with some thoughts by Glen Berry
BECOMING WHAT WE EAT
A DEFINITION: “WOW” is a common English expression showing amazement at some marvel or wonder. What is more marvelous and wonderful than the goodness and wonderful works of God, even in the salvation of lost sinners!
Recently, in our booklet on “Humility and Love,”we used a quote by Bishop Taylor which said, “Remember what thou wert before thy birth,—nothing; what thou wert for many years after,—weakness; what in all thy life,—a great sinner; what in all thy excellencies,—a mere debtor to God, to thy parents, to the earth, to all the creatures. Upon these or the like meditations, if we dwell, and frequently retire to them, we shall see nothing more reasonable than to be humble, and nothing more foolish than to be proud.”
Upon meditating on this, for me it was a “WOW! Moment.” In fact, I would say that most of the booklets you read from us contain “WOW! Moments—moments of great blessing or we would not bother to publish them.
But look at this from Taylor. He says that man should be humble because he owes what he is to others and especially to God. He is even indebted to earth and its created creatures. How so? Without the earth and its creations we could not live. Even the food we eat, be it plant food or meat from animals, that intake into your body becomes your fleshly body or you would vanish away. And where did all that come from? Why from the earth itself, from the dirt of the ground! And how did all that that and what it became come into being at all? By the very creation of God Himself. Even the Lord Jesus Christ who created all things. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3). If you eat an apple from an apple tree created by God, in a real and practical sense that apple becomes your body.
Many years ago, I picked up a small child to toss her into the air. I had done this with other children and they were “light as a feather,” figuratively speaking. They were like “balsa wood,” very, very light compared to the heavy solid hardwood of oak or hickory.
But when I picked up this child, it was like picking up a heavy piece of solid oak. Why? Simple. His parents insisted that he not eat much candy, but all her snacks were vegetable or fruits. That little body of flesh was solid with healthy substance. It had become what it was fed. We become what we eat.
So indeed, we are indebted to the earth and God’s creatures, just as Taylor says. This is also true spiritually. The spiritual, God-honoring and God-glorifying spiritual food of which we partake, whether it be the books or articles we read or the sermons we hear, all help to grow and nourish our soul. If they are all “light-weight,” or not really good food, mixed with a lot of error or trash, the amount of and the quality of fruit our soul produces will show it up, just as it became so evident of what kind of food that small child had been eating when I tossed her into the air.
HOW MANY OF OUR THOUGHTS
ARE ORIGINAL? ARE OURS ALONE?
I had another “WOW! Moment” when I read the following by A. W. Pink. This particular quote—didn’t I say that? I didn’t know Pink had said it, using the same expressions! I could have written it myself! In fact, I HAVE written words almost exactly like that. I thought they were MY thoughts! How uncanny! Here Pink was taking my thoughts years before I ever expressed them. Or was I taking his thoughts out of his mouth, because he said them first? I know that I never read this quote or sentiment from him before. Did I get it from spiritual food I had read somewhere before, by some other spiritual writer, and it had become a part of my own soul, my own spiritual being in the process of its growth? Was it from something I had spiritually eaten along the way, in the process of “growing up”? Or very possibly, the Holy Spirit just revealed to all of us the SAME truth which is eternal. It could be a little of both—what God revealed and taught by His Holy Spirit to me personally, and ALSO from the food God provided for my soul to feast on as it grew day by day, in the fuller knowledge of our Lord Jesus, the Savior of our souls. Either way, or both ways, the Source is still our giving God, the Creator and Sustainer of His children, body, soul and spirit. All praise and thanks to Him.
Now here is the Pink quote. Those who know us best and have read from us for years, know that I have tried to express the same sentiment many times. So read on, closely.—g/b
The Quote by A. W. Pink, on “Brotherly Love”:
Another great enemy to brotherly love is a sectarian spirit, and this evil is far more widespread than many suppose. Our readers would be surprised if they knew how often a sample copy of this magazine is despised by those who have a reputation for being stalwarts in the Faith and as possessing a relish for spiritual things, yet because this paper is not issued by their denomination or “circle of fellowship” it is at once relegated to the waste-paper basket.
