Friday, July 21, 2017

Looking up

The LORD said to Abram, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, north, south, east, and west. For all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever... Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” — Gen. 13:14-17

Let us now see the blessedness of faith. Our own littleness and nothingness sometimes becomes bondage. We are so small in our own eyes we dare not claim God's mighty promises. We say: If I could be sure I was in God's way I could trust. This is all wrong. Self–consciousness is a great barrier to faith. Get your eyes on Him and Him alone; not on your faith, but on the Author of your faith; not a half look, but a steadfast, prolonged look, with a true heart and fixedness of purpose, that knows no faltering, no parleying with the enemy without a shadow of fear. When you get afraid you are almost sure to fail.


We say: If I could be sure I was in God's way I could trust. This is all wrong. Self–consciousness is a great barrier to faith.

Travelers who have crossed the Alps know how dangerous those mountain passes are, how narrow the foothold, how deep the rocky ravines and how necessary to safety it is that you should look up continually; one downward glance into the dizzy depths would be fatal; and so if we would surmount the heights of faith we must look up. Look up. Get your eyes off yourself, off surrounding circumstances, off means, off gifts, to the Great Giver.

— A.B. Simpson

Selah.

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

— Psalm 34:5

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.

You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light
.

— Psalm 36:5-9


The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes
.

— Psalm 19:8

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

God is not unobservant. His silence is not consent to current darkness. He waits to bless in perfect time.

For this is what the Lord has told me: “I will wait and watch from my place, like scorching heat produced by the sunlight, like a cloud of mist in the heat of harvest.” — Isa 18:4 NET

Assyria marched against Ethiopia. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.

Is not this a marvelous conception of God—being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.

There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually. Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived.
 
Alleluia!

Selah.

— Daily Devotional Commentary, quoted in Streams in the Desert

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of justice: blessed are all they that wait for him. — Isa. 30:18

And it shall be said in that day, Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. — Isa. 25:9

He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy
. — Psalm 147:10-11

They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint
. — Isa. 40:31


Saturday, July 15, 2017

The victory that overcometh the world

To trust in spite of the look of being forsaken; to keep crying out into the vast, whence comes no returning voice, and where seems no hearing; to see the machinery of the world pauselessly grinding on as if self-moved, caring for no life, nor shifting a hair-breadth for all entreaty, and yet believe that God is awake and utterly loving; to desire nothing but what comes meant for us from His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing only lest faith should fail—such is the victory that overcometh the world, such is faith indeed.

— George MacDonald

The marriage of mourning and blessing

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. — Matt. 5:4

by C.H. Spurgeon

By the valley of weeping we come to Zion. One would have thought mourning and being blessed were in opposition, but the infinitely wise Savior puts them together in this Beatitude. What He has joined together let no man put asunder. Mourning for sin — our own sins, and the sins of others — is the Lord’s seal set upon His faithful ones. When the Spirit of grace is poured upon the house of David, or any other house, they shall mourn. By holy mourning we receive the best of our blessings, even as the rarest commodities come to us by water. Not only shall the mourner be blessed at some future day, but Christ pronounces him blessed even now.

The Holy Spirit will surely comfort those hearts which mourn for sin. They shall be comforted by the application of the blood of Jesus and by the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost. They shall be comforted as to the abounding sin of their city and of their age by the assurance that God will glorify Himself, however much men may rebel against Him. They shall be comforted with the expectation that they shall be wholly freed from sin before long and shall soon be taken up to dwell forever in the glorious presence of their Lord.

Alleluia!

Selah.

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage to Zion.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Zion.
 

O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob. — Psalm 84:5-8

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him
. — Psalm 126:5-6