"There shall be a performance" (Luke 1:45).
"My words shall be fulfilled in their season" their fixed
appointed time. Greek, (Luke 1:20).
There shall be a performance of those things
That loving heart hath waited long to see;
Those words shall be fulfilled to which she clings,
Because her God hath promised faithfully;
And, knowing Him, she ne'er can doubt His Word;
"He speaks and it is done." The mighty Lord!
There shall be a performance of those things,
O burdened heart, rest ever in His care;
In quietness beneath His shadowing wings
Await the answer to thy longing prayer.
When thou hast "cast thy care," the heart then sings,
There shall be a performance of those things.
There shall be a performance of those things,
O tired heart, believe and wait and pray;
At eventide the peaceful vesper rings,
Though cloud and rain and storm have filled the day.
Faith pierces through the mist of doubt that bars
The coming night sometimes, and finds the stars.
There shall be a performance of those things,
O trusting heart, the Lord to thee hath told;
Let Faith and Hope arise, and plume their wings,
And soar towards the sunrise clouds of gold;
The portals of the rosy dawn swing wide,
Revealing joys the darkening night did hide.
Matthew Henry says: "We must depend upon the performance of the
promise, when all the ways leading up to it are shut up. 'For
all the promises of God in him are yea yes., and in him Amen
so be it., unto the glory of God by us.' (2 Cor. 1:20).
Step Out Boldly
"When thou goest, thy way shall be opened up before thee
step by step" (Proverbs 4:12, free translation).
The Lord never builds a bridge of faith except under the feet of
the faith-filled traveler. If He builds the bridge a rod ahead,
it would not be a bridge of faith. That which is of sight is not
There is a self-opening gate which is sometimes used in country
roads. It stands fast and firm across the road as a traveler
approaches it. If he stops before he gets to it, it will not
open. But if he
will drive right at it, his wagon wheels press the springs below
the roadway, and the gate swings back to let him through. He
must push right on at the closed gate, or it will continue to be
This illustrates the way to pass every barrier on the road of
duty. Whether it is a river, a gate, or a mountain, all the
child of Jesus has to do is to go for it. If it is a river, it
will dry up when you put
your feet in its waters. If it is a gate, it will fly open when
you are near enough to it, and are still pushing on. If it is a
mountain, it will be lifted up and cast into a sea when you come
without flinching, to where you thought it was.
Is there a great barrier across your path of duty just now? Just
go for it, in the name of the Lord, and it won't be there.
--Henry Clay Trumbull
We sit and weep in vain. The voice of the Almighty said, "Up and
onward forevermore." Let us move on and step out boldly, though
it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way. The path
will open, as we progress, like the trail through the forest, or
the Alpine pass, which discloses but a few rods of its length
from any single point of view. Press on! If necessary, we will
the pillar of cloud and fire to mark our journey through the
wilderness. There are guides and wayside inns along the road. We
will find food, clothes and friends at every stage of the
as Rutherford so quaintly says: "However matters go, the worst
will be a tired traveler and a joyful and sweet welcome home."
I'm going by the upper road, for that
still holds the sun,
I'm climbing through night's pastures where
the starry rivers run:
If you should think to seek me in my
old dark abode,
You'll find this writing on the door,
"He's on the Upper Road."
"Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?" (Isa. 28:24).
One day in early summer I walked past a beautiful meadow. The
grass was as soft and thick and fine as an immense green
Oriental rug. In one corner stood a fine old tree, a sanctuary
numberless wild birds; the crisp, sweet air was full of their
happy songs. Two cows lay in the shade, the very picture of
Down by the roadside the saucy dandelion mingled his gold with
the royal purple of the wild violet.
I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry
eyes, and thinking in my soul that God never made a fairer spot
than my lovely meadow.
The next day I passed that way again, and lo! the hand of the
despoiler had been there. A plowman and his great plow, now
standing idle in the furrow, had in a day wrought a terrible
Instead of the green grass there was turned up to view the ugly,
bare, brown earth; instead of the singing birds there were only
a few hens industriously scratching for worms. Gone were the
dandelion and the pretty violet. I said in my grief, "How could
any one spoil a thing so fair?"
Then my eyes were opened by some unseen hand, and I saw a
vision, a vision of a field of ripe corn ready for the harvest.
I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun; I
almost hear the music of the wind as it would sweep across the
golden tassels. And before I was aware, the brown earth took on
a splendor it had not had the day before.
Oh, that we might always catch the vision of an abundant
harvest, when the great Master Plowman comes, as He often does,
and furrows through our very souls, uprooting and turning under
which we thought most fair, and leaving for our tortured gaze
only the bare and the unbeautiful. --Selected
Why should I start at the plough of my Lord, that maketh the
deep furrows on my soul? I know He is no idle husbandman, He
purposeth a crop. --Samuel Rutherford
"For the Vision is yet for an appointed time?though it
tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not
tarry" (Hab. 2:3).
In the charming little booklet, Expectation Corner, Adam Slowman
was led into the Lord's treasure houses, and among many other
wonders there revealed to him was the "Delayed Blessings
Office," where God kept certain things, prayed for, until the
wise time came to send them.
