Streams in The Desert

Attitude of Trust

And it came to pass, before he had done speaking…and he said, Blessed be Jehovah…who hath not forsaken his lovingkindness and his truth

~ Gen 24:15,27

Every right prayer is answered before the prayer itself is finished—before we have “done speaking.” This is because God has pledged His Word to us that whatsoever we ask in Christ’s name (that is, in oneness with Christ and His will) and in faith, shall be done.

As God’s Word cannot fail, whenever we meet those simple conditions in prayer, the answer to our prayer has been granted and completed in Heaven as we pray, even though its showing forth on earth may not occur until long afterward.

So it is well to close every prayer with praise to God for the answer that He has already granted; He who never forsakes His loving-kindness and His truth. (See Daniel 9:20-27 and 10:12.)

~ Messages for the Morning Watch

When we believe for a blessing, we must take the attitude of faith, and begin to act and pray as if we had the blessing. We must treat God as if He had given us our request. We must lean our weight over upon Him for the thing that we have claimed, and just take it for granted that He gives it, and is going to continue to give it. This is the attitude of trust.

When the wife is married, she at once falls into a new attitude, and acts in accordance with the fact; and so when we take Christ as our Savior, as our Sanctifier, as our Healer, or as our Deliverer, He expects us to fall into the attitude of recognizing Him in the capacity that we have claimed, and expect Him to be to us all that we have trusted Him for.

~ Selected

“The thing I ask when God doth bid me pray,
Begins in that same act to come my way.”

Streams in The Desert

I had fainted unless…!

Lie Still and Trust

~ Ps 27:13

“FAINT NOT!”

How great is the temptation at this point! How the soul sinks, the heart grows sick, and the faith staggers under the keen trials and testings which come into our lives in times of special bereavement and suffering.

“I cannot bear up any longer, I am fainting under this providence. What shall I do? God tells me not to faint. But what can one do when he is fainting?”

What do you do when you are about to faint physically? You cannot do anything. You cease from your own doings. In your faintness, you fall upon the shoulder of some strong loved one. You lean hard. You rest. You lie still and trust.

It is so when we are tempted to faint under affliction. God’s message to us is not, “Be strong and of good courage,” for He knows our strength and courage have fled away. But it is that sweet word, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Hudson Taylor was so feeble in the closing months of his life that he wrote a dear friend: “I am so weak I cannot write; I cannot read my Bible; I cannot even pray. I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust.”

This wondrous man of God with all his spiritual power came to a place of physical suffering and weakness where he could only lie still and trust.

And that is all God asks of you, His dear child, when you grow faint in the fierce fires of affliction. Do not try to be strong. Just be still and know that He is God, and will sustain you, and bring you through.

“God keeps His choicest cordials for our deepest faintings.”

“Stay firm and let thine heart take courage” (Psa. 27:14, After Osterwald).

Stay firm, He has not failed thee
In all the past,
And will He go and leave thee
To sink at last?
Nay, He said He will hide thee
Beneath His wing;
And sweetly there in safety
Thou mayest sing.
~ Selected

Streams in The Desert

Fresh Touch with God

And the ill favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kine…and the thin, ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears

~ Gen 41:4,7

There is a warning for us in that dream, just as it stands: It is possible for the best years of our life, the best experiences, the best victories won, the best service rendered, to be swallowed up by times of failure, defeat, dishonor, uselessness in the kingdom. Some men’s lives of rare promise and rare achievement have ended so. It is awful to think of, but it is true. Yet it is never necessary.

S. D. Gordon has said that the only assurance of safety against this tragedy is “fresh touch with God,” daily, hourly. The blessed, fruitful, victorious experiences of yesterday are not only of no value to me today, but they will actually be eaten up or reversed by today’s failures, unless they serve as incentives to still better, richer experiences today.

“Fresh touch with God,” by abiding in Christ, alone will keep the lean kine and the ill favored grain out of my life.

~ Messages for the Morning Watch

Streams in The Desert

Victorious Living is Possible

Nothing shall be impossible unto you.

~ Matt 17:20

It is possible, for those who really are willing to reckon on the power of the Lord for keeping and victory, to lead a life in which His promises are taken as they stand and are found to be true.

