"Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15).
"For I know whom I have believed" (2 Tim. 1:12).
"I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
'I trust in Thee.'
"I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love
Which has refused these things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing
Undimmed shall burn.
"I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive.
I will believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses.
I yet shall see through my severest losses
The greater gain.
"I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not quail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh, may I cry, though body parts with spirit,
'I do not doubt,' so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath."
"In fierce storms," said an old seaman, "we must do one thing;
there is only one way: we must put the ship in a certain
position and keep her there."
This, Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you
can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you;
and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way.
Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even
prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You
must put your soul in one position and keep it there.
You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may--winds, waves,
cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring
breakers--no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm,
and hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness, His
covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus.
Do Not Yield to Discouragement
"They looked...and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the
cloud" (Exod. 16:10).
Get into the habit of looking for the silver lining of the cloud
and when you have found it, continue to look at it, rather than
at the leaden gray in the middle.
Do not yield to discouragement no matter how sorely pressed or
beset you may be. A discouraged soul is helpless. He can neither
resist the wiles of the enemy himself, while in this state, nor
can he prevail in prayer for others.
Flee from every symptom of this deadly foe as you would flee
from a viper. And be not slow in turning your back on it, unless
you want to bite the dust in bitter defeat.
Search out God's promises and say aloud of each one: "This
promise is mine." If you still experience a feeling of doubt and
discouragement, pour out your heart to God and ask Him to rebuke
the adversary who is so mercilessly nagging you.
The very instant you whole-heartedly turn away from every
symptom of distrust and discouragement, the blessed Holy Spirit
will quicken your faith and inbreathe Divine strength into your
At first you may not be conscious of this, still as you
resolutely and uncompromisingly "snub" every tendency toward
doubt and depression that assails you, you will soon be made
aware that the powers of darkness are falling back.
Oh, if our eyes could only behold the solid phalanx of strength,
of power, that is ever behind every turning away from the hosts
of darkness, God-ward, what scant heed would be given to the
effort of the wily foe to distress, depress, discourage us!
All the marvelous attributes of the Godhead are on the side of
the weakest believer, who in the name of Christ, and in simple,
childlike trust, yields himself to God and turns to Him for help
and guidance. --Selected
On a day in the autumn, I saw a prairie eagle mortally wounded
by a rifle shot. His eye still gleamed like a circle of light.
Then he slowly turned his head, and gave one more searching and
longing look at the sky. He had often swept those starry spaces
with his wonderful wings. The beautiful sky was the home of his
heart. It was the eagle's domain. A thousand times he had
exploited there his splendid strength. In those far away heights
be had played with the lightnings, and raced with the winds, and
now, so far away from home, the eagle lay dying, done to the
death, because for once be forgot and flew too low. The soul is
that eagle. This is not its home. It must not lose the skyward
look. We must keep faith, we must keep hope, we must keep
courage, we must keep Christ. We would better creep away from
the battlefield at once if we are not going to be brave. There
is no time for the soul to stampede. Keep the skyward look, my
soul; keep the skyward look!
"Keep looking up--
The waves that roar around thy feet,
Jehovah-Jireh will defeat
When looking up.
"Keep looking up--
Though darkness seems to wrap thy soul;
The Light of Light shall fill thy soul
When looking up.
"Keep looking up--
When worn, distracted with the fight;
Your Captain gives you conquering might
When you look up."
We can never see the sun rise by looking into the west.
Honor Him in the Trials
"Glorify ye the Lord in the fires" (Isa. 24:15).
Mark the little word "in"! We are to honor Him in the trial--in
that which is an affliction indeed and though there have been
cases where God did not let His saints feel the fire, yet,
ordinarily, fire hurts.
But just here we are to glorify Him by our perfect faith in His
goodness and love that has permitted all this to come upon us.
And more than that, we are to believe that out of this is coming
something more for His praise than could have come but for this
We can only go through some fires with a large faith; little
faith will fail. We must have the victory in the furnace.
A man has as much religion as he can show in times of trouble.
The men who were cast into the fiery furnace came out as they
went in--except their bonds.
How often in some furnace of affliction God strikes them off!
Their bodies were unhurt--their skin not even blistered. Their
hair was unsinged, their garments not scorched, and even the
smell of fire had not passed upon them. And that is the way
Christians should come out of furnace trials--liberated from
their bonds, but untouched by the flames.
"Triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).
That is the real triumph--triumphing over sickness, in it;
triumphing over death, dying; triumphing over adverse
circumstances, in them. Oh, believe me, there is a power that
can make us victors in the strife. There are heights to be
reached where we can look down and over the way we have come,
and sing our song of triumph on this side of Heaven. We can make
others regard us as rich, while we are poor, and make many rich
in our poverty. Our triumph is to be in it. Christ's triumph was
in His humiliation. Possibly our triumph, also, is to be made
manifest in what seems to others humiliation. --Margaret Bottome
Is there not something captivating in the sight of a man or a
woman burdened with many tribulations and yet carrying a heart
as sound as a bell? Is there not something contagiously valorous
in the vision of one who is greatly tempted, but is more than
conqueror? Is it not heartening to see some pilgrim who is
broken in body, but who retains the splendor of an unbroken
patience? What a witness all this offers to the enduement of His
grace! --J. H. Jowett
"When each earthly prop gives under,
And life seems a restless sea,
Are you then a God-kept wonder,
Satisfied and calm and free?"
Open My Eyes
"Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes,
that he may see" (2 Kings 6:17).
This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one
another, "Lord, open our eyes that we may see"; for the world
all around us, as well as around the prophet, is full of God's
horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious
victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all
events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a
"chariot" for our souls.
Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we
treat it as such; and, on the other hand, even the smallest
trial may be a Juggernaut car to crush us into misery or despair
if we consider it.
It lies with each of us to choose which they shall be. It all
depends, not upon what these events are, but upon how we take
them. If we lie down under them, and let them roll over us and
crush us, they become Juggernaut cars, but if we climb up into
them, as into a car of victory, and make them carry us
triumphantly onward and upward, they become the chariots of God.