It takes a long time for some pensioners to learn that delays
are not denials. Ah, there are secrets of love and wisdom in the
"Delayed Blessings Department," which are little dreamt of! Men
would pluck their mercies green when the Lord would have them
ripe. "Therefore will the Lord WAIT, that He may be gracious
unto you" (Isa. 30:18). He is watching in the hard places and
allow one trial too many; He will let the dross be consumed, and
then He will come gloriously to your help.
Do not grieve Him by doubting His love. Nay, lift up your head,
and begin to praise Him even now for the deliverance which is on
the way to you, and you will be abundantly rewarded for the
which has tried your faith.
O Thou of little faith,
God hath not failed thee yet!
When all looks dark and gloomy,
Thou dost so soon forget--
Forget that He has led thee,
And gently cleared thy way;
On clouds has poured His sunshine,
And turned thy night to day.
And if He's helped thee hitherto,
He will not fail thee now;
How it must wound His loving heart
To see thy anxious brow!
Oh! doubt not any longer,
To Him commit thy way,
Whom in the past thou trusted,
And is "just the same today."
Vineyards in the Wilderness
"I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness?And I
will give her her vineyards from thence" (Hosea 2:14-15).
A strange place to find vineyards--in the wilderness! And can it
be that the riches which a soul needs can be obtained in the
wilderness, which stands for a lonely place, out of which you
seldom find your way? It would seem so, and not only that, but
the "Valley of Achor," which means bitterness, is called a door
of hope. And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth!
Yes, God knows our need of the wilderness experience. He knows
where and how to bring out that which is enduring. The soul has
been idolatrous, rebellious; has forgotten God, and with a
perfect self-will has said, "I will follow after my lovers." But
she did not overtake them. And, when she was hopeless and
forsaken, God said, "I will allure her, and bring her into the
speak comfortably unto her." What a loving God is ours! --Crumbs
We never know where God hides His pools. We see a rock, and we
cannot guess it is the home of the spring. We see a flinty
place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain.
leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into
the dwelling place of eternal springs. --Selected
Keep Your Hands Off
"Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are, upon thee"
(2 Chron. 20:12).
A life was lost in Israel because a pair of human hands were
laid unbidden upon the ark of God. They were placed upon it with
the best intent, to steady it when trembling and shaking as the
drew it along the rough way; but they touched God's work
presumptuously, and they fell paralyzed and lifeless. Much of
the life of faith consists in letting things alone.
If we wholly trust an interest to God, we must keep our hands
off it; and He will guard it for us better than we can help Him.
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself
him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth
wicked devices to pass."
Things may seem to be going all wrong, but He knows as well as
we; and He will arise in the right moment if we are really
trusting Him so fully as to let Him work in His own way and
is nothing so masterly as inactivity in some things, and there
is nothing so hurtful as restless working, for God has
undertaken to work His sovereign will. --A. B. Simpson
"Being perplexed, I say,
'Lord, make it right!
Night is as day to Thee,
Darkness as light.
I am afraid to touch
Things that involve so much;
My trembling hand may shake,
My skilless hand may break;
Thine can make no mistake.'
"Being in doubt I say,
'Lord, make it plain;
Which is the true, safe way?
Which would be gain?
I am not wise to know,
Nor sure of foot to go;
What is so clear to Thee,
Lord, make it clear to me!'"
It is such a comfort to drop the tangles of life into God's
hands and leave them there.
Polish Comes Through Trouble
"He hath made me a polished shaft" (Isa. 49:2).
There is a very famous "Pebble Beach" at Pescadero, on the
California coast. The long line of white surf comes up with its
everlasting roar, and rattles and thunders among the stones on
shore. They are caught in the arms of the pitiless waves, and
tossed and rolled, and rubbed together, and ground against the
sharp-grained cliffs. Day and night forever the ceaseless
goes on--never any rest. And the result?
Tourists from all the world flock thither to gather the round
and beautiful stones. They are laid up in cabinets; they
ornament the parlor mantels. But go yonder, around the point of
the cliff that
breaks off the force of the sea; and up in that quiet cove,
sheltered from the storms, and lying ever in the sun, you shall
find abundance of pebbles that have never been chosen by the
Why are these left all the years through unsought? For the
simple reason that they have escaped all the turmoil and
attrition of the waves, and the quiet and peace have left them
as they found
them, rough and angular and devoid of beauty. Polish comes
Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to
shape us to it. Since He knows what work we are to do, let us
trust Him to drill us to the proper preparation.
"O blows that smite! O hurts that pierce
This shrinking heart of mine!
What are ye but the Master's tools
Forming a work Divine?"
"Nearly all God's jewels are crystallized tears."
Weights Become Wings
"They shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isa.40:31).
There is a fable about the way the birds got their wings at the
beginning. They were first made without wings. Then God made the
wings and put them down before the wingless birds and said to
them, "Come, take up these burdens and bear them."
