GreatChristianQuotes.com

HomeTopical IndexAuthorsSite MapSearch

Streams in the Desert

December


 

 


December 1

Devil's Burden

"There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God" (Heb. 4:9).

The rest includes victory, "And the Lord gave them rest round about; . . . the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand" (Joshua 21:44).

"He will beautify the meek with victory" (Ps. 149:4). (Rotherham, margin)

An eminent Christian worker tells of his mother who was a very anxious and troubled Christian. He would talk with her by the hour trying to convince her of the sinfulness of fretting, but to no avail. She was like the old lady who once said she had suffered so much, especially from the troubles that never came.

But one morning the mother came down to breakfast wreathed in smiles. He asked her what had happened, and she told him that in the night she had a dream.

She was walking along a highway with a great crowd of people who seemed so tired and burdened. They were nearly all carrying little black bundles, and she noticed that there were numerous repulsive looking beings which she thought were demons dropping these black bundles for the people to pick up and carry.

Like the rest, she too had her needless load, and was weighed down with the devil's bundles. Looking up, after a while, she saw a Man with a bright and loving face, passing hither and thither through the crowd, and comforting the people.

At last He came near her, and she saw that it was her Saviour. She looked up and told Him how tired she was, and He smiled sadly and said:

"My dear child, I did not give you these loads; you have no need of them. They are the devil's burdens and they are wearing out your life. Just drop them; refuse to touch them with one of your fingers and you will find the path easy and you will be as if borne on eagle's wings."

He touched her hand, and lo, peace and joy thrilled her frame and, flinging down her burden, she was about to throw herself at His feet in joyful thanksgiving, when suddenly she awoke and found that all her cares were gone. From that day to the close of her life she was the most cheerful and happy member of the household.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
--Longfellow


December 2

Reaching Perfection

"Perfect through suffering" (Heb. 2:10).

Steel is iron plus fire. Soil is rock, plus heat, or glacier crushing. Linen is flax plus the bath that cleans, the comb that separates, and the flail that pounds, and the shuttle that weaves. Human character must have a plus attached to it. The world does not forget great characters. But great characters are not made of luxuries, they are made by suffering.

I heard of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to her own son, a crippled boy who was also a hunchback. She had warned her boy to be very careful in his relations to him, and not to touch the sensitive part of his life but go right on playing with him as if he were an ordinary boy. She listened to her son as they were playing; and after a few minutes he said to his companion: "Do you know what you have got on your back?" The little hunchback was embarrassed, and he hesitated a moment. The boy said: "It is the box in which your wings are; and some day God is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away and be an angel."

Some day, God is going to reveal the fact to every Christian, that the very principles they now rebel against, have been the instruments which He used in perfecting their characters and moulding them into perfection, polished stones for His great building yonder. --Cortland Myers

Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer to the roots of character. The great object of this life is character. This is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity. . . . To gain the most of it and the best of it is the object of probation. --Austin Phelps

"By the thorn road and no other is the mount of vision won." -- Theodore Epp


December 3

Strong in Suffering

"Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well"
(2 Kings 4:26).

"Be strong, my soul!
Thy loved ones go
Within the veil. God's thine, e'en so;
Be strong.

"Be strong, my soul!
Death looms in view.
Lo, here thy God! He'll bear thee through;
Be strong."

For sixty-two years and five months I had a beloved wife, and now, in my ninety-second year I am left alone. But I turn to the ever present Jesus, as I walk up and down in my room, and say, "Lord Jesus, I am alone, and yet not alone--Thou art with me, Thou art my Friend. Now, Lord, comfort me, strengthen me, give to Thy poor servant everything Thou seest he needs." And we should not be satisfied till we are brought to this, that we know the Lord Jesus Christ experimentally, habitually to be our Friend: at all times, and under all circumstances, ready to prove Himself to be our Friend. --George Mueller

Afflictions cannot injure when blended with submission.

Ice breaks many a branch, and so I see a great many persons bowed down and crushed by their afflictions. But now and then I meet one that sings in affliction, and then I thank God for my own sake as well as his. There is no such sweet singing as a song in the night. You recollect the story of the woman who, when her only child died, in rapture looking up, as with the face of an angel, said, "I give you joy, my darling." That single sentence has gone with me years and years down through my life, quickening and comforting me. --Henry Ward Beecher

"E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;
Death cannot long divide.
For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
Has blossomed on the other, side?
Death doth hide,
But not divide;
Thou art but on Christ's other side!
Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;
In Christ united still are we."


December 4

Expectations Beyond Us

"But prayer" (Acts 12:5).

But prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need.

How significant the picture of the Apostolic Church: Peter in prison, the Jews triumphant, Herod supreme, the arena of martyrdom awaiting the dawning of the morning to drink up the apostle's blood, and everything else against it. "But prayer was made unto God without ceasing." And what was the sequel? The prison open, the apostle free, the Jews baffled, the wicked king eaten of worms, a spectacle of hidden retribution, and the Word of God rolling on in greater victory.

Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer! --A. B. Simpson

Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of your place in Christ; and expect great things. --Andrew Murray

Our prayers are God's opportunities.

