A Very Present Help – Streams in the Desert 01/23

“Why standest thou afar off, O Lord?” (Psalm 10:1.)
God is “a very present help in trouble.” But He permits trouble to pursue us, as though He were indifferent to its overwhelming pressure, that we may be brought to the end of ourselves, and led to discover the treasure of darkness, the immeasurable gains of tribulation. We may be sure that He who permits the suffering is with us in it. It may be that we shall see Him only when the trial is passing; but we must dare to believe that He never leaves the crucible. Our eyes are holden; and we cannot behold Him whom our soul loveth. It is dark–the bandages blind us so that we cannot see the form of our High Priest; but He is there, deeply touched. Let us not rely on feeling, but on faith in His unswerving fidelity; and though we see Him not, let us talk to Him. Directly we begin to speak to Jesus, as being literally present, though His presence is veiled, there comes an answering voice which shows that He is in the shadow, keeping watch upon His own. Your Father is as near when you journey through the dark tunnel as when under the open heaven! –Daily Devotional Commentary

“What though the path be all unknown?
What though the way be drear?
Its shades I traverse not alone
When steps of Thine are near.”

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Be Patient My child! by Magdalene Klinksiek Jenkins

He has not answered my prayer yet
Instead He gives me a song.
He has not told me when help will come
But He is with me all the day long.
I asked – I cried – “O Lord do you hear?
I know you are there, I know you are near.
His answer was: “Be patient my child,
My time has not come, be still and abide
The testing is hard. I have mo own way
Be patient, my child, be patient and pray.”

This is what I thought.
But then He made clear:
He is still at work, I need not fear.
His pow’r has no limit, His mercy no end
When I leave my prayer in His bountiful hand.

I know He answers my prayer yet,
And He will give me a song.
I know from where my help will come
For He is with me all the day long.

 

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Be Not Weary by Frances Ridley Havergal

Yes! He knows the way is dreary,
Knows the weakness of our frame,
Knows that hand and heart are weary;
He, ‘in all points,’ felt the same.
He is near to help and bless;
Be not weary, onward press.Look to Him who once was willing
All His glory to resign,
That, for thee the law fulfilling,
All His merit might be thine.
Strive to follow day by day
Where His footsteps mark the way.

Look to Him, the Lord of Glory,
Tasting death to win thy life;
Gazing on ‘that wondrous story,’
Canst thou falter in the strife?
Is it not new life to know
That the Lord hath loved thee so?

Look to Him who ever liveth,
Interceding for His own:
Seek, yea, claim the grace He giveth
Freely from His priestly throne.
Will He not thy strength renew
With His Spirit’s quickening dew?

Look to Him, and faith shall brighten,
Hope shall soar, and love shall burn;
Peace once more thy heart shall lighten;
Rise! He calleth thee, return!
Be not weary on thy way
Jesus is thy strength and stay.

 

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Music and the Rest – Streams in the Desert 01/22

“Into a desert place apart” (Matt. 14:13).
“There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it.” In our whole lifemelody the music is broken off here and there by “rests,” and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. God sends a time of forced leisure, sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts, and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives; and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the
“rest”? See him beat the time with unvarying count, and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between.
Not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the “rests.” They are not to be slurred over, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear. If we sadly say to ourselves, “There is no music in a ‘rest,'” let us not forget “there is the making of music in it.” The making of music is often a slow and painful process in this life. How patiently God works to teach us! How long He waits for us to learn the lesson! –Ruskin

