Last Call: Weekly "Streams in the Desert" (17th-23rd)


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 This Weeks  

STREAMS IN THE DESERT

 



SUNDAY

MORNING

April 17


      Satan's Tools
      
      "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and, let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
      
      There are weights which are not sins in themselves, but which become distractions and stumbling blocks in our Christian progress. One of the worst of these is despondency. The heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.
      
      The failure of Israel to enter the land of promise began in murmuring, or, as the text in Numbers literally puts it, "as it were murmured." Just a faint desire to complain and be discontented. This led on until it blossomed and ripened into rebellion and ruin. Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or His love and faithfulness to us in everything and forever.
      
      We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin; and as we stand firm and refuse to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid and give us the faith of God and crown us with victory.
      
      It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, fretting, and wondering if God has forsaken us and if after all our hopes are to end in failure. Let us refuse to be discouraged. Let us refuse to be unhappy. Let us "count it all joy" when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real.--Selected
      
      The devil has two master tricks. One is to get us discouraged; then for a time at least we can be of no service to others, and so are defeated. The other is to make us doubt, thus breaking the faith link by which we are bound to our Father. Lookout! Do not be tricked either way.--G.E.M.
      
      Gladness! I like to cultivate the spirit of gladness! It puts the soul so in tune again, and keeps it in tune, so that Satan is shy of touching it--the chords of the soul become too warm, or too full of heavenly electricity, for his infernal fingers, and he goes off somewhere else! Satan is always very shy of meddling with me when my heart is full of gladness and joy in the Holy Ghost.
      
      My plan is to shun the spirit of sadness as I would Satan; but, alas! I am not always successful. Like the devil himself it meets me on the highway of usefulness, looks me so fully in my face, till my poor soul changes color!
      
      Sadness discolors everything; it leaves all objects charmless; it involves future prospects in darkness; it deprives the soul of all its aspirations, enchains all its powers, and produces a mental paralysis!
      
      An old believer remarked, that cheerfulness in religion makes all its services come off with delight; and that we are never carried forward so swiftly in the ways of duty as when borne on the wings of delight; adding, that Melancholy clips such wings; or, to alter the figure, takes off our chariot wheels in duty, and makes them, like those of the Egyptians, drag heavily.



 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY

MORNING

 APRIL 18 MORNING

April 18



      He Refines Them
      
      "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
      
      They were living to themselves; self with its hopes, and promises and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and had surrendered for it to be given them at any cost, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner and purifier of silver," until they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them it lacerated their hands.
      
      They had asked they knew not what, nor how, but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions. They were hardly willing to follow Him so far, or to draw so nigh to Him. They had upon them an awe and fear, as Jacob at Bethel, or Eliphaz in the night visions, or as the apostles when they thought that they had seen a spirit, and knew not that it was Jesus. They could almost pray Him to depart from them, or to hide His awfulness. They found it easier to obey than to suffer, to do than to give up, to bear the cross than to hang upon it. But they cannot go back, for they have come too near the unseen cross, and its virtues have pierced too deeply within them. He is fulfilling to them His promise, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).
      
      But now at last their turn has come. Before, they had only heard of the mystery, but now they feel it. He has fastened on them His look of love, as He did on Mary and Peter, and they can but choose to follow.
      
      Little by little, from time to time, by flitting gleams, the mystery of His cross shines out upon them. They behold Him lifted up, they gaze on the glory which rays from the wounds of His holy passion; and as they gaze they advance, and are changed into His likeness, and His name shines out through them, for He dwells in them. They live alone with Him above, in unspeakable fellowship; willing to lack what others own (and what they might have had), and to be unlike all, so that they are only like Him.
      
      Such, are they in all ages, "who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."
      
      Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His Kingdom. They would have had Lot's portion, not Abraham's. If they had halted anywhere--if God had taken off His hand and let them stray back--what would they not have lost? What forfeits in the resurrection? But He stayed them up, even against themselves. Many a time their foot had well nigh slipped; but He in mercy held them up. Now, even in this life, they know that all He did was done well. It was good to suffer here, that they might reign hereafter; to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above; and that not their will but His was done on them and in them. --Anonymous.


 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY

APRIL 19 MORNING

MORNING

April 19



      Delayed
      
      "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs; . . . they shall afflict them four hundred years; . . . and afterward they shall come out with great substance" (Gen. 15:12-14).
      
      An assured part of God's pledged blessing to us is delay and suffering. A delay in Abram's own lifetime that seemed to put God's pledge beyond fulfillment was followed by seemingly unendurable delay of Abram's descendants. But it was only a delay: they "came out with great substance." The pledge was redeemed.
      
      God is going to test me with delays; and with the delays will come suffering, but through it all stands God's pledge: His new covenant with me in Christ, and His inviolable promise of every lesser blessing that I need. The delay and the suffering are part of the promised blessing; let me praise Him for them today; and let me wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen my heart. --C. G. Trumbull
      
      Unanswered yet the prayer your lips have pleaded
      In agony of heart these many years?
      Does faith begin to fail? Is hope departing?
      And think you all in vain those falling tears?
      Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
      You shall have your desire sometime, somewhere.
      
      Unanswered yet? Nay do not say ungranted;
      Perhaps your work is not yet wholly done.
      The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
      And God will finish what He has begun.
      If you will keep the incense burning there,
      His glory you shall see sometime, somewhere.
      
      Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered,
      Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
      Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
      Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
      She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
      And cries, "It shall be done"--sometime, somewhere.
      --Miss Ophelia G. Browning


 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

APRIL 20 MORNING

April 20



      Impressions
      
      "The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them" (Num. 10:33).
      
