DECEMBER 13

 

Lay not this sin to their charge—Acts 7: 60.

 

How great a blessing it would be for all spiritual Israelites to learn well this lesson; namely, that if we accept the results of any matter as being good, and if we realize that we were guided to those results by Divine providence, we should think and feel most generously, most kindly, toward those who were the instruments used by providence, notwithstanding the fact that they might have been unwilling instructors or, like Joseph's brethren, have verily intended opposite results. Those who are enabled to take such a view of affairs and forces operating in their daily lives are enabled "always to triumph through the Lord," as the Apostle expresses it. And such find no room for bitterness or railing, either against Satan or against any of his servants.

 

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St. Stephen is a splendid example of forgiving one's enemies. It is easy to think and to say: "I will forgive my enemies," when one has none. It is quite a different thing  to refrain from resentment in the heart toward those who wrong us. It is harder still to cherish no resentment toward people, while to their and our knowledge, they are doing us wrong. But the hardest of all things is to wish and do them good, while they are in the act of wronging us. Such was the sublime height of character to which St. Stephen climbed. While the rocks and stones were striking him with most painful force, he prayed God to forgive his tormentors. If we would attain to a like character, we must be very self- oblivious, meek, zealous, loving and faithful. These qualities practiced in the small things of life gradually impart to our characters strength that is equal to the demands of our hardest experiences. While failure to meet our daily small trials aright will result in defeat in great crises.

 

Parallel passages: Matt. 5: 40-48; 6: 12, 14, 15; 18: 21-35; Luke 6: 28; 23: 34; Rom. 12: 14, 17, 19, 20; Ex. 23: 4, 5; Prov. 19: 11; 24: 17; Eccles. 7: 21; Mark 11: 25; Luke  6: 35-37; 17: 3, 4; 1Cor. 4: 12; Eph. 4: 32; Col. 3: 13; Phile. 1: 10; 1Pet. 3: 9.

 

Questions: Have I been forgiving this week? How? Why? What helped or hindered?

With what results?

 

TRUST

 

"BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED."

 

CHILD of Mine, I love thee, listen now to Me,

And make answer truly while I question thee.

For I see that shadows do thy soul oppress,

And thy faith so weakens, that I cannot bless.

 

Thou hast craved My power and presence in thy soul.

Wilt thou yield thee truly unto My control?

Wilt thou let Me ever with thee have My way,

Yield thyself in all things simply to obey?

 

Though My presence ofttimes seem to be withdrawn,

Of Mine inward workings not a trace be shown,

Wilt thou count Me present notwithstanding all,

Still believe I'm working ever in thy soul?

 

When I give to others what I thee deny,

Flood them with My sunshine, wholly pass thee by,

Wilt thou still believe in My strong love for thee,

Yield thee to My purpose whatsoe'er it be?

 

When I to thy pleadings seem no heed to pay,

And thy foes grow bolder, claim thee as their prey,

Though toward thee I'm silent, wilt thou stand the test,

On My Word of promise lay thee down to rest?

 

If to these My questions thou canst answer "Yes,"

Thou shalt be forever one I love the best.

To the inner circle of My favored few,

Thou shalt be admitted, and My glory view.

 

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