--Hannah Whitall Smith
The Lord cannot do much with a crushed soul, hence the
adversary's attempt to push the Lord's people into despair and
hopelessness over the condition of themselves, or of the church.
It has often been said that a dispirited army goes forth to
battle with the certainty of being beaten. We heard a missionary
say recently that she had been invalided home purely because her
spirit had fainted, with the consequence that her body sunk
also. We need to understand more of these attacks of the enemy
upon our spirits and how to resist them. If the enemy can
dislodge us from our position, then he seeks to "wear us out"
(Daniel 7:25). by a prolonged siege, so that at last we, out of
sheer weakness, let go the cry of victory.
God's Mysterious Dealings
"Thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons" (2
They were to be alone with God, for they were not dealing with
the laws of nature, nor human government, nor the church, nor
the priesthood, nor even with the great prophet of God, but they
must needs be isolated from all creatures, from all leaning
circumstances, from all props of human reason, and swung off, as
it were, into the vast blue inter-stellar space, hanging on God
alone, in touch with the fountain of miracles.
Here is a part in the programme of God's dealings, a secret
chamber of isolation in prayer and faith which every soul must
enter that is very fruitful.
There are times and places where God will form a mysterious wall
around us, and cut away all props, and all the ordinary ways of
doing things, and shut us up to something Divine, which is
utterly new and unexpected, something that old circumstances do
not fit into, where we do not know just what will happen, where
God is cutting the cloth of our lives on a new pattern, where He
makes us look to Himself.
Most religious people live in a sort of treadmill life, where
they can calculate almost everything that will happen, but the
souls that God leads out into immediate and special dealings, He
shuts in where all they know is that God has hold of them, and
is dealing with them, and their expectation is from Him alone.
Like this widow, we must be detached from outward things and
attached inwardly to the Lord alone in order to see His wonders.
In the sorest trials God often makes the sweetest discoveries of
"God sometimes shuts the door and shuts us in,
That He may speak, perchance through grief or pain,
And softly, heart to heart, above the din,
May tell some precious thought to us again."
Watch For God
"I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will
watch to see what he will say unto me" (Hab. 2: 1).
There is no waiting on God for help, and there is no help from
God, without watchful expectation on our part. If we ever fail
to receive strength and defense from Him, it is because we are
not on the outlook for it. Many a proffered succour from heaven
goes past us, because we are not standing on our watch-tower to
catch the far-off indications of its approach, and to fling open
the gates of our heart for its entrance. He whose expectation
does not lead him to be on the alert for its coming will get but
little. Watch for God in the events of your life.
The old homely proverb says: "They that watch for Providence
will never want a providence to watch for," and you may turn it
the other way and say, "They that do not watch for providences
will never have a providence to watch for." Unless you put out
your water-jars when it rains you will catch no water.
We want to be more business-like and use common sense with God
in pleading promises. If you were to go to one of the banks, and
see a man go in and out and lay a piece of paper on the table,
and take it up again and nothing more--if he did that several
times a day, I think there would soon be orders to keep the man
Those men who come to the bank in earnest present their checks,
they wait until they receive their gold, and then they go; but
not without having transacted real business.
They do not put the paper down, speak about the excellent
signature, and discuss the excellent document; but they want
their money for it, and they are not content without it. These
are the people who are always welcome at the bank, and not
triflers. Alas, a great many people play at praying. They do not
expect God to give them an answer, and thus they are mere
triflers. Our Heavenly Father would have us do real business
with Him in our praying. --C. H. Spurgeon
"Thine expectation shall not be cut off."
"Their strength is to sit still." (Isa. 30:7, KJV).
In order really to know God, inward stillness is absolutely
necessary. I remember when I first learned this. A time of great
emergency had risen in my life, when every part of my being
seemed to throb with anxiety, and when the necessity for
immediate and vigorous action seemed overpowering; and yet
circumstances were such that I could do nothing, and the person
who could, would not stir.
For a little while it seemed as if I must fly to pieces with the
inward turmoil, when suddenly the still small voice whispered in
the depths of my soul, "Be still, and know that I am God." The
word was with power, and I hearkened. I composed my body to
perfect stillness, and I constrained my troubled spirit into
quietness, and looked up and waited; and then I did "know" that
it was God, God even in the very emergency and in my
helplessness to meet it; and I rested in Him. It was an
experience that I would not have missed for worlds; and I may
add also, that out of this stillness seemed to arise a power to
deal with the emergency, that very soon brought it to a
successful issue. I learned then effectually that my "strength
was to sit still." --Hannah Whitall Smith
There is a perfect passivity which is not indolence. It is a
living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust. It
is simply compressed anxiety.
Not in the tumult of the rending storm,
Not in the earthquake or devouring flame;
But in the hush that could all fear transform,
The still, small whisper to the prophet came.
0 Soul, keep silence on the mount of God,
Though cares and needs throb around thee like a sea;
From supplications and desires unshod,
Be still, and hear what God shall say to thee.
All fellowship hath interludes of rest,
New strength maturing in each poise of power;
The sweetest Alleluias of the blest
Are silent, for the space of half an hour.
0 rest, in utter quietude of soul,
Abandon words, leave prayer and praise awhile;
Let thy whole being, hushed in His control,
Learn the full meaning of His voice and smile.
Not as an athlete wrestling for a crown,
Not taking Heaven by violence of will;
But with thy Father as a child sit down,
And know the bliss that follows His "Be Still!"
--Mary Rowles Jarvis
Thankful for the Thorns
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:
for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).
The literal translation of this verse gives a startling emphasis
to it, and makes it speak for itself with a force that we have
probably never realized. Here It is: "Therefore I take pleasure
in being without strength, in insults, in being pinched, in
being chased about, in being cooped up in a corner for Christ's
sake; for when I am without strength, then am I dynamite."
