Day By Day By Grace

October 12
Walking by Faith, Not by Sight
We walk by faith, not by sight . . . while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. (2Co_5:7 and 2Co_4:18)
The Christian life is a walk. It is comprised of day by day steps from where we are to where the Lord wants us to go (both spiritually and geographically). This walk is undertaken by faith, not by sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
Walking by sight is the natural manner by which human beings walk. This is true both for literal walking, as well as for taking the proverbial journey through life. When engaged in physical walking, people rely upon visual data (along with input from other human senses: like sound, smell, and touch). Likewise, as the unredeemed are engaged in their trek through life, they set their course and proceed by that which their natural abilities provide. We who know the Lord Jesus Christ cannot walk in this manner in His kingdom. We must walk by faith, by depending upon our Lord, His word, and the work of grace by His Holy Spirit. Spiritual progress is made “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”
So often, things are not as they appear to be in the natural. Consider Joseph being sold to slave traders by his jealous and deceitful brothers. It did not look like Joseph was being groomed to be Prime Minister in Egypt. Think of Pharoah and his army closing in on Israel, as they were trapped beside the Red Sea. It did not look like Israel would be delivered, while the Egyptian army would be destroyed. Remember young David standing before gigantic Goliath. It did not look like the giant would be defeated, while David would enjoy a thorough victory. Only eyes of faith could really appreciate what was actually happening.
The cross of our Lord Jesus is undoubtedly the greatest example of things not always being what they appear to be. As Jesus hung upon the cross, it appeared that godless men had defeated the most godly man that ever lived. “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst . . . Him . . . you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Act_2:22-23). Yet, in fact, God was at work, preparing a resurrection victory over sin and death for all who would believe. “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Act_2:24).
Heavenly Father, I want to walk with You by faith. I desire to respond to the circumstances of life by what You have said in Your word and by what You are able to do. Too many times, I have set my course by sight, relying upon the appearance of things. Teach me to trust in You more and more, in Jesus name, Amen.

Our Daily Walk

October 12
“Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, He smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; Can He give bread also? They did eat, and were well filled.” — Psa_78:19, Psa_78:20, Psa_78:29.
THIS IS always the cry of unbelief, Can God? whilst the triumphant assertion of faith is: God can. What a difference is wrought by the collocation of words! Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? God can spread a table, even in the wilderness, and in the presence of our enemies our cup can overflow. Can He give bread also? He can satisfy the desire of every living thing, by the opening of His hand. Canst Thou do anything for us, our child is grievously possessed of the devil? If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
The wanderings of the Israelites for forty years were due to the fact that they looked at their difficulties and questioned if God could overcome them. Amongst the people, only Caleb and Joshua looked away from the Canaanites and their fortified cities to Him who had brought them where they were, and was pledged to extricate them. Some people speak of Giants with a capital G, and forget to magnify the power of God. what wonder that they account themselves as grass-hoppers, and lose heart! Let us not forget that we are sons and daughters of God, “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Compare Num_13:33 and Rom_8:17.)
Look back on the past; see what God has done for you; remember He is pledged to finish what He has begun. If He gave water, He can certainly give bread.
“They did eat, and were well filled.” When we are poor and needy, we are inclined to humble prayer. But if suddenly our lot is changed, and there is abundance instead of poverty, how often there is a change in our demeanour. We are apt to become self-indulgent, and forgetful of the needs of the world. Instead of remembering that we are still God’s pensioners, we magnify ourselves as though we were exclusive owners. Probably this is why God keeps some of us in poverty, for no greater temptation could befall us than to find ourselves with riches. In this way He answers our daily prayer, “Lead us not into temptation!”
We thank Thee our heavenly Father, for the new mercies of each returning day, for all that Thou hast given to us, and not less for that which Thou dost withhold. May we be receptive of all things that pertain to life and godliness. AMEN.