It is possible to cast all our care upon Him daily and to enjoy deep peace in doing it.

It is possible to have the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts purified, in the deepest meaning of the word.

It is possible to see the will of God in everything, and to receive it, not with sighing, but with singing.

It is possible by taking complete refuge in Divine power to become strong through and through; and, where previously our greatest weakness lay, to find that things which formerly upset all our resolves to be patient, or pure, or humble, furnish today an opportunity through Him who loved us, and works in us an agreement with His will and a blessed sense of His presence and His power to make sin powerless over us.

These things are DIVINE POSSIBILITIES, and because they are His work, the true experience of them will always cause us to bow lower at His feet and to learn to thirst and long for more.

We cannot possibly be satisfied with anything less each day, each hour, each moment, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit than to WALK WITH GOD. 

~ H. C. G. Moule

We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank, and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor? Whose fault is it that Christian people generally have such scanty portions of the free riches of God?

~ McLaren

Streams in The Desert

The Father’s Hand

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

Streams in The Desert

Quietness

He giveth quietness. – Job 34:29

Quietness amid the dash of the storm. We sail the lake with Him still; and as we reach its middle waters, far from land, under midnight skies, suddenly a great storm sweeps down. Earth and hell seem arrayed against us, and each billow threatens to overwhelm. Then He arises from His sleep, and rebukes the winds and the waves; His hand waves benediction and repose over the rage of the tempestuous elements. His voice is heard above the scream of the wind in the cordage and the conflict of the billows, “Peace, be still!” Can you not hear it? And there is instantly a great calm. “He giveth quietness.” Quietness amid the loss of inward consolations. He sometimes withdraws these, because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joy, our ecstasies, our transports, or our visions, with too great complacency. Then love for love’s sake, withdraws them. But, by His grace, He leads us to distinguish between them and Himself. He draws nigh, and whispers the assurance of His presence. Thus an infinite calm comes to keep our heart and mind. “He giveth quietness.”

“He giveth quietness.” O Elder Brother,  
Whose homeless feet have pressed our path of pain,  
Whose hands have borne the burden of our sorrow,  
That in our losses we might find our gain.  

“Of all Thy gifts and infinite consolings,  
I ask but this: in every troubled hour  
To hear Thy voice through all the tumults stealing,  
And rest serene beneath its tranquil power.  

“Cares cannot fret me if my soul be dwelling  
In the still air of faith’s untroubled day;  
Grief cannot shake me if I walk beside thee,  
My hand in Thine along the darkening way.  

“Content to know there comes a radiant morning  
When from all shadows I shall find release,  
Serene to wait the rapture of its dawning—  
Who can make trouble when Thou sendest peace?”

Streams in The Desert

Hedged In

Reckon it nothing but joy…whenever you find yourself hedged in by the various trials, be assured that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance.

~ Jas 1:2-3

God hedges in His own that He may preserve them, but oftentimes they only see the wrong side of the hedge, and so misunderstand His dealings. It was so with Job (Job 3:23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! See his testimony in chapter 1:10. Through the leaves of every trial there are chinks of light to shine through. Thorns do not prick you unless you lean against them, and not one touches without His knowledge. The words that hurt you, the letter which gave you pain, the cruel wound of your dearest friend, shortness of money—are all known to Him, who sympathizes as none else can and watches to see, if, through all, you will dare to trust Him wholly.

“The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,  
Looks very fierce and bare  
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding  
Its thorns that would wound and tear.  

“But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,  
Each twig breaks out in green;  
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,  
Where spines alone were seen,  

“The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,  
Are mercies kindly sent  
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,  
And greater ills prevent.  

“To save us from the pit, no screen of roses  
Would serve for our defense,  
The hindrance that completely interposes  
Stings back like thorny fence.  

“At first when smarting from the shock, complaining  
Of wounds that freely bleed,  
God’s hedges of severity us paining,  
May seem severe indeed.  

“But afterwards, God’s blessed spring-time cometh,  
And bitter murmurs cease;  
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,  
And yields the fruits of peace.  

“Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending  
Life’s hidden snares among,  
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;  
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.”