Here is the secret of Divine all-sufficiency, to come to the end
of everything in ourselves and in our circumstances. When we
reach this place, we will stop asking for sympathy because of
our hard situation or bad treatment, for we will recognize these
things as the very conditions of our blessing, and we will turn
from them to God and find in them a claim upon Him. --A. B.
George Matheson, the well-known blind preacher of Scotland, who
recently went to be with the Lord, said: "My God, I have never
thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times
for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking
forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross;
but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory.
"Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn.
Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me
that my tears have made my rainbows."
"Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through the cypress trees."
"All these things are against me" (Gen. 42:36).
"All things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom.
Many people are wanting power. Now how is power produced? The
other day we passed the great works where the trolley engines
are supplied with electricity. We heard the hum and roar of the
countless wheels, and we asked our friend,
"How do they make the power?"
"Why," he said, "just by the revolution of those wheels and the
friction they produce. The rubbing creates the electric
And so, when God wants to bring more power into your life, He
brings more pressure. He is generating spiritual force by hard
rubbing. Some do not like it and try to run away from the
pressure, instead of getting the power and using it to rise
above the painful causes.
Opposition is essential to a true equilibrium of forces. The
centripetal and centrifugal forces acting in opposition to each
other keep our planet in her orbit. The one propelling, and the
other repelling, so act and re-act, that instead of sweeping off
into space in a pathway of desolation, she pursues her even
orbit around her solar centre.
So God guides our lives. It is not enough to have an impelling
force--we need just as much a repelling force, and so He holds
us back by the testing ordeals of life, by the pressure of
temptation and trial, by the things that seem against us, but
really are furthering our way and establishing our goings.
Let us thank Him for both, let us take the weights as well as
the wings, and thus divinely impelled, let us press on with
faith and patience in our high and heavenly calling. --A. B.
In a factory building there are wheels and gearings,
There are cranks and pulleys, beltings tight or slack--
Some are whirling swiftly, some are turning slowly,
Some are thrusting forward, some are pulling back;
Some are smooth and silent, some are rough and noisy,
Pounding, rattling, clanking, moving with a jerk;
In a wild confusion in a seeming chaos,
Lifting, pushing, driving--but they do their work.
From the mightiest lever to the tiniest pinion,
All things move together for the purpose planned;
And behind the working is a mind controlling,
And a force directing, and a guiding hand.
So all things are working for the Lord's beloved;
Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;
Some might seem to hinder; some might draw us backward;
But they work together, and they work for good,
All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,
All the contradictions, hard to understand.
And the force that holds them, speeds them and retards them,
Stops and starts and guides them--is our Father's hand.
--Annie Johnson Flint
Discovering God's Graces
"Show me wherefore thou contendest with me" (Job 10:2).
Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy
graces. There are some of thy graces which would never have been
discovered if it were not for the trials. Dost thou not know
that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does
in winter? Love is too oft like a glowworm, showing but little
light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope
itself is like a star--not to be seen in the sunshine of
prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.
Afflictions are often the black folds in which God doth set the
jewels of His children's graces, to make them shine the better.
It was but a little while ago that, on thy knees, thou wast
saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have
Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for
trials?--for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy
faith is exercised? Depend upon it. God often sends us trials
that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified
of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; real
growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.
God trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by
turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard
service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through
rivers and climb mountains, and walk many a weary mile with
heavy knapsacks on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this
account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is not
this the reason why He is contending with you? --C. H. Spurgeon
To be left unmolested by Satan is no evidence of blessing.
What You Have Learned
"What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light" (Matt.
Our Lord is constantly taking us into the dark, that He may tell
us things. Into the dark of the shadowed home, where bereavement
has drawn the blinds; into the dark of the lonely, desolate
life, where some infirmity closes us in from the light and stir
of life; into the dark of some crushing sorrow and
Then He tells us His secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and
infinite; He causes the eye which has become dazzled by the
glare of earth to behold the heavenly constellations; and the
car to detect the undertones of His voice, which is often
drowned amid the tumult of earth's strident cries.
But such revelations always imply a corresponding
responsibility--'that speak ye in the light--that proclaim upon
We are not meant to always linger in the dark, or stay in the
closet; presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the
rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to
speak and proclaim what we have learned.
This gives a new meaning to suffering, the saddest element in
which is often its apparent aimlessness. "How useless I am!"
"What am I doing for the betterment of men?" "Wherefore this
waste of the precious spikenard of my soul?"
Such are the desperate laments of the sufferer. But God has a
purpose in it all. He has withdrawn His child to the higher
altitudes of fellowship, that he may hear God speaking face to
face, and bear the message to his fellows at the mountain foot.
Were the forty days wasted that Moses spent on the Mount, or the
period spent at Horeb by Elijah, or the years spent in Arabia by
There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the
all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have
periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our
souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valley of
quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights
beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and
silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the
infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies
should have food.
Thus alone can the sense of God's presence become the fixed
possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the
Psalmist, "Thou art near, 0 God." --F. B. Meyer
"Some hearts, like evening primroses, open more beautifully in
the shadows of life."
God Permits Temptation
"And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,
and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days
tempted of the devil" (Luke 4:1-2).
Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, and yet He was tempted.
Temptation often comes upon a man with its strongest power when
he is nearest to God. As someone has said, "The devil aims
high." He got one apostle to say he did not even know Christ.
Very few men have such conflicts with the devil as Martin Luther
had. Why? Because Martin Luther was going to shake the very
kingdom of hell. Oh, what conflicts John Bunyan had!
If a man has much of the Spirit of God, he will have great
conflicts with the tempter. God permits temptation because it
does for us what the storms do for the oaks--it roots us; and
what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain--it makes
You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a
grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to
attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ's right
Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of
extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary
graces. God hath many sharp-cutting instruments, and rough files
for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves,
and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His
tools upon. --Archbishop Leighton
I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the
hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord's
workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned
anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened,
I see most. --C. H. Spurgeon
Waiting and Working
"And the hand of the Lord was there upon me; and he said unto
me, Arise, go forth unto the plain, and I will there talk with
thee" (Ezek. 3:22).
