with a daily devotion
Morning Meditations for April 1
The fruit of the Spirit is joy.—GAL. 5:22.
Joy in the Holy Ghost.—Unspeakable and full of glory.
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; . . . exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.—We glory in tribulations.
Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; . . . for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.—These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be fuIl.—As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.—The joy of the Lord is your strength.
In thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.—For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”
For several days we have been dwelling upon the Saviour’s passion, and for some little time to come we shall linger there. In beginning a new month, let us seek the same desires after our Lord as those which glowed in the heart of the elect spouse. See how she leaps at once to him; there are no prefatory words; she does not even mention his name; she is in the heart of her theme at once, for she speaks of him who was the only him in the world to her. How bold is her love! It was much condescension which permitted the weeping penitent to anoint his feet with spikenard—it was rich love which allowed the gentle Mary to sit at his feet and learn of him—but here, love, strong, fervent love, aspires to higher tokens of regard, and closer signs of fellowship. Esther trembled in the presence of Ahasuerus, but the spouse in joyful liberty of perfect love knows no fear. If we have received the same free spirit, we also may ask the like. By kisses we suppose to be intended those varied manifestations of affection by which the believer is made to enjoy the love of Jesus. The kiss of reconciliation we enjoyed at our conversion, and it was sweet as honey dropping from the comb. The kiss of acceptance is still warm on our brow, as we know that he hath accepted our persons and our works through rich grace. The kiss of daily, present communion is that which we pant after to be repeated day after day, till it is changed into the kiss of reception, which removes the soul from earth, and the kiss of consummation which fills it with the joy of heaven. Faith is our walk, but fellowship sensibly felt is our rest. Faith is the road, but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks. O lover of our souls, be not strange to us; let the lips of thy blessing meet the lips of our asking; let the lips of thy fulness touch the lips of our need, and straightway the kiss will be effected.
25. Seventy Years of Captivity
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; 2The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 3From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. 4And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 5They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: 6And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. 7Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.
8Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 9Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. 11And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. 13And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. 14For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.
15For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. 16And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. 17Then took I the cup at the Lord’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me: 18To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; 19Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; 20And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, 21Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, 22And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, 23Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, 24And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, 25And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, 26And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. 27Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. 28And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. 29For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts. 30Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. 31A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. 32Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. 33And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.
34Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. 35And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. 36A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the Lord hath spoiled their pasture. 37And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the Lord. 38He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
1. Spiritual Blessings in Christ
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved:
73. Psalm 73
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. 15If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. 21Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. 23Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 27For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.