year and the opening of a new one, we urge that all Christians keep daily record with the Lord and never retire to rest without obtaining this grace of forgiveness and help. But if any have delayed the matter and a cloud has come between them and the Lord, let them surely avail themselves of these promises in the close of this year that they may start the New Year with a clean slate--with the smile of their Father's face upon them, and with the fellowship of their Redeemer and with fresh resolves for earnestness and carefulness in walking in his steps. `Z'11-445` (Hymn 239)

December 29

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love. `Hosea 11:4`

LOVE is the keynote of the Bible, notwithstanding the fact that it contains threatenings as well as promises, and declarations and manifestations of justice as well as of mercy. If God's character were devoid of justice--if his love should override his justice--it would be a terrible calamity for all those dependent upon him. It would testify weakness of character instead of strength. It is the fact that God's wisdom, justice, love, and power operate in full harmony--in co-ordination--that gives us admiration for him, confidence in him, love for him; and all these appreciations are intensified as we realize his unchangeableness. `Z'15-361` (Hymn 21)

December 30

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. `Psalm 116:17`

SPIRITUALLY, we have feasted on the bounties of divine favor; while in things temporal, under whatsoever circumstances we have been placed, having the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God, we have realized that godliness with contentment is great gain, having promise of the life that now is (so long as God wills to have us remain here), and also of that which is to come. Wherefore, we can and do most heartily “offer unto God thanksgiving.” And shall we not render unto him, not only the praise of our lips, but also the incense of truly consecrated lives, throughout the year upon which we are just entering? Dearly beloved, consecrate yourselves anew to the Lord today--not in the sense of invalidating the consecration made once for all, possibly many years ago, but rather in the sense of reaffirming and emphasizing that covenant. Tell the dear Lord that you consider yourselves entirely his, and that it is still your purpose to keep your all upon the altar of sacrifice during this new year and until it is wholly consumed in his service. Then let us proceed with studious care from day to day to pay these, our vows of full consecration, unto the most High. `Z'06-3` (Hymn 34)

December 31

If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. `John 14:23`

HAVE you heard the cry, the knock, announcing our Bridegroom's presence? Are you awake? Are you seeing to it that you are clothed with the righteousness of Christ as with a garment? See that, under his direction, you keep it “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” and help one another, and “so much the more as you see the day approaching,” remembering that it is written, “The Lamb's wife hath made herself ready.” (`Rev. 19:7`) `Z'80-April, p.7` (Hymn 165)