“Called aside–From the glad working of thy busy life,
From the world’s ceaseless stir of care and strife,
Into the shade and stillness by thy Heavenly Guide
For a brief space thou hast been called aside.
“Called aside–Perhaps into a desert garden dim;
And yet not alone, when thou hast been with Him,
And heard His voice in sweetest accents say:
‘Child, wilt thou not with Me this still hour stay?’
“Called aside–In hidden paths with Christ thy Lord to tread, Deeper to drink at the sweet Fountainhead,
Closer in fellowship with Him to roam,
Nearer, perchance, to feel thy Heavenly Home.
“Called aside–Oh, knowledge deeper grows with Him alone;
In secret of His deeper love is shown,
And learnt in many an hour of dark distress
Some rare, sweet lesson of His tenderness.
“Called aside–We thank thee for the stillness and the shade; We thank Thee for the hidden paths Thy love hath made,
And, so that we have wept and watched with Thee,
We thank Thee for our dark Gethsemane.
“Called aside–Oh, restful thought–He doeth all things well; Oh, blessed sense, with Christ alone to dwell;
So in the shadow of Thy cross to hide,
We thank Thee, Lord, to have been called aside.”

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At the Cross There’s Room! by Fanny Crosby

Mourner, wheresoever thou art,
At the cross there’s room!
Tell the burden of thy heart,
At the cross there’s room!
Tell it in thy Savior’s ear,
Cast away thine every fear,
Only speak, and He will hear;
At the cross there’s room!

Haste thee, wand’rer, tarry not,
At the cross there’s room!
Seek that consecrated spot;
At the cross there’s room!
Heavy laden, sore oppressed,
Love can soothe thy troubled breast;
In the Savior find thy rest;
At the cross there’s room!

Thoughtless sinner, come today;
At the cross there’s room!
Hark! the Bride and Spirit say,
At the cross there’s room!
Now a living fountain see,
Opened there for you and me,
Rich and poor, for bond and free,
At the cross there’s room!

Blessèd thought! For every one
At the cross there’s room!
Love’s atoning work is done;
At the cross there’s room!
Streams of boundless mercy flow,
Free to all who thither go;
Oh, that all the world might know
At the cross there’s room!

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He Has Overcome the World – Streams in the Desert 01/21

“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 sceptres. 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.
Is capacity for pain;
And the anguish of the singer
Makes the sweetest of the strain.”

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.
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 splendour 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

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Sorrow, God’s Plowshare – Streams in the Desert 01/20

“Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better” (Eccles. 7:3).
When sorrow comes under the power of Divine grace, it works out a manifold ministry in our lives. Sorrow reveals unknown depths in the soul, and unknown capabilities of experience and service. Gay, trifling people are always shallow, and never suspect the little meannesses in their nature. Sorrow is God’s ploughshare that turns up and subsoils the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests. If we had never fallen, or were in a glorified state, then the strong torrents of Divine joy would be the normal force to open up all our souls’ capacities; but in a fallen world, sorrow, with despair taken out of it, is the chosen power to reveal ourselves to ourselves. Hence it is sorrow that makes us think deeply, long, and soberly.
Sorrow makes us go slower and more considerately, and introspect our motives and dispositions. It is sorrow that opens up within us the capacities of the heavenly life, and it is sorrow that makes us willing to launch our capacities on a boundless sea of service for God and our fellows.
We may suppose a class of indolent people living at the base of a great mountain range, who had never ventured to explore the valleys and canyons back in the mountains; and some day, when a great thunderstorm goes careening through the mountains, it turns the hidden glens into echoing trumpets, and reveals the inner recesses of the valley, like the convolutions of a monster shell, and then the dwellers at the foot of the hills are astonished at the labyrinths and unexplored recesses of a region so near by, and yet so little known. So it is with many souls who indolently live on the outer edge of their own natures until great thunderstorms of sorrow reveal hidden depths within that were never hitherto suspected.
God never uses anybody to a large degree, until after He breaks that one all to pieces. Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob, and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations. For this reason, the Holy Spirit said of him, “Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall” (Gen. 49:22). It takes sorrow to widen the soul. –The Heavenly Life

The dark brown mould’s upturned
By the sharp-pointed plough;
And I’ve a lesson learned.
My life is but a field,
Stretched out beneath God’s sky,
Some harvest rich to yield.
Where grows the golden grain?
Where faith? Where sympathy?
In a furrow cut by pain.
–Afaltbie D. Babcock