Did you ever hear of any one being much used for Christ who did
not have some special waiting time, some complete upset of all
his or her plans first; from St. Paul's being sent off into the
desert of Arabia for three years, when he must have been boiling
over with the glad tidings, down to the present day?
You were looking forward to telling about trusting Jesus in
Syria; now He says, "I want you to show what it is to trust Me,
without waiting for Syria."
My own case is far less severe, but the same in principle, that
when I thought the door was flung open for me to go with a bound
into literary work, it is opposed, and doctor steps in and says,
simply, "Never! She must choose between writing and living; she
can't do both."
That was in 1860. Then I came out of the shell with "Ministry of
Song" in 1869, and saw the evident wisdom of being kept waiting
nine years in the shade. God's love being unchangeable, He is
just as loving when we do not see or feel His love. Also His
love and His sovereignty are co-equal and universal; so He
withholds the enjoyment and conscious progress because He knows
best what will really ripen and further His work in us.
--Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal
I laid it down in silence,
This work of mine,
And took what had been sent me--
A resting time.
The Master's voice had called me
To rest apart;
"Apart with Jesus only,"
Echoed my heart.
I took the rest and stillness
From His own Hand,
And felt this present illness
Was what He planned.
How often we choose labor,
When He says "Rest"--
Our ways are blind and crooked;
His way is best.
The work Himself has given,
He will complete.
There may be other errands
For tired feet;
There may be other duties
For tired hands,
The present, is obedience
To His commands.
There is a blessed resting
In lying still,
In letting His hand mould us,
Just as He will.
His work must be completed.
His lesson set;
He is the higher Workman:
Do not forget!
It is not only "working."
We must be trained;
And Jesus "learnt" obedience,
Through suffering gained.
For us, His yoke is easy,
His burden light.
His discipline most needful,
And all is right.
We are but under-workmen;
They never choose
If this tool or if that one
Their hands shall use.
In working or in waiting
May we fulfill
Not ours at all, but only
The Master's will!
God provides resting places as well as working places. Rest,
then, and be thankful when He brings you, wearied to a wayside
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and
the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and
remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to
meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord"
(1 Thess. 4:16-17).
It was "very early in the morning" while "it was yet dark," that
Jesus rose from the dead. Not the sun, but only the morning-star
shone upon His opening tomb. The shadows had not fled, the
citizens of Jerusalem had not awaked. It was still night--the
hour of sleep and darkness, when He arose. Nor did his rising
break the slumbers of the city. So shall it be "very early in
the morning while it is yet dark," and when nought but the
morning-star is shining, that Christ's body, the Church, shall
arise. Like Him, His saints shall awake when the children of the
night and darkness are still sleeping their sleep of death. In
their arising they disturb no one. The world hears not the voice
that summons them. As Jesus laid them quietly to rest, each in
his own still tomb, like children in the arms of their mother;
so, as quietly, as gently, shall He awake them when the hour
arrives. To them come the quickening words, "Awake and sing, ye
that dwell in dust" (Isa. 26:19). Into their tomb the earliest
ray of glory finds its way. They drink in the first gleams of
morning, while as yet the eastern clouds give but the faintest
signs of the uprising. Its genial fragrance, its soothing
stillness, its bracing freshness, its sweet loneliness, its
quiet purity, all so solemn and yet so full of hope, these are
Oh, the contrast between these things and the dark night through
which they have passed! Oh, the contrast between these things
and the grave from which they have sprung! And as they shake off
the encumbering turf, flinging mortality aside, and rising, in
glorified bodies, to meet their Lord in the air, they are
lighted and guided upward, along the untrodden pathway, by the
beams of that Star of the morning, which, like the Star of
Bethlehem, conducts them to the presence of the King. "Weeping
may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." --Horatius
"While the hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like, a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive His own."
"Even so, come quickly."
A soldier said, "When I die do not sound taps over my grave, but
reveillé, the morning call, the summons to rise."
Rest on the Word of God
"I trust in thy word" (Ps. 119:42).
Just in proportion in which we believe that God will do just
what He has said, is our faith strong or weak. Faith has nothing
to do with feelings, or with impressions, with improbabilities,
or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with
faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God because
faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word
of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.
God delights to exercise faith, first for blessing in our own
souls, then for blessing in the Church at large, and also for
those without. But this exercise we shrink from instead of
welcoming. When trials come, we should say: "My Heavenly Father
puts this cup of trial into my hands, that I may have something
Trials are the food of faith. Oh, let us leave ourselves in the
hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do
good to all His children.
But trials and difficulties are not the only means by which
faith is exercised and thereby increased. There is the reading
of the Scriptures, that we may by them acquaint ourselves with
God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
Are you able to say, from the acquaintance you have made with
God, that He is a lovely Being? If not, let me affectionately
entreat you to ask God to bring you to this, that you may admire
His gentleness and kindness, that you may be able to say how
good He is, and what a delight it is to the heart of God to do
good to His children.
Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost souls, the more
ready we are to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all
His dealings with us. And when trial comes, we shall say:
"I will wait and see what good God will do to me by it, assured
He will do it." Thus we shall bear an honorable testimony before
the world, and thus we shall strengthen the hands of others.
By Faith Abraham Obeyed
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place
which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed" (Heb.
Whither he went, he knew not; it was enough for him to know that
he went with God. He leant not so much upon the promises as upon
the Promiser. He looked not on the difficulties of his lot, but
on the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God,
who had deigned to appoint his course, and would certainly
vindicate Himself. O glorious faith! This is thy work, these are
thy possibilities; contentment to sail with sealed orders,
because of unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High
Admiral; willinghood to rise up, leave all, and follow Christ,
because of the glad assurance that earth's best cannot bear
comparison with Heaven's least. --F. B. M.
It is by no means enough to set out cheerfully with your God on
any venture of faith. Tear into smallest pieces any itinerary
for the journey which your imagination may have drawn up.
