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- How to Live a Holy Life - 20/22 -
LIVE BY FAITH.
Live by faith. There is no other true and right way to live. Without faith it is impossible to please God, and of course the life that pleases God is the only life that is perfect. We can please God; we can walk each day in a way that is pleasing to him. Such a walk is by faith, not by sight. God honors faith. He loves to have his Word believed. He delights to hear the prayer of faith; it avails with him.
Around the great white throne in heaven the angels are shouting day and night, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, honor and power, belong to thee." But amid all this sound of praise God hears a voice and bends an ear to listen. It is the prayer of faith from the heart of one of his children. There is never too many angels singing nor too many harps resounding for God to hear the voice of his child. "My voice," said the sweet singer of Israel, "shalt thou hear in the morning." He hears the first faint cry of his heaven-born child. Even the unuttered wish of the heart, the unexpressed desire, the faintest breathing of love, he hears and recognizes as the voice of his child. Faith will wing its way into the presence of God. It traverses the universe until it finds him and there brings the soul to its rest. Faith will guide us through this world.
Faith touches God. A woman came to Jesus and tremblingly reached out her feeble hand and touched the hem of his garment. He asked, "Who touched me?" It was not the finger-touch that he felt, but the faith-touch. Today we can touch him by faith and by no other way. Though many angels may be thronging him, yet the feeblest touch of faith will reach him. You may be one of the weakest ones, unnoticed and unknown. A little cabin on the mountainside may be your home, but your feeblest cry of faith will reach the throne of God, and he will send angels to encamp round about you and deliver you. Have faith in God. When all is dark around you, believe in him. Trust him when you can not trace, and believe when you can not see. Never doubt his Word. Faith will prevail and bring you the desire of your heart. Will you believe?
A VALUABLE LEGACY.
A legacy is a gift that some one makes to another; usually something that one leaves behind, when departing from this world, for others to enjoy. Some have left great sums of money to others and to institutions, and these bequests have been called valuable legacies. I am now to tell you of the greatest and most valuable legacy that has ever been left to man. It is a bequest left not to one man but to all men. It is not a legacy of silver or gold or diamonds nor of houses and lands. Nor can this precious gift be purchased with gold. It is something Jesus gives; and what he has can not be purchased with any earthly thing. I will read you what it is: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." These are the words that Jesus uttered just before his departure from the world, and this is the legacy he leaves to man. Oh, what a gift! We can all possess it. We need it as we are crossing the sea of life. Many storms arise and billows roll high, but the soul possesses this valuable treasure of peace. There is a stillness, a calmness, a peacefulness, in the soul that stormy winds can never disturb.
This peace that Jesus gives, is given us through our obedience. "Oh, that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river." What is more peaceful than the calm, even flowing of a river? As we look upon it a quiet peacefulness begins to spread its mantle over our hearts. Still waters are a beautiful emblem of peace, while troubled waters are a picture of unrest.
This peace that Jesus gives is unlike anything that the world gives. This world contains many pleasant things and makes many very liberal offers, but peace is never found by accepting any of them. The pleasures of this world leave a bitter taste, while the hardships we endure for Jesus sweetens our cup.
Shall we analyze this peace, that we may know all about it, even the very hidden secret of the principle? The apostle says, "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds." Let us be satisfied to have our hearts and minds kept by this wonderful peace, though we do not understand it. I have some flowers on my desk. There are white ones and yellow and purple and red and pale blue. I do not understand the principle of life that gives them such beauty and fragrance. If I should dissect them in order to discover this secret, I should destroy their beauty and be no wiser. We can not understand this peace, but we can possess it.
There is power in this peace to keep the heart and mind. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts." Give thy heart over to its calm, still power. It will rule very quietly in your soul, but rule with kingly power. The waters can not rise in trouble where peace holds sway. When this secret power has dominion in our hearts, it speaks peace to all around. It says to the waves and the winds, "Peace, be still." On the attacking fears, on the threatening circumstances, it lays a quiet hand and whispers, "Peace, be still," and great is the calmness of thy soul.