Are you in sorrow? Prayer can make your affliction sweet and strengthening. Are you in gladness? Prayer can add to your joy a celestial perfume. Are you in extreme danger from outward or inward enemies? Prayer can set at your right hand an angel whose touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low. What will prayer do for you? I answer: All that God can do for you. "Ask what I shall give thee." --Farrar

"Wrestling prayer can wonders do,
Bring relief in deepest straits;
Prayer can force a passage through
Iron bars and brazen gates."


December 5

It Must Be Bought

"On all bare heights shall be their pasture" (Isa. 49:9, RV).

Toys and trinkets are easily won, but the greatest things are greatly bought. The top-most place of power is always bought with blood. You may have the pinnacles if you have enough blood to pay. That is the conquest condition of the holy heights everywhere. The story of real heroisms is the story of sacrificial blood. The chiefest values in life and character are not blown across our way by vagrant winds. Great souls have great sorrows.

"Great truths are dearly bought, the common truths,
Such as men give and take front day to day,
Come in the common walk of easy life,
Blown by the careless wind across our way.

"Great truths are greatly won, not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream;
But grasped in the great struggle of the soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.

"But in the day of conflict, fear and grief,
When the strong hand of God, put forth in might,
Plows up the subsoil of the stagnant heart,
And brings the imprisoned truth seed to the light.

"Wrung from the troubled spirit, in hard hours
Of weakness, solitude, perchance of pain,
Truth springs like harvest from the well-plowed field,
And the soul feels it has not wept in vain."

The capacity for knowing God enlarges as we are brought by Him into circumstances which oblige us to exercise faith; so, when difficulties beset our path let us thank God that He is taking trouble with us, and lean hard upon Him.


December 6

The Second Coming

"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11).

George Mueller bears this testimony, "When it pleased God in July, 1829, to reveal to my heart the truth of the personal return of the Lord Jesus, and to show me that I had made a great mistake in looking for the conversion of the world, the effect that it produced upon me was this: From my inmost soul I was stirred up to feel compassion for perishing sinners, and for the slumbering world around me lying in the wicked one, and considered, 'Ought I not to do what I can for the Lord Jesus while He tarries, and to rouse a slumbering church?"'

There may be many hard years of hard work before the consummation, but the signs are to me so encouraging that I would not be unbelieving if I saw the wing of the apocalyptic angel spread for its last triumphal flight in this day's sunset; or if tomorrow morning the ocean cables should thrill us with the news that Christ the Lord had alighted on Mount Olivet or Mount Calvary to proclaim universal dominion. O you dead churches wake up! O Christ, descend! Scarred temple, take the crown! Bruised hand, take the sceptre! Wounded foot, step the throne! Thine is the kingdom. --Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage, D. D.

"It may be in the evening,
When the work of the day is done,
And you have time to sit in the twilight,
And watch the sinking sun,
While the long bright day dies slowly
Over the sea,
And the hours grow quiet and holy
With thoughts of Me;
While you hear the village children
Passing along the street
Among those passing footsteps
May come the sound of My Feet.
Therefore I tell you, Watch!
By the light of the evening star
When the room is growing dusky
As the clouds afar,
Let the door be on the latch
In your home,
For it may be through the gloaming
I will come."


December 7

Open the Trenches

"Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hands" (2 Kings 3:16-18).

To human thinking it was simply impossible, but nothing is hard for God.

Without a sound or sign, from sources invisible and apparently impossible, the floods came stealing in all night long; and when the morning dawned, those ditches were flooded with the crystal waters, and reflecting the rays of the morning sun from the red hills of Edom.

Our unbelief is always wanting some outward sign. The religion of many is largely sensational, and they are not satisfied of its genuineness without manifestations, etc.; but the greatest triumph of faith is to be still and know that He is God.

The great victory of faith is to stand before some impassable Red Sea, and hear the Master say, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord," and "Go forward!" As we step out without any sign or sound--not a wave-splash--and wetting our very feet as we take the first step into its waters, still marching on we shall see the sea divide and the pathway open through the very midst of the waters.

If we have seen the miraculous workings of God in some marvelous case of healing or some extraordinary providential deliverance, I am sure the thing that has impressed us most has been the quietness with which it was all done, the absence of everything spectacular and sensational, and the utter sense of nothingness which came to us as we stood in the presence of this mighty God and felt how easy, it was for Him to do it all without the faintest effort on His part or the slightest help on ours.

It is not the part of faith to question, but to obey. The ditches were made, and the water came pouring in from some supernatural source. What a lesson for our faith!

Are you craving a spiritual blessing? Open the trenches, and God will fill them. And this, too, in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways.

Oh, for that faith that can act by faith and not by sight, and expect God to work although we see no wind or rain. --A. B. Simpson


December 8

Show Love

"Put on as the elect of God, kindness" (Col. 3:12).

There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those who came after him.

People called him eccentric, queer, and cranky; but the old man went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty, and oiled the hard places he found.

There are many lives that creak and grate harshly as they live day by day. Nothing goes right with them. They need lubricating with the oil of gladness, gentleness, or thoughtfulness. Have you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. It may lubricate the whole day for him. The oil, of good cheer to the downhearted one--Oh, how much it may mean! The word of courage to the despairing. Speak it.

