“Not every evangelistic opportunity will result in dramatic conversions. But during times of disease, surprising opportunities may arise. Therefore, take advantage of any opportunities you might have to preach the gospel to those who are suffering.”
“If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly. There was little scoffing then.”
Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend—he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal Himself to him more graciously than ever. O you who have taken up His cross—do you know what your Master said? “I have come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, He brings war. Where the light comes, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abides, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels! If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it—the world will not speak well of you! He who has the friendship of the world—is an enemy to God! But if you are true and faithful to the Most High God—men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities.
Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion to unhesitatingly pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe! But for the love of Jesus—you must thus be courageous. For the truth’s sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral courage which only the Spirit of God can work in you. Do not turn your back like a coward but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master’s steps, for He has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest; than false peace and everlasting torment!
Psalm 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
“In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” A weary place and a weary heart make the presence of God the more desirable; if there be nothing below and nothing within to cheer, it is a thousand mercies that we may look up and find all we need. How frequently have believers traversed in their experience this “dry and thirsty land,” where spiritual joys are things forgotten! and how truly can they testify that the only true necessity of that country is the near presence of their God! The absence of outward comforts can be borne with serenity when we walk with God;
He arises with a thirst after those comforts which the world cannot give, and has immediate recourse by prayer to the Fountain of the water of life. The true believer is convinced, that nothing in this sinful world can satisfy the wants and desires of his immortal soul; he expects his happiness from God, as his portion. When faith and hope are most in exercise, the world appears a weary desert, and the believer longs for the joys of heaven.
“Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.” Ruth 1:14
Both of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends. At first both of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord’s people; but upon still further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother in law. It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter. How stands the case with us, is our heart fixed upon Jesus, is the sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master’s sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt’s treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed. Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung the King of kings. Blessed among women shall those be who for Christ’s sake can renounce all; but forgotten and worse than forgotten shall those be who in the hour of temptation do violence to conscience and turn back unto the world. O that this morning we may not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah’s kiss, but may the Holy Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our Lord Jesus.