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July: Streams


★★★★★

July 1

My words . . . will come true at their proper time. (Luke 1:20)

What the Lord has said . . . will be accomplished! (Luke 1:45)

The Lord is sure to accomplish those things

A loving heart has waited long to see;

Those words will be fulfilled to which she clings,

Because her God has promised faithfully;

And, knowing Him, she ne’er can doubt His Word;

He speaks and it is done. The mighty Lord!

The Lord is sure to accomplish those things,

O burdened heart, rest ever in His care;

In quietness beneath His shadowing wings

Await the answer to your longing prayer.

When  you  have “cast  your  cares,” the  heart  then  sings,

The Lord is sure to accomplish those things.

The Lord is sure to accomplish those things,

O tired heart, believe and wait and pray;

Peacefully, the evening chime still rings,

Though cloud and rain and storm have filled the day.

Faith pierces through the mist of doubt that bars

The coming night sometimes, and finds the stars.

The Lord is sure to accomplish those things,  

O trusting heart, the Lord to you has told;

Let Faith and Hope arise, and lift their wings,

To soar toward the sunrise clouds of gold;

The doorways of the rosy dawn swing wide,

Revealing joys the darkness of night did hide.

Bessie Porter

Matthew Henry said, “We can depend on God to fulfill His promise, even when all the roads leading to it are closed. ‘For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” [so be it] is spoken by us to the glory of God’ [2 Cor. 1:20].”

July 2

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. (Proverbs 4:12)

The Lord only builds a bridge of faith directly under the feet of a faithful traveler. He never builds the bridge a few steps ahead, for then it would not be one of faith. “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

Years ago automatic gates were sometimes used on country roads. They  would  securely  block  the  road  as  a  vehicle approached, and if the traveler stopped before coming to the gate, it would not open. But if the traveler drove straight toward it, the weight of the vehicle would compress the springs below the roadway, and the gate would swing back to let him pass. The vehicle had to keep moving forward, or the gate would remain closed.

This illustrates the way to pass through every barrier that blocks the road of service for God. Whether the barrier is a river, a mountain, or a gate, all a child of Jesus must do is head directly toward it. If it is a river, it will dry up as he comes near it, as long as he still forges ahead. If it is a mountain, it will be removed and “cast into the sea” (Mark 11:23 KJV), providing he approaches it with unflinching confidence.

Is some great barrier blocking your path of service right now? Then head straight for it, in the name of the Lord, and it will no longer be there. Henry Clay Trumbull

We sit and weep in vain, while the voice of the Almighty tells us to never stop moving upward and onward. Let us advance boldly, whether it is dark and we can barely see the forest in front of us, or our road leads us through the mountain pass, where from any vantage point we can only see a few steps ahead.

Press on! And if necessary, like the ancient Israelites we will find a pillar of clouds and fire to lead the way on our journey through the wilderness. God will provide guides and inns along the road, and we will discover food, clothing, and friends at every stage of our journey. And as Samuel Rutherford, the great Scottish minister, once stated so simply, “Whatever happens, the worst will only be a weary traveler receiving a joyful and heavenly  welcome  home.”

I’m going by the upper road, for that

still holds the sun,

I’m climbing through night’s pastures where

the starry rivers run:

If you should think to seek me in my

old dark abode,

You’ll find this writing on the door,

“He’s on the Upper Road.”

selected

July 3

When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? (Isaiah   28:24)

One day in early summer I walked past a lovely meadow. The grass was as soft, thick, and beautiful as an immense green Oriental rug. At one end of the meadow stood a fine old tree that served as a sanctuary for countless wild birds, whose happy songs seemed to fill the crisp, sweet air. I saw two cows who lay in the shade as the very picture of contentment. And down by the road, eye-catching dandelions mingled their gold with the royal purple of the wild violets. I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes and thinking in my soul that God never made a more beautiful place than this lovely meadow.

The next day I passed that way again, and to my great dismay, the hand of the destroyer had been there. A farmer with a large tractor, which was now sitting idle in the meadow, had in one day inflicted terrible devastation. Instead of seeing the soft, green grass, I now saw the ugly, bare, and brown earth. Gone were the dandelions and the pretty violets. And instead of the multitude of singing birds, there were now only a few, who were industriously scratching the ground for worms. In my grief I said, “How could anyone spoil something so beautiful?”

Then suddenly my eyes were opened, as if by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision. The vision was that of a field of ripe corn ready for harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun, and I could almost hear the music of the wind as it swept across the golden tassels. And before I realized it, the bare earth took on a splendor it did not have the day before.

Oh, if only we would always catch the vision of the abundant harvest when the great Master Farmer comes, as He often does, to plow through our very souls—uprooting and turning under that which we thought most beautiful and leaving only the bare and the unlovely before our agonizing eyes. selected

Why should I be frightened and surprised by the plow of the Lord, which makes deep furrows in my soul? I know He is not some arbitrary or irrational farmer—His purpose is to yield a harvest. Samuel Rutherford

July 4

The revelation awaits an appointed time... .Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:3)

In the captivating booklet Expectation Corner, one of the characters, Adam Slowman, was led into the Lord’s treasure-house. Among the many wonders revealed to him there was the “Delayed Blessing Office,” where God stored the answers to certain prayers until it was wise to send them.

For some who pray expecting an answer, it takes a long time to learn that delays of answers are not denials. In fact, in the “Delayed Blessing Office,” there are deep secrets of love and wisdom that we have never imagined! We tend to want to pick our blessings from the tree while they are still green, yet God wants us to wait until they are fully ripe.

“The Lord longs to be gracious to you. . . . Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isa. 30:18).The Lord watches over us in all the difficult places, and He will not allow even one trial that is too much for us. He will use His refining fire to burn away our impurities and will then gloriously come to our rescue.

Do not grieve Him by doubting His love. Instead, lift up your eyes and begin praising Him right now for the deliverance that is on its way to you. Then you will be abundantly rewarded for the delay that has tried your faith.