Alas, how frequently is a spirit of partisanship mistaken for brotherly love: so long as a person “believes our doctrines” and is willing to “join our church,” he is received with open arms. On the other hand, no matter how sound in the faith a man may be, nor how godly his walk, if he refuses to affiliate himself with some particular group of professing Christians, he is looked upon with suspicion and given the cold shoulder. But such things ought not to be: they betray a very low state of spirituality.
We are far from advocating the entering into familiar fellowship with everyone who claims to be a Christian—Scripture warns us to “lay hands suddenly on no man” (1 Tim. 5:22), for all is not gold that glitters; and perhaps there never was a day in which empty profession abounded so much as it does now. Yet there is a happy medium between being taken in by every impostor who comes along, and refusing to to believe that there are any genuine saints left upon earth. Surely a tree may be known by its fruits.
When we meet with one in whom we can discern the image of Christ, whether that one be a member of our party or not, there should our affections be fixed. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7). It is our bounden duty to love all whom Christ loves, It is utterly vain that we boast of our orthodoxy or of the “light” we have, if brotherly love be not shown by us to the feeblest member of Christ’s body who crosses our path.
There are many other things which are serious obstacles to the maintenance of brotherly love, yet we must not do more than barely mention them: the love of the world; failure to mortify the lusts of the flesh in our souls; being unduly wrapped up in the members of our own family, so that those related to us by the blood of Christ have not that place in our affections which they ought; ignorance of the directions in which it should be exercised and of the proper duties which it calls for; forgetfulness of the foundation of it, which is a mutual interest in the grace of God, that we are fellow-members of the Household of Faith; a readiness to listen to idle gossip, which in most instances, is a “giving place to the Devil,” who accuses the brethren day and night. (End of qote.)
ALL THESE “WOW! MOMENTS”
MAKE LIFE EXTREMELY INTERESTING!
A dear brother gave me a copy of Horatius Bonar’s book, The Night of Weeping and the Morning of Joy. It is loaded with “WOW! Moments! Each paragraph is rich with profound truth, much of it brand new to our hearts. I stand amazed that the spiritual knowledge and experience God gave this man. We just don’t see this kind of depth in contemporary writers. It is meat indeed, under the Word of God, because it is so expressive of what the Bible teaches. I say, in all sincerity, that much of the book is new, giving full expression to thoughts not thought of before by me at least. But others have said the same thing. Yet, often there is truth presented that you or I do know, or have known because we are taught by the same Holy Spirit. But this gifted man of God, being a gift to Christ’s bride by God Himself, gives to us a much fuller expression even of truth we already know, but in a richer, fuller measure. Again, to God be the glory and the praise.
Now this quote is on the subject of “Watchfulness.” But before I start that, I want to refer back again to what Taylor said in the quote on page 3. And here is another way we are indebted to God’s creatures. Like a pet cat can comfort us, entertain us, be companionable to us, but such little animals can also TEACH us, like my pet cat Babes gives such an example of—WATCHFULNESS that Horatius Bonar is teaching us. Really, even small animals made by God can TEACH us!
You might say that Babes is a nervous cat, but being so, he is a very ALERT cat and a WATCHFUL CAT. Normally, when he leaves the house in the morning, he will hesitate before leaving the back door; he will sniff around and look around before taking a step outside. Then, when I have the water-falls on in the backyard, he likes to drink out of the running water. But, oh, how WATCHFUL he is! I can’t imagine anything slipping up on him, or hehind him. He spends as much or more time WATCHING AND LOOKING AROUND as he does drinking the water. I think he would have passed the test, if GIDEON had to choose cats for his army. I have never seen such a WATCHFUL and alert cat!
That is why I say that Babes gives us such a good example of how to go through life WATCHING.