      God does give us impressions, but not that we should act on them as impressions. If the impression be from God, He will Himself give sufficient evidence to establish it beyond the possibility of a doubt.
      
      How beautiful is the story of Jeremiah, of the impression that came to him respecting the purchase of the field of Anathoth. But Jeremiah did not act upon this impression until after the following day, when his uncle's son came to him and brought him external evidence by making a proposal for the purchase. Then Jeremiah said: "I knew this was the word of the Lord."
      
      He waited until God seconded the impression by a providence, and then he acted in full view of the open facts, which could bring conviction unto others as well as to himself. God wants us to act according to His mind. We are not to ignore the Shepherd's personal voice but, like Paul and his companions at Troas, we are to listen to all the voices that speak and "gather" from all the circumstances, as they did, the full mind of the Lord. --Dr. Simpson
      
      "Where God's finger points, there God's hand will make the way."
      
      Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need of action, and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art. --Selected
      
      "For God through ways we have not known, Will lead His own."

 



 

 

THURSDAY

MORNING


APRIL 21 MORNING


      Cushion of the Sea
      
      "And the peace of God, which transcends all our powers of thought, will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7) (Weymouth).
      
      There is what is called the "cushion of the sea." Down beneath the surface that is agitated by storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least, for hundreds and thousands of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance; and he who enters into the presence of God, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm.--Dr. A. T. Pierson
      
      When winds are raging o'er the upper ocean,
      And billows wild contend with angry roar,
      'Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion,
      That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.
      
      Far, far beneath, the noise of tempest dieth,
      And silver waves chime ever peacefully,
      And no rude storm, how fierce soe'er it flieth,
      Disturbs the Sabbath of that deeper sea.
      
      So to the heart that knows Thy love, O Purest,
      There is a temple sacred evermore,
      And all the babble of life's angry voices
      Dies in hushed silence at its peaceful door.
      
      Far, far away, the roar of passion dieth,
      And loving thoughts rise calm and peacefully,
      And no rude storm, how fierce soe'er it flieth,
      Disturbs the soul that dwells, O Lord, in Thee.
      --Harriet Beecher Stowe
      
      "The Pilgrim they laid in a large upper chamber, facing the sun-rising. The name of the chamber was Peace." --Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress

 

 

Job 23:11.Psa. 37:28. -Psa. 121:7.Heb. 10:38,39. -I John 2:19.John 8:31. -Matt. 24:13. -I Cor. 16:13. -Rev. 3:11. -Rev. 3:5. 

 



 

FRIDAY

MORNING

April 22


      Ready to Move
      
      "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor.5:1).
      
      The owner of the tenement which I have occupied for many years has given notice that he will furnish but little or nothing more for repairs. I am advised to be ready to move.
      
      At first this was not a very welcome notice. The surroundings here are in many respects very pleasant, and were it not for the evidence of decay, I should consider the house good enough. But even a light wind causes it to tremble and totter, and all the braces are not sufficient to make it secure. So I am getting ready to move.
      
      It is strange how quickly one's interest is transferred to the prospective home. I have been consulting maps of the new country and reading descriptions of its inhabitants. One who visited it has returned, and from him I learn that it is beautiful beyond description; language breaks down in attempting to tell of what he heard while there. He says that, in order to make an investment there, he has suffered the loss of all things that he owned here, and even rejoices in what others would call making a sacrifice. Another, whose love to me has been proven by the greatest possible test, is now there. He has sent me several clusters of the most delicious fruits. After tasting them, all food here seems insipid.
      
      Two or three times I have been down by the border of the river that forms the boundary, and have wished myself among the company of those who were singing praises to the King on the other side. Many of my friends have moved there. Before leaving they spoke of my coming later. I have seen the smile upon their faces as they passed out of sight. Often I am asked to make some new investments here, but my answer in every case is, "I am getting ready to move." --Selected
      
      The words often on Jesus' lips in His last days express vividly the idea, "going to the Father." We, too, who are Christ's people, have vision of something beyond the difficulties and disappointments of this life. We are journeying towards fulfillment, completion, expansion of life. We, too, are "going to the Father." Much is dim concerning our home-country, but two things are clear. It is home, "the Father's House." It is the nearer presence of the Lord. We are all wayfarers, but the believer knows it and accepts it. He is a traveller, not a settler. --R. C. Gillie
      
      The little birds trust God, for they go singing
      From northern woods where autumn winds have blown,
      With joyous faith their trackless pathway winging
      To summer-lands of song, afar, unknown.
      
      Let us go singing, then, and not go sighing:
      Since we are sure our times are in His hand,
      Why should we weep, and fear, and call it dying?
      'Tis only flitting to a Summer-land.
      --Selected

 

 

SATURDAY

MORNING

April 23



      Not of the Extraordinary
      
      "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside, of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush" (Exod. 3:1,2).
      
      The vision came in the midst of common toil, and that is where the Lord delights to give His revelations. He seeks a man who is on the ordinary road, and the Divine fire leaps out at his feet. The mystic ladder can rise from the market place to Heaven. It can connect the realm of drudgery with the realms of grace.
      
      My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be transfigured by Thy presence.
      
      Some Christians think they must be always up to mounts of extraordinary joy and revelation; this is not after God's method. Those spiritual visits to high places, and that wonderful intercourse with the unseen world, are not in the promises; the daily life of communion is. And it is enough. We shall have the exceptional revelation if it be right for us.
      
      There were but three disciples allowed to see the transfiguration, and those three entered the gloom of Gethsemane. No one can stay on the mount of privilege. There are duties in the valley. Christ found His life-work, not in the glory, but in the valley and was there truly and fully the Messiah. The value of the vision and glory is but their gift of fitness for work and endurance. --Selected

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