Nothing will fall out as you expect.
Your guide will keep to no beaten path. He will lead you by a
way such as you never dreamed your eyes would look upon. He
knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is
The day had gone; alone and weak
I groped my way within a bleak
And sunless land.
The path that led into the light
I could not find! In that dark
night God took my hand.
He led me that I might not stray,
And brought me by a new, safe way
I had not known.
By waters still, through pastures green
I followed Him--the path was clean
Of briar and stone.
The heavy darkness lost its strength,
My waiting eyes beheld at length
The streaking dawn.
On, safely on, through sunrise glow
I walked, my hand in His, and lo,
The night had gone.
--Annie Porter Johnson
Diamond in the Rough
"The hand of the Lord hath wrought this" (Job 12:9).
Several years ago there was found in an African mine the most
magnificent diamond in the world's history. It was presented to
the King of England to blaze in his crown of state. The King
sent it to Amsterdam to be cut. It was put into the hands of an
expert lapidary. And what do you suppose he did with it?
He took the gem of priceless value, and cut a notch in it. Then
he struck it a hard blow with his instrument, and lo! the superb
jewel lay in his hand cleft in twain. What recklessness I what
wastefulness! what criminal carelessness!
Not so. For days and weeks that blow had been studied and
planned. Drawings and models had been made of the gem. Its
quality, its defects, its lines of cleavage had all been studied
with minutest care. The man to whom it was committed was one of
the most skillful lapidaries in the world.
Do you say that blow was a mistake? Nay. It was the climax of
the lapidary's skill. When he struck that blow, he did the one
thing which would bring that gem to its most perfect
shapeliness, radiance, and jewelled splendor. That blow which
seemed to ruin the superb precious stone was, in fact, its
perfect redemption. For, from those two halves were wrought the
two magnificent gems which the skilled eye of the lapidary saw
hidden in the rough, uncut stone as it came from the mine.
So, sometimes, God lets a stinging blow fall upon your life. The
blood spurts. The nerves wince. The soul cries out in agony. The
blow seems to you an apalling mistake. But it is not, for you
are the most priceless jewel in the world to God. And He is the
most skilled lapidary in the universe.
Some day you are to blaze in the diadem of the King. As you lie
in His hand now He knows just how to deal with you. Not a blow
will be permitted to fall upon your shrinking soul but that the
love of God permits it, and works out from its depths, blessing
and spiritual enrichment unseen, and unthought of by you. --J.
In one of George MacDonald's books occurs this fragment of
conversation: "I wonder why God made me," said Mrs. Faber
bitterly. "I'm sure I don't know what was the use of making me!"
"Perhaps not much yet," said Dorothy, "but then He hasn't done
with you yet. He is making you now, and you are quarrelling with
If men would but believe that they are in process of creation,
and consent to be made--let the Maker handle them as the potter
the clay, yielding themselves in resplendent motion and
submissive, hopeful action with the turning of His wheel--they
would ere long find themselves able to welcome every pressure of
that hand on them, even when it was felt in pain; and sometimes
not only to believe but to recognize the Divine end in view, the
bringing of a son unto glory.
"Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit."
Hindrance to Prayer
"And he shall bring it to pass" (Ps. 37:5).
I once thought that after I prayed that it was my duty to do
everything that I could do to bring the answer to pass. He
taught me a better way, and showed that my self-effort always
hindered His working, and that when I prayed and definitely
believed Him for anything, He wanted me to wait in the spirit of
praise, and only do what He bade me. It seems so unsafe to just
sit still, and do nothing but trust the Lord; and the temptation
to take the battle into our own hands is often tremendous.
We all know how impossible it is to rescue a drowning man who
tries to help his rescuer, and it is equally impossible for the
Lord to fight our battles for us when we insist upon trying to
fight them ourselves. It is not that He will not, but He cannot.
Our interference hinders His working. --C.H.P.
Spiritual forces cannot work while earthly forces are active.
It takes God time to answer prayer. We often fail to give God a
chance in this respect. It takes time for God to paint a rose.
It takes time for God to grow an oak. It takes time for God to
make bread from wheat fields. He takes the earth. He pulverizes.
He softens. He enriches. He wets with showers and dews. He warms
with life. He gives the blade, the stock, the amber grain, and
then at last the bread for the hungry.
All this takes time. Therefore we sow, and till, and wait, and
trust, until all God's purpose has been wrought out. We give God
a chance in this matter of time. We need to learn this same
lesson in our prayer life. It takes God time to answer prayer.
--J. H. M.
"Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exod.
These words contain God's command to the believer when he is
reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary
difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is
shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?
The Master's word to him is "stand still." It will be well for
him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master's word, for
other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.
whispers, "Lie down and die; give it all up." But God would have
us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times,
rejoice in His love and faithfulness.
Cowardice says, "Retreat; go back to the worldling's way of
action; you cannot play the Christian's part; it is too
difficult. Relinquish your principles."
But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you
cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has
bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and
neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if
for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to
renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.
Precipitancy cries, "Do something; stir yourself; to stand still
and wait is sheer idleness." We must be doing something at
once--we must do it, so we think--instead of looking to the
Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.
Presumption boasts, "If the sea be before you, march into it,
and expect a miracle." But faith listens neither to Presumption,
nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it
hears God say, "Stand still," and immovable as a rock it stands.
"Stand still"--keep the posture of an upright man, ready for
action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently
awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God
shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people
of Israel, "Go forward.' --Spurgeon
"Be quiet! why this anxious heed
About thy tangled ways?
God knows them all. He giveth speed
And He allows delays.
'Tis good for thee to walk by faith
And not by sight.
Take it on trust a little while.
Soon shalt thou read the mystery aright
In the full sunshine of His smile."
In times of uncertainty, wait. Always, if you have any doubt,
wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a
restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go
By Thy Spirit
"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith
Jehovah of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).
My way led up a hill, and right at the foot I saw a boy on a
bicycle. He was pedalling up hill against the wind, and
evidently found it a tremendously hard work. Just as he was
working most strenuously and doing his best painfully, there
came a trolley car going in the same direction--up the hill.