O you of little faith,

God has not failed you yet!

When all looks dark and gloomy,

You do so soon forget—

Forget that He has led you,  

And gently cleared your way;

On clouds has poured His sunshine,

And turned your night to day.

And if He’s helped you to this point,

He will not fail you now;

How it must wound His loving heart

To see your anxious brow!

Oh! doubt not any longer,

To Him commit your way,

Whom in the past you trusted,

And is just the same today.

selected

July 5

I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert... .There I will give her back her vineyards. (Hosea 2:14–15)

The desert is certainly a strange place to find vineyards! Can it be true that the riches of life that we need can be found in the desert—a place that symbolizes loneliness, and through which we can seldom find our way? Not only is this true but verse 15 goes on to say, “I . . . will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth.” “Anchor” means “troubled,” yet the Valley of Achor is called “a door of hope.”

Yes, God knows our need for a desert experience. He knows exactly where and how to produce enduring qualities in us. The person who has been idolatrous, has been rebellious, has forgotten God, and has said with total self-will, “I will go after my lovers” (Hos. 2:5), will find her path blocked by God. “She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them” (Hos. 2:7). And once she feels totally hopeless and abandoned, God will say, “I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”

What a loving God we have! from Crumbs

We never know where God has hidden His streams. We see a large stone and have no idea that it covers the source of a spring. We see a rocky area and never imagine that it is hiding a fountain. God leads me into hard and difficult places, and it is there I realize I am where eternal streams abide. selected

★★★★★

July 6

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. (2 Chronicles  20:12)

An Israelite named Uzzah lost his life because he “reached out and took hold of the ark of God” (2 Sam. 6:6). He placed his hands on it with the best of intentions—to steady it, “because the oxen stumbled” (2 Sam. 6:6)—but nevertheless, he had overstepped his bounds by touching the Lord’s work, and “therefore God struck him down” (2 Sam. 6:7). Living a life of faith often requires us to leave things alone.

If we have completely entrusted something to God, we must keep our hands off it. He can guard it better than we can, and He does not need our help. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Ps. 37:7).

Things in our lives may seem to be going all wrong, but God knows our circumstances better than we do. And He will work at the perfect moment, if we will completely trust Him to work in His own way and in His own time. Often there is nothing as godly as inactivity on our part, or nothing as harmful as restless working, for God has promised to work His sovereign will. A. B. Simpson

Being perplexed, I say,

“Lord, make it right!

Night is as day to You,

Darkness as light.

I am afraid to touch

Things that involve so much;

My trembling hand may shake,

My skilless hand may break;

Yours 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!”

It is such a comfort to drop the entanglements and perplexities of life into God’s hands and leave them there.

July 7

He made me into a polished arrow. (Isaiah 49:2)

Pebble Beach, on the California coast, has become quite famous for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore. These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues relentlessly. And what is the result?

Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the beautiful round stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.

So why have these stones been left untouched through all the years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they have always been—rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty—for polish is the result of difficulties.

Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.

O blows that strike! O hurts that pierce

This fainting heart of mine!

What are you but the Master’s tools

Forming a work Divine?

Nearly all of God’s jewels are crystallized tears.

July 8

They will soar on wings like eagles. (Isaiah 40:31)

There is a fable about the way birds first got their wings. The story goes that initially they were made without them. Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up these burdens and carry them.”

The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air. When asked to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first. Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks, and set them on their shoulders to carry them.

For a short time the load seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little bodies. They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air. The weights had become wings.

This is a parable for us. We are the wingless birds, and our duties and tasks are the wings God uses to lift us up and carry us heavenward. We look at our burdens and heavy loads, and try to run from them, but if we will carry them and tie them to our hearts, they will become wings. And on them we can then rise and soar toward God.

There is no burden so heavy that when lifted cheerfully with love in our hearts will not become a blessing to us. God intends for our tasks to be our helpers; to refuse to bend our shoulders to carry a load is to miss a new opportunity for growth. J. R. Miller

No matter how overwhelming, any burden God has lovingly placed with His own hands on our shoulders is a blessing. Frederick William Faber

July 9

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10 KJV)

Doesn’t God’s Word come to us like a soft rain shower, dispelling the fury of the flames? Isn’t it like fireproof armor, against which the heat is powerless? Then let afflictions come, for God has chosen me. Poverty, you may walk through my door, but God is already in my house, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude into my life, but I have a cure standing ready—God has chosen me. Whatever occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me.

Dear Christian, do not be afraid, for Jesus is with you. Through all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never forsake those He has chosen for His own. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Gen. 26:24) is His unfailing word of promise to His chosen ones who are experiencing “the furnace of affliction.” Charles H. Spurgeon

Pain’s furnace heat within me quivers,

God’s breath upon the flame does blow;

And all my heart in anguish shivers

And trembles at the fiery glow;

And yet I whisper, “As God will!”

And in the hottest fire hold still.

He comes and lays my heart, all heated,

On the hard anvil, minded so

Into His own fair shape to beat it

With His great hammer, blow on blow;

And yet I whisper, “As God will!”

And at His heaviest blows hold still.

He takes my softened heart and beats it;

The sparks fly off at every blow;

He turns it o’er and o’er and heats it,

And lets it cool, and makes it glow;

And yet I whisper, “As God will!”

And in His mighty hand hold still.

Why should I complain? for the sorrow

Then only longer-lived would be;

The end may come, and will tomorrow,

When God has done His work in me;

So I say trusting, “As God will!”

And, trusting to the end, hold still.

Julius Sturm

The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung around our necks. Yet in reality it is simply the weight necessary to hold the diver down while he is searching for pearls. Julius Richter

July 10

I called him but he did not answer. (Song of Songs 5:6)

Once the Lord has given us great faith, He has been known to test it with long delays. He has allowed His servants’ voices to echo in their ears, as if their prayers were rebounding from a contemptuous sky. Believers have knocked at the heavenly gate, but it has remained immovable, as though its hinges had rusted. And like Jeremiah, they have cried, “You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through” (Lam. 3:44).