Our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life; and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again, The oil of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off of many a sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable and ready for the redeeming grace of the Saviour.

A word spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad heart. Therefore, "Give others the sunshine, tell Jesus the rest."

"We cannot know the grief
That men may borrow;
We cannot see the souls
Storm-swept by sorrow;
But love can shine upon the way
Today, tomorrow;
Let us be kind.
Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are
broken,
We live in vain who give no tender token.
Let us be kind."

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love" (Rom. 12:10).


December 9

Achieving the Victory

"For this our light and transitory burden of suffering is achieving for us a weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17). (Weymouth)

"Is achieving for us," mark. The question is repeatedly asked--Why is the life of man drenched with so much blood, and blistered with so many tears? The answer is to be found in the word "achieving"; these things are achieving for us something precious. They are teaching us not only the way to victory, but better still the laws of victory. There is a compensation in every sorrow, and the sorrow is working out the compensation.

It is the cry of the dear old hymn:

"Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee,
E'en tho' it be a cross that raiseth me."

Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth. Fanny Crosby could never have written her beautiful hymn, "I shall see Him face to face," were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle in her mother's eye. It was the loss of her own vision that helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment.

It is the tree that suffers that is capable of polish. When the woodman wants some curved lines of beauty in the grain he cuts down some maple that has been gashed by the axe and twisted by the storm. In this way he secures the knots and the hardness that take the gloss.

It is comforting to know that sorrow tarries only for the night; it takes its leave in the morning. A thunderstorm is very brief when put alongside the long summer day. "Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning." --Songs in the Night

"There is a peace that cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on a tempest that it stilled.

"A peace that lives not now in joy's excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure;
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses,
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.

"A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
'Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded,
But that which triumphed in Gethsemane."


December 10

Learning From Suffering

"If I am in distress, it is in the interests of your comfort, which is effective as it nerves you to endure the same sufferings as I suffered myself. Hence my hope for you is well-founded, since I know that as you share the sufferings you share the comfort also" (2 Cor. 1:6, 7).

Are there not some in your circle to whom you naturally betake yourself in times of trial and sorrow? They always seem to speak the right word, to give the very counsel you are longing for; you do not realize, however, the cost which they had to pay ere they became so skillful in binding up the gaping wounds and drying tears. But if you were to investigate their past history you would find that they have suffered more than most. They have watched the slow untwisting of some silver cord on which the lamp of life hung. They have seen the golden bowl of joy dashed to their feet, and its contents spilt. They have stood by ebbing tides, and drooping gourds, and noon sunsets; but all this has been necessary to make them the nurses, the physicians, the priests of men. The boxes that come from foreign climes are clumsy enough; but they contain spices which scent the air with the fragrance of the Orient. So suffering is rough and hard to bear; but it hides beneath it discipline, education, possibilities, which not only leave us nobler, but perfect us to help others. Do not fret, or set your teeth, or wait doggedly for the suffering to pass; but get out of it all you can, both for yourself and for your service to your generation, according to the will of God. --Selected

Once I heard a song of sweetness,
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne;
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in sadness,
While its wings with pain were furl'd,
Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow row borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

Ye are told of One who loved you,
Of a Saviour crucified,
Ye are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
Ye are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Saviour bearing scorn,
And He died for your salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

Ye "are not above the Master."
Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When your heart is pierced with pain.
Will you live to bless His loved ones,
Tho' your life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?
--Selected


December 11

Worship in the Night

"Ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion" (Ps. 134:1, 3).

Strange time for adoration, you say, to stand in God's house by night, to worship in the depth of sorrow --it is indeed an arduous thing. Yes, and therein lies the blessing; it is the test of perfect faith. If I would know the love of my friend I must see what it can do in the winter. So with the Divine love. It is easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine when the melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on the tree. But let the song of the bird cease and the fruit of the tree fall, and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I stand in God's house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch with Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross up the dolorous way? Will I stand beside Him in His dying moments with Mary and the beloved disciple? Will I be able with Nicodemus to take up the dead Christ? Then is my worship complete and my blessing glorious. My love has come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift but the Giver. When I can stand in His house by night I have accepted Him for Himself alone. --George Matheson

"My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
'Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His
'At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!'

"So faith bounds forward to its goal in God,
And love can trust her Lord to lead her there;
'Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.

"No matter if the way be sometimes dark,
No matter though the cost be ofttimes great,
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark,
The way that leads to Him must needs be straight.

"One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord;
My God my glory here, from day to day,
And in the glory there my Great Reward."


December 12

Fight the Good Fight

"The last drops of my sacrifice are falling; my time to go has come. I have fought in the good fight; I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:6, 7).

As soldiers show their scars and talk of battles when they come at last to spend their old age in the country at home, so shall we in the dear land to which we are hastening, speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God who brought us through all the trials of the way. I would not like to stand in the white-robed host and hear it said, "These are they that came out of great tribulation, all except one."

