A poem by Anna B. Warner

“Being perplexed, I say,
‘Lord, make it right!
Night is as day to Thee,
Darkness as light.
I am afraid to touch
Things that involve so much;
My trembling hand may shake,
My skilless hand may break;
Thine can make no mistake.’

“Being in doubt I say,
‘Lord, make it plain;
Which is the true, safe way?
Which would be gain?
I am not wise to know,
Nor sure of foot to go;
What is so clear to Thee,
Lord, make it clear to me!’”

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Shut Doors – Streams in the Desert 01/10

“They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia” (Acts 16:6).
It is interesting to study the methods of His guidance as it was extended towards these early heralds of the Cross. It consisted largely in prohibitions, when they attempted to take another course than the right. When they would turn to the left, to Asia, He stayed them. When they sought to turn to the right, to Bithynia, again He stayed them. In after years Paul would do some of the greatest work of his life in that very region; but just now the door was closed against him by the Holy Spirit. The time was not yet ripe for the attack on these apparently impregnable bastions of the kingdom of Satan. Apollos must come there for pioneer work. Paul and Barnabas are needed yet more urgently elsewhere, and must receive further training before undertaking this responsible task.
Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one. Say,
“Blessed Spirit, I cast on Thee the entire responsibility of closing against my steps any and every course which is not of God. Let me hear Thy voice behind me whenever I turn to the right hand or the left.”
In the meanwhile, continue along the path which you have been already treading. Abide in the calling in which you are called, unless you are clearly told to do something else. The Spirit of Jesus waits to be to you, O pilgrim, what He was to Paul. Only be careful to obey His least prohibition; and where, after believing prayer, there are no apparent hindrances, go forward with enlarged heart. Do not be surprised if the answer comes in closed doors. But when doors are shut right and left, an open road is sure to lead to Troas. There Luke awaits, and visions will point the way, where vast opportunities stand open, and faithful friends are waiting. –Paul, by Meyer

Is there some problem in your life to solve,
Some passage seeming full of mystery?
God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.
He keeps the key.
Is there some door closed by the Father’s hand
Which widely opened you had hoped to see?
Trust God and wait–for when He shuts the door
He keeps the key.
Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet,
Or answered NOT as you had thought ‘twould be?
God will make clear His purpose by-and-by.
He keeps the key.
Have patience with your God, your patient God,
All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He,
And of the door of all thy future life
He keeps the key.
Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest,
To know of EVERY door He keeps the key.
That He at last when just HE sees ’tis best,
Will give it THEE.
–Anonymous

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Made Perfect Through Suffering – Streams in the Desert 01/09

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
I kept for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is as entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibres having taken place. The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all–and it never is without great labour and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.
I happened to witness the first efforts of my prisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. Very probably the confining fibres were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo!
immediately, and with perfect case, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shrivelled wings. In vain I watched to see that marvellous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of divers colours which were all there in miniature, I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain. My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings. I have thought of it often, often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress; and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared? The far-sighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Our Father’s love is too true to be weak. Because He loves His children, He chastises them that they may be partakers of His holiness. With this glorious end in view, He spares not for their crying. Made perfect through sufferings, as the Elder Brother was, the sons of God are trained up to obedience and brought to glory through much tribulation. –Tract.

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A Mother’s Hymn by William Cullen Bryant

Lord, who ordainest for mankind
Benignant toils and tender cares!
We thank Thee for the ties that bind
The mother to the child she bears.We thank Thee for the hopes that rise,
Within her heart, as, day by day,
The dawning soul, from those young eyes,
Looks, with a clearer, steadier ray.

And grateful for the blessing given
With that dear infant on her knee,
She trains the eye to look to heaven,
The voice to lisp a prayer to Thee.

Such thanks the blessed Mary gave,
When, from her lap, the Holy Child,
Sent from on high to seek and save
The lost of earth, looked up and smiled.

All-Gracious! grant, to those that bear
A mother’s charge, the strength and light
To lead the steps that own their care
In ways of Love, and Truth, and Right.

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Showers and Sunshine – Streams in the Desert 01/08

“I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing”
(Ezek. 34:26).
What is thy season this morning? Is it a season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy day so shall thy strength be.” “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessings.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering. –Spurgeon

“Let but thy heart become a valley low,
And God will rain on it till it will overflow.”

Thou, O Lord, canst transform my thorn into a flower. And I want my thorn transformed into a flower. Job got the sunshine after the rain, but has the rain been all waste? Job wants to know, I want to know, if the shower had nothing to do with the shining. And Thou canst tell me Thy Cross can tell me. Thou hast crowned Thy sorrow. Be this my crown, O Lord. I only triumph in Thee when I have learned the radiance of the rain. –George Matheson

The fruitful life seeks showers as well as sunshine.

“The landscape, brown and sere beneath the sun,
Needs but the cloud to lift it into life;
The dews may damp the leaves of tree and flower,
But it requires the cloud-distilled shower
To bring rich verdure to the lifeless life.
“Ah, how like this, the landscape of a life:
Dews of trial fall like incense, rich and sweet;
But bearing little in the crystal tray
Like nymphs of night, dews lift at break of day
And transient impress leave, like lips that meet.
“But clouds of trials, bearing burdens rare,
Leave in the soul, a moisture settled deep:
Life kindles by the magic law of God;
And where before the thirsty camel trod,
There richest beauties to life’s landscape leap.
“Then read thou in each cloud that comes to thee
The words of Paul, in letters large and clear:
So shall those clouds thy soul with blessing feed,
And with a constant trust as thou dost read,
All things together work for good. Fret not, nor fear!”

