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Ever see a butterfly flutter by? John 3:7-8
Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
"The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick along side it."
-D. L. Moody
|He Has Overcome the World by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.|
|"None of these things move me" (Acts20:24).|
We read in the book of Samuel that the moment that David was crowned at Hebron, "All the Philistines came up to seek David." And the moment we get anything from the Lord worth contending for, then the devil comes to seek us.
When the enemy meets us at the threshold of any great work for God, let us accept it as "a token of salvation," and claim double blessing, victory, and power. Power is developed by resistance. The cannon carries twice as far because the exploding power has to find its way through resistance. The way electricity is produced in the powerhouse yonder is by the sharp friction of the revolving wheels. And so we shall find some day that even Satan has been one of God's agencies of blessing. --Days of Heaven upon Earth
A hero is not fed on sweets,
Daily his own heart he eats;
Chambers of the great are jails,
And head winds right for royal sails.--Emerson
Tribulation is the way to triumph. The valley-way opens into the highway. Tribulation's imprint is on all great things. Crowns are cast in crucibles. Chains of character that wind about the feet of God are forged in earthly flames. No man is greatest victor till he has trodden the winepress of woe. With seams of anguish deep in His brow, the "Man of Sorrows" said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation"--but after this sob comes the psalm of promise, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The footprints are traceable everywhere. Bloodmarks stain the steps that lead to thrones. Sears are the price of scepters. Our crowns will be wrested from the giants we conquer. Grief has always been the lot of greatness. It is an open secret.
"The mark of rank in nature.Tribulation has always marked the trail of the true reformer. It is the story of Paul, Luther, Savonarola, Knox, Wesley, and all the rest of the mighty army. They came through great tribulation to their place of power.
Is capacity for pain;
And the anguish of the singer
Makes the sweetest of the strain."
Every great book has been written with the author's blood. "These are they that have come out of great tribulation." Who was the peerless poet of the Greeks? Homer. But that illustrious singer was blind. Who wrote the fadeless dream of "Pilgrim's Progress"? A prince in royal purple upon a couch of ease? Nay! The trailing splendor of that vision gilded the dingy walls of old Bedford jail while John Bunyan, a princely prisoner, a glorious genius, made a faithful transcript of the scene.
Great is the facile conqueror;
Yet haply, he, who, wounded sore,
Breathless, all covered o'er with blood and sweat,
Sinks fainting, but fighting evermore
Is greater yet.--Selected
Spurgeon's Morning by Morning
"Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." --Psalm 73:24
The Psalmist felt his need of divine guidance. He had just been discovering the foolishness of his own heart, and lest he should be constantly led astray by it, he resolved that God's counsel should henceforth guide him. A sense of our own folly is a great step towards being wise, when it leads us to rely on the wisdom of the Lord. The blind man leans on his friend's arm and reaches home in safety, and so would we give ourselves up implicitly to divine guidance, nothing doubting; assured that though we cannot see, it is always safe to trust the All-seeing God. "Thou shalt," is a blessed expression of confidence. He was sure that the Lord would not decline the condescending task. There is a word for thee, O believer; rest thou in it. Be assured that thy God will be thy counsellor and friend; He shall guide thee; He will direct all thy ways. In His written Word thou hast this assurance in part fulfilled, for holy Scripture is His counsel to thee. Happy are we to have God's Word always to guide us! What were the mariner without his compass? And what were the Christian without the Bible? This is the unerring chart, the map in which every shoal is described, and all the channels from the quicksands of destruction to the haven of salvation mapped and marked by one who knows all the way. Blessed be Thou, O God, that we may trust Thee to guide us now, and guide us even to the end! After this guidance through life, the Psalmist anticipates a divine reception at last--"and afterward receive me to glory." What a thought for thee, believer! God Himself will receive thee to glory--thee! Wandering, erring, straying, yet He will bring thee safe at last to glory! This is thy portion; live on it this day, and if perplexities should surround thee, go in the strength of this text straight to the throne.