True saints of God have endured lengthy times of patient waiting with no reply, not because their prayers were prayed without intensity, nor because God did not accept their pleas. They were required to wait because it pleased Him who is sovereign and who gives “according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). And if it pleases Him to cause our patience to be exercised, should He not do as He desires with His own?

No prayer is ever lost, or any prayer ever breathed in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things we see as refusals or denials are simply delays. Horatius Bonar

Christ sometimes delays His help so He may test our faith and energize our prayers. Our boat may be tossed by the waves while He continues to sleep, but He will awake before it sinks. He sleeps but He never oversleeps, for He is never too late. Alexander Maclaren

Be still, sad soul! lift up no passionate cry,

But spread the desert of your being bare  

To the full searching of the All-seeing eye;

Wait! and through dark misgiving, deep despair,

God will come down in pity, and fill the dry

Dead place with light, and life, and springlike air.

John Campbell Shairp

July 11

Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the  land. (1  Kings  17:7)

Week after week, with an unwavering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched the brook dwindle and finally dry up. Often tempted to stumble in unbelief, he nevertheless refused to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God. Unbelief looks at God through the circumstances, just as we often see the sun dimmed by clouds or smoke. But faith puts God between itself and its circumstances, and looks at them through Him.

Elijah’s brook dwindled to only a silver thread, which formed pools at the base of the largest rocks. Then the pools evaporated, the birds flew away, and the wild animals of the fields and forests no longer came to drink, for the brook became completely dry. And only then, to Elijah’s patient and faithful spirit, did the word of the Lord come and say, “Go at once to Zarephath” (v. 9).

Most of us would have become anxious and tired, and would have made other plans long before God spoke. Our singing would have stopped as soon as the stream flowed less musically over its rocky bed. We would have hung our harps on the willows nearby and began pacing back and forth on the withering grass, worrying about our predicament. And probably, long before the brook actually dried up, we would have devised some plan, asked God to bless it, and headed elsewhere.

God will often extricate us from the mess we have made, because “his love endures forever” (1 Chron. 16:34). Yet if we had only been patient and waited to see the unfolding of His plan, we would never have found ourselves in such an impossible maze, seeing no way out. We would also never have had to turn back and retrace our way, with wasted steps and so many tears of shame.

“Wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:14). Patiently wait! F. B. Meyer

July 12

He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

Faith grows during storms. These are just four little words, but what significance they have to someone who has endured life-threatening storms!

Faith is that God-given ability that, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view. It deals with the supernatural and makes impossible things possible. And yes, it grows during storms—that is, it grows through disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by conflicts between the physical elements, and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with supernatural, hostile elements. And it is in this atmosphere of conflict that faith finds its most fertile soil and grows most rapidly to maturity.

The strongest trees are found not in the thick shelter of the forest but out in the open, where winds from every direction bear down upon them. The fierce winds bend and twist them until they become giant in stature. These are the trees that tool- makers seek for handles for their tools, because of the wood’s great strength.

It is the same in the spiritual world. Remember, when you see a person of great spiritual stature, the road you must travel to walk with him is not one where the sun always shines and wildflowers always bloom. Instead, the way is a steep, rocky, and narrow path, where the winds of hell will try to knock you off your feet, and where sharp rocks will cut you, prickly thorns will scratch your face, and poisonous snakes will slither and hiss all around you.

The path of faith is one of sorrow and joy, suffering and healing comfort, tears and smiles, trials and victories, conflicts and triumphs, and also hardships, dangers, beatings, persecutions, misunderstanding, trouble, and distress. Yet “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

Yes, “in all these”—even during storms, when the winds are the most intense—“we are more than conquerors.” You may be tempted to run from the ordeal of a fierce storm of testing, but head straight for it! God is there to meet you in the center of each trial. And He will whisper to you His secrets, which will bring you out with a radiant face and such an invincible faith that all the demons of hell will never be able to shake it. E. A. Kilbourne

July 13

God . . . calls things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:17)

What does this verse mean? It is the very reason why “Abraham in hope believed” (v. 18). That Abraham would become the father of a child at his advanced age seemed absurd and an utter impossibility, yet God called him “the father of many nations” (Gen. 17:4) long before there was any indication of fulfillment. And Abraham thought of himself as a father, because God had said so. That is genuine faith—believing and declaring what God has said, stepping out on what appears to be thin air and finding solid rock beneath your feet.

Therefore boldly declare what God says you have, and He will accomplish what you believe. You must, however, exhibit genuine faith and trust Him with your entire being. from Crumbs

We must be willing to live by faith, not hoping or desiring to live any other way. We must be willing to have every light around us extinguished, to have every star in the heavens blotted out, and to live with nothing encircling us but darkness and danger. Yes, we must be willing to do all this, if God will only leave within our soul an inner radiance from the pure, bright light that faith has kindled. Thomas C. Upham

The moment has come when you must jump from your perch of distrust, leaving the nest of supposed safety behind and trusting the wings of faith. You must be like a young bird beginning to test the air with its untried wings. At first you may feel as though you will fall to the earth. The fledgling may feel the same way, but it does not fall, for its wings provide support. Yet even if its wings do fail, one of its parents will sweep under it, rescuing it on strong wings.

God will rescue you in the same way. Simply trust Him, for His “right hand sustains” (Ps. 18:35). Do you find yourself asking, “But am I to step out onto nothing?” That is exactly what the bird is seemingly asked to do, yet we know that the air is there and that the air is not nearly as insubstantial as it seems. And you know that the promises of God are there, and they certainly are not insubstantial at all. Do you still respond, “But it seems so unlikely that my poor, helpless soul would be sustained by such strength.” Has God said it will? “Do you mean that my tempted, yielding nature will be victorious in the fight?” Has God said it will? “Do you mean that my timid, trembling heart will find peace?” Has God said it will?