Every person and every nation must take lessons in God’s school of adversity. “We can say, ‘Blessed is night, for it reveals to us the stars.’ In the same way we can say,
‘Blessed is sorrow, for it reveals God’s comfort.’ The floods washed away home and mill, all the poor man had in the world. But as he stood on the scene of his loss, after the water had subsided, broken-hearted and discouraged, he saw something shining in the bank which the waters had washed bare. ‘It looks like gold,’ he said. It was gold. The flood which had beggared him made him rich. So it is ofttimes in life.” –H. C. Trumbull

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Arise, all souls, arise by Mary A. Lathbury

Arise, all souls, arise! The watch is past;
A glory breaks above the cloud at last.
There comes a rushing mighty wind again!
The breath of God is still the life of men;
The day ascending fills the waiting skies,
All souls, arise!

It comes the breath of God through all the skies!
To live, to breathe with Him, all souls, arise!
Open the windows toward the shining East;
Call in the guests, and spread a wider feast,
The Lord pours forth as sacramental wine
His breath divine!

It comes a larger life, a deeper breath;
Arise, all souls, arise, and conquer death!
Spread forth the feast, the dew and manna fall
And angels whisper, “Drink ye of it all;
Drink of His truth, and feed upon His love,
With saints above!”

Arise, all souls, arise, to meet your Guest!
His light flames from the East unto the West.
The Lord of earth and Heaven is at the door,
He comes to break His bread to all His poor;
Arise and serve with Him, His moment flies;
All souls arise!


 

 

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Persistent Prayer – Streams in the Desert 01/19

“Men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke18:1).
“Go to the ant.” Tammerlane used to relate to his friends an anecdote of his early life.
“I once” he said, “was forced to take shelter from my enemies in a ruined building, where I sat alone many hours. Desiring to divert my mind from my hopeless condition, I fixed my eyes on an ant that was carrying a grain of corn larger than itself up a high wall. I numbered the efforts it made to accomplish this object. The grain fell sixty-nine times to the ground; but the insect persevered, and the seventieth time it reached the top. This sight gave me courage at the moment, and I never forgot the lesson.” –The King’s Business
Prayer which takes the fact that past prayers have not been answered as a reason for languor, has already ceased to be the prayer of faith. To the prayer of faith the fact that prayers remain unanswered is only evidence that the moment of the answer is so much nearer. From first to last, the lessons and examples of our Lord all tell us that prayer which cannot persevere and urge its plea importunately, and renew, and renew itself again, and gather strength from every past petition, is not the prayer that will prevail. –William Arthur
Rubenstein, the great musician, once said, “If I omit practice one day, I notice it; if two days, my friends notice it; if three days, the public notice it.” It is the old doctrine,
“Practice makes perfect.” We must continue believing, continue praying, continue doing His will. Suppose along any line of art, one should cease practicing, we know what the result would be. If we would only use the same quality of common sense in our religion that we use in our everyday life, we should go on to perfection.
The motto of David Livingstone was in these words, “I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose.” By unfaltering persistence and faith in God he conquered.

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Are You Ready for the Coming? by Ada Haberson

Are you ready for the coming of the Lord from Heav’n?
Are you resting in the promise which to us is giv’n?
Does your heart leap up with rapture as you know He’s near?
Or do thoughts of His appearing fill your heart with fear?

Refrain

Are you ready (are you ready),
Are you ready (are you ready),
Are you ready for the opening skies?
Are you ready (are you ready),
Are you ready (are you ready),
Are you ready for that glad surprise?

If He came to call His people would you be dismayed?
Though your sins have been forgiven would you be afraid?
Would you be ashamed to meet Him if He came today?
From the presence of the Master would you shrink away?

Refrain

To this world with all its pleasures are you rooted fast?
Would a call to leave it quickly be a wrench at last?
When He views your finished life work will you suffer loss?
Will you find that you have gathered only worthless dross?

Refrain

Are you busy in His service though your heart is cold?
Are there precious earthly treasures which you fondly hold?
Would He find you doing only what He could approve?
Would He find you watching, waiting for the one you love?

Refrain

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