Now read what dear Horatius Bonar says about it. And BE WATCHFUL enough to learn what he is really talking about. Here he is, our precious brother:
“She [the church, the bride of Christ] is to believe; but that is not all; she is also to watch. She is to rejoice; but that is not all; she is also to watch. She is to love; but that is not all; she is also to watch. She is to wait; but that is not all; she is also to watch. She is to long [yearn]; but that is not all; she is also to watch. This is to be her special attitude, and nothing can compensate for it. By this she is to be known in all ages, as the watching one. By this the world is to be made to feel the difference between itself and her. By this she is specially to show how truly she feels herself to be a stranger here.
“Men ask her, ‘Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?’ Her reply is, ‘I am watching.’ Men taunt her, and say, ‘Why this unrestfulness?’ Her reply is, ‘I am watching.’ Men think it strange that she runs not with them to the same excess of riot (1 Peter 4:4). She tells them, ‘I am watching.’ They ask her to come forth and join their gaiety, to come forth and sing their song, to come forth and taste their pleasures, that thus they may teach her to forget her sorrows. She refuses, saying, ‘I dare not, I am watching.’ The scoffer mocks her, and says, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ She heeds not, but continues watching, and clasps her hope more firmly.
“Sometimes too a feeble, doubting, or, it may be, inconsistent saint, asks in wonder, ‘How are you so strong, so hardy, so able for the struggle, so successful in the battle?’ She answers, ’I watch.’ Or he asks, ’How do you keep up a tone so elevating, and maintain a walk so close, so consistent, so unearthly?’ She answers, ‘I watch.’
watch.’ Or he asks her, ‘How do you wrestle with your griefs, and dry up your tears, and heal your wounds; nay glory in tribulation?’ She answers, ‘I watch.’
“Oh what this watching can do, to one who understands it aright! Faith alone will not do. Love alone will not do. Expectation alone will not do. Obedience alone will not do. There must be watching.
“And this watching takes for granted the suddenness and uncertainty of the day of the Lord. It does not say, the Lord must come in my day; but it says, the Lord may come in my day, therefore I must be on the outlook [look-out].This may come is the secret of a watchful spirit. Without it we cannot watch. Our lamps are to be always trimmed. Why? Not merely because the Bridegroom is to come, but because we know not how soon He may come. Our loins are to be always girt up. Why? Not simply because we know that there is to be a coming; but because we know not when that coming is to be.
“The Lord foresaw the spirit of unwatchfulness into which His people would be apt to fall, while He tarried, and He warns us against it. He would have us always to remember that there will be a danger of our becoming easy-minded and earthly—content with His absence instead of mourning because of it; content with His delay instead of joining in the primitive cry, ‘How long?’ He saw that the world would throw us off our guard; that few would really keep awake and watch; that many would get tired with watching, and find out excuses for not watching; that many would sit down and try to make themselves comfortable here without Him. Hence He added, ‘lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.’
“His desire is, that we should be so watching, that when He cometh and knocketh, we may open unto Him immediately (Luke 12:36). And He pronounces a special blessing upon those servants whom He finds thus, promising that ‘He will gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.’ To be in such an attitude of watchfulness as that we shall be ready to open to Him immediately, is that to which He has promised so special a reward, so wondrous an honor. Ah! Who amongst us is in this condition in these last days? Should we be ready to open to Him immediately were He arriving now? Should we not be thrown into confusion at the news of His coming, like servants unprepared for their master’s return, and not counting on it so soon? Should we not have to be getting ready, when we should be should be opening the door? Should we not be running to put on our needful and proper raiment instead of going forth to welcome Him? Ah, what confusion in the household, what amazement, what fear, what hustle, what running to and fro would there be in our day, were the tidings brought to us, ‘the Lord has come.’ ”
WATCH, Looking Up!
WATCH, Looking IN the Word!
WATCH, Looking Around You!
“Teach me Thy way, O Lord;
I will walk in Thy truth:
Unite my heart to fear Thy name.
I will praise Thee, O Lord my God,
With all my heart: and
I will glorify Thy name for evermore.”
WATCH, Looking Inward & Upward in Prayer!
“When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”
(Jesus, in Luke 17:10)