Streams in The Desert

His soul entered into iron

~ Ps 105:18

Turn that about and render it in our language, and it reads thus, “Iron entered his soul.” Is there not a truth in this? That sorrow and privation, the yoke borne in the youth, the soul’s enforced restraint, are all conducive to an iron tenacity and strength of purpose, and endurance or fortitude, which are the indispensable foundation and framework of a noble character.

Do not flinch from suffering; bear it silently, patiently, resignedly; and be sure that it is God’s way of infusing iron into your spiritual life. The world wants iron dukes, iron battalions, iron sinews, and thews of steel. God wants iron saints; and since there is no way of imparting iron to the moral nature but by letting people suffer, He lets them suffer.

Are the best years of your life slipping away in enforced monotony? Are you beset by opposition, misunderstanding, and scorn, as the thick undergrowth besets the passage of the woodsman pioneer? Then take heart; the time is not wasted; God is only putting you through the iron regimen. The iron crown of suffering precedes the golden crown of glory. And iron is entering into your soul to make it strong and brave. ~ F. B. Meyer

“But you will not mind the roughness nor the steepness of the way,  
Nor the chill, unrested morning, nor the searness of the day;  
And you will not take a turning to the left or the right,  
But go straight ahead, nor tremble at the coming of the night,  
For the road leads home.”

Streams in The Desert

Show Love

Put on as the elect of God, kindness 

~ Col 3:12

There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those who came after him.

People called him eccentric, queer, and cranky; but the old man went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty, and oiled the hard places he found.

There are many lives that creak and grate harshly as they live day by day. Nothing goes right with them. They need lubricating with the oil of gladness, gentleness, or thoughtfulness. Have you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. It may lubricate the whole day for him. The oil, of good cheer to the downhearted one Oh, how much it may mean! The word of courage to the despairing. Speak it.

Our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life; and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again, The oil of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off of many a sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable and ready for the redeeming grace of the Saviour.

A word spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad heart. Therefore, “Give others the sunshine, tell Jesus the rest.”

“We cannot know the grief  
That men may borrow;  
We cannot see the souls  
Storm-swept by sorrow;  
But love can shine upon the way  
Today, tomorrow;  
Let us be kind.  
Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are  
broken,  
We live in vain who give no tender token.  
Let us be kind.”

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love” (Rom. 12:10).

Streams in The Desert

Come Close to Him

He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray, and as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering … they saw his glory

~ Luke 9:29,32

If I have found grace in thy sight, show me thy glory

~ Exod 33:13

When Jesus took these three disciples up into that high mountain apart, He brought them into close communion with Himself. They saw no man but Jesus only; and it was good to be there. Heaven is not far from those who tarry on the mount with their Lord.

Who has not in moments of meditation and prayer caught a glimpse of opening gates? Who has not in the secret place of holy communion felt the rush of some white surging wave of emotion—a foretaste of the joy of the blessed?

The Master had times and places for quiet converse with His disciples, once on the peak of Hermon, but oftener on the sacred slopes of Olivet. Every Christian should have his Olivet. Most of us, especially in the cities and towns, live at hig h pressure. From early morning until bedtime we are exposed to the whirl. Amid all this maelstrom how little chance for quiet thought, for God’s Word, for prayer and heart fellowship!

Daniel needed to have an Olivet in his chamber amid Babylon’s roar and idolatries. Peter found his on a housetop in Joppa; and Martin Luther found his in the “upper room” at Wittenberg, which is still held sacred.

Dr. Joseph Parker once said: “If we do not get back to visions, peeps into heaven, consciousness of the higher glory and the larger life, we shall lose our religion; our altar will become a bare stone, unblessed by visitant from Heaven.” Here is the world’s need today—men who have seen their Lord.

~ The Lost Art of Meditation

Come close to Him! He may take you today up into the mountain top, for where He took Peter with his blundering, and James and John, those sons of thunder who again and again so utterly misunderstood their Master and His mission, there is no reason why He should not take you. So don’t shut yourself out of it and say, “Ah, these wonderful visions and revelations of the Lord are for choice spirits!” They may be for you!

~ John McNeill