The birds had lovely plumage and sweet voices; they could sing,
and their feathers gleamed in the sunshine, but they could not
soar in the air. They hesitated at first when bidden to take up
burdens that lay at their feet, but soon they obeyed, and taking
up the wings in their beaks, laid them on their shoulders to
For a little while the load seemed heavy and hard to bear, but
presently, as they went on carrying the burdens, folding them
over their hearts, the wings grew fast to their little bodies,
they discovered how to use them, and were lifted by them up into
the air--the weights became wings.
It is a parable. We are the wingless birds, and our duties and
tasks are the pinions God has made to lift us up and carry us
heavenward. We look at our burdens and heavy loads, and shrink
them; but as we lift them and bind them about our hearts, they
become wings, and on them we rise and soar toward God.
There is no burden which, if we lift it cheerfully and bear it
with love in our hearts, will not become a blessing to us. God
means our tasks to be our helpers; to refuse to bend our
receive a load, is to decline a new opportunity for growth. --J.
Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been
so good as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders. F. W.
God Has Chosen Me
"I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isa.
Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of
the flame? Yes, is it not an asbestos armor, against which the
heat has no power? Let the affliction come--God has chosen me.
Poverty, thou mayest stride in at my door; but God is in the
house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayest
intrude; but I have a balsam ready--God has chosen me. Whatever
befall me in this vale of tears, I know that He has chosen me.
Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery
trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will
never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. "Fear not, for I
am with thee," is
His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in "the furnace of
--C. H. Spurgeon
Pain's furnace heat within me quivers,
God's breath upon the flame doth blow;
And all my heart in anguish shivers
And trembles at the fiery glow;
And yet I whisper, "As God will!"
And in the hottest fire hold still.
He comes and lays my heart, all heated,
On the hard anvil, minded so
Into His own fair shape to beat it
With His great hammer, blow on blow;
And yet I whisper, "As God will!"
And at His heaviest blows hold still.
He takes my softened heart and beats it;
The sparks fly off at every blow;
He turns it o'er and o'er and heats it,
And lets it cool, and makes it glow;
And yet I whisper, "As God will!"
And in His mighty hand hold still.
Why should I murmur? for the sorrow
Thus only longer-lived would be;
The end may come, and will tomorrow,
When God has done His work in me;
So I say trusting, "As God will!"
And, trusting to the end, hold still.
The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks,
while in reality it is only the weight which is necessary to
keep down the diver while he is hunting for pearls. --Richter
Christ Sometimes Delays His
"I called upon him, but he gave me no answer" (S. of Sol. 5:6).
The Lord, when He hath given great faith, hath been known to try
it by long delayings. He has suffered His servants' voices to
echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at
golden gate, but it has remained unmovable, as though it were
rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, "Thou
hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not
through." Thus have true saints continued long in patient
waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not
vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so
who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to His own pleasure.
If it pleases Him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He
not do as He will with His own!
No prayer is lost. Praying breath was never spent in vain. There
is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and
some things that we count refusals or denials are simply delays.
Christ sometimes delays His help that He may try our faith and
quicken our prayers. The boat may be covered with the waves, and
He sleeps on; but He will wake up before it sinks. He sleeps,
but He never oversleeps; and there are no "too lates" with Him.
Be still, sad soul! lift thou no passionate cry,
But spread the desert of thy being bare
To the full searching of the All-seeing eye;
Wait! and through dark misgiving, black despair,
God will come down in pity, and fill the dry
Dead place with light, and life, and vernal air.
--J. C. Shairp
Elijah Watched and Waited
"It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because
there had been no rain in the land" (1 Kings 17:7).
Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah
watched that dwindling brook; often tempted to stagger through
unbelief, but refusing to allow his circumstances to come
himself and God. Unbelief sees God through circumstances, as we
sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays through smoky air; but
faith puts God between itself and circumstances, and looks
at them through Him. And so the dwindling brook became a silver
thread; and the silver thread stood presently in pools at the
foot of the largest boulders; and the pools shrank. The birds
wild creatures of field and forest came no more to drink; the
brook was dry. Only then to his patient and unwavering spirit,
"the word of the Lord came, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath."
Most of us would have gotten anxious and worn with planning long
before that. We should have ceased our songs as soon as the
streamlet caroled less musically over its rocky bed; and with
harps swinging on the willows, we should have paced to and fro
upon the withering grass, lost in pensive thought. And probably,
long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised some plan,
and asking God's blessing on it, would have started off
God often does extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever;
but if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His
plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an
inextricable labyrinth; and we should never have been compelled
to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame. Wait,
patiently wait! --F. B. Meyer
Faith Grows Amid Storms
"He hath acquainted himself with my beaten path. When he hath
searched me out, I shall come out shining" (Job 23:10, free
Faith grows amid storms"--just four words, but oh, how full of
import to the soul who has been in the storms!
Faith is that God-given faculty which, when exercised, brings
the unseen into plain view, and by which the impossible things
are made possible. It deals with supernaturals.
But it "grows amid storms"; that is, where there are
disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by
the conflicts of elements; and the storms of the spiritual world
with hostile elements.
In such an atmosphere faith finds its most productive soil; in
such an element it comes more quickly to full fruition.
