Pathway in the Sea

Ever see a butterfly flutter by? John 3:7-8

Psalm 77:19

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

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Getting Along

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

I love being with people . . . most of the time. There is a special joy that resonates in our hearts when we are with people we enjoy. But unfortunately we are not always with those we like to be around. Sometimes people can be prickly, which may be why someone has said, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog!” When we don’t find joy in a relationship, we tend to blame the other person; then we excuse ourselves as we exit to be with people we like.
The apostle Paul asks us to lovingly engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, he calls all of us to be “of one accord,” to look out “for the interests of others,” and to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:2-5). Think about it. Jesus gave up His own prerogatives and privileges for us; He chose to live as a servant and paid the ultimate sacrifice that He might bring us into a joy-filled relationship with Him (see Heb. 12:2). And He did all that in spite of our prickliness (see Rom. 5:8).
So next time you are with someone who is not easy to get along with, ask Jesus to help you find a way to extend His love. In time, you might be surprised by how God can change your attitude about people.
Lord, thank You that while I was still offensive to You,
You saved me with Your sacrificial love. Give me the
same courage and grace to extend to others the love
that You have so graciously extended to me.
The key to getting along with others
is having the mind of Christ.

Classics: Streams in the Desert
Gentle Leading by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.
"I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure"(Gen. 33:14).
What a beautiful picture of Jacob's thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, "I will lead on softly." "For ye have not passed this way heretofore" (Josh.3:4.).
We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through--Jesus has gone through it all before us. "He was wearied with his journey." Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. "He knoweth our frame; heremembereth that we are dust." Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all. --Frances Ridley Havergal
In "pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He
Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there. 


Classics: Joy and Strength
The Divine Shepherd Hears His Sheep by Mary Wilder Tileston
He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee. 
ISAIAH 30:19
THAT Was the Shepherd of the flock; He knew
The distant voice of one poor sheep astray;
It had forsaken Him, but He was true,
And listened for its bleating night and day.
And thou, fallen soul, afraid to live or die
In the deep pit that will not set thee free,
Lift up to Him the helpless homeward cry,
For all that tender love is seeking thee.
OUR Divine Shepherd followed after His lost sheep for three and thirty years, in a way so painful and so thorny that He spilt His heart's blood and left His life there. The poor sheep now follows Him through obedience to His commands, or through a desire (though at times but faint) to obey Him, calling upon Him and beseeching Him earnestly for help; is it possible that He should now refuse to turn upon it His life-giving look? Will He not give ear to it, and lay it upon His divine shoulders, rejoicing over it with all His friends and with the angels of Heaven? For if our Lord ceased not to search most diligently and lovingly for the blind and deaf sinner, the lost drachma of the Gospel, till He found it, how is it possible that He should abandon him who, as a lost sheep, cries and calls upon his Shepherd?
Classics: Morning and Evening
He Knows Us by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
"And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him."
--Genesis 42:8This morning our desires went forth for growth in our acquaintance with the Lord Jesus; it may be well to-night to consider a kindred topic, namely, our heavenly Joseph's knowledge of us. This was most blessedly perfect long before we had the slightest knowledge of Him. "His eyes beheld our substance, yet being imperfect, and in His book all our members were written, when as yet there was none of them." Before we had a being in the world we had a being in His heart. When we were enemies to Him, He knew us, our misery, our madness, and our wickedness. When we wept bitterly in despairing repentance, and viewed Him only as a judge and a ruler, He viewed us as His brethren well beloved, and His bowels yearned towards us. He never mistook His chosen, but always beheld them as objects of His infinite affection. "The Lord knoweth them that are His," is as true of the prodigals who are feeding swine as of the children who sit at the table.
But, alas! we knew not our royal Brother, and out of this ignorance grew a host of sins. We withheld our hearts from Him, and allowed Him no entrance to our love. We mistrusted Him, and gave no credit to His words. We rebelled against Him, and paid Him no loving homage. The Sun of Righteousness shone forth, and we could not see Him. Heaven came down to earth, and earth perceived it not. Let God be praised, those days are over with us; yet even now it is but little that we know of Jesus compared with what He knows of us. We have but begun to study Him, but He knoweth us altogether. It is a blessed circumstance that the ignorance is not on His side, for then it would be a hopeless case for us. He will not say to us, "I never knew you," but He will confess our names in the day of His appearing, and meanwhile will manifest Himself to us as He doth not unto the world.

Today's Devotions

January 3

Genesis 1:3-4 (NIV) 3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

In the beginning God... and the Spirit of God... and God said (the Word of God). Right in the first three verses we have God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. We can understand the eternal Godhead by what we see in creation. Wherever the light goes, the darkness flees. God has always had an illustration of those which are His, separated from the darkness. Ephesians 5:8 (NIV) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. The Scriptures call us children of the light, of the day and not of the night. Those who love truth come to the light. They come so that the darkness in them will flee and every space will be filled with light. Is every area of your life open to the Light? Do you readily come to the Light to be sure that there is no darkness in you? Allow the Lord access to every area of your life so that you may be full of light.
We are in the world but not of the world. If we are filled with light, we should be causing the darkness around us to flee, not being overcome by the darkness. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21 KJV)
Meditation: Is every area of my heart open to the Light?

January 3

Hosea 10:4, 12-13 (NIV) 4They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
12Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. 13But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors...