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A Mother’s Gift: or, A Wreath for my Darlings by Phoebe Palmer

Phoebe wrote of this after the loss of their first child, at the age of nine months. He was born September 1828.

He was indeed a lovely flower,
Although of pallid hue,
Whilst love maternal, “magic power,”
Beheld new beauties every hour,
Unfolding to its view.

. . . . .

But soon still small voice from Heaven,
Whispered in accents mild, —
The blessing of mercy given,
But ah! it draws the heart from Heaven,
Thou must resign thy child.

. . . . . .

Oh! then the sad, the rending stroke,
As in the “midnight” came,
Affection’s tender ties were broke,
Which might have loosed when mercy spoke
And not have given such pain.

The flower transplanted in the skies,
From sorrow’s blast is riven,
The parents’ chastened, earthly love,
Their better hopes, transferred above,
Are centered now in Heaven.

Oh! there our Alexander lives,
Where beauty’s bud ne’er dies!
Though snatched from love’s maternal arms,
He’s safe from all impending harms,
And calls us to the skies.

 

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A Few More Marchings Weary by Fanny Crosby

A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!
A few more storm clouds dreary, then we’ll gather home!
A few more days the cross to bear,
And then with Christ a crown to wear;
A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!

Refrain

O’er time’s rapid river, soon we’ll rest forever;
No more marchings weary when we gather home!

A few more nights of weeping, then we’ll gather home!
A few more watches keeping, then we’ll gather home!
A few more vict’ries over sin,
A few more sheaves to gather in,
A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!

Refrain

A few more sweet links broken, then we’ll gather home!
A few more kind words spoken, then we’ll gather home!
A few more partings on the strand,
And then away to Canaan’s land:
A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!

Refrain

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Contentment – Streams in the Desert 01/07

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11).
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”

“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.”

They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.

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Step-By-Step Grace – Streams in the Desert 01/06

“When thou passest through the waters…they shall not overflow thee” (Isa. 43:2).
God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out.
Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the waters and into their floods before you can claim the promise. Many people dread death, and lament that they have not “dying grace.” Of course, they will not have dying grace when they are in good health, in the midst of life’s duties, with death far in advance. Why should they have it then? Grace for duty is what they need then, living grace; then dying grace when they come to die.
–J. R. M.

“When thou passest through the waters”
Deep the waves may be and cold,
But Jehovah is our refuge,
And His promise is our hold;
For the Lord Himself hath said it,
He, the faithful God and true:
“When thou comest to the waters
Thou shalt not go down, BUT THROUGH.”

Seas of sorrow, seas of trial,
Bitterest anguish, fiercest pain,
Rolling surges of temptation
Sweeping over heart and brain
They shall never overflow us
For we know His word is true;
All His waves and all His billows
He will lead us safely THROUGH.

Threatening breakers of destruction,
Doubt’s insidious undertow,
Shall not sink us, shall not drag us
Out to ocean depths of woe;
For His promise shall sustain us,
Praise the Lord, whose Word is true!
We shall not go down, or under,
For He saith, “Thou passest THROUGH.”
–Annie Johnson Flint

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A Challenge to Every Christian by Mrs. C.T. Studd

Say not–Is the thing possible?

But–God is omnipotent!
Say not–Look what I’d lose!
But–See what I’d gain!
Say not–Have I the wisdom?
But–Am I a fool? I Cor. iii. 18.
Say not–I might lose my life!
But–I must save their souls!
Say not–Should I leave my possessions?
But–Christ’s my inheritance!
Say not–Is it the right time?
But–Christ’s coming soon!
Say not–What salary shall I draw?
But–The Bible’s my cheque book!
Say not–I fear the hardships!
But–I shall reign if I suffer!
Say not–Who’s on the Committee?
But–God’s our Director!
Say not–Shall I not starve?
But–God feeds the birds!
Say not–I have no talents!
But–Christ is my wisdom!
Say not–Have I the faith?
But–Doubting is sin!
Say not–I am not eloquent!
But–Who made man’s mouth?
Say not–I don’t want to be fanatical!
But–Make me a flame of fire!
Say not–I am a doctor. Who’ll build and support my hospital?
But–I trust God for all!
Say not–I fear the devil!
But–With the sling of faith and a smooth stone from the Book, I’ll knock Goliath’s head off!
Say not–Good-bye (in tears), I’ll soon come back again!
But–I’m off to the Devil’s Den to turn the Devil out! How lucky I am! I’ve got my “Blue” at last! Certainly I am to be congratulated. Thanks awfully!

Adieu!

Up, for this is the day: is not the Lord gone out before thee?”
Up! Up! Ye Baraks.
Up! Up! Ye Deborahs.
Up! Up! to this work of the Lord.

–From “With C.T. Studd In Congo Forests” by Norman Grubb, Chapter 27 quoting one of “Mother” Studd’s missionary pamphlets printed in the early 1920’s to gather workers for the “Heart of Africa Mission”

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