Daily Streams

Active Faith

If thou canst believe, all things are possible. to him that believeth – Mark 9:23

Seldom have we heard a better definition of faith than was given once in one of our meetings, by a dear old colored woman, as she answered the question of a young man how to take the Lord for needed help.

In her characteristic way, pointing her finger toward him, she said with great emphasis: “You’ve just got to believe that He’s done it and it’s done.” The great danger with most of us is that, after we ask Him to do it, we do not believe that it is done, but we keep on helping Him, and getting others to help Him; and waiting to see how He is going to do it.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. Its language is, “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him; and he worketh.’ —Days of Heaven upon Earth

“I simply take Him at His word,

I praise Him that my prayer is heard,

And claim my answer from the Lord;

I take, He undertakes.”

An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it be not as yet performed; knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money.

—Matthew Henry

Passive faith accepts the word as true

But never moves.

Active faith begins the work to do,

And thereby proves.

Passive faith says, “I believe it! every word of God is true.

Well I know He hath not spoken what He cannot, will not, do.

He hath bidden me, ’Go forward!’ but a closed-up way I see,

When the waters are divided, soon in Canaan’s land I’ll be.

Lo! I hear His voice commanding, ’Rise and walk: take up thy bed’;

And, ’Stretch forth thy withered member!’ which for so long has been dead.

When I am a little stronger, then, I know I’ll surely stand:

When there comes a thrill of heating, I will use with ease My other hand.

Yes, I know that ’God is able’ and full willing all to do:

I believe that every promise, sometime, will to me come true.”

Active faith says, “I believe it! and the promise now I take,

Knowing well, as I receive it, God, each promise, real will make.

So I step into the waters, finding there an open way;

Onward press, the land possessing; nothing can my progress stay.

Yea, I rise at His commanding, walk straightway, and joyfully:

This, my hand, so sadly shrivelled, as I reach, restored shall be.

What beyond His faithful promise, would I wish or do I need?

Looking not for ’signs or wonders,’ I’ll no contradiction heed.

Well I know that ’God is able,’ and full willing all to do:

I believe that every promise, at this moment can come true.”

Passive faith but praises in the light,

When sun doth shine.

Active faith will praise in darkest night—

Which faith is thine?

—Selected

Daily Streams

Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more – Nah 1:12

There is a limit to affliction. God sends it, and removes it. Do you sigh and say, “When will the end be?” Let us quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh. Our Father takes away the rod when His design in using it is fully served.

If the affliction is sent for testing us, that our graces may glorify God, it will end when the Lord has made us bear witness to His praise.

We would not wish the affliction to depart until God has gotten out of us all the honor which we can possibly yield Him.

There may be today “a great calm.” Who knows how soon those raging billows will give place to a sea of glass, and the sea birds sit on the gentle waves?

After long tribulation, the flail is hung up, and the wheat rests in the garner. We may, before many hours are past, be just as happy as now we are sorrowful.

It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better farther on. Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation. —C. H. Spurgeon.

The great Husbandman is not always threshing. Trial is only for a season. The showers soon pass. Weeping may tarry only for the few hours of the short summer night; it must be gone at daybreak. Our light affliction is but for a moment. Trial is for a purpose, “If needs be.”

The very fact of trial proves that there is something in us very precious to our Lord; else He would not spend so much pains and time on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious ore of faith mingled in the rocky matrix of our nature; and it is to bring this out into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal.

Be patient, O sufferer! The result will more than compensate for all our trials, when we see how they wrought out the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To have one word of God’s commendation; to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so as to be better able to flash His glory on Himself—ah! that will more than repay for all. —Tried by Fire

As the weights of the clock, or the ballast in the vessel, are necessary for their right ordering, so is trouble in the soul-life. The sweetest scents are only obtained by tremendous pressure; the fairest flowers grow amid Alpine snow-solitudes; the fairest gems have suffered longest from the lapidary’s wheel; the noblest statues have borne most blows of the chisel. All, however, are under law. Nothing happens that has not been appointed with consummate care and foresight. —Daily Devotional Commentary

Daily Streams

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.

—Selected

Daily Streams

Hope ~vs~ Fear

Lo, I am with you all the appointed days – Matt 28:20

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear. Rather look at them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto; do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. —Frances do Sales

“The Lord is my shepherd.”

Not was, not may be, nor will be. “The Lord is my shepherd,” is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and, is in war; in abundance, and in penury. —J. Hudson Taylor

HE will silently plan for thee,

Object thou of omniscient care;

God Himself undertakes to be

Thy Pilot through each subtle snare.

 

He WILL silently plan for thee,

So certainly, He cannot fail!

Rest on the faithfulness of God,

In Him thou surely shalt prevail.

 

He will SILENTLY plan for thee

Some wonderful surprise of love.

Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,

But it is kept for thee above.

 

He will silently PLAN for thee,

His purposes shall all unfold;

The tangled skein shall shine at last,

A masterpiece of skill untold.

 

He will silently plan FOR THEE,

Happy child of a Father’s care,

As though no other claimed His love,

But thou alone to Him wert dear.

—E. Mary Grimes

 

Whatever our faith says God is, He will be.

Daily Streams

I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth – Isa 58:14

Those who fly through the air in airships tell us that one of the first rules they learn is to turn their ship toward the wind, and fly against it. The wind lifts the ship up to higher heights. Where did they learn that? They learned it from the birds. If a bird is flying for pleasure, it goes with the wind. But if the bird meets danger, it turns right around and faces the wind, in order that it may rise higher; and it flies away towards the very sun.