Israel's sins are the sins of mankind. It doesn't matter which culture you are a part of, or what type of government you have, the experience of Israel is applicable to your situation. The nation had a revelation of God, but they refused to walk in the light of that revelation. Man tries to swindle man for personal gain or pleasure, and so, the legal systems of man are overwhelmed. There is the misuse of the legal systems to gain what is not ours. What a great description of lawsuits, "poisonous weeds in a plowed field"!
We should be deeply plowing the hard soil of our hearts so that they will be receptive soil for the seeds of righteousness. Then we would reap the wonderful fruit of unfailing love. If we would only seek the LORD until he comes and showers righteousness on us! That sounds like "praying through" to me. It is setting everything else aside and refusing to go on until God comes with His healing touch on your soul. "Showers of righteousness" sound so refreshing!
But instead, Hosea saw the planting of wickedness and the reaping of evil. The fruit of their efforts was not unfailing love, but deception. They had deceived themselves into thinking their strength and their warriors could save them. The path without God can only end in destruction.
Consider: What are you sowing? What are you depending on today? Seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness upon you. You will reap unfailing love!

Spurgeon's Morning by Morning
January 3

"I will give thee for a covenant of the people." --Isaiah 49:8

Jesus Christ is Himself the sum and substance of the covenant, and as one of its gifts, He is the property of every believer. Believer, canst thou estimate what thou hast gotten in Christ? "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Consider that word "God" and its infinity, and then meditate upon "perfect man" and all his beauty; for all that Christ, as God and man, ever had, or can have, is thine--out of pure free favour, passed over to thee to be thine entailed property forever. Our blessed Jesus, as God, is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Will it not console you to know that all these great and glorious attributes are altogether yours? Has he power? That power is yours to support and strengthen you, to overcome your enemies, and to preserve you even to the end. Has He love? Well, there is not a drop of love in His heart which is not yours; you may dive into the immense ocean of His love, and you may say of it all, "It is mine." Hath He justice? It may seem a stern attribute, but even that is yours, for He will by His justice see to it that all which is promised to you in the covenant of grace shall be most certainly secured to you. And all that He has asperfect man is yours. As a perfect man the Father's delight was upon Him. He stood accepted by the Most High. O believer, God's acceptance of Christ is thine acceptance; for knowest thou not that the love which the Father set on a perfect Christ, He sets on thee now? For all that Christ did is thine. That perfect righteousness which Jesus wrought out, when through His stainless life He kept the law and made it honourable, is thine, and is imputed to thee. Christ is in the covenant.
     "My God, I am thine--what a comfort divine!

     What a blessing to know that the Saviour is mine!

     In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am,

     And my heart it doth dance at the sound of His name."

Spurgeon's Evening by Evening
January 3

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." --Luke 3:4

The voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord, a way prepared, and a way prepared in the wilderness. I would be attentive to the Master's proclamation, and give Him a road into my heart, cast up by gracious operations, through the desert of my nature. The four directions in the text must have my serious attention.

Every valley must be exalted. Low and grovelling thoughts of God must be given up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken. Across these deep valleys a glorious causeway of grace must be raised.

Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud creature- sufficiency, and boastful self-righteousness, must be levelled, to make a highway for the King of kings. Divine fellowship is never vouchsafed to haughty, highminded sinners. The Lord hath respect unto the lowly, and visits the contrite in heart, but the lofty are an abomination unto Him. My soul, beseech the Holy Spirit to set thee right in this respect.

The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have a straight path of decision for God and holiness marked out for it. Double-minded men are strangers to the God of truth. My soul, take heed that thou be in all things honest and true, as in the sight of the heart-searching God.

The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling-blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when He comes to honour His favoured ones with His company. Oh that this evening the Lord may find in my heart a highway made ready by His grace, that He may make a triumphal progress through the utmost bounds of my soul, from the beginning of this year even to the end of it.
Spurgeon's Morning by Morning
January 11

"These have no root." --Luke 8:13

My soul, examine thyself this morning by the light of this text. Thou hast received the word with joy; thy feelings have been stirred and a lively impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another; superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively impression of the word is not always a lasting one. In the parable, the seed in one case fell upon ground having a rocky bottom, covered over with a thin layer of earth; when the seed began to take root, its downward growth was hindered by the hard stone and therefore it spent its strength in pushing its green shoot aloft as high as it could, but having no inward moisture derived from root nourishment, it withered away. Is this my case? Have I been making a fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life? Good growth takes place upwards and downwards at the same time. Am I rooted in sincere fidelity and love to Jesus? If my heart remains unsoftened and unfertilized by grace, the good seed may germinate for a season, but it must ultimately wither, for it cannot flourish on a rocky, unbroken, unsanctified heart. Let me dread a godliness as rapid in growth and as wanting in endurance as Jonah's gourd; let me count the cost of being a follower of Jesus, above all let me feel the energy of His Holy Spirit, and then I shall possess an abiding and enduring seed in my soul. If my mind remains as obdurate as it was by nature, the sun of trial will scorch, and my hard heart will help to cast the heat the more terribly upon the ill-covered seed, and my religion will soon die, and my despair will be terrible; therefore, O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and then cast the truth into me, and let me yield Thee a bounteous harvest.

Spurgeon's Evening by Evening
January 11

"I have prayed for thee." --Luke 22:32

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer's never- ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we arenot praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter--"Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but"--what? "But go and pray for yourself." That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does he say, "But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved." That were a great blessing. No, it is, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." We little know what we owe to our Saviour's prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon His breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Mark, He does not say, "Satan hath desired to have you." He checks Satan even in his very desire, and nips it in the bud. He does not say, "But I have desired to pray for you." No, but "I have prayed for you: I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made." O Jesus, what a comfort it is that thou hast pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; countermined their mines, and unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.

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