Monday, September 12, 2016

To overcome, we must be overcome. Not by a single success or worthy work, lest we should boast!

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! — Rom. 8:37

by J.C. Philpot

Those who know nothing of their own heart, of their own infirmities, of their own frailties, of their own inward or outward slips and backslidings, know nothing of the secret of super-abounding grace, nothing of the secret of atoning blood, nothing of the secret of the Spirit’s inward testimony. They cannot. Only in proportion as we are emptied of self in all its various forms, are we filled out of the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Now you, perhaps, (I address myself personally to some poor, tempted child of God, that in touching one, I may touch others,) are a poor, tempted creature; and your daily sorrow, your continual trouble is, that you are so soon overcome; that your temper, your lusts, your pride, your worldliness, your carnal, corrupt heart are perpetually getting the mastery. And from this you sometimes draw bitter conclusions. You say, in the depth of your heart, “Can I be a child of God, and be thus? What mark and testimony have I of being in favor with God when I am so easily, so continually overcome?”


Remember, it is a solemn truth, and one that we learn very slowly—that we must be overcome in order to overcome. There is no setting out with a stock of strength, daily adding to it, weekly increasing it, and then gaining the victory by our own resolutions, our own innate strength. Such sham holiness may come under a gospel garb, may wear a fair appearance; but it only more hides the rottenness of the flesh.

Now I want you to look to the end. What is the issue of these defeats? Remember, it is a solemn truth, and one that we learn very slowly—that we must be overcome in order to overcome. There is no setting out with a stock of strength, daily adding to it, weekly increasing it, and then gaining the victory by our own resolutions, our own innate strength. Such sham holiness may come under a gospel garb, may wear a fair appearance; but it only more hides the rottenness of the flesh. Then, remember this—that in order to gain the victory, we must know our weakness; and we can only know our weakness by its being experimentally opened up in our consciences. We cannot learn it from others; we must learn it in our own souls; and that often in a very painful manner. But these painful sensations in a tender conscience lead a man more humbly, more feelingly, more believingly to the Lord of life and glory, to receive out of his fullness. Thus every defeat only leads to and ensures victory at the last. Says the Apostle, “In all these things we are more than conquerors.” How? Through our resolutions, through our wisdom? No. “Through Him that loved us.” There is no other way, then, to overcome, but by the “strength of Jesus made perfect in our weakness.”

Selah.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Only God can fill the secret urn of life. And He does this as we wait on Him.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14


by C.H. Spurgeon

Wait! Wait! Let your waiting be on the Lord! He is worth waiting for. He never disappoints the waiting soul.

While waiting keep up your spirits. Expect a great deliverance, and be ready to praise God for it.

The promise which should cheer you is in the middle of the verse — “He shall strengthen thine heart.” This goes at once to the place where you need help. If the heart be sound, all the rest of the system will work well. The heart wants calming and cheering, and both of these will come if it be strengthened. A forceful heart rests and rejoices and throbs force into the whole man.

No one else can get at that secret urn of life, the heart, so as to pour strength into it. He alone who made it can make it strong. God is full of strength, and, therefore, He can impart it to those who need it. Oh, be brave; for the Lord will impart His strength to you, and you shall be calm in tempest and glad in sorrow.

He who penned these lines can write as the psalmist did — “Wait, I say, on the Lord.” I do, indeed, say it. I know by long and deep experience that it is good for me to wait upon the Lord.

Selah.

Note: I find this editorial comment by Spurgeon fascinating. He basically says, "I witness from firsthand experience the validity of this promise!" Spurgeon knew of waiting -- in darkness, in depression and despair of any resources of self. And yet, oh the divine strength of God's Word and Spirit that filled him! This is a good word: a trustworthy saying and promise of God: it is fully good, to wait on God. The treasure of strength that He grants is His very self, His divine presence to be our inner light and strength. Against this, everything else must bow and fall, even death itself.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving;
So do thine own part faithfully,
And trust His word, – though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee:
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted Him indeed. Amen.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Waiting ON God and waiting FOR God.