Devotional Sermons

October 12
The Saving Power of Hope
We are saved by hope — Rom_8:24
It is not difficult as one looks out on life to recognize the saving power of hope. One thinks, for instance, to what a large extent it is hope which saves humanity from idleness. When a student faces an examination, it is his uncertainty that makes him toil. Were he perfectly sure that he would fail or pass, that would take all the zest out of his studies. Hope is the kindly instrument of God for rescuing mankind from inactivity, and inactivity is sister to stagnation. It is in hope that the writer wields his pen; it is in hope that the sower casts his seed. Search deep enough into the springs of action — you always catch the whispering of hope. In a large sense, we are saved by hope from the tragedy of doing nothing in a world where there is everything to do.
Hope Rescues Us from Giving In
Akin to that is the great fact of life that we are saved by hope from giving in. For the great multitude of men hope lies at the back of perseverance. That may not be true of elect natures. It was not true of Marcus Aurelius, for instance. Never was there a more hopeless man than he, yet how magnificently he persevered. But for the rank and file of ordinary mortals on whom the Gospel always keeps its eye, hope is essential to holding on. One thinks of the story of the little lame boy who was “hoping to have wings some day.” He could not race nor leap like other boys, but he was hoping to have wings some day. It was that hope which helped him to endure and taught him to bear the burden of his lameness, and so it is largely in this life of ours. From giving in when things are very difficult, from breaking down just at breaking point, from losing heart when all the lights are dim and the clouds return after the rain, in deep senses we are saved by hope.
Hope Saves Us from Losing Faith
Equally true is it of life, that we are often saved by hope from losing faith. Think, for instance, how often that is true of our Christian hope of personal survival. When his friend Arthur Hallam died, Tennyson was plunged into the depths. It seemed as if the foundations were destroyed and the moral universe had fallen in ruins. And then, as one may read In Memoriam, morning broke with the singing of the birds through the shining Christian hope of immortality. Nothing could be more dreary than the inscriptions on old pagan tombs, but pass to the catacombs and everything is different: they are radiant with trust in God. What millions have been saved from loss of faith in the hour when the heart was desolate and empty by the burning hope of a blessed immortality. “My soul, hope thou in God.” His name is love, and love demands forever. “Forever” is engraven on the heart of love as Calais was engraven on the heart of Mary. When life is desolated by the hand of death so that faith in Fatherhood is very difficult, multitudes have been upheld and comforted by the saving power of hope.
Christ Inspired Hope
Now, it is very beautiful to notice how our Savior utilized that saving energy. Think how often He began His treatment by kindling the flame of hope within the breast. One might take the instance of Zacchaeus, that outcast from the commonwealth of Israel. He had been taught there was no hope for him, and he believed it till the Lord came by. And then, like the dawn, there came the quivering hope that his tomorrow might differ from his yesterday, and in that new hope the saving work began. Often hope is subsequent to faith. The Scripture order is “faith, hope, charity.” But it is equally true, in the movements of the soul, that hope may be the forerunner of faith. And our Lord, bent on evoking faith, that personal trust in Him which alone saves, began by kindling hope within the breast. That is how He often begins still. He does not begin by saying, “Trust in Me.” He begins by kindling these hopes of better things that are lying crushed in every human heart. Despair is deadly. It is blind. It cannot see the arm outstretched to help. Our Lord begins with the quickening of hope.
Christ Kept Hope Alive
One reads, too, in the Gospel story, of the pains He took just to keep hope alive. That, I think, is most exquisitely evident in His handling of Simon Peter. One would gather that Peter had a nature very prone to access of despair. He was the kind of man to climb the mountaintop and then swiftly to drop into the valley; and the pains, the endless pains that Jesus took to keep hope alive in Peter’s breast, is one of the most beautiful things in history. One day he had to call him Satan. What darkness and anguish that must have brought to Peter! He would move through the crowding duties of the day saying despairingly, “The Master called me Satan.” And then, within a week, when our Lord went up the Mount of Transfiguration, He said, “Peter, I want you to go with Me.” It was not Peter’s faith that needed strengthening. Peter trusted the Lord with all his heart. It was Peter’s hope that needed to be strengthened, crushed by that terrific name of Satan. And then one remembers how on resurrection morning after the black hour of the denial, the angel (commissioned by the Lord) commanded, “Go, tell the disciples and Peter.” The Lord had to wrestle with the despair of Peter. He had a mighty work to keep his hope alive. He had that same work with Luther and with Bunyan and perhaps with many a one who reads these lines. All of whom, rescued from despair by the divine hopefulness of Christ, understand what the apostle meant when he wrote that we are saved by hope.