Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
Sweet are these words in describing a deathbed assurance. How many have repeated them in their last hours with intense delight!
But the verse is equally applicable to agonies of spirit in the midst of life. Some of us, like Paul, die daily through a tendency to gloom of soul. Bunyan puts the Valley of the Shadow of Death far earlier in the pilgrimage than the river which rolls at the foot of the celestial hills. We have some of us traversed the dark and dreadful defile of "the shadow of death" several times, and we can bear witness that the Lord alone enabled us to bear up amid its wild thought, its mysterious horrors, its terrible depressions. The Lord has sustained us and kept us above all real fear of evil, even when our spirit has been overwhelmed. We have been pressed and oppressed, but yet we have lived, for we have felt the presence of the Great Shepherd and have been confident that His crook would prevent the foe from giving us any deadly wound.
Should the present time be one darkened by the raven wings of a great sorrow, let us glorify God by a peaceful trust in Him.
"Ability involves responsibility," wrote the celebrated Dr. Maclaren.
This statement is in complete harmony with the teaching of the Scriptures, yet in our relation to God and our fellow men we are too likely to forget it.
Human beings, as far as they are understanding and just, acknowledge ability as the proper measure of responsibility. The blind man is not held responsible to see nor the deaf man to hear. Even the most oppressive government imposes upon its citizens only such taxes, as it judges him able to pay. To demand more of any man is finally to destroy such ability as he may possess. Any government that would demand more of its citizens than they were able to pay would soon dry up all tribute at its roots and bring upon itself sure destruction.
In an odd but highly significant passage in the Holy Scriptures, we are told that God judges men according to their light.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:3031).
ROMANS 5:1-2 NKJ
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in
which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
All we receive from God is by His grace. We do not deserve it,
and we are not able to earn it. It is a gift offered by grace.
But we must access it by faith.
GALATIANS 3:14 NKJ
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in
Christ Jesus, that w ...
Do you complain about your calling or fret about the changes and trials of life? How do you know but that these very changes are the divine methods by which God's purposes of blessing and usefulness concerning you are being fulfilled?
Had Aquila and Priscilla not been compelled to leave Rome and break up their home and business, they probably would never have met Paul, nor would they have come to know and serve Christ through this providential meeting. Had they not been working persons pursuing their ordinary vocation, they would not have been brought into contact with the apostle. it was in the line of their calling, their common duties and the providential changes of their lives that God called them. And so He meets us.
Do not attempt to run away from your calling, but, as the apostle has so aptly put it, Let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God (1 Corinthians 7:24). Make the most of your incidental opportunities.
Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called -1 Corinthians 7:20