For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy; he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. Indeed, the Lord is a just God; all who wait for him in faith will be blessed .— Isa. 30:18

We hear a great deal about waiting on God. There is, however, another side. When we wait on God, He is waiting till we are ready; when we wait for God, we are waiting till He is ready.

There are some people who say, and many more who believe, that as soon as we meet all the conditions, God will answer our prayers. They say that God lives in an eternal now; with Him there is no past nor future; and that if we could fulfill all that He requires in the way of obedience to His will, immediately our needs would be supplied, our desires fulfilled, our prayers answered.

There is much truth in this belief, and yet it expresses only one side of the truth. While God lives in an eternal now, yet He works out His purposes in time. A petition presented before God is like a seed dropped in the ground. Forces above and beyond our control must work upon it, till the true fruition of the answer is given.

Selah.

— G.P. Pardington, "The Still Small Voice," quoted in Streams in the Desert.


Note: Pardington goes on to talk about the ways of God in delay. Suffice to say this: Delay is not inconsequential or "almost providential," as one has put it; delay is part of the miracle-answer of prayer, in the great heart of our Abba Father-God, a God of Holy Love who MUST give us the best, and so will make us the best, conformed to the image of the Son, in the delay, as well as in the answer. He is making eternal children, fit for forever, as well as highly shaped and tuned for eternal life in the now: the kingdom of God in our midst, in abundant, life-giving life.


Selah.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Oh, for fathers to speak to their sons and daughters like this, once again!



"You remember your mother, Cosmo?"

This question the father was scarcely ever alone with the boy without asking – not from forgetfulness, but from the desire to keep the boy's remembrance of her fresh, and for the pure pleasure of talking of her to the only one with whom it did not seem profane to converse concerning his worshiped wife. "Yes, papa, I do."

The laird always spoke Scotch to his mother, and to Grizzie also, who would have thought him seriously offended had he addressed her in book-English; but to his Marion's son he always spoke in the best English he had, and Cosmo did his best in the same way in return. "Tell me what you remember about her," said the old man. He had heard the same thing again and again from the boy, yet every time it was as if he hoped and watched for some fresh revelation from the lips of the lad – as if, truth being one, memory might go on recalling, as imagination goes on foreseeing.

"I remember," said the boy, "a tall beautiful woman, with long hair, which she brushed before a big, big looking-glass." The love of the son, kept alive by the love of the husband, glorifying through the mists of his memory the earthly appearance of the mother, gave to her the form in which he would see her again, rather than that in which he had actually beheld her. And indeed the father saw her after the same fashion in the memory of his love. Tall to the boy of five, she was little above the middle height, yet the husband saw her stately in his dreams; there was nothing remarkable in her face except the expression, which after her marriage had continually gathered tenderness and grace, but the husband as well as the children called her absolutely beautiful. "What color were her eyes, Cosmo?" "I don't know; I never saw the color of them; but I remember they looked at me as if I should run into them."

"She would have died for you, my boy. We must be very good that we may see her again some day." "I will try. I do try, papa." "You see, Cosmo, when a woman like that condescends to be wife to one of us and mother to the other, the least we can do, when she is taken from us, is to give her the same love and the same obedience after she is gone as when she was with us. She is with her own kind up in heaven now, but she may be looking down and watching us. It may be God lets her do that, that she may see of the travail of her soul and be satisfied – who can tell? She can't be very anxious about me now, for I am getting old, and my warfare is nearly over; but she may be getting things ready to rest me a bit. She knows I have for a long time now been trying to keep the straight path, as far as I could see it, though sometimes the grass and heather has got the better of it, so that it was hard to find. But YOU must remember, Cosmo, that it is not enough to be a good boy, as I shall tell her you have always been: you've got to be a good man, and that is a rather different and sometimes a harder thing. For, as soon as a man has to do with other men, he finds they expect him to do things they ought to be ashamed of doing themselves; and then he has got to stand on his own honest legs, and not move an inch for all their pushing and pulling; and especially where a man loves his fellow man and likes to be on good terms with him, that is not easy.”