The staunchest tree is not found in the shelter of the forest,
but out in the open where the winds from every quarter beat upon
it, and bend and twist it until it becomes a giant in stature
this is the
tree which the mechanic wants his tools made of, and the
So in the spiritual world, when you see a giant, remember the
road you must travel to come up to his side is not along the
sunny lane where wild flowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky,
pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off your
feet; where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting
thorns scratch the brow, and the venomous beasts hiss on every
It is a pathway of sorrow and joy, of suffering and healing
balm, of tears and smiles, of trials and victories, of conflicts
and triumphs, of hardships and perils and buffetings, of
misunderstandings, of troubles and distress; through all of
which we are made more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
"Amid storms." Right in the midst where it is fiercest. You may
shrink back from the ordeal of a fierce storm of trial?but go
in! God is there to meet you in the center of all your trials,
whisper His secrets which will make you come forth with a
shining face and an indomitable faith that all the demons of
hell shall never afterwards cause to waver. --E. A. Kilbourne
Trust in His Promises
"God...calleth those things which be not as though they
were" (Rom. 4:17).
What does that mean? Why Abraham did this thing: he dared to
believe God. It seemed an impossibility at his age that Abraham
should become the father of a child; it looked incredible; and
God called him a "father of many nations" before there was a
sign of a child; and so Abraham called himself "father" because
God called him so. That is faith; it is to believe and assert
says. "Faith steps on seeming void, and finds the rock beneath."
Only say you have what God says you have, and He will make good
to you all you believe. Only it must be real faith, all there is
in you must go over in that act of faith to God. --Crumbs
Be willing to live by believing and neither think nor desire to
live in any other way. Be willing to see every outward light
extinguished, to see the eclipse of every star in the blue
nothing but darkness and perils around, if God will only leave
in thy soul the inner radiance, the pure bright lamp which faith
has kindled. --Thomas C. Upham
The moment has come when you must get off the perch of distrust,
out of the nest of seeming safety, and onto the wings of faith;
just such a time as comes to the bird when it must begin to try
the air. It may seem as though you must drop to the earth; so it
may seem to the fledgling. It, too, may feel very like falling;
but it does not fall--it's pinions give it support, or, if they
fail, the parent
birds sweeps under and bears it upon its wings. Even so will God
bear you. Only trust Him; "thou shalt be holden up." "Well,
but," you say, "am I to cast myself upon nothing?" That is what
bird seems to have to do; but we know the air is there, and the
air is not so unsubstantial as it seems. And you know the
promises of God are there, and they are not unsubstantial at
all. "But it
seems an unlikely thing to come about that my poor weak soul
should be girded with such strength." Has God said it shall?
"That my tempted, yielding nature shall be victor in the
strife." Has God
said it shall? "That my timorous, trembling heart shall find
peace?" Has God said it shall? for, if He has, you surely do not
mean to give Him the lie! Hath he spoken, and shall He not do
it? If you
have gotten a word --"a sure word" of promise--take it
implicitly, trust it absolutely. And this sure word you have;
nay, you have more--you have Him who speaks the word
confidently. "Yea, I say
unto you," trust Him. --J. B. Figgis, M. A.
Drive a Stake Down
"Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the
altar" (Ps. 118:27).
Is not this altar inviting thee? Shall we not ask to be bound to
it, that we may never be able to start back from our attitude of
consecration? There are times when life is full of roseate
light, and we
choose the Cross; at other times, when the sky is grey, we
shrink from it. It is well to be bound.
Wilt Thou bind us, most blessed Spirit, and enamor us with the
Cross, and let us never leave it? Bind us with the scarlet cord
of redemption, and the golden cord of love, and the silver cord
Advent-hope, so we will not go back from it, or wish for another
lot than to be the humble partners with our Lord in His pain and
The horns of the altar invite thee. Wilt thou come? Wilt thou
dwell ever in a spirit of resigned humility, and give thyself
wholly to the Lord? --Selected
The story is told of a colored brother who, at a camp meeting,
tried to give himself to God. Every night at the altar he
consecrated himself; but every night before he left the meeting,
would come to him and convince him that he did not feel any
different and therefore he was not consecrated.
Again and again he was beaten back by the adversary. Finally,
one evening he came to the meeting with an axe and a big stake.
After consecrating himself, he drove the stake into the ground
where he had knelt. As he was leaving the building, the devil
came to him as usual and tried to make him believe that it was
all a farce.
At once he went back to the stake and, pointing to it, said,
"Look here, Mr. Devil, do you see that stake? Well, that's my
witness that God has forever accepted me." Immediately the devil
and he had no further doubts on the subject. --The Still Small
Beloved, if you are tempted to doubt the finality of your
consecration, drive a stake down somewhere and let it be your
witness before God and even the devil that you have settled the
Are you groping for a blessing,
Never getting there?
Listen to a word in season,
Are you struggling for salvation
By your anxious prayer?
Stop your struggling, simply trust, and--
Does the answer seem to linger
To your earnest prayer?
Turn your praying into praise, and--
You will never know His fulness
Till you boldly dare
To commit your all to Him, and--
--Songs of the Spirit
Trust in Spite of How it Looks
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our
faith" (1 John 5:4).