If God has said so, surely you do not want to suggest He has lied! If He has spoken, will He not fulfill it? If He has given you His word—His sure word of promise—do not question it but trust it absolutely. You have His promise, and in fact you have even more—you have Him who confidently speaks the words.

“Yes, I tell you” (Luke 12:5).Trust Him! J. B. Figgis

July 14

Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. (Psalm 118:27 NASB)

Is the altar of sacrifice calling you? Why not ask God to bind you to it, so you will never be tempted to turn away from a life of consecration, or dedication, to Him? There are times when life is full of promise and light, and we choose the cross; yet at other times, when the sky is gray, we run from it. Therefore it is wise to be bound to the altar.

Dear blessed Holy Spirit, will You bind us to the cross and fill us with such love for it that we will never abandon it? Please bind us with Your scarlet cord of redemption, Your gold cord of love, and the silver cord of hope in Christ’s second coming.

We ask this so we will not turn from the cross of sacrifice, or desire becoming anything but humble partners with our Lord in His pain and sorrow!

“The horns of the altar” are inviting you. Will you come? Are you willing to continually live a life of total surrender, giving yourself completely to the Lord? selected

I once heard a story of a man who attended a tent revival meeting and tried to give himself to God. Every night at the altar, he would dedicate himself to the Lord. Yet as he left each evening, the devil would come to him and convince him that since he did not feel changed, he was not truly redeemed.

Again and again he was defeated by the adversary. Finally one evening he came to the meeting carrying an ax and a large wooden stake. After dedicating himself once more, he drove the stake into the ground where he had knelt to pray. As he was leaving the tent, the devil came to him as usual, trying to make him believe that his commitment to God was not genuine. He quickly returned to the stake, pointed to it, and said, “Devil, do you see this stake? This is my witness that God has forever accepted me.”

Immediately the devil left him, and he never experienced doubts again. from The Still Small Voice

Beloved, if you are tempted to doubt the finality of your salvation experience, drive a stake into the ground and then let it be your witness before God, and even the devil, that you have settled the question forever.

Are you groping for a blessing,

Never getting there?

Listen to a word of wisdom,

Get  somewhere.

Are you struggling for salvation

By your anxious prayer?

Stop your struggling, simply trust, and—

Get  somewhere.

Does the answer seem to linger To your earnest prayer?

Turn your praying into praise, and—

Get  somewhere.

You will never know His fullness

Till you boldly dare

To commit your all to Him, and—

Get  somewhere.

Songs of the Spirit

July 15

This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)

It is easy to love Him when the blue is in the sky,

When the summer winds are blowing, and we smell the roses nigh;

There is little effort needed to obey His precious will

When it leads through flower-decked valley, or over sun-kissed hill.

It is when the rain is falling, or the mist hangs in the air,   

When the road is dark and rugged, and the wind no longer fair,

When the rosy dawn has settled in a shadowland of gray,

That we find it hard to trust Him, and are slower to obey.

It is easy to trust Him when the singing birds have come,

And their songs of praise are echoed in our heart and in our home;

But it’s when we miss the music, and the days are dull and drear,

That we need a faith triumphant over every doubt and fear.

And our blessed Lord will give it; what we lack He will supply;

Let us ask in faith believing—on His promises rely;

He will ever be our Leader, whether smooth or rough the way,

And will prove Himself sufficient for the needs of every day.

Trusting even when it appears you have been forsaken; praying when it seems your words are simply entering a vast expanse where no one hears and no voice answers; believing that God’s love is complete and that He is aware of your circumstances, even when your world seems to grind on as if setting its own direction and not caring for life or moving one inch in response to your petitions; desiring only what God’s hands have planned for you; waiting patiently while seemingly starving to death, with your only fear being that your faith might fail—“this is the victory that has overcome the world”; this is genuine faith indeed. George MacDonald

July 16

Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will . . . make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky . . . because you have obeyed me. (Genesis 22:16–18)

From the time of Abraham, people have been learning that when they obey God’s voice and surrender to Him whatever they hold most precious, He multiplies it thousands of times. Abraham gave up his one and only son at the Lord’s command, and in doing so, all his desires and dreams for Isaac’s life, as well as his own hope for a notable heritage, disappeared. Yet God restored Isaac to his father, and Abraham’s family became “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (v. 17). And through his descendants, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Gal. 4:4).

This is exactly how God deals with every child of His when we truly sacrifice. We surrender everything we own and accept poverty—then He sends wealth. We leave a growing area of ministry at His command—then He provides one better than we had ever dreamed. We surrender all our cherished hopes and die to self—then He sends overflowing joy and His “life . . . that [we] might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 KJV).

The greatest gift of all was Jesus Christ Himself, and we can never fully comprehend the enormity of His sacrifice. Abraham, as the earthly father of the family of Christ, had to begin by surrendering himself and his only son, just as our heavenly Father sacrificed His only Son, Jesus. We could never have come to enjoy the privileges and joys as members of God’s family through any other way. Charles Gallaudet Trumbull

We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes from us, He takes with fire, and that the only road to a life of resurrection and ascension power leads us first to Gethsemane, the cross, and the tomb.

Dear soul, do you believe that Abraham’s experience was unique and isolated? It is only an example and a pattern of how God deals with those who are prepared to obey Him whatever the cost. “After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Heb. 6:15), and so will you. The moment of your greatest sacrifice will also be the precise moment of your greatest and most miraculous blessing. God’s river, which never runs dry, will overflow its banks, bringing you a flood of wealth and grace.

Indeed, there is nothing God will not do for those who will dare to step out in faith onto what appears to be only a mist. As they take their first step, they will find a rock beneath their feet. F. B. Meyer

July 17

I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place. (Isaiah 18:4)

In this passage, Assyria is marching against Ethiopia, whose people are described as “tall and smooth-skinned” (v. 2). As the army advances, God makes no effort to stop them, and it appears as though they will be allowed to do as they wish. The Lord is watching from His “dwelling place” while the sun continues to shine on them, yet “before the harvest” (v. 5) the entire proud army is defeated as easily as new growth is pruned from a vine.