It was not going too fast for the boy to get behind it, and with
one hand to lay hold of the bar at the back. Then you know what
happened. He went up that hill like a bird. Then it flashed upon
"Why, I am like that boy on the bicycle in my weariness and
weakness. I am pedalling up hill against all kinds of
opposition, and am almost worn out with the task. But here at
hand is a great available power, the strength of the Lord Jesus.
"I have only to get in touch with Him and to maintain
communication with Him, though it may be only one little finger
of faith, and that will be enough to make His power mine for the
doing of this bit of service that just now seems too much for
me." And I was helped to dismiss my weariness and to realize
this truth. --The Life of Fuller Purpose
Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Seeking all His fulness at whatever cost;
Cutting all the shore-lines, launching in the deep
Of His mighty power--strong to save and keep.
Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Oh! the sinking, sinking, until self is lost!
Until the emptied vessel lies broken at His feet;
Waiting till His filling shall make the work complete.
Utterly abandoned to the will of God;
Seeking for no other path than my Master trod;
Leaving ease and pleasure, making Him my choice,
Waiting for His guidance, listening for His voice.
Utterly abandoned! no will of my own;
For time and for eternity, His, and His alone;
All my plans and purposes lost in His sweet will,
Having nothing, yet in Him all things possessing still.
Utterly abandoned! 'tis so sweet to be
Captive in His bonds of love, yet so wondrous free;
Free from sin's entanglements, free from doubt and fear,
Free from every worry, burden, grief or care.
Utterly abandoned! oh, the rest is sweet,
As I tarry, waiting, at His blessed feet;
Waiting for the coming of the Guest divine,
Who my inmost being shall perfectly refine.
Lo! He comes and fills me, Holy Spirit sweet!
I, in Him, am satisfied! I, in Him, complete!
And the light within my soul shall nevermore grow dim
While I keep my covenant--abandoned unto Him!
"And being absolutely certain that whatever promise He is bound
by, He is able to make good" (Rom. 4:20).
We are told that Abraham could look at his own body and consider
it as good as dead without being discouraged, because he was not
looking at himself but at the Almighty One.
He did not stagger at the promise, but stood straight up
unbending beneath his mighty load of blessing; and instead of
growing weak he waxed strong in the faith, grew more robust, the
more difficulties became apparent, glorifying God through His
very sufficiency and being "fully persuaded" as the Greek
expresses it. "that he who had promised was," not merely able,
but as it literally means "abundantly able," munificently able,
able with an infinite surplus of resources, infinitely able "to
He is the God of boundless resources. The only limit is in us.
Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small; our
expectations are too limited. He is trying to lift us up to a
higher conception, and lure us on to a mightier expectation and
appropriation. Oh, shall we put Him in derision? There is no
limit to what we may ask and expect of our glorious El-Shaddai;
and there is but one measure here given for His blessing, and
that is "according to the power that worketh in us." --A. B.
"Climb to the treasure house of blessing on the ladder made of
divine promises. By a promise as by a key open the door to the
riches of God's grace and favor."
"He knoweth the way that I take" (Job 23:10).
Believer! What a glorious assurance! This way of thine--this, it
may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way--this way of trial
and tears. "He knoweth it." The furnace seven times heated--He
lighted it. There is an Almighty Guide knowing and directing our
footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy
and refreshment of Elim.
That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and
fire for His own Israel. The furnace is hot; but not only can we
trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that
the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that
when the refining process is completed no sooner--no later. He
brings His people forth as gold.
When they think Him least near, He is often nearest. "When my
spirit was overwhelmed, then thou knewest my path."
Do we know of ONE brighter than the brightest radiance of the
visible sun, visiting our chamber with the first waking beam of
the morning; an eye of infinite tenderness and compassion
following us throughout the day, knowing the way that we take?
The world, in its cold vocabulary in the hour of adversity,
speaks of "Providence"--"the will of Providence"--"the strokes
of Providence." PROVIDENCE! what is that?
Why dethrone a living, directing God from the sovereignty of His
own earth? Why substitute an inanimate, death-like abstraction,
in place of an acting, controlling, personal Jehovah?
How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see
what Job saw in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly
hope lay prostrate at his feet.--no hand but the Divine. He saw
that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans--he saw it
behind the lightning flash--he saw it giving wings to the
careening tempest--he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled
"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the
name of the Lord!"
Thus seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when
this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of
ashes, could say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." --Macduff
Thou Wilt Revive Me
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me"
The Hebrew rendering of the above is "go on in the center of
trouble." What descriptive words! We have called on God in the
day of trouble; we have pleaded His promise of deliverance but
no deliverance has been given; the enemy has continued
oppressing until we were in the very thick of the fight, in the
center of trouble. Why then trouble the Master any further?
When Martha said, "Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had
not died," our Lord met her lack of hope with His further
promise, "Thy brother shall rise again." And when we walk "in
the center of trouble" and are tempted to think like Martha that
the time of deliverance is past, He meets us too with a promise
from His Word. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt
Though His answer has so long delayed, though we may still
continue to "go on" in the midst of trouble, "the center of
trouble" is the place where He revives, not the place where He
When in the hopeless place, the continued hopeless place, is the
very time when He will stretch forth His hand against the wrath
of our enemies and perfect that which concerneth us, the very
time when He will make the attack to cease and fail and come to
an end. What occasion is there then for fainting? --Aphra White
THE EYE OF THE STORM
"Fear not that the whirlwind shall carry thee hence,
Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,
Nor shrink from the whips of the terrible hail,
But pass through the edge to the heart of the gale,
For there is a shelter, sunlighted and warm,
And Faith sees her God through the eye of the storm.
"The passionate tempest with rush and wild roar
And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,
The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,
And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains,
Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,
For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.
"Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,
Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,
For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,
And the light of God's heavens, His love shall make thine,
Let no gloom dim thine eyes, but uplift them on high
To the face of thy God and the blue of His sky.
