"For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Real lowliness is being ready to serve any and everybody; and though it may to the eye of man look low it is in reality very high, being the fruit of divine love working in our hearts. God operating in our hearts makes us unselfish. The only thing worth doing in the world is this service, except it be enjoying God. We should be ready to serve one's enemies. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." This is not only being humbled, but humbling oneself, and not doing it before those who would honour us all the more for being humble. Paul could say of himself and others, "Ourselves your servants for Christ's sake" (2 Corinthians 4:5). He felt they had a title to serve in grace, and in proportion as he took the humble place he will be exalted in that day that is coming. (J.N. Darby - The Man of Sorrows)
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"There be . . . things which are little upon the earth, BUT. . . ."
Little things are much more important than we often imagine; they have been known to turn the course of event for hundreds of years. For instance, a great king once noticed that his soldiers were using their sleeves instead of handkerchiefs, and - that's how we all got buttons on our cuffs! Another monarch was bald and had his servants make him a fancy toupee; immediately judges and courtiers took up the style and for hundreds of years men of importance shaved off their own locks , and wore flowing wigs of artificial curls! So too, for good or evil, each of us has his own widening circle of influence.
Someone once complained, "What I say or do doesn't matter. My influence is like a drop in the bucket!" "Ah, but a drop can be very important," said another. "It all depends on what it is made of, and what's already in the bucket. One little drop of water falling into a container of acid may cause an explosion. One drop of germ culture introduced into a container of milk can make the liquid dangerous to drink; while one drop of cleansing disinfectant can neutralize a whole pail full of contaminated water." Yes, even a "drop in a bucket" can make a tremendous difference. Our influence is greater than we suspect. In fact, those whom the world considers "insignificant" are probably the ones whose lives are making the greatest impact for eternity!
Have you ever thought of it, that after all, it's only the small birds that sing? You never heard a note from the eagle in all your life, nor from the turkey, nor from the ostrich. But you have heard thrilling melody from the throat of a canary, and bright, happy trills of praise from the robin, and the lark. My how they can sing! So too, the sweetest music often comes from those Christians who are small in their own estimation but great in the eyes of the Lord. Indeed, "there be . . . things which are little upon the earth, BUT!!" (H.G.B.)
Little crosses bravely carried,
Little duties daily done,
To the heart of God are precious,
And He counts them one by one.
He who is a Christian in small things, is not a small Christian!"
N.J. Hiebert - 4329
"Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume if upon your lusts."
Here is, in my judgment, the explanation of all unanswered prayer. When prayer is the voice of the self-life, the lust of the flesh, the lust of avarice (greed), of ambition, of self-advantage, coming into the front, God does not heed it, for to heed it would be the worst thing for you and me. But, as I grow into Christ and come to know His thought, and as He grows into me and comes to subdue and control my thought, His will becomes my will, and the words of my prayer become the expression of His will and His word through me, and the Father hears the Son in the supplication of His disciple. (A.T. Pierson)
The prayer life is not the self-life, but the Christ-life within the soul.
What we need therefore for the fullest development of the prayer-life is, "None of self and all of Jesus." The question, "Am I asking for this to gratify my own pleasure" will help us decide whether we are praying amiss.
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