It is easy to love Him when the blue is in the sky,
When summer winds are blowing, and we smell the roses nigh;
There is little effort needed to obey His precious will
When it leads through flower-decked valley, or over sun-kissed
It is when the rain is falling, or the mist hangs in the air,
When the road is dark and rugged, and the wind no longer fair,
When the rosy dawn has settled in a shadowland of gray,
That we find it hard to trust Him, and are slower to obey.
It is easy to trust Him when the singing birds have come,
And their canticles are echoed in our heart and in our home;
But 'tis when we miss the music, and the days are dull and
That we need a faith triumphant over every doubt and fear.
And our blessed Lord will give it; what we lack He will supply;
Let us ask in faith believing--on His promises rely;
He will ever be our Leader, whether smooth or rough the way,
And will prove Himself sufficient for the needs of every day.
To trust in spite of the look of being forsaken; to keep crying
out into the vast, whence comes no returning voice, and where
seems no hearing; to see the machinery of the world pauselessly
grinding on as if self-moved, caring for no life, nor shifting a
hair-breadth for all entreaty, and yet believe that God is awake
and utterly loving; to desire nothing but what comes meant for
His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing
only lest faith should fail--such is the victory that overcometh
the world, such is faith indeed.
Whatever the Cost
"'Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy
son, thine only son...I will multiply thy seed as the stars of
the heaven;?because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Gen. 22:16-18).
And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at
God's voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all
else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is
to them by Him a thousand times over. Abraham gives up his one
and only son, at God's call, and with this disappear all his
hopes for the boy's life and manhood, and for a noble family
his name. But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the
stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of
time, appears Jesus Christ.
That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every
child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends
wealth. We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a
than we had dared to dream of. We give up all our cherished
hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant,
and tingling joy. And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ.
For we can
never know the fullness of the life that is in Christ until we
have made Abraham's supreme sacrifice. The earthly founder of
the family of Christ must commence by losing himself and his
son, just as the Heavenly Founder of that family did. We cannot
be members of that family with the full privileges and joys of
membership upon any other basis. --C. G. Trumbull
We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes He takes in
fire; and that the only way to the resurrection life and the
ascension mount is the way of the garden, the cross, and the
Think not, O soul of man, that Abraham's was a unique and
solitary experience. It is simply a specimen and pattern of
God's dealings with all souls who are prepared to obey Him at
cost. After thou hast patiently endured, thou shalt receive the
promise. The moment of supreme sacrifice shall be the moment of
supreme and rapturous blessing. God's river, which is full of
water, shall burst its banks, and pour upon thee a tide of
wealth and grace. There is nothing, indeed, which God will not
do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the
though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him.
--F. B. Meyer
God is Not Unobservant
"I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place"
(Isa. 18:4, RV).
Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are
described as tall and smooth. And as the armies advance, God
makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be
allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His
dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the
harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as
when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.
Is not this a marvelous conception of God--being still and
watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not
consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most
moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of
success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the
evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of
wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that
hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being
still and beholding.
There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples
toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though
unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when
slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he
succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only
waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually. Is
still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all
things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all
its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise
arrived. --Daily Devotional Commentary
Whatever His questions or His reticences, we may be absolutely
sure of an unperplexed and undismayed Saviour.
"O troubled soul, beneath the rod,
Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;
Learn to be silent unto God,
And let Him mould thee to His will.
"O praying soul, be still, be still,
He cannot break His plighted Word;
Sink down into His blessed will,
And wait in patience on the Lord.
"O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He will not come too late."
God is Looking
"The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is
perfect toward him" (2 Chron. 16:9).
God is looking for a man, or woman, whose heart will be always
set on Him, and who will trust Him for all He desires to do. God
is eager to work more mightily now than He ever has through any
soul. The clock of the centuries points to the eleventh hour.
"The world is waiting yet to see what God can do through a
consecrated soul." Not the world alone, but God Himself is
waiting for one, who will be more fully devoted to Him than any
ever lived; who will be willing to be nothing that Christ may be
all; who will grasp God's own purposes; and taking His humility
and His faith, His love and His power, will, without hindering,
to let God do exploits. --C. H. P.
"There is no limit to what God can do with a man, providing he
will not touch the glory."
In an address given to ministers and workers after his ninetieth
birthday, George Mueller spoke thus of himself: "I was converted
in November, 1825, but I only came into the full surrender of
heart four years later, in July, 1829. The love of money was
gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone,
the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. God, God
alone became my portion. I found my all in Him; I wanted nothing
else. And by the grace of God this has remained, and has made me
a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to
care only about the things of God. I ask affectionately, my
beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God,
or is there this thing or that thing with which you are taken up
of God? I read a little of the Scriptures before, but preferred
other books; but since that time the revelation He has made of
Himself has become unspeakably blessed to me, and I can say from
my heart, God is an infinitely lovely Being. Oh, be not
satisfied until in your own inmost soul you can say, God is an
infinitely lovely Being!' --Selected
I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian.