"The storm is thy shelter from danger and sin,
And God Himself takes thee for safety within;
The tempest with Him passeth into deep calm,
And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm.
Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form;
God smiles on His child in the eye of the storm."
Commit and Rest
"Faith is...the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).
True faith drops its letter in the post office box, and lets it
go. Distrust holds on to a corner of it, and wonders that the
answer never comes. I have some letters in my desk that have
been written for weeks, but there was some slight uncertainty
about the address or the contents, so they are yet unmailed.
They have not done either me or anybody else any good yet. They
will never accomplish anything until I let them go out of my
hands and trust them to the postman and the mail.
This the way with true faith. It hands its case over to God, and
then He works. That is a fine verse in the Thirty-seventh Psalm:
"Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He worketh."
But He never worketh till we commit. Faith is a receiving or
still better, a taking of God's proffered gifts. We may believe,
and come, and commit, and rest; but we will not fully realize
all our blessing until we begin to receive and come into the
attitude of abiding and taking. --Days of Heaven upon Earth
Dr. Payson, when a young man, wrote as follows, to an aged
mother, burdened with intense anxiety on account of the
condition of her son: "You give yourself too much trouble about
him. After you have prayed for him, as you have done, and
committed him to God, should you not cease to feel anxious
respecting him? The command, 'Be careful for nothing,' is
unlimited; and so is the expression, 'Casting all your care on
him.' If we cast our burdens upon another, can they continue to
press upon us? If we bring them away with us from the Throne of
Grace, it is evident we do not leave them there. With respect to
myself, I have made this one test of my prayers: if after
committing anything to God, I can, like Hannah, come away and
have my mind no more sad, my heart no more pained or anxious, I
look upon it as one proof that I have prayed in faith; but, if I
bring away my burden, I conclude that faith was not in
Waiting For Resurrection
"And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over
against the sepulchre" (Matt. 27:61).
How strangely stupid is grief. It neither learns nor knows nor
wishes to learn or know. When the sorrowing sisters sat over
against the door of God's sepulchre, did they see the two
thousand years that have passed triumphing away? Did they see
any thing but this: "Our Christ is gone!"
Your Christ and my Christ came from their loss; Myriad mourning
hearts have had resurrection in the midst of their grief; and
yet the sorrowing watchers looked at the seed-form of this
result, and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life
was the very preparation for coronation; for Christ was silent
that He might live again in tenfold power.
They saw it not. They mourned, they wept, and went away, and
came again, driven by their hearts to the sepulchre. Still it
was a sepulchre, unprophetic, voiceless, lusterless.
So with us. Every man sits over against the sepulchre in his
garden, in the first instance, and says, "This woe is
irremediable. I see no benefit in it. I will take no comfort in
it." And yet, right in our deepest and worst mishaps, often, our
Christ is lying, waiting for resurrection.
Where our death seems to be, there our Saviour is. Where the end
of hope is, there is the brightest beginning of fruition. Where
the darkness is thickest, there the bright beaming light that
never is set is about to emerge. When the whole experience is
consummated, then we find that a garden is not disfigured by a
sepulchre. Our joys are made better if there be sorrow in the
midst of them. And our sorrows are made bright by the joys that
God has planted around about them. The flowers may not be
pleasing to us, they may not be such as we are fond of plucking,
but they are heart-flowers, love, hope, faith, joy, peace--these
are flowers which are planted around about every grave that is
sunk in the Christian heart.
"'Twas by a path of sorrows drear
Christ entered into rest;
And shall I look for roses here,
Or think that earth is blessed?
Heaven's whitest lilies blow
From earth's sharp crown of woe.
Who here his cross can meekly bear,
Shall wear the kingly purple there."
"I even reckon all things as pure loss because of the priceless
privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil. 3:8;
Shining is always costly. Light comes only at the cost of that
which produces it. An unlit candle does no shining. Burning must
come before shining. We cannot be of great use to others without
cost to ourselves. Burning suggests suffering. We shrink from
We are apt to feel that we are doing the greatest good in the
world when we are strong, and able for active duty, and when the
heart and hands are full of kindly service.
When we are called aside and can only suffer; when we are sick;
when we are consumed with pain; when all our activities have
been dropped, we feel that we are no longer of use, that we are
not doing anything.
But, if we are patient and submissive, it is almost certain that
we are a greater blessing to the world in our time of suffering
and pain than we were in the days when we thought we were doing
the most of our work. We are burning now, and shining because we
are burning. --Evening Thoughts
"The glory of tomorrow is rooted in the drudgery of today."
Many want the glory without the cross, the shining without the
burning, but crucifixion comes before coronation.
Have you heard the tale of the aloe plant,
Away in the sunny clime?
By humble growth of a hundred years
It reaches its blooming time;
And then a wondrous bud at its crown
Breaks into a thousand flowers;
This floral queen, in its blooming seen,
Is the pride of the tropical bowers,
But the plant to the flower is sacrifice,
For it blooms but once, and it dies.
Have you further heard of the aloe plant,
That grows in the sunny clime;
How every one of its thousand flowers,
As they drop in the blooming time,
Is an infant plant that fastens its roots
In the place where it falls on the ground,
And as fast as they drop from the dying stem,
Grow lively and lovely around?
By dying, it liveth a thousand-fold
In the young that spring from the death of the old.
Have you heard the tale of the pelican,
The Arabs' Gimel el Bahr,
That lives in the African solitudes,
Where the birds that live lonely are?
Have you heard how it loves its tender young,
And cares and toils for their good,
It brings them water from mountain far,
And fishes the seas for their food.
In famine it feeds them--what love can devise!
The blood of its bosom--and, feeding them, dies.
Have you heard this tale--the best of them all--
The tale of the Holy and True,
He dies, but His life, in untold souls
Lives on in the world anew;
His seed prevails, and is filling the earth,
As the stars fill the sky above.
He taught us to yield up the love of life,
For the sake of the life of love.
His death is our life, His loss is our gain;
The joy for the tear, the peace for the pain.