Would you like to be there and see yourself pointed at as the one saint who never knew a sorrow? Oh, no! for you would be an alien in the midst of the sacred brotherhood. We will be content to share the battle, for we shall soon wear the crown and wave the palm. --C. H. Spurgeon

"Where were you wounded?" asked the surgeon of a soldier at Lookout Mountain. "Almost at the top," he answered. He forgot even his gaping wound--he only remembered that he had won the heights. So let us go forth to higher endeavors for Christ and never rest till we can shout from the very top, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

"Finish thy work, then rest,
Till then rest never;
The rest for thee by God
Is rest forever."

"God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars."

Of an old hero the minstrel sang--

"With his Yemen sword for aid;
Ornament it carried none,
But the notches on the blade."

What nobler decoration of honor can any godly man seek after than his scars of service, his losses for the crown, his reproaches for Christ's sake, his being worn out in his Master's service!


December 13

When We're in the Dark

"I will give thee the treasures of darkness" (Isa. 45:3).

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns. These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his weaving. "Thus," we are told by the guide, "do we secure our choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and only his pattern is in the light."

May it not be the same with us in our weaving? Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.

If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears. --J. R. Miller

The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some sombre fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.

Spin cheerfully,
Not tearfully,
He knows the way you plod;
Spin carefully,
Spin prayerfully,
But leave the thread with God.

--Canadian Home Journal


December 14

Christ's Business is Supreme

"His disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray . . . and he said unto them, When ye pray, say. . . Thy kingdom come" (Luke 11:1, 2).

When they said, "Teach us to pray," the Master lifted His eyes and swept the far horizon of God. He gathered up the ultimate dream of the Eternal, and, rounding the sum of everything God intends to do in the life of man, He packed it all into these three terse pregnant phrases and said, "When you pray, pray after this manner."

What a contrast between this and much praying we have heard. When we follow the devices of our own hearts, how runs it? "O Lord bless me, then My family, My church, My city, My country," and away on the far fringe as we close up, there is a prayer for the extension of His Kingdom throughout the wide parish of the world.

The Master begins where we leave off. The world first, my personal needs second, is the order of this prayer. Only after my prayer has crossed every continent and every far-flung island of the sea, after it has taken in the last man in the last backward race, after it has covered the entire wish and purpose, of God for the world, only then am I taught to ask for a piece of bread for myself.

When Jesus gave His all, Himself for us and to us in the holy extravagance of the Cross, is it too much if He asks us to do the same thing? No man or woman amounts to anything in the kingdom, no soul ever touches even the edge of the zone of power, until this lesson is learned that Christ's business is the supreme concern of life and that all personal considerations, however dear or important, are tributary thereto. --Dr. Francis

When Robert Moffat, the veteran African missionary and explorer, was asked once to write in a young lady's album, he penned these lines:

"My album is a savage breast,
Where tempests brood and shadows rest,
Without one ray of light;
To write the name of Jesus there,
And see that savage bow in prayer,
And point to worlds more bright and fair,
This is my soul's delight."

"And His Kingdom shall have no frontier" (Luke 1:33, the old Moravian version).

The missionary enterprise is not the Church's afterthought; it is Christ's forethought;
--Henry van Dyke


December 15

Trust and Rest

"Trust also in him" (Ps. 37:3).

The word trust is the heart word of faith. It is the Old Testament word, the word given to the early and infant stage of faith. The word faith expresses more the act of the will, the word belief the act of the mind or intellect, but trust is the language of the heart. The other has reference more to a truth believed or a thing expected.

Trust implies more than this, it sees and feels, and leans upon a person, a great, true, living heart of love. So let us "trust also in him," through all the delays, in spite of all the difficulties, in the face of all the denials, notwithstanding all the seemings, even when we cannot understand the way, and know not the issue; still "trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass." The way will open, the right issue will come, the end will be peace, the cloud will be lifted, and the light of an eternal noonday shall shine at last.

"Trust and rest when all around thee
Puts thy faith to sorest test;
Let no fear or foe confound thee,
Wait for God and trust and rest.

"Trust and rest with heart abiding,
Like a birdling in its nest,
Underneath His feathers hiding,
Fold thy wings and trust and rest."


December 16

Continue in Prayer

"And there was Anna, a prophetess . . . which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day" (Luke 2:36, 37).

No doubt by praying we learn to pray, and the more we pray the oftener we can pray, and the better we can pray. He who prays in fits and starts is never likely to attain to that effectual, fervent prayer which availeth much.

Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must go to work to obtain it. Let us never imagine that Abraham could have interceded so successfully for Sodom if he had not been all his lifetime in the practice of communion with God.

Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first occasion upon which he had met his God. We may even look upon our Lord's most choice and wonderful prayer with his disciples before His Passion as the flower and fruit of His many nights of devotion, and of His often rising up a great while before day to pray.

If a man dreams that he can become mighty in prayer just as he pleases, he labors under a great mistake. The prayer of Elias which shut up heaven and afterwards opened its floodgates, was one of long series of mighty prevailings with God. Oh, that Christian men would remember this! Perseverance in prayer is necessary to prevalence in prayer.

Those great intercessors, who are not so often mentioned as they ought to be in connection with confessors and martyrs, were nevertheless the grandest benefactors of the Church; but it was only by abiding at the mercy-seat that they attained to be such channels of mercy to men. We must pray to pray, and continue in prayer that our prayers may continue. --G. H.. Spurgeon


December 17

Full Salvation

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it" (1 Thess. 5:23, 24).