School of Suffering
"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or
raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous
miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of
do and suffer God's will is still the highest form of faith, the
mos t sublime Christian achievement. To have the bright
aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily
congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when
you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved
ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to
stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the
shocks of life--to be able to say in such a school of
discipline, "The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not
drink it?'--this is
faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning
point. Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as
to suffer. --Dr. Charles Parkhurst
To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and
there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart
of him who has been afflicted like him.
We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our
afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize.
He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would
be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross;
and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring
others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and
submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.
The most comforting of David's psalms were pressed out by
suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had
missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his
The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you if
surrendered to Christ., is the best shaped tool in the Father's
hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push
the instrument lest you lose its work."
"Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it."
The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.
Our Helper in Prayer
"Seeing then that we have a great high Priest?Jesus, the Son of
God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us come boldly unto
the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
in time of need" (Heb. 4:14,16).
Our great Helper in prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ, our
Advocate with the Father, our Great High Priest, whose chief
ministry for us these centuries has been intercession and
prayer. He it is
who takes our imperfect petitions from our hands, cleanses them
from their defects, corrects their faults, and then claims their
answer from His Father on His own account and through His
all-atoning merits and righteousness.
Brother, are you fainting in prayer? Look up. Your blessed
Advocate has already claimed your answer, and you would grieve
and disappoint Him if you were to give up the conflict in the
moment when victory is on its way to meet you. He has gone in
for you into the inner chamber, and already holds up your name
upon the palms of His hands; and the messenger, which is to
bring you your blessing, is now on his way, and the Spirit is
only waiting your trust to whisper in your heart the echo of the
answer from the throne, "It is done." --A. B. Simpson
The Spirit has much to do with acceptable prayer, and His work
in prayer is too much neglected. He enlightens the mind to see
its wants, softens the heart to feel them, quickens our desires
suitable supplies, gives clear views of God's power, wisdom, and
grace to relieve us, and stirs up that confidence in His truth
which excludes all wavering. Prayer is, therefore, a wonderful
In every acceptable prayer the whole Trinity is concerned. --J.
Degrees of Faith
"Let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece"
There are degrees to faith. At one stage of Christian experience
we cannot believe unless we have some sign or some great
manifestation of feeling. We feel our fleece, like Gideon, and
if it is
wet we are willing to trust God. This may be true faith, but it
is imperfect. It always looks for feeling or some token besides
the Word of God. It marks quite an advance in faith when we
without feelings. It is blessed to believe without having any
There is a third stage of faith which even transcends that of
Gideon and his fleece. The first phase of faith believes when
there are favorable emotions, the second believes when there is
absence of feeling, but this third form of faith believes God
and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people,
and human reason all urge to the contrary. Paul exercised this
faith in Acts 27:20, 25, "And when neither sun nor stars in many
days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we
should be saved was then taken away." Notwithstanding all this
Paul said, "Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe
God, that it shall be even as it was told me."
May God give us faith to fully trust His Word though everything
else witness the other way. --C. H. P.
When is the time to trust?
Is it when all is calm,
When waves the victor's palm,
And life is one glad psalm
Of joy and praise?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when the waves beat high,
When storm clouds fill the sky,
And prayer is one long cry,
O help and save!
When is the time to trust?
Is it when friends are true?
Is it when comforts woo,
And in all we say and do
We meet but praise?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when we stand alone,
And summer birds have flown,
And every prop is gone,
All else but God.
What is the time to trust?
Is it some future day,
When you have tried your way,
And learned to trust and pray
By bitter woe?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is in this moment's need,
Poor, broken, bruised reed!
Poor, troubled soul, make speed
To trust thy God.
What is the time to trust?
Is it when hopes beat high,
When sunshine gilds the sky,
And joy and ecstasy
Fill all the heart?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when our joy is fled,
When sorrow bows the head,
And all is cold and dead,
All else but God.
God is Waiting Upon Us
"And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto
you...blessed are all they that wait f or him" (Isa.
We must not only think of our waiting upon God, but also of what
is more wonderful still, of God's waiting upon us. The vision of
Him waiting on us, will give new impulse and inspiration to our
waiting upon Him. It will give us unspeakable confidence that
our waiting cannot be in vain. Let us seek even now, at this
moment, in the spirit of waiting on God, to find out something
of what it
means. He has inconceivably glorious purposes concerning every
one of His children. And you ask, "How is it, if He waits to be
gracious, that even after I come and wait upon Him, He does not
give the. help I seek, but waits on longer and longer?"
God is a wise husbandman, "who waiteth for the precious fruit of
the earth, and hath long patience for it." He cannot gather the
fruit till it is ripe. He knows when we are spiritually ready to
the blessing to our profit and His glory. Waiting in the
sunshine of His love is what will ripen the soul for His
blessing. Waiting under the cloud of trial, that breaks in
showers of blessings, is as
needful. Be assured that if God waits longer than you could
wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God
waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He
sent His Son. Our
times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He
will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long.
We Need Minor Keys Too
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God" (Eph. 5:20).