The thing is just this, Cosmo – when you are a full-grown man, you must be a good boy still – that's the difficulty. For a man to be a boy, and a good boy still, he must be a thorough man.


“The thing is just this, Cosmo – when you are a full-grown man, you must be a good boy still – that's the difficulty. For a man to be a boy, and a good boy still, he must be a thorough man. The man that's not manly can never be a good boy to his mother. And you can't keep true to your mother, except you remember Him who is father and mother both to all of us. I wish my Marion were here to teach you as she taught me. She taught me to pray, Cosmo, as I have tried to teach you – when I was in any trouble, just to go into my closet, and shut to the door, and pray to my Father who is in secret – the same Father who loved you so much as to give you my Marion for a mother. But I am getting old and tired, and shall soon go where I hope to learn faster. Oh, my boy! hear your father who loves you, and never do the thing you would be ashamed for your mother or me to know. Remember, nothing drops out; everything hid shall be revealed. But of all things, if ever you should fail or fall, don't lie still because you are down: get up again – for God's sake, for your mother's sake, for my sake – get up and try again.

Selah.

George MacDonald, The Laird's Inheritance.

We were made for these times

by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most...

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these -- to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt.

But that is not what great ships are built for!


The blessing of waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate...
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

“Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

“You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still... Wait."

Selah.

by Russell Kelfer

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Nevertheless I am still with Thee: The bowels of Thy love continually yearn towards me!

Nevertheless I am continually with Thee. — Psalm 73:23

by C.H. Spurgeon

"NEVERTHELESS" — AS if, notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance which David had just been confessing to God, not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God's presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate, and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature, yet, by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings "nevertheless I am continually with Thee."

Believer, you are forced to enter into Asaph's confession and acknowledgment, endeavor in like spirit to say "nevertheless, since I belong to Christ I am continually with God!" By this is meant continually upon His mind, He is always thinking of me for my good. Continually before His eye;—the eye of the Lord never sleepeth, but is perpetually watching over my welfare. Continually in His hand, so that none shall be able to pluck me thence. Continually on His heart, worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart for ever. Thou always thinkest of me, O God. The bowels of Thy love continually yearn towards me. Thou art always making providence work for my good. Thou hast set me as a signet upon thine arm; thy love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it; neither can the floods drown it. Surprising grace!

Thou seest me in Christ, and though in myself abhorred, Thou beholdest me as wearing Christ's garments, and washed in His blood, and thus I stand accepted in Thy presence. I am thus continually in Thy favor — "continually with Thee." Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul; vexed with the tempest within—look at the calm without. "Nevertheless" — O say it in thy heart, and take the peace it gives. "Nevertheless I am continually with Thee."
 
Selah.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

When we have to wait even for hope




For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. — Gal. 5:5

by George Matheson

There are times when things look very dark to me — so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence — that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane.

There is no patience so hard as that which endures, “as seeing him who is invisible.” It is the waiting for hope.

Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, “To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.” I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.

Selah.

Friday, June 03, 2016

God's promise keeps; let us trust that and keep the precept this day

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Ecc. 11:1

We must not expect to see an immediate reward for all the good we do; nor must we always confine our efforts to places and persons which seem likely to yield us a recompense for our labors. The Egyptian casts his seed upon the waters of the Nile, where it might seem a sheer waste of corn. But in due time the flood subsides, the rice or other grain sinks into the fertile mud, and rapidly a harvest is produced. Let us today do good to the unthankful and the evil. Let us teach the careless and the obstinate. Unlikely waters may cover hopeful soil. Nowhere shall our labor be in vain in the Lord.