Many years since I saw that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." I began by following after it and inciting all with whom I had intercourse to do the same. Ten years after, God gave me a clearer view than I ever had before of the way to obtain it; namely, by faith in the Son of God. And immediately I declared to all, "We are saved from sin, we are made holy by faith." This I testified in private, in public, and in print, and God confirmed it by a thousand witnesses. I have continued to declare this for above thirty years, and God has continued to confirm my work.
--John Wesley in 1771

"I knew Jesus, and He was very precious to my soul; but I found something in me that would not keep sweet and patient and kind. I did what I could to keep it down, but it was there. I besought Jesus to do something for me, and, when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart, and took out all that would not be sweet, all that would not be kind, all that would not be patient, and then HE shut the door." --George Fox

My whole heart has not one single grain, this moment, of thirst after approbation. I feel alone with God; He fills the void; I have not one wish, one will, one desire, but in Him; He hath set my feet in a large room. I have wondered and stood amazed that God should make a conquest of all within me by love. --Lady Huntington

"All at once I felt as though a hand--not feeble, but omnipotent; not of wrath, but of love--was laid on my brow. I felt it not outwardly but inwardly. It seemed to press upon my whole being, and to diffuse all through me a holy, sin-consuming energy. As it passed downward, my heart as well as my head was conscious of the presence of this soul-cleansing energy, under the influence of which I fell to the floor, and in the joyful surprise of the moment, cried out in a loud voice. Still the hand of power wrought without and within; and wherever it moved, it seemed to leave the glorious influence of the Saviour's image. For a few minutes the deep ocean of God's love swallowed me up; all its waves and billows rolled over me." --Bishop Hamline

Holiness--as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it--appeared to me to be of a sweet, calm, pleasant, charming, serene nature, which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, ravishment to the soul; in other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant fruits and flowers, all delightful and undisturbed, enjoying a sweet calm and the gentle vivifying beams of the sun. --Jonathan Edwards

"Love's resistless current sweeping
All the regions deep within;
Thought and wish and senses keeping
Now, and every instant clean:
Full salvation! Full salvation!
From the guilt and power of sin."


December 18

More Than Conquerors

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Rom. 8:37).

The Gospel is so arranged and the gift of God so great that you may take the very enemies that fight you and the forces that are arrayed against you and make them steps up to the very gates of heaven and into the presence of God.

Like the eagle, who sits on a crag and watches the sky as it is filling with blackness, and the forked lightnings are playing up and down, and he is sitting perfectly still, turning one eye and then the other toward the storm. But he never moves until he begins to feel the burst of the breeze and knows that the hurricane has struck him; with a scream, he swings his breast to the storm, and uses the storm to go up to the sky; away he goes, borne upward upon it.

That is what God wants of every one of His children, to be more than conqueror, turning the storm-cloud into a chariot. You know when one army is more than conqueror it is likely to drive the other from the field, to get all the ammunition, the food and supplies, and to take possession of the whole. That is just what our text means. There are spoils to be taken!

Beloved, have you got them? When you went into that terrible valley of suffering did you come out of it with spoils? When that injury struck you and you thought everything was gone, did you so trust in God that you came out richer than you went in? To be more than conqueror is to take the spoils from the enemy and appropriate them to yourself. What he had arranged for your overthrow, take and appropriate for yourself.

When Dr. Moon, of Brighton, England, was stricken with blindness, he said "Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou mayest receive Thine own with usury." Then God enabled him to invent the Moon Alphabet for the blind, by which thousands of blind people were enabled to read the Word of God, and many of them were gloriously saved. --Selected

God did not take away Paul's thorn; He did better--He mastered that thorn, and made it Paul's servant. The ministry of thorns has often been a greater ministry to man than the ministry of thrones. --Selected


December 19

Call Back

"It shall turn to you for a testimony'' (Luke 21:13).

Life is a steep climb, and it does the heart good to have somebody "call back" and cheerily beckon us on up the high hill. We are all climbers together, and we must help one another. This mountain climbing is serious business, but glorious. It takes strength and steady step to find the summits. The outlook widens with the altitude. If anyone among us has found anything worth while, we ought to "call back."

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.

Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your your face,
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.
--Selected


December 20

Dare to Be Alone

"Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me" (John 16:32).

It need not be said that to carry out conviction into action is a costly sacrifice. It may make necessary renunciations and separations which leave one to feel a strange sense both of deprivation and loneliness. But he who will fly, as an eagle does, into the higher levels where cloudless day abides, and live in the sunshine of God, must be content to live a comparatively lonely life.

No bird is so solitary as the eagle. Eagles never fly in flocks; one, or at most two, ever being seen at once. But the life that is lived unto God, however it forfeits human companionships, knows Divine fellowship.