Isn’t this a beautiful picture of God—remaining quiet and watching? Yet His silence is not to be confused with passive agreement or consent. He is simply biding His time and will arise at the most opportune moment, just when the plans of the wicked are on the verge of success, in order to overwhelm the enemy with disaster. And as we see the evil of this world, as we watch the apparent success of wrongdoers, and as we suffer the oppression of those who hate us, let us remember those miraculous words of God—“I will remain quiet and will look on.”

Yes, God does have another point of view, and there is wisdom behind His words. Why did Jesus watch His disciples straining at the oars through the stormy night? Why did He, though unseen by others, watch the sequence of anguishing events unfold in Bethany as Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of his terminal illness, succumbed to death, and was finally buried in a rocky tomb? Jesus was simply waiting for the perfect moment when He could intercede most effectively.

Is the Lord being quiet with you? Nevertheless, He is attentive and still sees everything. He has His finger on your pulse and is extremely sensitive to even the slightest change. And He will come to save you when the perfect moment has arrived. from Daily Devotional Commentary

Whatever the Lord may ask of us or however slow He may seem to work, we can be absolutely sure He is never a confused or fearful Savior.

O troubled soul, beneath the rod,

Your Father speaks, be still, be still;

Learn to be silent unto God,

And let Him mold you to His will.

O praying soul, be still, be still,

He cannot break His promised Word;

Sink down into His blessed will,

And wait in patience on the Lord.

O waiting soul, be still, be strong,

And though He tarry, trust and wait;

Doubt not, He will not wait too long,

Fear not, He will not come too late.

July 18

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

God is looking for men and women whose hearts are firmly fixed on Him and who will continually trust Him for all He desires to do with their lives. God is ready and eager to work more powerfully than ever through His people, and the clock of the centuries is striking the eleventh hour.

The world is watching and waiting to see what God can do through a life committed to Him. And not only is the world waiting but God Himself awaits to see who will be the most completely devoted person who has ever lived: willing to be nothing so Christ may be everything; fully accepting God’s purposes as his own; receiving Christ’s humility, faith, love, and power yet never hindering God’s plan but always allowing Him to continue His miraculous work. C. H. P.

There is no limit to what God can do through you, provided you do not seek your own glory.

George Mueller, at more than ninety years of age, in an address to ministers and other Christian workers, said, “I was converted in November 1825, but I didn’t come to the point of total surrender of my heart until four years later, in July 1829. It was then I realized my love for money, prominence, position, power, and worldly pleasure was gone. God, and He alone, became my all in all. In Him I found everything I needed, and I desired nothing else. By God’s grace, my understanding of His sufficiency has remained to this day, making me an exceedingly happy man. It has led me to care only about the things of God. And so, dear believers, I kindly ask if you have totally surrendered your heart to God, or is there something in your life you refuse to release, in spite of God’s call?

“Before the point at which I surrendered my life, I read a little of the Scriptures but preferred other books. Yet since that time, the truth He has revealed to me of Himself has become an inexpressible blessing. Now I can honestly say from the depth of my heart that God is an infinitely wonderful Being.

“Please, never be satisfied until you too can express from your innermost soul, ‘God is an infinitely wonderful Being!’” selected

My prayer today is that God would make me an extraordinary Christian. George Whitefield

July 19

Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? (John 18:11)

To “drink the cup” was a greater thing than calming the seas or raising the dead. The prophets and apostles could do amazing miracles, but they did not always do the will of God and thereby suffered as a result. Doing God’s will and thus experiencing suffering is still the highest form of faith, and the most glorious Christian achievement.

Having your brightest aspirations as a young person for- ever crushed; bearing burdens daily that are always difficult, and never seeing relief; finding yourself worn down by poverty while simply desiring to do good for others and provide a comfortable living for those you love; being shackled by an incurable physical disability; being completely alone, separated from all those you love, to face the trauma of life alone; yet in all these, still being able to say through such a difficult school of discipline, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” — this is faith at its highest, and spiritual success at its crowning point.

Great faith is exhibited not so much in doing as in suffering. Charles Parkhurst

In order to have a sympathetic God, we must have a suffering Savior, for true sympathy comes from understanding another person’s hurt by suffering the same affliction. Therefore we cannot help others who suffer without paying a price ourselves, because afflictions are the cost we pay for our ability to sympathize. Those who wish to help others must first suffer. If we wish to rescue others, we must be willing to face the cross; experiencing the greatest happiness in life through ministering to others is impossible without drinking the cup Jesus drank and without submitting to the baptism He endured.

The most comforting of David’s psalms were squeezed from his life by suffering, and if Paul had not been given “a thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7 KJV), we would have missed much of the heartbeat of tenderness that resonates through so many of his letters.

If you have surrendered yourself to Christ, your present circumstances that seem to be pressing so hard against you are the perfect tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you into shape for eternity. So trust Him and never push away the instrument He is using, or you will miss the result of His work in your life.

Strange and difficult indeed

We may find it,

But the blessing that we need

Is behind it.

The school of suffering graduates exceptional scholars.

July 20

Since we have a great high priest . . . , Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.... Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14, 16)

Our great Helper in prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Advocate, ever pleading our case before the Father. He is our “great high priest,” whose primary ministry has for centuries been intercession and prayer on our behalf. It is He who receives our imperfect petitions from our hands, cleanses them of their defects, corrects their error, and then claims their answer from His Father. And He does so strictly on the basis of His worth and righteousness through the sufficiency of His atonement.