It is ours to cast our bread upon the waters; it remains with God to fulfill the promise “Thou shalt find it.” He will not let His promise fail. His good word which we have spoken shall live, shall be found, shall be found by us. Perhaps not just yet, but some day we shall reap what we have sown. We must exercise our patience, or perhaps the Lord may exercise it. “After many days,” says the Scripture, and in many instances those days run into months and years, and yet the Word stands true. God’s promise will keep; let us mind that we keep the precept and keep it this day.

Selah.

— C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

And God appointed a spider...

Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, was descended from a Norman knight, Robert de Bruce, who came to England with William the Conqueror. His grandfather had been one of the 13 claimants to the Scottish throne in 1291, during the reign of the English king Edward I. Edward had chosen John de Balliol, an English baron, declaring him rightful king of Scotland in 1292. Later, Balliol refused to acknowledge the superiority of the English, and in 1296, was defeated by Edward at Dunbar. Edward then took over Scotland, receiving the oath of fealty from over 2000 Scots. At the same time a nationalistic movement demanding freedom from England slowly began gaining strength among the Scots. Leaders such as William Wallace fought the English but were defeated and executed.

After Wallace’s death, Robert Bruce revived his grandfather’s claim to the throne, and declared himself king of Scotland in 1306. Edward I sent a large army north, defeated Bruce at the Battle of Methven, and forced him to become an outlaw. But Bruce did not give up, and came out of hiding a year later to win an important victory against the English. Clans from all over Scotland now came to his aid, and Bruce’s growing army fought bravely and successfully against the English. Meanwhile Edward I died, to be succeeded by his son Edward II. The new king was no match for Robert Bruce – in 1314, at the Battle of Bannockburn, Bruce’s army of 5,000 defeated Edward II’s much larger army of 20,000, driving the English finally and firmly out of Scotland.

Robert Bruce was known as ‘Good King Robert’ and was undoubtedly one of Scotland’s greatest rulers, bringing peace and freedom to his country. But long before he succeeded in freeing Scotland, he came ever so close to giving up the fight. The effort had cost his own personal freedom, his lands, his family, and security – a seemingly hopeless task, unsupported by many who could have made a difference. Was it worth it, this struggle that seemed hopeless? Should he just give in, and give up?



Flash now to the lonely island of Rachrin, off the Irish coast. There stands a mean and miserable hut, little shelter against the cold North wind. The chill wind of winter rattled its wooden door, demanding to be let in, sending icy fingers in through cracks and knotholes in the flimsy wooden walls. Inside, a man, his cloak wrapped close about him, lay on a straw pallet set against the wall opposite the door. A fire smoked in the centre of the rough earthen floor, and the remains of a frugal meal lay on a small wooden table.

The man was no other than Robert Bruce, crowned king of Scotland, made an outlaw in his own country by Edward I, king of England. Edward I, better known as Edward Longshanks because of his long legs, had defeated Robert and harried him and hunted him, forcing him at last to leave the lochs and craggy mountains of his native land. He had left behind his queen in Kildrummie, his only remaining castle, in charge of his brave and valiant younger brother Nigel. But alas, Kildrummie had been taken by the English, his brother executed, and his queen held captive.

Robert was close to despair: was the freedom of Scotland worth the great price that he was paying? Was it worth the lives of all those slain in battle, worth the misery of their wives and orphaned children? And what of all the men that he himself had killed, one at least not in the heat of battle, but in cold blood?

Perhaps, thought Robert, he should give up his fight for freedom and go instead to the Holy Land, there to fight by the side of the brave knights against the enemies of Christendom. Perhaps that would make up for the killing and the deaths that his ambitions and dreams had brought about. Yet, how could he abandon Scotland, while there was still a hope, a chance, however slender, of success?

