Our Daily Walk

July 1 

THE CALL TO SERVICE

Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they left the nets, and followed Him.” — Mar_1:7-18.
AS OF old, Christ is still passing through the centres of busy, thronging life, calling men from their nets and boats, from the countinghouse and the market-place, or from the seclusion of the study, and saying, with His own inimitable and irresistible charm: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” It may be that He has already come to you, casting over you the mantle of service, as Elijah over the young ploughman whilst following his team.
You may be startled at the suggestion, but probably all the mighty band of men and women who have responded to His Call, were similarly startled when first the summons awoke them to action. Samuel was startled when the Divine voice rang out in the night; Gideon was startled, and replied: “Behold my family is poor, and I am the least in my father’s house”; Jeremiah said, when the call came to him: “Ah, Lord God! Behold I cannot speak, for I am a child.” Moses drew back, and said that he was unequal for the task to which God summoned him.
Christ’s Call comes specially to the young—to Henry Martyn amid his books, to David Livingstone at his loom, to Carey at his cobbler’s bench, to Mary Slessor in the Scottish factory, and to many another. Young people have a marvellous power of acquiring languages, and mastering any difficulties of country, race, or condition, and what other men and women are doing for fame, position, and wealth, surely we can do for Jesus. We are His blood-bought slaves, and surely He has the right to say to each of us, Come, Go, Do this, Follow Me!
Listen to the appeal of Christ on behalf of the millions of souls for whom He died, and to some of whom He wants to send you. Yield yourself to Him, and let Him infuse into you His mighty passion for their salvation. Do not look at your circumstances, or count your five loaves and two small fishes, wondering if they will suffice; or at the waves, questioning if they will bear you up. Keep your eyes fixed on Him, and your ears open to His voice, and when once you are sure of His leading, go forward in His Name. Jordan will divide before you, and the walls of Jericho will fall flat.
PRAYER
Lord, here am I, send me wheresoever thou wilt. Only make me to know Thy will beyond possibility of mistake, and work through me to accomplish all Thy good pleasure. AMEN.

From e-Sword Bible Study

Devotional Sermons

July 1
The Elder Brother
Now his elder son was in the field — Luk_15:25
Seeing beneath the Regularities
There is not a little that is excellent in the character of the elder brother, and our Lord, with His eye for what is fine, is careful to bring that into the picture. For instance, the man was diligent—he was getting back from the field when all this happened. The prodigal was returning from debauchery: he was returning from his work. He had been busy on the farm since early morning, keeping a watchful eye on everything, and now at twilight he was getting home. Not only was he diligent; he had also been a pattern of obedience. He could assert, with a perfectly clear conscience, that he had never transgressed against his father. In all such excellent attributes of character he was immeasurably superior to the prodigal, and that the Master freely recognizes. The strange thing about Christ is how He gets below these outward regularities. He pierces through the ordering of habit into the secret spirit of the heart. And how He does that here, till we see the real man, and feel that we should know him if we met him, is one of the most arresting things in Scripture.
Unappreciative of His Privileges
To begin with, we see him as a man who was utterly unappreciative of his privileges. He was the kind of person who always bears a grudge. Every day he had his father’s company, and the blessed society of home. His father’s love was round about him constantly, and everything the father had was his. Yet in the midst of all that wealth of privilege the man had walked with an ungrateful heart—thou never gavest me a kid. When anyone breaks out like that, it is not so extemporaneous as it seems. It is the boiling over, in some heated moment, of what has long been simmering in the heart. That is the worst of many a bitter word, with its sometimes irreparable consequences, that reveals, as in a flash of lightning, what has been festering in the hidden soul. Thou never gavest me a kid—the thought had been there through many a long day. One trifling little thing had been withheld, and it had turned the music into discord. With lavish hand the father had given everything—all that I have is thine—and the man had been brooding on one thing never given. Are there not many people just like that? God has been wonderfully good to them; but because some one thing has been withheld they bear a grudge, and have the bitter heart. And yet they may be industrious and diligent, and obedient to the daily calls of life, just like the elder brother in the parable.
Hardened toward His Brother
Again our Lord reveals him as a man who was utterly hardened toward his brother. He was diligent and obedient—but hard. There is one exquisite touch which makes that plain—the word brother is never on his lips. He does not say, “My brother has returned”; he says, “This thy son is come again”—and sometimes a word (or the absence of a word) lights up the hidden chambers of the heart. The prodigal was his father’s son; nothing on earth could alter that relationship. “Thy son”—the word was uttered with a sneer, and a sneer may be deadlier than a sword. But brother—the word had died out of his speech, because the love it carries had died out of his heart—the prodigal no longer was his brother. He had ceased to be his brother long ago. He had ceased when he became a prodigal. The elder had no kinship with the junior. His heart had no room for ne’er-do-wells. Yet with that unbrotherly and hardened heart (as the Lord is so careful to remind us) the man was a pattern of industry and diligence. How searching is the eye of Christ! How unerringly He sees the deeps! I suppose the Pharisees thought that they were models, till the Lord revealed what was hidden in the darkness. And sometimes, in the strict performance of our duties, He gives us also a little glimpse of that, and we cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Out of Sympathy with His Father
Again we see this man, for all his excellencies, utterly out of sympathy with his father. His attitude to the younger brother involves that. Of whom had the father been thinking every day? He had been thinking of the prodigal. He had been praying for him—he had been longing for him—he had been watching for him through the weary months. And always beside him was his elder son, with his heart utterly hardened to the prodigal—father and son a million miles apart. The real prodigal was the elder brother. He was farther away than was the ne’er-do-well. Between him and the father’s loving heart there stretched a quite immeasurable distance. Yet he was at home, and under the same roof, and in his father’s presence every day, while the prodigal was in an alien land. How often we light on that in human life! Two may be near each other, and yet far away. Two may wake and sleep in the same dwelling, yet be more distant than if oceans parted them. And that is what Jesus felt about those Pharisees, to whom this parable was spoken—they were so near and yet they were so far. Sitting in the very seat of Moses, they were strangers to the loving heart of God. Thronging the Father’s House, they shared not the Father’s yearning for the prodigal. Yet were they diligent, scrupulous, exact—earnest toilers in the field of Scripture—just like the elder brother of the parable.
The Father Loved the Unlovable Elder Son
In closing, we should never forget that the father loved that elder son. He was not lovable, but the father loved him. Did he run (exquisite touch!) to meet the prodigal? He acted similarly with the elder brother. He left the song and dance to go and find him. He could not leave him, embittered, in the darkness. And when he found him—he, the Eastern father whose prerogative was to command—he stooped in fatherly yearning and entreated him. Then follows that charming touch of Jesus, for the father did not call him son. He called him child—so is it in the Greek—and child is a word of tenderest affection. Doubtless the prodigal was far more lovable—ne’er-do-wells are often very lovable. This elder brother (like many other people) was just a little difficult to love. And the triumph of the art of Jesus is not that He makes the father love the prodigal, but that He makes him love the elder brother. What Jesus teaches is that that is God. His love embraces folk who are not lovable. So mighty is it that it sweeps into its circuit folk who are very difficult to love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish.”