Believer, are you lacking power in prayer? Look to Christ, for your blessed Advocate has already claimed your answer. And if you give up the fight just as the moment of victory approaches, you will grieve and disappoint Him. He has already entered “the Most Holy Place” (Ex. 26:33) on your behalf, holding up your name on the palms of His hands. The messenger is now on his way to bring you your blessing, and the Holy Spirit simply awaits your act of trust, so He may whisper in your heart the echo of the answer from the throne of God, “It is done” (Rev. 21:6). A. B. Simpson

The Holy Spirit is the one who works to make our prayers acceptable, yet we often forget this truth. He enlightens our mind so we may clearly see our desires, then softens our heart so we may feel them, and finally He awakens and focuses those desires toward godly things. He gives us a clear view of God’s power and wisdom, provides grace “in our time of need,” and strengthens our confidence in His truth so we will never waver.

Prayer is a wonderful thing, and each person of the Trinity is involved in every acceptable prayer. J. Angell James

July 21

Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. (Judges  6:39)

There are three levels of faith in the Christian experience. The first is being able to believe only when we see some sign or have some strong emotion. Like Gideon, we feel the fleece and are willing to trust God if it is wet. This may be genuine faith but it is imperfect. It is continually looking to feelings or some other sign instead of the Word of God. We have taken a great step toward maturity when we trust God without relying on our feelings. It is more of a blessing when we believe without experiencing any emotion.

While the first level of faith believes when our emotions are favorable, the second believes when all feelings are absent. And the third level transcends the other two, for it is faith that believes God and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people, and human reason all seem to urge some- thing to the contrary. Paul exercised this level of faith when he said, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20), then nevertheless went on to say, “Keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me” (Acts 27:25).

May God grant us faith to completely trust His Word, even when every other sign points the other way. C. H. P.

When is the time to trust?

Is it when all is calm,

When waves the victor’s palm,

And life is one glad psalm

Of joy and praise?

No! For the time to trust

Is when the waves beat high,

When storm clouds fill the sky,

And prayer is one long cry,

“Oh, help and save!”

When is the time to trust?

Is it when friends are true?

Is it when comforts woo,

And in all we say and do

We meet but praise?

No! For the time to trust

Is when we stand alone,

And summer birds have flown,

And every prop is gone,

All else but God.

When is the time to trust?

Is it some future day,

When you have tried your way,

And learned to trust and pray

By bitter woe?

No! For the time to trust

Is in this moment’s need,  

Poor, broken, bruised reed!

Poor, troubled soul, make speed

To trust your God.

When is the time to trust?

Is it when hopes beat high,

When sunshine gilds the sky,

And joy and ecstasy

Fill all the heart?

No! For the time to trust

Is when our joy has fled,

When sorrow bows the head,

And all is cold and dead,

All else but God.

selected

July 22

Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you . . . blessed are all they that wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18 KJV)

We should not only understand the importance of our waiting on God but also realize something even more wonderful— the Lord waits on us. And the very thought of His waiting on us will give us renewed motivation and inspiration to “wait for him.” It will also provide inexpressible confidence that our waiting will never be in vain. Therefore, in the spirit of waiting on God, let us seek to discover exactly what it means right now.

The Lord has an inconceivably glorious purpose for each of His children. “If this is true,” you ask, “why is it that He continues to wait longer and longer to offer His grace and to provide the help I seek, even after I have come and waited on Him?” He does so because He is a wise gardener who “waits for the land to yield its valuable crop” and is “patient . . . for the autumn and spring rains” (James 5:7). God knows He cannot gather the fruit until it is ripe, and He knows precisely when we are spiritually ready to receive blessings for our gain and His glory. And waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen our soul for His blessings. Also, waiting under the clouds of trials is as important, for they will ultimately produce showers of blessings.

Rest assured that if God waits longer than we desire, it is simply to make the blessings doubly precious. Remember, He waited four thousand years, “but when the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Gal. 4:4). Our time is in His hands, and He will quickly avenge those He has chosen, swiftly coming to our support without ever delaying even one hour too long. Andrew Murray

July 23

Sing . . . to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything. (Ephesians 5:19–20)

No matter the source of the evil confronting you, if you are in God and thereby completely surrounded by Him, you must realize that it has first passed through Him before coming to you. Because of this, you can thank Him for everything that comes your way. This does not mean thanking Him for the sin that accompanies evil, but offering thanks for what He will bring out of it and through it. May God make our life one of continual thanksgiving and praise, so He will then make everything a blessing.

I once saw a man draw some black dots on a piece of paper. Several of us looked at it yet saw nothing but an irregular arrangement of dots. Then he also drew a few lines, put in a few rests, and added a treble clef at the beginning. Suddenly we realized that the dots were musical notes, and as we began to sound them out, we were singing,

Praise  God  from  whom  all  blessings  flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below.

Each of us has many black dots or spots in our life, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them. But when we allow Him into our life to adjust the dots in the proper way, to draw the lines He desires, and to put rests at the proper places to separate us from certain things, then from the black dots and spots He will compose a glorious harmony.

So let us not hinder Him in His glorious work! C. H. P.

Would we know that the major chords were sweet,

If there were no minor key?

Would the painter’s work be fair to our eyes,

Without shade on land or sea?

Would we know the meaning of happiness,

Would we feel that the day was bright,

If we’d never known what it was to grieve,

Nor gazed on the dark of night?

Many people owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties. Charles H. Spurgeon

When an organist presses the black keys of a great organ, the notes are just as beautiful as when he presses the white ones. Yet to fully demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument, he must press them all. selected

July 24

Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them. (Psalm 106:12–15)

In Hebrews 11:27, we read that Moses “persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” Yet in the above passage, exactly the opposite was true of the children of Israel. They persevered only when their circumstances were favorable, because they were primarily influenced by whatever appealed to their senses, instead of trusting in the invisible and eternal God.

Even today we have people who live an inconsistent Christian life because they have become preoccupied with things that are external. Therefore they focus on their circumstances rather than focusing on God. And God desires that we grow in our ability to see Him in everything and to realize the importance of seemingly insignificant circumstances if they are used to deliver a message from Him.

