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Streams in the Desert
July



 

 


July 1

Promises Fulfilled

"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.
--Bessie Porter

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).


July 2

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 of faith.

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 closed.

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 squarely up, 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 find even 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 journey, and 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."
--Selected


July 3

Master Plowman

"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 for numberless wild birds; the crisp, sweet air was full of their happy songs. Two cows lay in the shade, the very picture of content.

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 havoc. 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 could 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 that 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


July 4

Delayed Blessings

"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 will not 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 delay
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."
--Selected


July 5

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 can 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 wilderness, and 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. God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs. --Selected


July 6

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 oxen 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 because of 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 time. There 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.


July 7

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 the 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 attrition 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 traveler.

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 through trouble.

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."


July 8

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 the burdens that lay at their feet, but soon they obeyed, and taking up the wings in their beaks, laid them on their shoulders to carry them.

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, and soon 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 from 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 shoulders to receive a load, is to decline a new opportunity for growth. --J. R. Miller

Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been so good as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders. F. W. Faber


July 9

God Has Chosen Me

"I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isa. 48:10).

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 affliction."
--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.
--Julius Sturm

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


July 10

Christ Sometimes Delays His Help

"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 the 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 pass 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 pleased Him 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. --H. Bonar

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.
--Alexander Maclaren

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


July 11

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 between 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 fled; the 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 elsewhere.

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


July 12

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 translation).

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 are conflicts 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 wagon-maker seeks.

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, narrow 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 side.

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 persecutions and 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, and to 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


July 13

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 yet 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 what God 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 heavens, leaving 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 the 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.


July 14

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 of 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 sorrow!

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, the devil 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 just 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 left him, and he had no further doubts on the subject. --The Still Small Voice

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 question forever.

Are you groping for a blessing,
Never getting there?
Listen to a word in season,
Get somewhere.

Are you struggling for salvation
By your anxious prayer?
Stop your struggling, simply trust, and--
Get somewhere.

Does the answer seem to linger
To your earnest prayer?
Turn your praying into praise, and--
Get somewhere.

You will never know His fulness
Till you boldly dare
To commit your all to Him, and--
Get somewhere.
--Songs of the Spirit


July 15

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 hill.

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 drear,
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 us from His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing only lest faith should fail--such is the victory that overcometh the world, such is faith indeed.
--George MacDonald


July 16

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 returned 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 bearing 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 richer one 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 only 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 grave.

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 whatever 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 mist; though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him. --F. B. Meyer


July 17

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 easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.

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

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


July 18

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 who have 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, continue 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 the 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 irrespective 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. --Whitefield.


July 19

School of Suffering

"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11).

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 God. To 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 burden never 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 be 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 letters.

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 away 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.


July 20

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 help
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 very 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 after 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 thing. In every acceptable prayer the whole Trinity is concerned. --J. Angell James


July 21

Degrees of Faith

"Let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece" (Judges 6:39).

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 trust God without feelings. It is blessed to believe without having any emotion.

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 the 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.
--Selected


July 22

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. 30:18).

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 receive 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. --Andrew Murray


July 23

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 for 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 a blessing.

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. --Selected


July 24

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 were 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 God. God 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 believed."

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


July 25

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 spangles its 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 all at 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 every lowlier 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, behold it 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 Lebanon" was despoiled, in order that this jewel might have so noble a setting?

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 former!"

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 object 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."


July 26

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 hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence--that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane.

There is no patience so hard as that which endures, "as seeing him who is invisible"; it is the waiting for hope.

Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father's will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, "To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still." I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope. --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."


July 27

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 hosts 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 rooms are 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 embarrassed for 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 asked 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 can ask. --J. H. Jowett

"All the rivers of Thy grace I claim,
Over every promise write my name" (Eph. 1:8-19).


July 28

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 grass 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


July 29

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 rainbow, and every mountain a path of ascension and a scene of transfiguration.

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 time we 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."


July 30

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.
--Adelaide Proctor

Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think. --Longfellow


July 31

Skillful Guidance

"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 land 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

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