The wind howled louder; the fire had died down. Robert lay still and silent on his mean straw bed, oblivious of the cold and discomfort of his surroundings, troubled and disturbed by his thoughts. Suddenly his eye was caught by a spider – the creature was hanging by a long silvery thread from one of the wooden beams above his head, and trying to swing itself to another beam. The spider tried again and again, failing every time. Six times, counted Robert, the spider tried and failed. ‘Six times,’ thought Robert to himself, ‘have I fought against the English and failed.’

Robert looked at the spider more intently. ‘Now if this spider fails again on the seventh attempt, I too shall give up the fight for Scotland. But if it succeeds, I shall try again.’ The spider, as though aware of Robert’s thought, swung itself again with all its tiny strength – and finally, on the seventh attempt, it succeeded. It swung on to the beam it had been trying to reach, and fastened its thread, thus stretching the first line of the web it was trying to weave. Robert Bruce smiled, and sat up. He threw off his despair and grief, and determined to set out for Scotland again and continue his fight against the English. He fought against the English for the next eight years, defeating them and finally driving them out of Scotland in 1314, at the Battle of Bannockburn.

Selah.




Source: http://www.scotclans.com/scotland/scottish-myths/royal-legends/bruce-spider/

Friday, May 27, 2016

When faithful halting hastens our path

After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. But the Lord said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt. — Acts 7:30-34

Often the Lord calls us aside from our work for a season, and bids us be still and learn ere we go forth again to minister. There is no time lost in such waiting hours.

Fleeing from his enemies, the ancient knight found that his horse needed to be re-shod. Prudence seemed to urge him on without delay, but higher wisdom taught him to halt a few minutes at the blacksmith’s forge by the way, to have the shoe replaced; and although he heard the feet of his pursuers galloping hard behind, yet he waited those minutes until his charger was refitted for his flight. And then, leaping into his saddle just as they appeared a hundred yards away, he dashed away from them with the fleetness of the wind, and knew that his halting had hastened his escape.

So often God bids us tarry ere we go, and fully recover ourselves for the next stage of the journey and work.

Selah.

— Days of Heaven upon Earth, quoted in Streams in the Desert

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

He worketh. And so we trust, and roll burdens upon Him.

Commit your future to the Lord! Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf. Ps. 37:5

The translation that we find in Young of “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass,” reads: “Roll upon Jehovah thy way; trust upon him: and He worketh.”

It calls our attention to the immediate action of God when we truly commit, or roll out of our hands into His, the burden of whatever kind it may be; a way of sorrow, of difficulty, of physical need, or of anxiety for the conversion of some dear one.

“He worketh.” When? NOW. We are so in danger of postponing our expectation of His acceptance of the trust, and His undertaking to accomplish what we ask Him to do, instead of saying as we commit, “He worketh.” “He worketh” even now; and praise Him that it is so.

The very expectancy enables the Holy Spirit to do the very thing we have rolled upon Him. It is out of our reach. We are not trying to do it any more. “He worketh!”

Let us take the comfort out of it and not put our hands on it again. Oh, what a relief it brings! He is really working on the difficulty.

But someone may say, “I see no results.” Never mind. “He worketh,” if you have rolled it over and are looking to Jesus to do it. Faith may be tested, but “He worketh”; the Word is sure!

— V. H. F.

“I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”
— Ps. 57:2

The beautiful old translation says, “He shall perform the cause which I have in hand.” Does not that make it very real to us today? Just the very thing that “I have in hand”— my own particular bit of work today, this cause that I cannot manage, this thing that I undertook in miscalculation of my own powers—this is what I may ask Him to do “for me,” and rest assured that He will perform it. “The wise and their works are in the hands of God.”

— Havergal

The Lord will go through with His covenant engagements. Whatever He takes in hand He will accomplish; hence past mercies are guarantees for the future and admirable reasons for continuing to cry unto Him.