SOME SCRIPTURES FOR DAILY PRACTISE.
If we seek God earnestly in the prayer of faith to help us in our daily practise of the following Scriptural texts and then put forth our best efforts, we shall find life daily growing more holy and beautiful. The beauty and enjoyment of a holy life is that it can always be improved upon. We can live in all the light that shines upon us from these texts today, but tomorrow we find them shining a little brighter and fuller light, so that we shall have to live a little more holy than we are living today. Thus, all along our Christian way we shall find that we are growing and becoming holier in life, and more of the transcendent beauty of Jesus will be seen upon us.
"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Eph. 4:32. Let this law of kindness get into your life as its very essence. It is not enough to affect kindness; we must be kind. A tender heart is the groundwork of kindness. Out of such a soil the beautiful flowers of gentleness, kindness, and tenderness grow. These perfume the life and make it cheering to others. Can you be more kind in your daily life? Is your heart so tender that it feels the suffering of the child or the pain of the dumb animal to the extent that you find pleasure in giving relief even at the expense of self-ease?
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Col. 3:2. Guard your heart. "Keep it with all diligence." See that all of its affections are on things above. Some of the earthly things that God has given into your keeping will want some of your affection. The beautiful home, the farm, the bank-account, the domestic animals, and even some things almost worthless will want a little of your heart's love. Your own talents and personal appearance may desire some of your affection, just enough to set you approving them for your own sake. Practise daily the above text.
"In everything give thanks." 1 Thess. 5:18. "Giving thanks always for all things." Eph. 5:20. Thankfulness is a grace easily improved and developed if cultivated. Likewise, it will very soon degenerate if neglected. In order to keep a deep sense of thankfulness in our hearts, we must be mindful of the gracious dealings of God. It is well to take time as often as circumstances will permit to meditate in some quiet place upon the goodness of God to you. We should have such thankful hearts that ofttimes tears of gratitude will flow at the remembrance af God's goodness.
"Rejoice evermore." 1 Thess. 5:16. "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing." 2 Cor. 6:10. "Rejoice alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Phil. 4:4. "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." Jas. 1:2. This is the power of the Christian life. We can always rejoice. We can be contented and happy, whatever our circumstances in life. God's grace will sustain us. Every day can be, and should be, a day of rejoicing. God is pleased to have us happy, but he would have our rejoicing to be in him and not in his blessings. To rejoice in the midst of trial is health to the soul.
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thess. 5:17. "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving." Col. 4:2. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Eph. 6:18. If you value peace and prosperity of soul, you will not neglect to pray. It is prayer that keeps us up above the clouds and brings heaven down. He who does not pray at all is not a Christian, and he who does not pray much is not much of a Christian. It is not those who have plenty of time to pray that do the most praying, but they who take the time. Let there be some prayer every day.
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." Phil. 2:3. This should be the experience of your heart every day. When we are lowly, we see our own faults and imperfections and our brother's virtues; therefore we look upon him as better than ourselves. It seems to us that others are more humble than we are, and have more faith and love God more than we do.
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Phil. 2:4. We should be as much concerned in others' welfare as in our own. He who is looking out for himself and neglecting others has not advanced very far in the Christian life. The Christian lives for others. He will overlook his own needs and see his brother's needs.
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." I Thess. 5: 15. "And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:9, 10. To go about doing good out of a heart full of love is the way to spend life. Heaven is going to reward us according to our works. The Bible tells us so. Never a day should go by without our having done some good thing purposely out of love to God and man. The Lord does not overlook small deeds when done in love. A coral is very small, but many of them make an island: a little good deed done every day will in a lifetime amount to enough to build a splendid mansion in heaven.
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2. To lift a load from off the shoulders of another is noble service. To remove a burden from another's heart is truly Christlike. He who goes through life bearing the burdens of others has found the easiest road; he who goes through life refusing to aid others travels a road of hardest toil.
"Abhor that which is evil." Rom. 12:9. God is holy; consequently he hates that which is evil. When we admire the holiness of God, we loathe sin; if sin has no horror to our soul, holiness has no beauty. To the extent we
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