The Risen Lord
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for
evermore"-- (Rev. 1:18).
Flower! Easter lilies! speak to me this morning the same dear
old lesson of immortality which you have been speaking to so
many sorrowing souls.
Wise old Book! let me read again in your pages of firm assurance
that to die is gain.
Poets! recite to me your verses which repeat in every line the
Gospel of eternal life.
Singers! break forth once more into songs of joy; let me hear
again the well-known resurrection psalms.
Tree and blossom and bird and sea and sky and wind whisper it,
sound it afresh, warble it, echo it, let it throb and pulsate
through every atom and particle; let the air be filled with it.
Let it be told and retold and still retold until hope rises to
conviction, and conviction to certitude of knowledge; until we,
like Paul, even though going to our death, go with triumphant
mien, with assured faith, and with serene and shining face.
O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending
Through churchyard paths of cypress and of yew,
Leave for today the low graves you are tending,
And lift your eyes to God's eternal blue!
It is no time for bitterness or sadness;
Twine Easter lilies, not pale asphodels;
Let your souls thrill to the caress of gladness,
And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.
If Christ were still within the grave's low prison,
A captive of the enemy we dread;
If from that moldering cell He had not risen,
Who then could chide the gloomy tears you shed?
If Christ were dead there would be need to sorrow,
But He has risen and vanquished death for aye;
Hush, then your sighs, if only till the morrow,
At Easter give your grief a holiday.
--May Riley Smith
A well-known minister was in his study writing an Easter sermon
when the thought gripped him that his Lord was living. He jumped
up excitedly and paced the floor repeating to himself, "Why
Christ is alive, His ashes are warm, He is not the great 'I
was,' He is the great 'I am.'" He is not only a fact, but a
living fact. Glorious truth of Easter Day!
We believe that out of every grave there blooms an Easter lily,
and in every tomb there sits an angel. We believe in a risen
Lord. Turn not your faces to the past that we may worship only
at His grave, but above and within that we may worship the
Christ that lives. And because He lives, we shall live also.
Preparing His Heroes
"And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord
raised up a deliverer...who delivered them, even Othniel...Caleb's
younger brother. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him"
(Judges 3:9, 10).
God is preparing His heroes; and when opportunity comes, He can
fit them into their place in a moment, and the world will wonder
where they came from.
Let the Holy Ghost prepare you, dear friend, by the discipline
of life; and when the last finishing touch has been given to the
marble, it will be easy for God to put it on the pedestal, and
fit it into its niche.
There is a day coming when, like Othniel, we, too, shall judge
the nations, and rule and reign with Christ on the millennial
earth. But ere that glorious day can be we must let God prepare
us, as He did Othniel at Kirjath-sepher, amid the trials of our
present life, and the little victories, the significance of
which, perhaps, we little dream. At least, let us be sure of
this, and if the Holy Ghost has an Othniel ready, the Lord of
Heaven and earth has a throne prepared for him.
--A. B. Simpson
"Human strength and human greatness
Spring not from life's sunny side,
Heroes must be more than driftwood
Floating on a waveless tide."
"Every highway of human life dips in the dale now and then.
Every man must go through the tunnel of tribulation before he
can travel on the elevated road of triumph."
"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are" (James
Thank God for that! He got under a juniper tree, as you and I
have often done; he complained and murmured, as we have often
done; was unbelieving, as we have often been. But that was not
the case when he really got into touch with God. Though "a man
subject to like passions as we are," "he prayed praying." It is
sublime in the original--not "earnestly," but "he prayed in
prayer." He kept on praying. What is the lesson here? You must
Come up on the top of Carmel, and see that remarkable parable of
Faith and Sight. It was not the descent of the fire that now was
necessary, but the descent of the flood; and the man that can
command the fire can command the flood by the same means and
methods. We are told that he bowed himself to the ground with
his face between his knees; that is, shutting out all sights and
sounds. He was putting himself in a position where, beneath his
mantle, he could neither see nor hear what was going forward.
He said to his servant, "Go and take an observation." He went
and came back, and said--how sublimely brief! one
What do we do under such circumstances?
We say, "It is just as I expected!" and we give up praying. Did
Elijah? No, he said, "Go again." His servant again came back and
said, "Nothing!" "Go again." "Nothing!"
By and by he came back, and said, "There is a little cloud like
a man's hand." A man's hand had been raised in supplication, and
presently down came the rain; and Ahab had not time to get back
to the gate of Samaria with all his fast steeds. This is a
parable of Faith and Sight--faith shutting itself up with God;
sight taking observations and seeing nothing; faith going right
on, and "praying in prayer," with utterly hopeless reports from
Do you know how to pray that way, how to pray prevailingly? Let
sight give as discouraging reports as it may, but pay no
attention to these. The living God is still in the heavens and
even to delay is part of His goodness.
--Arthur T. Pierson
Each of three boys gave a definition of faith which is an
illustration of the tenacity of faith. The first boy said, "It
is taking hold of Christ"; the second, "Keeping hold"; and the
third, "Not letting go."
Fresh Touch with God
"And the ill favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven
well favored and fat kin?and the thin, ears swallowed up the
seven rank and full ears" (Gen. 41:4, 7).
There is a warning for us in that dream, just as it stands: It
is possible for the best years of our life, the best
experiences, the best victories won, the best service rendered,
to be swallowed up by times of failure, defeat, dishonor,
uselessness in the kingdom. Some men's lives of rare promise and
rare achievement have ended so. It is awful to think of, but it
is true. Yet it is never necessary.
S. D. Gordon has said that the only assurance of safety against
this tragedy is "fresh touch with God," daily, hourly. The
blessed, fruitful, victorious experiences of yesterday are not
only of no value to me today, but they will actually be eaten up
or reversed by today's failures, unless they serve as incentives
to still better, richer experiences today.
"Fresh touch with God," by abiding in Christ, alone will keep
the lean kine and the ill favored grain out of my life.
--Messages for the Morning Watch