Rylisms

July 1
A Goose in the Chicken Coup
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Php_3:14).
Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, told a story about a goose who was wounded and landed in a barnyard with some chickens. He played with the chickens and ate with the chickens. After a while, that goose thought he was a chicken.
One day a gaggle of geese flew overhead, migrating home. They gave a honk up in the sky, and the barnyard goose heard it.
Kierkegaard said, “Something stirred within the breast of this goose. Something called him to the skies. He began to flap the wings he hadn’t used, and he rose a few feet into the air. Then he stopped, and he settled back again into the mud of the barnyard. He heard the upward call, but he settled for less.”
Is there a chance that this story is about you?
Are you settling for being less than you know in your heart God has called you and created you to be? It’s not just for your sake that you must respond to God’s call on your life — it’s also for all the other meaningful people in your life. The longer you wait before answering, the more annoying your life becomes to those around you. There are few things as disruptive to the peace and well-being of other people than a person who is running from God. How many lives are being distressed because you won’t answer the call?
And besides, are you really that happy clucking with chickens? Really?

From e-Sword Study Bible

Morning & Evening

July 1

Morning
In summer and in winter shall it be.” — Zec_14:8
The streams of living water which flow from Jerusalem are not dried up by the parching heats of sultry midsummer any more than they were frozen by the cold winds of blustering winter. Rejoice, O my soul, that thou art spared to testify of the faithfulness of the Lord. The seasons’ change and thou changest, but thy Lord abide evermore the same, and the streams of his love are as deep, as broad and as full as ever. The heats of business cares and scorching trials make me need the cooling influences of the river of His grace; I may go at once and drink to the full from the inexhaustible fountain, for in summer and in winter it pours forth its flood. The upper springs are never scanty, and blessed be the name of the Lord, the nether springs cannot fail either. Elijah found Cherith dry up, but Jehovah was still the same God of providence. Job said his brethren were like deceitful brooks, but he found his God an overflowing river of consolation. The Nile is the great confidence of Egypt, but its floods are variable; our Lord is evermore the same. By turning the course of the Euphrates, Cyrus took the city of Babylon, but no power, human or infernal, can divert the current of divine grace. The tracks of ancient rivers have been found all dry and desolate, but the streams which take their rise on the mountains of divine sovereignty and infinite love shall ever be full to the brim. Generations melt away, but the course of grace is unaltered. The river of God may sing with greater truth than the brook in the poem–
“Men may come, and men may go,
But I go on for ever.”
How happy art thou, my soul, to be led beside such still waters! never wander to other streams, lest thou hear the Lord’s rebuke, “What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink of the muddy river?”
Evening

The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” — Gen_3:8
My soul, now that the cool of the day has come, retire awhile and hearken to the voice of thy God. He is always ready to speak with thee when thou art prepared to hear. If there be any slowness to commune it is not on his part, but altogether on thine own, for he stands at the door and knocks, and if his people will but open he rejoices to enter. But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord’s garden? May I venture to hope that it is well trimmed and watered, and is bringing forth fruit fit for him? If not, he will have much to reprove, but still I pray him to come unto me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in his wings. Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites thee earnestly, and waits for thee eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in thy matchless character! Come, O my Father, who art the Husbandman, and deal with me in thy tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and bedew my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth! O that he would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to him, and every other thought is hushed. I am only asking what he delights to give. I am sure that he will condescend to have fellowship with me, for he has given me his Holy Spirit to abide with me for ever. Sweet is the cool twilight, when every star seems like the eye of heaven, and the cool wind is as the breath of celestial love. My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in lovingkindness, for thou hast opened mine ear and I am not rebellious.