God seeks eagle-men. No man ever comes into a realization of the best things of God, who does not, upon the Godward side of his life, learn to walk alone with God. We find Abraham alone in Horeb upon the heights, but Lot, dwelling in Sodom. Moses, skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt must go forty years into the desert alone with God. Paul, who was filled with Greek learning and had also sat at the feet of Gamaliel, must go into Arabia and learn the desert life with God. Let God isolate us. I do not mean the isolation of a monastery. In this isolating experience He develops an independence of faith and life so that the soul needs no longer the constant help, prayer, faith or attention of his neighbor. Such assistance and inspiration from the other members are necessary and have their place in the Christian's development, but there comes a time when they act as a direct hindrance to the individual's faith and welfare. God knows how to change the circumstances in order to give us an isolating experience. We yield to God and He takes us through something, and when it is over, those about us, who are no less loved than before, are no longer depended upon. We realize that He has wrought some things in us, and that the wings of our souls have learned to beat the upper air.

We must dare to be alone. Jacob must be left alone if the Angel of God is to whisper in his ear the mystic name of Shiloh; Daniel must be left alone if he is to see celestial visions; John must be banished to Patmos if he is deeply to take and firmly to keep "the print of heaven."

He trod the wine-press alone. Are we prepared for a "splendid isolation" rather than fail Him?


December 21

The Path to Blessing

"To him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon because he hath wholly followed the Lord" (Deut. 1:36).

Every hard duty that lies in your path, that you would rather not do, that it will cost you pain and struggle or sore effort to do, has a blessing in it. Not to do it, at whatever cost, is to miss the blessing.

Every hard piece of road on which you see the Master's shoe-prints and along which He bids you follow Him, surely leads to blessing, which you cannot get if you cannot go over the steep, thorny path.

Every point of battle to which you come, where you must draw your sword and fight the enemy, has a possible victory which will prove a rich blessing to your life. Every heavy load that you are called to lift hides in itself some strange secret of strength. --J. R. Miller

"I cannot do it alone;
The waves run fast and high,
And the fogs close all around,
The light goes out in the sky;
But I know that we two
Shall win in the end, Jesus and I.

"Coward and wayward and weak,
I change with the changing sky;
Today so eager and bright,
Tomorrow too weak to try;
But He never gives in,
So we two shall win, Jesus and I.

"I could not guide it myself,
My boat on life's wild sea;
There's One who sits by my side,
Who pulls and steers with me.
And I know that we two
Shall safe enter port,
Jesus and I."


December 22

Night of Pure Faith

"Lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him" (Gen. 15:12).

The sun at last went down, and the swift, eastern night cast its heavy veil over the scene. Worn out with the mental conflict, the watchings, and the exertions of the day, Abraham fell into a deep sleep, and in that sleep his soul was oppressed with a dense and dreadful darkness, such as almost stifled him, and lay like a nightmare upon his heart. Do you understand something of the horror of that darkness? When some terrible sorrow which seems so hard to reconcile with perfect love, crushes down upon the soul, wringing from it all its peaceful rest in the pitifulness of God, and launching it on a sea unlit by a ray of hope; when unkindness, and cruelty maltreat the trusting heart, till it begins to doubt whether there be a God overhead who can see and still permit--these know something of the "horror of great darkness." It is thus that human life is made up; brightness and gloom; shadow and sun; long tracks of cloud, succeeded by brilliant glints of light, and amid all Divine justice is working out its own schemes, affecting others equally with the individual soul which seems the subject of special discipline. O ye who are filled with the horror of great darkness because of God's dealings with mankind, learn to trust that infallible wisdom, which is co-assessor with immutable justice; and know that He who passed through the horror of the darkness of Calvary, with the cry of forsakenness, is ready to bear you company through the valley of the shadow of death till you see the sun shining upon its further side. Let us, by our Forerunner, send forward our anchor, Hope, within the veil that parts us from the unseen; where it will grapple in ground and will not yield, but hold until the day dawns, and we follow it into the haven guaranteed to us by God's immutable counsel. --F. B. Meyer

The disciples thought that the angry sea separated them from Jesus. Nay, some of them thought worse than that; they thought that the trouble that had come upon them was a sign that Jesus had forgotten all about them, and did not care for them. Oh, dear friend, that is when troubles have a sting, when the devil whispers, "God has forgotten you; God has forsaken you"; when your unbelieving heart cries as Gideon cried, "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us?" The evil has come upon you to bring the Lord nearer to you. The evil has not come upon you to separate you from Jesus, but to make you cling to Him more faithfully, more tenaciously, more simply. --F. S. Webster, M.A.

Never should we so abandon ourselves to God as when He seems to have abandoned us. Let us enjoy light and consolation when it is His pleasure to give it to us, but let us not attach ourselves to His gifts, but to Himself; and when He plunges us into the night of pure faith, let us still press on through the agonizing darkness.

Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near!
Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
Into victory's ringing cheer--
Faith triumphant; knowing not defeat or fear.
--Herbert Booth


December 23

God's Refreshment

"The journey is too great for thee" (1 King 19:7).

And what did God do with His tired servant? Gave him something good to eat, and put him to sleep. Elijah had done splendid work, and had run alongside of the chariot in his excitement, and it had been too much for his physical strength, and the reaction had come on, and he was depressed. The physical needed to be cared for. What many people want is sleep, and the physical ailment attended to. There are grand men and women who get where Elijah was--under the juniper tree! and it comes very soothingly to such to hear the words of the Master: "The journey is too great for thee, and I am going to refresh you." Let us not confound physical weariness with spiritual weakness.

"I'm too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.

"Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without an asking if I may,
Without ever trying to trust and pray?

"Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did a mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?

"Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she set her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?

"Ah, how quick was her mother love to see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you've grown too tired to trust and pray,
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:

"Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother's breast,
He knows all about it--the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;

"Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.

"He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits' of poor weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,

"When He bade them sleep and take their rest,
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed--
You've given your life up to Him to keep,
Then don't be afraid to go right to sleep."


December 24

Quiet Time with God

"And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at eventide" (Gen. 24:63).

We should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement, and quiet waiting upon God. The world is too much with us; we are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in "the calm retreat, the silent shade." As a people, we are of a very practical turn of mind; "we believe," as someone has said, "in having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not spent between the anvil and the fire as lost, or much the same as lost." Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which is set apart for quiet musing, for talking with God, for looking up to Heaven. We cannot have too many of these open spaces in life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet thought or influence it may please God to send.

"Reverie," it has been said, "is the Sunday of the mind." Let us often in these days give our mind a "Sunday," in which it will do no manner of work but simply lie still, and look upward, and spread itself out before the Lord like Gideon's fleece, to be soaked and moistened with the dews of Heaven. Let there be intervals when we shall do nothing, think nothing, plan nothing, but just lay ourselves on the green lap of nature and "rest awhile."

Time so spent is not lost time. The fisherman cannot be said to be losing time when he is mending his nets, nor the mower when he takes a few minutes to sharpen his scythe at the top of the ridge. City men cannot do better than follow the example of Isaac, and, as often as they can, get away from the fret and fever of life into fields. Wearied with the heat and din, the noise and bustle, communion with nature is very grateful; it will have a calming, healing influence. A walk through the fields, a saunter by the seashore or across the daisy-sprinkled meadows, will purge your life from sordidness, and make the heart beat with new joy and hope.

"The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
. . . Out in the fields with God."

Chistmas Eve

BELLS ACROSS THE SNOW

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
With its joy and with its pain!
There's a minor in the carol
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath tonight.
And the hush is never broken
By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
'Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing,
As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
Of the crown on each dear brow,
There would be no sigh to smother,
No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

O Christmas, merry Christmas,
This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
Of our unshadowed glee,
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
Sweet herald of good will,
With holy songs of glory
Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."
--Frances Ridley Havergal


December 25

Christ our Consolation

"His name shall be called Emmanuel . . . God with us." (Matt. 1:23) .

"The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).

"There's a song in the air!
There's a star in the sky!
There's a mother's deep prayer,
And a baby's low cry!
And the star rains its fire
While the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King."

A few years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with the title, "If Christ had not come." It was founded upon our Saviour's words, "If I had not come." The card represented a clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.

In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Saviour had disappeared.

A ring at the door-bell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with, the weeping child and as he reached the home he sat down and said, "I have something here that will comfort you." He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.

Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only "dust to dust, ashes to ashes," and one long eternal farewell. He realized at length that "He had not come," and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.

Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his church close by:

"O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord."

Let us be glad and rejoice today, because "He has come." And let us remember the annunciation of the angel, "Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10, 11).

"He comes to make His blessing flow, Far as the curse is found."

May our hearts go out to the people in heathen lands who have no blessed Christmas day. "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and SEND PORTIONS TO THEM FOR WHOM NOTHING IS PREPARED." (Neh. 8:10).


December 26

No Active Mission

"Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder" (Matt. 26:36).

It is a hard thing to be kept in the background at a time of crisis. In the Garden of Gethsemane eight of the eleven disciples were left to do nothing. Jesus went to the front to pray; Peter, James and John went to the middle to watch; the rest sat down in the rear to wait. Methinks that party in the rear must have murmured. They were in the garden, but that was all; they had no share in the cultivation of its flowers. It was a time of crisis, a time of storm and stress; and yet they were not suffered to work.

You and I have often felt that experience, that disappointment. There has arisen, mayhap a great opportunity for Christian service. Some are sent to the front; some are sent to the middle. But we are made to lie down in the rear. Perhaps sickness has come; perhaps poverty has come; perhaps obloquy has come; in any case we are hindered and we feel sore. We do not see why we should be excluded from a part in the Christian life. It seems like an unjust thing that, seeing we have been allowed to enter the garden, no path should be assigned to us there.

Be still, my soul, it is not as thou deemest! Thou art not excluded from a part of the Christian life. Thinkest thou that the garden of the Lord has only a place for those who walk and for those who stand! Nay, it has a spot consecrated to those who are compelled to sit. There are three voices in a verb--active, passive and neuter. So, too, there are three voices in Christ's verb "to live." There are the active, watching souls, who go to the front, and struggle till the breaking of the day. There are the passive, watching souls, who stand in the middle, and report to others the progress of the fight. But there are also the neuter souls--those who can neither fight, nor be spectators of the fight, but have simply to lie down.