Sufferings are God’s winds, His contrary winds, sometimes His strong winds. They are God’s hurricanes, but, they take human life and lift it to higher levels and toward God’s heavens.

You have seen in the summer time a day when the atmosphere was so oppressive that you could hardly breathe? But a cloud appeared on the western horizon and that cloud grew larger and threw out rich blessing for the world. The storm rose, lightning flashed and thunder pealed. The storm covered the world, and the atmosphere was cleansed; new life was in the air, and the world was changed.

Human life is worked out according to exactly the same principle. When the storm breaks the atmosphere is changed, clarified, filled with new life; and a part of heaven is brought down to earth. —Selected

Obstacles ought to set us singing. The wind finds voice, not when rushing across the open sea, but when hindered by the outstretched arms of the pine trees, or broken by the fine strings of an Aeolian harp. Then it has songs of power and beauty. Set your freed soul sweeping across the obstacles of life, through grim forests of pain, against even the tiny hindrances and frets that love uses, and it, too, will find its singing voice. —Selected

“Be like a bird that, halting in its flight,

Rests on a bough too slight.

And feeling it give way beneath him sings,

Knowing he hath wings.”

Daily Streams

I am jealous over you with God’s own jealousy – 2 Cor 11:2

How an old harper dotes on his harp! How he fondles and caresses it, as a child resting on his bosom! His life is bound up in it. But, see him tuning it. He grasps it firmly, strikes a chord with a sharp, quick blow; and while it quivers as if in pain, he leans over intently to catch the first note that rises. The note, as he feared, is false and harsh. He strains the chord with the torturing thumb-screw; and though it seems ready to snap with the tension, he strikes it again, bending down to listen softly as before, till at length you see a smile on his face as the first true tone trembles upward.

So it may be that God is dealing with you. Loving you better than any harper loves his harp, He finds you a mass of jarring discords. He wrings your heartstrings with some torturing anguish; He bends over you tenderly, striking and listening; and, hearing only a harsh murmur, strikes you again, while His heart bleeds for you, anxiously waiting for that strain—“Not my will, but thine be done”—which is melody sweet to His ear as angels’ songs. Nor will He cease to strike until your chastened soul shall blend with all the pure and infinite harmonies of His own being. —Selected.

“Oh, the sweetness that dwells in a harp of many strings,

While each, all vocal with love in a tuneful harmony rings!

But, oh, the wail and the discord, when one and another is rent,

Tensionless, broken and lost, from the cherished instrument.

“For rapture of love is linked with the pain or fear of loss,

And the hand that takes the crown, must ache with many a cross;

Yet he who hath never a conflict, hath never a victor’s palm,

And only the toilers know the sweetness of rest and calm.

“Only between the storms can the Alpine traveller know

Transcendent glory of clearness, marvels of gleam and glow;

Had he the brightness unbroken of cloudless summer days,

This had been dimmed by the dust and the veil of a brooding haze.

“Who would dare the choice, neither or both to know,

The finest quiver of joy or the agony thrill of woe!

Never the exquisite pain, then never the exquisite bliss,

For the heart that is dull to that can never be strung to this.”

Daily Streams

Waiting and Over-waiting

I have begun to give;…begin to possess – Deut 2:31

A great deal is said in the Bible about waiting for God. The lesson cannot be too strongly enforced. We easily grow impatient of God’s delays. Much of our trouble in life comes out of our restless, sometimes reckless, haste. We cannot wait for the fruit to ripen, but insist on plucking it while it is green. We cannot wait for the answers to our prayers, although the things we ask for may require long years in their preparation for us. We are exhorted to walk with God; but ofttimes God walks very slowly. But there is another phase of the lesson. God often waits for us.

We fail many times to receive the blessing He has ready for us, because we do not go forward with Him. While we miss much good through not waiting for God, we also miss much through over-waiting. There are times when our strength is to sit still, but there are also times when we are to go forward with a firm step.

There are many Divine promises which are conditioned upon the beginning of some action on our part. When we begin to obey, God will begin to bless us. Great things were promised to Abraham, but not one of them could have been obtained by waiting in Chaldea. He must leave home, friends, and country, and go out into unknown paths and press on in unfaltering obedience in order to receive the promises. The ten lepers were told to show themselves to the priest, and “as they went they were cleansed.” If they had waited to see the cleansing come in their flesh before they would start, they would never have seen it. God was waiting to cleanse them; and the moment their faith began to work, the blessing came.

When the Israelites were shut in by a pursuing army at the Red Sea, they were commanded to “Go forward.” Their duty was no longer one of waiting, but of rising up from bended knees and going forward in the way of heroic faith. They were commanded to show their faith at another time by beginning their march over the Jordan while the river ran to its widest banks. The key to unlock the gate into the Land of Promise they held in their own hands, and the gate would not turn on its hinges until they had approached it and unlocked it. That key was faith. We are set to fight certain battles. We say we can never be victorious; that we never can conquer these enemies; but, as we enter the conflict, One comes and fights by our side, and through Him we are more than conquerors. If we had waited, trembling and fearing, for our Helper to come before we would join the battle, we should have waited in vain. This would have been the over-waiting of unbelief. God is waiting to pour richest blessings upon you. Press forward with bold confidence and take what is yours. “I have begun to give, begin to possess.” —J. R. Miller