We read of the children of Israel, “Then they believed his promises.” They did not believe until after they saw—once they saw Him work, “then they believed.” They unabashedly doubted God when they came to the Red Sea, but when He opened the way and led them across and they saw Pharaoh and his army drowned—“then they believed.” The Israelites continued to live this kind of up-and-down existence, because their faith was dependent on their circumstances. And this is certainly not the kind of faith God wants us to have.

The world says that “seeing is believing,” but God wants us to believe in order to see. The psalmist said, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13 NASB).

Do you believe God only when your circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what your circumstances may be? C. H. P.

Faith is believing what we do not see, and the reward for this kind of faith is to see what we believe. Saint Augustine

July 25

You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand. (John 13:7)

In this life, we have an incomplete view of God’s dealings, seeing His plan only half finished and underdeveloped. Yet once we stand in the magnificent temple of eternity, we will have the proper perspective and will see everything fitting gracefully together!

Imagine going to the mountains of Lebanon during  the reign of Israel’s great king Solomon. Can you see the majestic cedar? It is the pride of all the other trees and has wrestled many years with the cold north winds! The summer sun has loved to smile upon it, while the night has caused its soft leaves to glisten with drops of dew. Birds have built their nests in its branches, and weary travelers and wandering shepherds have rested in its shade from the midday heat or taken shelter from the raging storms. And suddenly we realize that this old inhabitant of the forest has been doomed to fall victim to the woodsman’s ax!

We watch as the ax makes its first gash on the cedar’s gnarled trunk. Then we see its noble limbs stripped of their branches as the tree comes crashing to the ground. We cry out against the wanton destruction of this “Tree of God,” as it is distinctively known, and express our anger over the demolition of this proud pillar in the forest temple of nature. We are tempted to exclaim with the prophet Zechariah, “Wail, O pine tree, for the cedar has fallen ... !” (Zech. 11:2), as if inviting the sympathy of every less-majestic plant and invoking inanimate things to also resent the offense.

We should not be so quick to complain but should follow the gigantic tree as the workmen of “Hiram king of Tyre” (2 Chron. 2:3) take it down the mountainside. From there we should watch it being sailed on rafts along the blue water of the Mediterranean. And finally, we should behold it being placed as a glorious and polished beam in the temple of God. As you contemplate its final destination, seeing it in the Holy of Holies as a jewel in the diadem of the almighty King, can you honestly complain that this “crown jewel of Lebanon” was cut down, removed from the forest, and placed in such a noble setting? The cedar had once stood majestically in nature’s sanctuary, but “the glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house” (Hag. 2:9).

So many people are like these cedars of old! God’s axes of trials have stripped them bare, and yet we can see no reason for such harsh and difficult circumstances. But God has a noble goal and purpose in mind: to place them as everlasting pillars and rafters in His heavenly Zion. And He says to them, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (Isa. 62:3). J. R. Macduff

I do not ask my cross to understand,

My way to see—

Better in darkness just to feel Your hand,

And  follow Thee.

July 26

By faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (Galatians  5:5)

There are times when everything looks very dark to me—so dark that I have to wait before I have hope. Waiting with hope is very difficult, but true patience is expressed when we must even wait for hope. When we see no hint of success yet refuse to despair, when we see nothing but the darkness of night through our window yet keep the shutters open because stars may appear in the sky, and when we have an empty place in our heart yet will not allow it to be filled with anything less than God’s best—that is the greatest kind of patience in the universe. It is the story of Job in the midst of the storm, Abraham on the road to Moriah, Moses in the desert of Midian, and the Son of Man in the Garden of Gethsemane. And there is no patience as strong as that which endures because we see “him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). It is the kind of patience that waits for hope.

Dear Lord, You have made waiting beautiful and patience divine. You have taught us that Your will should be accepted, simply because it is Your will. You have revealed to us that a person may see nothing but sorrow in his cup yet still be willing to drink it because of a conviction that Your eyes see further than his own.

Father, give me Your divine power—the power of Gethsemane. Give me the strength to wait for hope—to look through the window when there are no stars. Even when my joy is gone, give me the strength to stand victoriously in the darkest night and say, “To my heavenly Father, the sun still shines.”

I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope. George Matheson

Strive to be one of the few who walk this earth with the ever present realization—every morning, noon, and night—that the unknown that people call heaven is directly behind those things that are visible.

July 27

Test me in this . . . and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)

Here is what God is saying in this verse: “My dear child, I still have floodgates in heaven, and they are still in service. The locks open as easily as before, and the hinges have not grown rusty. In fact, I would rather throw them open to pour out the blessings than hold them back. I opened them for Moses, and the sea part- ed. I opened them for Joshua, and the Jordan River was stopped. I opened them for Gideon, and the armies of the enemy fled. And I will open them for you—if you will only let Me.

“On My side of the floodgates, heaven is still the same rich storehouse as always. The fountains and streams still overflow, and the treasure-rooms are still bursting with gifts. The need is not on My side but on yours. I am waiting for you to ‘test me in this.’ But you must first meet the condition I have set to ‘bring the whole tithe into the storehouse’ [Mal. 3:10], and thereby give Me the opportunity to act.” selected

I will never forget my mother’s concise paraphrase of Malachi 3:10.The actual Bible text begins with the words “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse” and ends with “I will . . . pour out so much blessing that,” in effect, “you will be embarrassed over your lack of space to receive it.” But my mother’s para- phrase was this: “Give all He asks and take all He promises.” Samuel Dickey Gordon

God’s ability to perform is far beyond our prayers—even our greatest prayers! I have recently been thinking of some of the requests I have made of Him innumerable times in my prayers. And what have I requested? I have asked for a cupful, while He owns the entire ocean! I have asked for one simple ray of light, while He holds the sun! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father’s ability to give, which is far beyond what we could ever ask. John Henry Jowett

All the rivers of Your grace I claim, Over every promise write my name. [See Eph. 1:8–19.]