— C.H. Spurgeon

Source: Streams in the Desert, May 22.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tarry at the promise till God meets you there

Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart. — Luke 18:1 NET

No temptation in the life of intercession is more common than this of failure to persevere. We begin to pray for a certain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a week, a month; and then, receiving as yet no definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease altogether from prayer concerning it.

This is a deadly fault. It is simply the snare of many beginnings with no completions. It is ruinous in all spheres of life.

The man who forms the habit of beginning without finishing has simply formed the habit of failure. The man who begins to pray about a thing and does not pray it through to a successful issue of answer has formed the same habit in prayer.

To faint is to fail; then defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaith in the reality of prayer, which is fatal to all success.

But someone says, “How long shall we pray? Do we not come to a place where we may cease from our petitions and rest the matter in God’s hands?”

There is but one answer. Pray until the thing you pray for has actually been granted, or until you have the assurance in your heart that it will be.

Only at one of these two places dare we stay our importunity, for prayer is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict with Satan. And inasmuch as God is using our intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when we dare cease from our petitioning. So we dare not stay our prayer until the answer itself has come, or until we receive the assurance that it will come.

In the first case we stop because we see. In the other, we stop because we believe, and the faith of our heart is just as sure as the sight of our eyes; for it is faith from, yes, the faith of God, within us.

More and more, as we live the prayer life, shall we come to experience and recognize this God-given assurance, and know when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our petitioning until we receive it.

Selah.

— The Practice of Prayer, quoted in Streams in the Desert.


Tarry at the promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises.

  — Selected, quoted in Streams in the Desert.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Rock travels with us in the Desert of our Days

After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ — Acts 7:30, 32, 34 NET

Dr. Jowett comments:

That was a long wait in preparation for a great mission. When God delays, He is not inactive. He is getting ready His instruments, He is ripening our powers; and at the appointed moment we shall arise equal to our task. Even Jesus of Nazareth was thirty years in privacy, growing in wisdom before He began His work.

Selah.

It is interesting that God took 40 years of preparation time for Moses, and 400 years of preparation time for Israel + 40 years in the wilderness. So, for Moses, called to be the Man of God for the People of God, this added up to 80 years in the wilderness: 40 tending unruly sheep and 40 leading a rebellious Flock. Oh, how Moses must have tired of seeing rocks and sand and scrub brush! But God was not mistaken in the calling of Moses' life. Nor was He forgetful of Israel. It's just so hard, sometimes, to see the good purpose of God in the long hours of burning sand and sun, and petty battles that must be fought (again and again) in the wilderness, surrounded by the chosen, peculiar People of God!

Is it any wonder that Moses struck the Rock twice, in frustration?

Thinking about Moses striking the rock twice, I was recently meditating on 1 Cor. 10:3-4, "And all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ." For the first time, I realized that Moses penalty of striking the rock twice was not just in flashing anger and misrepresenting God, it was also a mistreatment of the real Rock of Israel, and a false prophetic type of the saving life of Christ. A wow moment! Hebrews 10:10 tells us that anyone who has been made holy has been made so through the "once and for all sacrifice" of Jesus Christ. Likewise Hebrews 7:27 tells us that the sacrifice that Jesus offers in himself is SINGULAR, "once for all" and is not repeated. And in Hebrews 9:28, 10:12 and 10:14, this is emphasized, again and again: ONCE AND FOR ALL, not to be repeated. If we seek to repeat the striking of the Rock for our sins, we only put Him to open shame, treating the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing (10:29).

This should send shivers down the spine of anyone who claims to actually sacrifice Jesus again and again, at mass, etc. And it gives amazing insight into the offense of Moses against his Holy God -- a God who called him friend, and revealed himself in higher categories to him than to the people around him. God's punishment of Moses was at once just and merciful: He kept Moses from the Promised Land, and took him to the real Land of Promise. And He kept Moses from seeing the failure of the people in the Land. So God strictly punished Moses for mistreating and misrepresenting the Rock, but in His judgment He also extended mercy to His loved son of the wilderness.

