Pathway in the Sea
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
Sunday, February 12, 2012
February 12, 2012 — by Philip Yancey
Read: Romans 11:26-36
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways. —Isaiah 55:9
The apostle Paul had one overriding desire: that fellow Jews would embrace the Messiah he had encountered. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart,” he said. “For I could wish that I myself were . . . cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers” (Rom. 9:2-3 NIV). Yet in city after city his fellow Jews rejected him and the Christ he preached.
In his most elegant letter, Paul set as his centerpiece (Rom. 9–11) a passionate passage in which he struggled openly with this great unanswered prayer of his life. He acknowledged one important side benefit of this distressing development: The Jews’ rejection of Jesus led to His acceptance by the Gentiles. Paul concluded that God hadn’t rejected the Jews; to the contrary, they had the same opportunity as Gentiles. God had widened, not closed, the embrace of humanity.
Paul’s prose began to soar as he stepped back to consider the big picture. And then came this burst of doxology:
Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments
and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11:33).
The unsolved mysteries and unanswered prayers all fade to gray against the panorama of God’s plan for the ages.
In the end, unanswered prayer brings me face to face with the mystery that silenced Paul: the profound difference between my perspective and God’s.
Prayer imparts the power to walk and not faint. —Chambers
Classics: Streams in the Desert
The Father's Hand by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.
"Your heavenly Father knoweth" (Matt. 6:32).
A visitor at a school for the deaf and dumb was writing questions on the blackboard for the children. By and by he wrote this sentence: "Why has God made me to hear and speak, and made you deaf and dumb?"
The awful sentence fell upon the little ones like a fierce blow in the face. They sat palsied before that dreadful "Why?" And then a little girl arose.
Her lip was trembling. Her eyes were swimming with tears. Straight to the board she walked, and, picking up the crayon, wrote with firm hand these precious words: "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight!" What a reply! It reaches up and lays hold of an eternal truth upon which the maturest believer as well as the youngest child of God may alike securely rest--the truth that God is your Father.
Do you mean that? Do you really and fully believe that? When you do, then your dove of faith will no longer wander in weary unrest, but will settle down forever in its eternal resting place of peace. "Your Father!"
I can still believe that a day comes for all of us, however far off it may be, when we shall understand; when these tragedies, that now blacken and darken the very air of heaven for us, will sink into their places in a scheme so august, so magnificent, so joyful, that we shall laugh for wonder and delight. --Arthur Christopher Bacon
No chance hath brought this ill to me;
'Tis God's own hand, so let it be,
He seeth what I cannot see.
There is a need-be for each pain,
And He one day will make it plain
That earthly loss is heavenly gain.
Like as a piece of tapestry
Viewed from the back appears to be
Naught but threads tangled hopelessly;
But in the front a picture fair
Rewards the worker for his care,
Proving his skill and patience rare.
Thou art the Workman, I the frame.
Lord, for the glory of Thy Name,
Perfect Thine image on the same.
Classics: Joy and Strength
Obeying the Truth by Mary Wilder Tileston
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.
1 PETER 1:22
THY wonderful grand will, my God!
Triumphantly I make it mine;
And faith shall breathe her glad "Amen"
To every dear command of Thine.
JEAN SOPHIA PIGOTT
YOU little think how much the life of all your graces depends upon your ready and cordial obedience to the Spirit. When the Spirit urgeth thee to secret prayer, and thou refusest obedience; when He forbids thee a known transgression, and yet thou wilt go on; when He telleth thee which is the way, and which not, and thou wilt not regard,--no wonder if heaven and thy soul be strange.
Whatever the particular call is, the particular sacrifice God asks you to make, the particular cross He wishes you to embrace, whatever the particular path He wants you to tread, will you rise up, and say in your heart, "Yes, Lord, I accept it; I submit, I yield, I pledge myself to walk in that path, and to follow that Voice, and to trust Thee with the consequences"? Oh! but you say, "I don't know what He will want next." No, we none of us know that, but we know we shall be safe in His hands.
Classics: Morning and Evening
Free From Guilt by C.H. Spurgeon
"There is therefore now no condemnation."
Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman, thy Saviour's blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a right now to approach thy Father's throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou wast once unable to see thy Father's face: thou canst see it now. Thou couldst not speak with Him: but now thou hast access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless? He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now thou art justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept it for thee. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all His merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through Him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour!
"A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offerings to bring:
The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view."