The Signs of the Times


September 17, 1896

The Lord Our Strength


“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” ST September 17, 1896, par. 1

Let every one who names the name of Christ read this scripture again and again, and then inquire, Am I clothed with the whole armor of God, that I may be a successful co-laborer with Christ? The more we know of ourselves, the more we probe our motives and desires, the more heartfelt will be our consciousness of our utter inability to fight the battle of the Lord in our own strength, and the more deeply we shall feel the need of having our loins “girt about with truth,” in order that we may have purity of purpose, and know that we are not serving ourselves, but the Lord Jesus Christ. ST September 17, 1896, par. 2

“Above all,” declares the inspired word, “taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Stablish your hearts in the belief that God knows of all the trials and difficulties you will encounter in the warfare against evil; for God is dishonored when any soul belittles his power by talking unbelief. ST September 17, 1896, par. 3

This world is God's great field of labor; he has purchased those that dwell on it with the blood of his only-begotten Son, and he means that his message of mercy shall go to every one. Those who are commissioned to do this work will be tested and tried, but they are always to remember that God is near to strengthen and uphold them. He does not ask us to depend upon any broken reed. We are not to look for human aid. God forbid that we should place man where God should be. He has promised to help us, and in the Lord Jehovah is “everlasting strength.” ST September 17, 1896, par. 4

A lesson of faith is given us in the experience of Christ with the disciples of John the Baptist. Imprisoned in the lonely dungeon, John had fallen into discouragement, and he sent his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” Christ knew on what errand these messengers had come, and by a mighty demonstration of his power he gave them unmistakable evidence of his divinity. Turning to the multitude, he spoke, and the deaf heard his voice. He spoke again, and the eyes of the blind were opened to behold the beauties of nature, and to look upon the face of their compassionate Restorer. He put forth his hand, and at his touch the fever left the afflicted ones. At his command demoniacs were healed, and falling at his feet, worshiped’ him. Then turning to the disciples of John, he said, “Go and show John again the things which ye do see and hear.” ST September 17, 1896, par. 5

That same Jesus who wrought those mighty works, is our Saviour today, and is as willing to manifest his power on our behalf as he was in the behalf of John the Baptist. When we are hedged about by adverse circumstances, surrounded by difficulties which it seems impossible for us to surmount, we are not to murmur, but to remember the past loving-kindness of the Lord. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we may endure as seeing him who is invisible, and this will keep our minds from being clouded by the shadow of unbelief. ST September 17, 1896, par. 6

Shortly before Christ's ascension, Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Grieved at his unbelief, Christ turned to him, saying, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” Is it possible that I have walked with you, and talked with you, and fed you by miracles, and yet you have not comprehended that I was the Sent of God, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” that I came from heaven to represent the Father? “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” for I am the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. “How sayest thou then, show me the Father.” “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very work's sake.” ST September 17, 1896, par. 7

Too often we grieve the heart of Jesus by our unbelief. Our faith is short-sighted, and we allow trials to bring out our inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong. When brought into strait circumstances, we dishonor God by murmuring and complaining. Instead of this we should show that we have learned in the school of Christ, by helping those that are worse off than ourselves, those who are seeking for light, but are unable to find it. Such have a special claim upon our sympathy, but instead of trying to uplift them, we pass by on the other side, intent on our own interests or trials. If we do not show decided unbelief, we manifest a murmuring, complaining spirit. ST September 17, 1896, par. 8

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Christ has already proved himself to be our ever-present Saviour. He knows all about our circumstances, and in the hour of trial can we not pray that God will give us his Holy Spirit to bring to our minds his many manifestations of power in our behalf? Can we not believe that he is as willing to help us as on former occasions? His past dealings with his servants are not to fade from our minds, but the remembrance of them is ever to strengthen and uphold us. ST September 17, 1896, par. 9

No amount of tribulation can separate us from Christ. If he leads us to Rephidim, it is because he sees that it is for our good and for his name's glory. If we will look to him in trusting faith, he will, in his own time, turn the bitterness of Marah into sweetness. He can open the flinty rock, and cause cooling streams to flow forth. Then shall we not lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving for past mercies, and go forward with full assurance that he is an ever-present help in time of trouble? He has been with us in our past experiences, and his word to us is, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” ST September 17, 1896, par. 10

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” ST September 17, 1896, par. 11