No matter what the source of the evil, if you are in God and
surrounded by Him as by an atmosphere, all evil has to pass
through Him before it comes to you. Therefore you can thank God
everything that comes, not for the sin of it, but for what God
will bring out of it and through it. May God make our lives
thanksgiving and perpetual praise, then He will make everything
We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make
nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then
he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the
beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On
sounding them we were singing,
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below."
There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we
cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them
to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the
dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and
separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper
places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will
make a glorious
harmony. Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work! --C. H. P.
"Would we know that the major chords were sweet,
If there were no minor key?
Would the painter's work be fair to our eyes,
Without shade on land or sea?
"Would we know the meaning of happiness,
Would we feel that the day was bright,
If we'd never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?"
Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous
difficulties. --C. H. Spurgeon
When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ, the
music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones, but to get
the capacity of the instrument he must touch them all.
Believe in Order to See
"Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. They soon
forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel; but lusted
exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their
soul" (Ps. 106:12-15).
We read of Moses, that "he endured, as seeing him who is
invisible." Exactly the opposite was true of the children of
Israel in this record. They endured only when the circumstances
favorable; they were largely governed by the things that
appealed to their senses, in place of resting in the invisible
and eternal God.
In the present day there are those who live intermittent
Christian lives because they have become occupied with the
outward, and center in circumstances, in place of centering in
wants us more and more to see Him in everything, and to call
nothing small if it bears us His message.
Here we read of the children of Israel, "Then they believed his
words." They did not believe till after they saw--when they saw
Him work, then they believed. They really doubted God when they
came to the Red Sea; but when God opened the way and led them
across and they saw Pharaoh and his host drowned--"then they
They led an up and down life because of this kind of faith; it
was a faith that depended upon circumstances. This is not the
kind of faith God wants us to have.
The world says "seeing is believing," but God wants us to
believe in order to see. The Psalmist said, "I had fainted,
unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the
land of the living."
Do you believe God only when the circumstances are favorable, or
do you believe no matter what the circumstances may be? C. H. P.
Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this
faith is to see what we believe. --St. Augustine
Like the Cedars of Lebanon
"What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know
hereafter" (John 13:7).
We have only a partial view here of God's dealings, His
half-completed, half-developed plan; but all will stand out in
fair and graceful proportions in the great finished Temple of
Eternity! Go, in the
reign of Israel's greatest king, to the heights of Lebanon. See
that noble cedar, the pride of its compeers, an old wrestler
with northern blasts! Summer loves to smile upon it, night
feathery foliage with dewdrops, the birds nestle on its
branches, the weary pilgrim or wandering shepherd reposes under
its shadows from the midday heat or from the furious storm; but
once it is marked out to fall; The aged denizen of the forest is
doomed to succumb to the woodman's stroke!
As we see the axe making its first gash on its gnarled trunk,
then the noble limbs stripped of their branches, and at last the
"Tree of God," as was its distinctive epithet, coming with a
crash to the
ground, we exclaim against the wanton destruction, the
demolition of this proud pillar in the temple of nature. We are
tempted to cry with the prophet, as if inviting the sympathy of
stem--invoking inanimate things to resent the affront--"Howl,
fir tree; for the cedar has fallen!"
But wait a little. Follow that gigantic trunk as the workmen of
Hiram launch it down the mountain side; thence conveyed in rafts
along the blue waters of the Mediterranean; and last of all,
set a glorious polished beam in the Temple of God. As you see
its destination, placed in the very Holy of Holies, in the
diadem of the Great King--say, can you grudge that "the crown of
was despoiled, in order that this jewel might have so noble a
That cedar stood as a stately prop in Nature's sanctuary, but
"the glory of the latter house was greater than the glory of the
How many of our souls are like these cedars of old! God's axes
of trial have stripped and bared them. We see no reason for
dealings so dark and mysterious, but He has a noble end and
in view; to set them as everlasting pillars and rafters in His
Heavenly Zion; to make them a "crown of glory in the hand of the
Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of our God." --Macduff
"I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see--
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand,
And follow Thee."
Waiting For Hope
"For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of
righteousness" (Gal. 5:5, RV).
There are times when things look very dark to me--so dark that I
have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A
long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for
see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have
nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the
casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my
and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior
presence--that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is
Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is
Moses in the desert of
Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane.
There is no patience so hard as that which endures, "as seeing
him who is invisible"; it is the waiting for hope.
Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine.
Thou hast taught us that the Father's will may be received just
because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may
see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it
go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its
Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane.
Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the
casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the
very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered
amid the night, and say, "To the eye of my Father it is perhaps
shining still." I shall reach the climax of strength when I have
to wait for hope. --George Matheson
Strive to be one of those--so few--who walk the earth with
ever-present consciousness--all mornings, middays,
star-times--that the unknown which men call Heaven is "close
behind the visible
scene of things."
My Father's Giving
"Prove me now" (Mal. 3:10).