July 28

His way is in the whirlwind and the storm. (Nahum 1:3)

I remember when I was a young person attending school in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant. One day I sat on the side of the mountain and watched a storm as it moved through the valley. The skies were filled with darkness, and thunder began to shake the earth. It seemed as though the lush landscape were completely changed, and its beauty gone forever. But the storm passed quickly and soon moved out of the valley.

If I had sat in the same place the following day and said, “Where is that intense storm and all its terrible darkness?” the grass would have said, “Part of it is in me.” The beautiful daisy would have said, “Part of it is in me.” And all the other flowers, fruits, and everything that grows in the ground would have said, “Part of the storm has produced the radiance in me.”

Have you ever asked the Lord to make you like Him? Have you ever desired the fruit of the Spirit and prayed for sweetness, gentleness, and love? If so, then never fear the fierce storms that even now may be blowing through your life. Storms bring blessings, and rich fruit will be harvested later. Henry Ward Beecher

The flowers live by the tears that fall

From the sad face of the skies;

And life would have no joys at all,

Were there no watery eyes.

Love the sorrow, for grief will bring

Its own reward in later years;

The rainbow! See how fair a thing

God has built up from tears.

Henry S. Sutton

July 29

Have you entered the storehouses . . . which I reserve for times of trouble? (Job 38:22–23)

Our trials are great opportunities, but all too often we simply see them as large obstacles. If only we would recognize every difficult situation as something God has chosen to prove His love to us, each obstacle would then become a place of shelter and rest, and a demonstration to others of His inexpressible power. If we would look for the signs of His glorious handiwork, then every cloud would indeed become a rainbow, and every difficult mountain path would become one of ascension, transformation, and glorification.

If we would look at our past, most of us would realize that the times we endured the greatest stress and felt that every path was blocked were the very times our heavenly Father chose to do the kindest things for us and bestow His richest blessings.

God’s most beautiful jewels are often delivered in rough packages by very difficult people, but within the package we will find the very treasures of the King’s palace and the Bride- groom’s love. A. B. Simpson

We must trust the Lord through the darkness, and honor Him with unwavering confidence even in the midst of difficult situations. The reward of this kind of faith will be like that of an eagle shedding its feathers is said to receive—a renewed sense of youth and strength. J. R. Macduff

If we could see beyond today

As God can see;

If all the clouds should roll away,

The shadows flee;

O’er present griefs we would not fret.

Each sorrow we would soon forget,

For many joys are waiting yet

For you and me.

If we could know beyond today

As God does know,

Why dearest treasures pass away

And tears must flow;

And why the darkness leads to light,   

Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;

Some day life’s wrongs will be made right,

Faith tells us so.

“If we could see, if we could know,”

We often say,

But God in love a veil does throw

Across our way;

We cannot see what lies before,

And so we cling to Him the more,

He leads us till this life is o’er;

Trust and obey.

July 30

If anyone gives even a cup of cold water ..., he will certainly not lose his reward. (Matthew 10:42)

What shall I do? I expect to pass through this world but once. Therefore any good work, kindness, or service I can render to any person or animal, let me do it now. Let me not neglect or delay to do it, for I will not pass this way again. an old Quaker saying

It isn’t the thing you do, dear,

It’s the thing you leave undone,

That gives you the bitter heartache

At the setting of the sun;

The tender word unspoken,

The letter you did not write,

The flower you might have sent, dear,

Are your haunting ghosts at night.

The stone you might have lifted

Out of your brother’s way,

The bit of heartfelt counsel

You were hurried too much to say;

The loving touch of the hand, dear,

The gentle and winsome tone,

That you had no time or thought for,

With troubles enough of your own.

These little acts of kindness,

So easily out of mind,

These chances to be angels,

Which even mortals find—

They come in nights of silence,

To take away the grief,

When hope is faint and feeble,

And a drought has stopped belief.

For life is all too short, dear.

And sorrow is all too great,

To allow our slow compassion

That tarries until too late.

And it’s not the thing you do, dear,

It’s the thing you leave undone,

That gives you the bitter heartache,

At the setting of the sun.

Adelaide Proctor

Give what you have, for you never know—to someone else it may be better than you can even dare to think. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

July 31

With skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:72)

When you are unsure which course to take, totally submit your own judgment to that of the Spirit of God, asking Him to shut every door except the right one. But meanwhile keep moving ahead and consider the absence of a direct indication from God to be the evidence of His will that you are on His path. And as you continue down the long road, you will find that He has gone before you, locking doors you otherwise would have been inclined to enter. Yet you can be sure that somewhere beyond the locked doors is one He has left unlocked. And when you open it and walk through, you will find yourself face to face with a turn in the river of opportunity—one that is broader and deeper than anything you ever dared to imagine, even in your wildest dreams. So set sail on it, because it flows to the open sea.

God often guides us through our circumstances. One moment, our way may seem totally blocked, but then suddenly some seemingly trivial incident occurs, appearing as nothing to others but speaking volumes to the keen eye of faith. And sometimes these events are repeated in various ways in response to our prayers. They certainly are not haphazard results of chance but are God opening up the way we should walk, by directing our circumstances. And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights of a city seem to increase as we speed toward it while traveling at night. F. B. Meyer

If you go to God for guidance, He will guide you. But do not expect Him to console you by showing you His list of purposes concerning you, when you have displayed distrust or even half-trust in Him. What He will do, if you will trust Him and go cheerfully ahead when He shows you the way, is to guide you still farther. Horace Bushnell

As moves my fragile boat across the storm-swept sea,  

Great waves beat o’er her side, as north wind blows;

Deep in the darkness hid lie threat’ning rocks and reefs;

But all of these, and more, my Pilot knows.

Sometimes when darkness falls, and every light’s gone out,

I wonder to what port my frail ship goes;

Although the night be long, and restless all my hours,

My distant goal, I’m sure, my Pilot knows.

Thomas Curtis Clark