When that experience comes to thee, remember, thou are not shunted. Remember it is Christ that says, "Sit ye here." Thy spot in the garden has also been consecrated. It has a special name. It is not "the place of wrestling," nor "the place of watching," but "the place of waiting." There are lives that come into this world neither to do great work nor to bear great burdens, but simply to be; they are the neuter verbs. They are the flowers of the garden which have had no active mission. They have wreathed no chaplet; they have graced no table; they have escaped the eye of Peter and James and John. But they have gladdened the sight of Jesus. By their mere perfume, by their mere beauty, they have brought Him joy; by the very preservation of their loveliness in the valley they have lifted the Master's heart. Thou needst not murmur shouldst thou be one of these flowers! --Selected


December 27

Iron Saints

"His soul entered into iron" (Ps. 105:18).

Turn that about and render it in our language, and it reads thus, "Iron entered his soul." Is there not a truth in this? That sorrow and privation, the yoke borne in the youth, the soul's enforced restraint, are all conducive to an iron tenacity and strength of purpose, and endurance or fortitude, which are the indispensable foundation and framework of a noble character.

Do not flinch from suffering; bear it silently, patiently, resignedly; and be sure that it is God's way of infusing iron into your spiritual life. The world wants iron dukes, iron battalions, iron sinews, and thews of steel. God wants iron saints; and since there is no way of imparting iron to the moral nature but by letting people suffer, He lets them suffer.

Are the best years of your life slipping away in enforced monotony? Are you beset by opposition, misunderstanding, and scorn, as the thick undergrowth besets the passage of the woodsman pioneer? Then take heart; the time is not wasted; God is only putting you through the iron regimen. The iron crown of suffering precedes the golden crown of glory. And iron is entering into your soul to make it strong and brave. --F. B. Meyer

"But you will not mind the roughness nor the steepness of the way,
Nor the chill, unrested morning, nor the searness of the day;
And you will not take a turning to the left or the right,
But go straight ahead, nor tremble at the coming of the night,
For the road leads home."


December 28

Rejoice

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4).

"Sing a little song of trust,
O my heart!
Sing it just because you must,
As leaves start;
As flowers push their way through dust;
Sing, my heart, because you must.


"Wait not for an eager throng
Bird on bird;
'Tis the solitary song
That is heard.
Every voice at dawn will start,
Be a nightingale, my heart!


"Sing across the winter snow,
Pierce the cloud;
Sing when mists are drooping low
Clear and loud;
But sing sweetest in the dark;
He who slumbers not will hark."

"An' when He hears yo' sing, He bends down wid a smile on His kin' face an' listens mighty keerful, an' He says, 'Sing on, chile, I hears, an' I's comin' down to deliber yo': I'll tote dat load fer yo'; jest lean hawd on Me and de road will get smoother bime by."'


December 29

Appropriating Faith

"Arise . . . for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good; and are ye still? Be not slothful to go, and enter to possess the land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth" (Judges 18:9, 10).

Arise! Then there is something definite for us to do. Nothing is ours unless we take it. "The children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance" (Joshua 16:4). "The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions" (Obad. 17). "The upright shall have good things in possession."

We need to have appropriating faith in regard to God's promises. We must make God's Word our own personal possession. A child was asked once what appropriating faith was, and the answer was, "It is taking a pencil and underscoring all the me's and mine's and my's in the Bible."

Take any word you please that He has spoken and say, "That word is my word." Put your finger on this promise and say, "It is mine." How much of the Word has been endorsed and receipted and said "It is done." How many promises can you subscribe and say, "Fulfilled to me."

"Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine." Don't let your inheritance go by default.

"When faith goes to market it always takes a basket."


December 30

Believing Prayer

"Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made for him" (Acts 12:5, margin).

Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.

There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord. How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; love ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God. --C. H. P.

Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer--the man himself. No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man's whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn't withstand such praying. There's more of this embodied praying needed. --The Bent-knee Time

"Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused."
--C. H. Spurgeon


December 31

Hitherto

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" (I Sam. 7:12).

The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet "hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health; at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea; in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation--"hitherto hath the Lord helped!"

We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from one end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves. Even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys.

Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely, there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received "hitherto."

But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark, and writes "hitherto," he is not yet at the end; there are still distances to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death.

Is it over now? No! there is more yet--awakening in Jesus' likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Oh, be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy "Ebenezer," for,

"He who hath helped thee hitherto
Will help thee all thy journey through."

When read in Heaven's light, how glorious and marvelous a prospect will thy "hitherto" unfold to thy grateful eye. --C. H. Spurgeon

The Alpine shepherds have a beautiful custom of ending the day by singing to one another an evening farewell. The air is so crystalline that the song will carry long distances. As the dusk begins to fall, they gather their flocks and begin to lead them down the mountain paths, singing, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. Let us praise His name!"

And at last with a sweet courtesy, they sing to one another the friendly farewell: "Goodnight! Goodnight!" The words are taken up by the echoes, and from side to side the song goes reverberating sweetly and softly until the music dies away in the distance.

So let us call out to one another through the darkness, till the gloom becomes vocal with many voices, encouraging the pilgrim host. Let the echoes gather till a very storm of Hallelujahs break in thundering waves around the sapphire throne, and then as the morning breaks we shall find ourselves at the margin of the sea of glass, crying, with the redeemed host, "Blessing and honor and glory be unto him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever!"

"This my song through endless ages,
Jesus led me all the way."
 

Top

Home | Topical Index | Authors | Site Map | Search



"I am the light of the world" John 8:12