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. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The sweet waters of repentance

  

And there you will remember your conduct and all your deeds by which you defiled yourselves. You will despise yourselves because of all the evil deeds you have done. — Ezek. 20:43 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

When we are accepted of the Lord and are standing in the place of favor, and peace, and safety, then we are led to repent of all our failures and miscarriages toward our gracious God. So precious is repentance that we may call it a diamond of the first water, and this is sweetly promised to the people of God as one most sanctifying result of salvation. He who accepts repentance also gives repentance; and He gives it not out of “the bitter box” but from among those “wafers made with honey” on which He feeds His people. A sense of blood-bought pardon and of undeserved mercy is the best means of dissolving a heart of stone. Are we feeling hard? Let us think of covenant love, and then we shall leave sin, lament sin, and loathe sin; yea, we shall loathe ourselves for sinning against such infinite love. Let us come to God with this promise of penitence and ask Him to help us to remember, and repent, and regret, and return. Oh, that we could enjoy the meltings of holy sorrow! What a relief would a flood of tears be! Lord, smite the rock, or speak to the rock, and cause the waters to flow!

Selah.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Evidence of His Love — withheld and given according to His Love

 

The dove could not find a resting place for its feet because water still covered the surface of the entire earth, and so it returned to Noah in the ark. He stretched out his hand, took the dove, and brought it back into the ark. He waited seven more days and then sent out the dove again from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there was a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. — Gen 8:9-11 NET

by C.G. Trumbull

God knows just when to withhold from us any visible sign of encouragement, and when to grant us such a sign. How good it is that we may trust Him anyway! When all visible evidences that He is remembering us are withheld, that is best; He wants us to realize that His Word, His promise of remembrance, is more substantial and dependable than any evidence of our senses. When He sends the visible evidence, that is well also; we appreciate it all the more after we have trusted Him without it. Those who are readiest to trust God without other evidence than His Word always receive the greatest number of visible evidences of His love.

Selah.

It's so amazing to me, to think of the ways of God, and how He deals with His favored children. So often He removes supporting evidences of His infinite love and holy plan. At times He asks us to walk many days simply trusting -- trusting His heart when we cannot see or understand His hand. Or, to walk in faith, in silence, with the emotions of faith quieted, perhaps numbed in physical or spiritual pain. And yet, in all, full supply or lack of evidences, it is LOVE at work.

He's working out a masterpiece picture with our name on it. And everything He gives or withholds on that path is a holy good. He loves us too much to give us less than our spirit health requires. So trust! And walk on, in faith. The dove will return in proper time, and the waters will recede, kissed by the canopy of covenant sign, and future grace. Alleluia!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Lord waits so that He may be more gracious to us

 

Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you. Isaiah 30:18

by C.H. Spurgeon

God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that the "thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in?

Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.

Alleluia!

Selah.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Faith like (fewer) potatoes



I've heard some food researchers call potatoes a bad food, but this is fairly significant evidence against weekly consumption:

A new study suggests that the more potatoes in a woman’s typical diet, the more likely she is to develop gestational diabetes, a serious complication of pregnancy.

In a 10-year study, researchers found 854 cases of gestational diabetes in 21,693 pregnancies among women participating in a larger health study. The women completed food questionnaires every four years, which gave the researchers a picture of their long-term habitual diet.

After adjusting for other diet and health characteristics, they found that compared with those who ate no potatoes, women who ate one serving a week had a 20 percent increased risk, two to four servings a 27 percent increased risk and five or more servings a 50 percent increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Link here: Potatoes and Pregnancy.

Blessings on your health journey!

Note: This should probably be filed under #FirstWorldProblems.

Even if -- Following God in extremities



But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.. — 2 Cor 2:14

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. — Dan. 3:17-18

Life of Praise Devotional

God gets His greatest victories out of apparent defeats. Very often the enemy seems to triumph for a little, and God lets it be so; but then He comes in and upsets all the work of the enemy, overthrows the apparent victory, and as the Bible says, “turns the way of the wicked upside down.” Thus He gives a great deal larger victory than we would have known if He had not allowed the enemy, seemingly, to triumph in the first place.

The story of the three Hebrew children being cast into the fiery furnace is a familiar one. Here was an apparent victory for the enemy. It looked as if the servants of the living God were going to have a terrible defeat. We have all been in places where it seemed as though we were defeated, and the enemy rejoiced. We can imagine what a complete defeat this looked to be. They fell down into the flames, and their enemies watched them to see them burn up in that awful fire, but were greatly astonished to see them walking around in the fire enjoying themselves. Nebuchadnezzar told them to “come forth out of the midst of the fire.” Not even a hair was singed, nor was the smell of fire on their garments, “because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.”

This apparent defeat resulted in a marvelous victory.

Suppose that these three men had lost their faith and courage, and had complained, saying, “Why did not God keep us out of the furnace!” Would God have been as clearly glorified? Here is a great lesson: If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name.

Life of Praise, quoted in Streams in the Desert.

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.

Alleluia!

Selah.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Urgent prayer to an Always God = His deliverance, in His time & way



It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the Lord has promised; the remnant will be those whom the Lord will call. — Joel 2:32 NET


by C.H. Spurgeon

Why do I not call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans! Why not at once roll my self and my burden upon the Lord? Straightforward is the best runner — why do I not run at once to the living God? In vain shall I look for deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have His royal “shall” to make it sure.

I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word whosoever is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text and at once call upon the glorious Lord who had made so large a promise.

My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find out ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver me.

Selah.