What is God saying here but this: "My child, I still have
windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as
easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would
rather fling them
open, and pour forth, than keep them shut, and hold back. I
opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened them for
Joshua, and Jordan rolled back. I opened them for Gideon, and
fled. I will open them for you--if you will only let Me. On this
side of the windows, Heaven is the same rich storehouse as of
old. The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure
still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on my side. It is on
yours. I am waiting. Prove Me now. Fulfill the conditions, on
your part. Bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance. --Selected
I can never forget my mother's very brief paraphrase of Malachi
3:10. The verse begins, "Bring ye the whole tithe in," and it
ends up with "I will pour" the blessing out till you'll be
space. Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He
promises." --S. D. Gordon
The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest
prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have
entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I
for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have
asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls
immeasurably short of my Father's giving: it is beyond that we
ask. --J. H. Jowett
"All the rivers of Thy grace I claim,
Over every promise write my name" (Eph. 1:8-19).
The Fruit Comes Afterward
"The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and storm" (Nahum 1:3).
I recollect, when a lad, and while attending a classical
institute in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant, sitting on an
elevation of that mountain, and watching a storm as it came up
the valley. The
heavens were filled with blackness, and the earth was shaken by
the voice of thunder. It seemed as though that fair landscape
was utterly changed, and its beauty gone never to return.
But the storm swept on, and passed out of the valley; and if I
had sat in the same place on the following day, and said, "Where
is that terrible storm, with all its terrible blackness?" the
would have said, "Part of it is in me," and the daisy would have
said, "Part of it is in me," and the fruits and flowers and
everything that grows out of the ground would have said, "Part
of the storm
is incandescent in me."
Have you asked to be made like your Lord? Have you longed for
the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for sweetness and
gentleness and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at
this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the
storm, and there will be the rich fruitage in the "afterward."
--Henry Ward Beecher
The flowers live by the tears that fall
From the sad face of the skies;
And life would have no joys at all,
Were there no watery eyes.
Love thou thy sorrow: grief shall bring
Its own excuse in after years;
The rainbow!--see how fair a thing
God hath built up from tears.
--Henry S. Sutton
Our Great Opportunities
"Hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved
against the day of trouble?" (Job 38:22-23).
Our trials are great opportunities. Too often we look on them as
great obstacles. It would be a haven of rest and an inspiration
of unspeakable power if each of us would henceforth recognize
every difficult situation as one of God's chosen ways of proving
to us His love and look around for the signals of His glorious
manifestations; then, indeed, would every cloud become a
and every mountain a path of ascension and a scene of
If we will look back upon the past, many of us will find that
the very time our Heavenly Father has chosen to do the kindest
things for us, and given us the richest blessings, has been the
were strained and shut in on every side. God's jewels are often
sent us in rough packages and by dark liveried servants, but
within we find the very treasures of the King's palace and the
Bridegroom's love. --A. B. Simpson
Trust Him in the dark, honor Him with unwavering confidence even
in the midst of mysterious dispensations, and the recompense of
such faith will be like the moulting of the eagle's plumes,
which was said to give them a new lease of youth and strength.
J. R. Macduff
"If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O'er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.
"If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life's wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.
"'If we could see, if we could know,'
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o'er;
Trust and obey."
Do It Now!
"A cup of cold water only" (Matt. 10:42).
What am I to do? I expect to pass through this world but once.
Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can
render to any soul of man or animal let me do it now. Let me not
neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again. --An
Old Quaker Saying
It isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache
At the setting of the sun;
The tender word unspoken,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night.
The stone you might have lifted
Out of your brother's way,
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time or thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.
These little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind,
These chances to be angels,
Which even mortals find
They come in night and silence,
Each chill reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging,
And a blight has dropped on faith.
For life is all too short, dear.
And sorrow is all too great,
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late.
And it's not the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache,
At the setting of the sun.
Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to
"He guided them by the skillfulness of his hands" (Ps. 78:72).
When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment
absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you
every door but the right one?Meanwhile keep on as you are, and
consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God's
will that you are on His track?As you go down the long corridor,
you will find that He has preceded you, and locked many doors
which you would fain have entered; but be sure that beyond these
there is one which He has left unlocked. Open it and enter, and
you will find yourself face to face with a bend of the river of
opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to
imagine in your sunniest dreams. Launch forth upon it; it
conducts to the open sea.
God guides us, often by circumstances. At one moment the way may
seem utterly blocked; and then shortly afterward some trivial
incident occurs, which might not seem much to others, but
which to the keen eye of faith speaks volumes. Sometimes these
things are repeated in various ways, in answer to prayer. They
are not haphazard results of chance, but the opening up of
circumstances in the direction in which we would walk. And they
begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the
lights do as we near a populous town, when darting through the
by night express. --F. B. Meyer
If you go to Him to be guided, He will guide you; but He will
not comfort your distrust or half-trust of Him by showing you
the chart of all His purposes concerning you. He will show you
only into a
way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will
show you on still farthcr. --Horace Bushnell
As moves my fragile bark across the storm-swept sea,
Great waves beat o'er her side, as north wind blows;
Deep in the darkness hid lie threat'ning rocks and shoals;
But all of these, and more, my Pilot knows.
Sometimes when dark the night, and every light gone out,
I wonder to what port my frail ship goes;
Still though the night be long, and restless all my hours,
My distant goal, I'm sure, my Pilot knows.
--Thomas Curtis Clark