Selah.

Long story short: We must simply trust God in the desert of our days. He has not abandoned us. Jesus the True Rock travels with us, and gives us living water. And so we are sustained, until the land of promise.

God is never too late, and doesn't waste the fires of the forge nor the heat of the wilderness. He's working out His purpose.

Often, the hardest ingredient in suffering is TIME. Waiting. But God is PRESENT with us, all the while. Sharp, instant pains are easily borne, but those constant, enduring ones? A lot more difficult. Thankfully, God understands, and works and and through them all. He is with us: Immanuel, the Rock, from whom we can drink on our hottest, darkest, longest days. Alleluia!

Good is on the way, and IN the way, in the Rock. Let us not strike Him in our frustration, but rather drink deeply, smile and live -- and journey on to the Promise.

Selah.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The battle is the Lord's (so fight with whatever He places in your hands)

And all this assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will deliver you into our hand. — 1 Sam 17:47 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

Let this point be settled, that the battle is the Lord’s, and we may be quite sure of the victory, and of the victory in such a way as will best of all display the power of God. The Lord is too much forgotten by all men, yea, even by the assemblies of Israel; and when there is an opportunity to make men see that the great First Cause can achieve His purposes without the power of man, it is a priceless occasion which should be well employed. Even Israel looks too much to sword and spear. It is a grand thing to have no sword in the hand of David, and yet for David to know that his God will overthrow a whole army of aliens.

If we are indeed contending for truth and righteousness, let us not tarry till we have talent, or wealth, or any other form of visible power at our disposal; but with such stones as we find in the brook, and with our own usual sling, let us run to meet the enemy. If it were our own battle we might not be confident; but if we are standing up for Jesus and warring in His strength alone, who can withstand us? Without a trace of hesitancy let us face the Philistines; for the Lord of hosts is with us, and who can be against us?

Alleluia!

Selah.

Wow. This is a powerful truth, and one that God has been teaching me recently. We can't wait until we have the right resources to advance against the enemy, in the various areas of our lives and ministries. For truly, if God is with us, He will cause even the stones of the brooks and sticks of the fields to win the day for us. Today I will follow in His train, fighting in and contending for faith, even though all that I hold are smooth stones, compared to the finest weapons that others wield.

Selah.

The Song of the Stormy Wind

So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all night. The morning came, and the east wind had brought up the locusts! and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. — Exod. 10:13,19 NET
 
by Mark Guy Pearse

See how in the olden times, when the Lord fought for Israel against the cruel Pharaoh, the stormy winds wrought out their deliverance; and yet again, in that grandest display of power—the last blow that God struck at the proud defiance of Egypt. A strange, almost cruel thing it must have seemed to Israel to be hemmed in by such a host of dangers—in front the wild sea defying them, on either hand the rocky heights cutting off all hope of escape, the night of hurricane gathering over them. It was as if that first deliverance had come only to hand them over to more certain death. Completing the terror there rang out the cry: “The Egyptians are upon us!”

When it seemed they were trapped for the foe, then came the glorious triumph. Forth swept the stormy wind and beat back the waves, and the hosts of Israel marched forward, down into the path of the great deep—a way arched over with God’s protecting love.

On either hand were the crystal walls glowing in the light of the glory of the Lord; and high above them swept the thunder of the storm. So on through all that night; and when, at dawn of the next day, the last of Israel’s host set foot upon the other shore, the work of the stormy wind was done.
Then sang Israel unto the Lord the song of the “stormy wind fulfilling his word.”

“The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil…Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.”

One day, by God’s great mercy, we, too, shall stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Then we shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” We shall know then how the stormy winds have wrought out our deliverance.

Now you see only the mystery of this great sorrow; then you shall see how the threatening enemy was swept away in the wild night of fear and grief.