Spurgeon's Morning by Morning
"And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish." --John 10:28
The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust His love, His truth, His faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve Him by doubting His upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God's precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could He be true who has said, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee." What were the value of that promise--"The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Where were the truth of Christ's words--"I give unto My sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, His honour, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in Him, should nevertheless be cast away? Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt His Word wherein He has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.
"The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood."
|"Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it" (Num. 21:17).|
This was a strange song and a strange well. They had been traveling over the desert's barren sands, no water was in sight and they were famishing with thirst. Then God spake to Moses and said:
"Gather the people together, and I will give them water," and this is how it came.
They gathered in circles on the sands. They took their staves and dug deep down into the burning earthand as they dug, they sang,
"Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it," and lo, there came a gurgling sound, a rush of water and a flowing stream which filled the well and ran along the ground.
When they dug this well in the desert, they touched the stream that was running beneath, and reached the flowing tides that had long been out of sight.
How beautiful the picture given, telling us of the river of blessing that flows all through our lives, and we have only to reach by faith and praise to find our wants supplied in the most barren desert.
How did they reach the waters of this well? It was by praise. They sang upon the sand their song of faith, while with their staff of promise they dug the well.
Our praise will still open fountains in the desert, when murmuring will only bring us judgment, and even prayer may fail to reach the fountains of blessing.
There is nothing that pleases the Lord so much as praise. There is no test of faith so true as the grace of thanksgiving. Are you praising God enough? Are you thanking Him for your actual blessings that are more than can be numbered, and are you daring to praise Him even for those trials which are but blessings in disguise? Have you learned to praise Him in advance for the things that have not yet come? --Selected
"Thou waitest for deliverance!
O soul, thou waitest long!
Believe that now deliverance
Doth wait for thee in song!
"Sigh not until deliverance
Thy fettered feet doth free:
With songs of glad deliverance
God now doth compass thee."
Spurgeon's Morning by Morning
"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee." --Psalm 55:22
Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy He will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God's hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the "broken cistern" instead of to the "fountain;" a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God's lovingkindness, and thus our love to Him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him, and are "careful for nothing" because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him, and strengthen us against much temptation. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."
Classics: Streams in the Desert
The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert. This first edition was published in 1925 and the wording is preserved as originally written. Connotations of words may have changed over the years and are not meant to be offensive.
Seek the Lord by C. H. Spurgeon
|"He shall see His seed; He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."--Isaiah 53:10|
Plead for the speedy fulfillment of this promise, all ye who love the Lord. It is easy work to pray when we are grounded and bottomed, as to our desires, upon God's own promise. How can He that gave the word refuse to keep it? Immutable veracity cannot demean itself by a lie, and eternal faithfulness cannot degrade itself by neglect. God must bless His Son, His covenant binds Him to it. That which the Spirit prompts us to ask for Jesus, is that which God decrees to give Him. Whenever you are praying for the kingdom of Christ, let your eyes behold the dawning of the blessed day which draweth near, when the Crucified shall receive His coronation in the place where men rejected Him. Courage, you that prayerfully work and toil for Christ with success of the very smallest kind, it shall not be so always; better times are before you. Your eyes cannot see the blissful future: borrow the telescope of faith; wipe the misty breath of your doubts from the glass; look through it and behold the coming glory.
Reader, let us ask, do you make this your constant prayer? Remember that the same Christ who tells us to say, "Give us this day our daily bread," had first given us this petition, "Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." Let not your prayers be all concerning your own sins, your own wants, your own imperfections, your own trials, but let them climb the starry ladder, and get up to Christ Himself, and then, as you draw nigh to the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, offer this prayer continually, "Lord, extend the kingdom of Thy dear Son." Such a petition, fervently presented, will elevate the spirit of all your devotions. Mind that you prove the sincerity of your prayer by labouring to promote the Lord's glory.