Saturday April 17 “I Say What I Think”
There is a class of people who boast of their honesty and frankness because they “just say what they think,” flinging out the words right and left as they come, no matter where they strike or whom they wound. Call it not honesty, this boasted frankness;--call it rather miserable impertinence, reckless cruelty. We have no right to say what we think unless we think lovingly and sweetly. We certainly have no right to unload our jealousies, envies, bad humors and miserable spite upon our neighbor’s heart. If we must be ugly-tempered, we should at least keep the ugliness locked up in our own breast, and not let it out to mar other people’s happiness. Or, if we must speak out the wretched feelings, let us go into our own room and lock the door and close the windows, that no ears but those of the Lord and our own hear the miserable words.
Sunday April 18 The Peacemaker’s Beatitude
It is very easy, if you are talking to one who has little distrust of another or a little bitterness against another, to say a word which will increase the distrust or add to the bitterness. We like to approve and justify the one with whom we are speaking, and in doing so we are apt to confirm him in his bitterness or sense of wrong. Let us be on our guard that we do not unintentionally widen little rifts into great breaches. Let us seek ever to be peacemakers. There is no other beatitude whose blessing is more radiant than that of the peacemakers—“they shall be called sons of God.”
Monday April 19 The Blessing of Struggle
The daily temptations which make every true life such a painful conflict from beginning to end bring us constant opportunities for growth of character. Not to struggle is not to grow strong. The soldier’s art can be learned and the soldier’s honors can be won only the field of battle. If you would grow into the beauty of the Master, you must accept the conflicts and fight the battles. You can have life easy if you will by declining every struggle, but you will then get little out of life that is truly noble and worthy. The best things all lie beyond some battle-plain; you must fight your way across the field to get them. Heaven is only for those who overcome. None get the crown without the conflict save those who are called home in infancy and early childhood. “Surely I must fight if I would reign.”
Tuesday April 20 Ministry of “Shut-ins”
A faith that fails not nor murmurs in hours of suffering is like a heavenly lamp burning in the home. It makes the chamber of pain a little sanctuary, a holy of holies, which none can enter but with quiet reverence. Do you think such suffering, so sustained, so radiant, performs no ministry of blessing for those who witness it? We must not think that when God lays us aside from active service, shuts us in and calls us to suffer, He is stopping our usefulness for the time. Besides the enriching of our own lives for new ministries when we come again from the shadows, our suffering may become meanwhile a school for other lives, our faith and peace unspoken sermons on the power of God’s love and grace.
Wednesday April 21 Conscience in Little Things
Scrupulous people are often laughed at for their scruples. “Why be particular?” gay and giddy ones ask. “Why be so conscientious about mere trifles? Why be so exacting and punctilious in the doing of small duties?” The answer is; that in the matter of right and wrong nothing is little; certainly nothing is insignificant. Duty is duty, whether it be the smallest or the greatest matter. He is on the highway to nobleness of character who has learned to be scrupulous concerning the smallest things. He that is careful in little things rises every day a step higher. He who is faithful in little things is then entrusted with larger responsibilities. It is the units in life that are most important. Look after the little units and the greater aggregates will be right. Make the minutes beautiful and the hours and days will be radiant.
Thursday April 22 Goodness in the Shadows
Shall we trust our Father only when He is giving us pleasant things, and shall we not trust Him also when He brings the shadow over our hearts? Do you think God is good only when He makes all things such as please you? Is He not just as good when He gives you pain or losses? It is the will of God that our home-sorrow shall make our home-life sweeter, purer, kindlier, Christ-like. If we believe in God and take the pain from His hand with the same confidence as the pleasure, then the shadows will be as rich blessings to us as the lights and the sorrows will be steps upward on which our feet may climb toward God.
Friday April 23 Christian History
Christian history is one of the best evidences of the deity of Christ. No mere man could touch the world’s life as Jesus Christ has touched it. It is nothing less than the energy of God working in men’s hearts that has produced the marvelous results which we see wherever the gospel has gone. Men’s bodies may not now be instantaneously healed by a divine touch, but men’s moral lives are transformed by the same divine touch as in the old miracles of gospel days. Nations are lifted up into purity, justice, truth, freedom and righteousness. Are not these great moral and spiritual miracles as wonderful attestations of the divine mission of Christ as the physical miracles that marked the days of the incarnation?
Saturday April 24 Cost of Being a Blessing
We must live deeply ourselves if we would be able to bless others. We must resist sin, even unto blood, if we would teach others how to be victorious in temptation. We must bear trials and endure sorrows with patience, with submission and with faith, so as to be victorious, if we would become comforters and helpers of others in their trials. You must learn before you can teach, and the learning costs. At no small price can we become true helpers of others in this world. That which has cost us nothing in the getting will not be any great blessing to any other person in the giving. It is only when we give up our life and sacrifice it to God, that we become deeply and truly useful.