Now you look only at the loss; then you shall see how it struck at the evil that had begun to rivet its fetters upon you.

Now you shrink from the howling winds and muttering thunders; then you shall see how they beat back the waters of destruction, and opened up your way to the goodly land of promise.

Selah.



“Though winds are wild,
And the gale unleashed,
My trusting heart still sings:
I know that they mean
No harm to me,
He rideth on their wings.”

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

His Mysterious Ways: A Plane Crash and Message from Heaven

 

by Barbara Walker

The door creaked and my eyes snapped open. I sat bolt upright in bed. An old woman in a floor-length white nightgown with lace trim hovered in the doorway, her wispy gray hair piled on top of her head in a bun, her pale blue eyes full of life. Granny?

My favorite grandmother. The one who lulled me to sleep when I was young with tales of her childhood in Ireland, told in her soft brogue. Back then, Ireland was a far-off, magical land to me, a girl who hadn’t seen much more than rural Pennsylvania. I never dreamed I’d find myself married to a military man, living halfway across the world on a U.S. Army base in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. What was Granny doing here in my bedroom at two o’clock in the morning? She’d died 15 years earlier.

I shook my head. Rubbed my eyes. Next to me, my husband, Frank, was out like a light. It must be a dream. I’d tossed and turned all night. Frank and I had moved to Germany three days after we were married. A year later, I gave birth to our son, Christopher. Now Frank’s three-year assignment was nearing its end, and in a few hours I’d be on a plane back home to the States. Frank was to follow us in six months. The thought of flying alone, just me and the baby, made me a nervous wreck. Now I was seeing things!

Granny tiptoed toward the foot of my bed. I clutched my blankets tighter.

“Everything’s going to be all right, dear,” she said. Her brogue made the words sound musical, like a lullaby. “Everything’s going to be all right. . . .”

Next thing I knew, it was morning. Only two hours to get Christopher ready and head to the airport in Frankfurt. I pushed the strange experience out of my mind.

The plane was a small four-engine model, military dependents only. Nine hours on a flight full of Army wives and crying kids. That would be interesting. But I was so tired from lack of sleep, I laid Christopher across my lap on a pillow and dozed off.

The cabin was dark when I reopened my eyes. Everyone was either sleeping or playing cards. Christopher snuggled in my lap. Such a good boy. I looked out the window. All at once an orange flash jumped from the right-side engine, the one closest to me.

That’s not right. I glanced across the aisle at the other window. Another flash! What was going on?
A flight attendant passed by with an empty tray. I tugged on the sleeve of her uniform. “I think the engines are on fire,” I whispered.

I pointed out the windows on either side. Her eyes widened. She put a finger to her lips. “Shhhh!”
She raced to the front of the plane. I could see flames now, on both sides. Finally a voice came over the PA.

“Attention all passengers, this is your captain speaking. We are experiencing some mechanical difficulties. Please stay seated and put your heads between your legs. If your child is on your lap, place your body over them.”

The plane dipped. My stomach lurched. My seatmate made the sign of the cross. I held on to Christopher and did what the captain instructed. We were descending. Fast. I could feel the velocity.
“We will be making an emergency water landing,” the captain announced. “Please remain calm.”
Remain calm? What were the chances we’d even survive?

Then I heard it. The familiar Irish brogue spoken to me in those early-morning hours. Everything’s going to be all right. I relaxed. Closed my eyes. Took a deep breath. I believed those words. Believed God had sent them in a vision of my Irish granny.

The plane landed with a violent jolt. It bounced and skidded across the water and came to a stop. The flight attendant ushered us out of our seats to the emergency exit, where an inflatable slide and raft were waiting. I took off my shoes and slid down with Christopher securely in my lap. The cold ocean air hit me full force. I couldn’t see a thing. All I could hear was the sound of choppy waves thrashing against the raft and the downed plane...

Read the rest of the story here.

His Mysterious Ways! Pretty amazing.