Archive for September, 2018

Trials Prepare Us To Be Good Soldiers

Taken from Streams in the Desert (September 30)

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deut. 32:11-12).

Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.
–The Song of Victory

“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”
There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.

Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, “My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!”

“No, no,” saith the angel of that flower; “now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, ‘How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!'”

See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers–not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times.

Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?–Spurgeon

The Parable of the Young Mother

The young mother placed her foot upon the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked…and her guide said , “Yes, and the way is hard. You’ll be old before you reach the end of it, but the end is better than the beginning.”

The young mother was happy, and she just couldn’t believe anything would ever be better than these years. So she played with her children and gathered flowers with them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams. The sun shone down upon them and life was good. The young mother said, “Nothing will ever be better than this.”

But the night came…and the storm. The children shook with fear and cold. But the mother drew them to her and placed her arms around them with her coat. The children said, “Mother, we’re not afraid for you’re here and no harm can come to us.”

That night the mother looked up at the stars and said, “This is better than the brightness of the day, for I have taught my children courage.”

The next day came and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary, and the mother became tired and weary, but she smiled and said, “A little further and we’re there.”

That night the mother said, “This day has been better than the last. My children have learned fortitude in the face of hardship. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength.”

The third day came and there were storm clouds that overshadowed the earth. Clouds of war, and hate, and evil. The children stumbled and groped along the way, but the mother said, “Look up. Lift your eyes to the Light.” The children looked and saw beyond the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.

That night the mother said, “This has been the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”

The days passed, and the weeks, and the months, and the years. The mother was old and she was little and bent, but the children were tall and strong, and they walked with courage. When the way was hard, they helped their mother, and when the way was rough, they lifted her.

At last, they came to the top of the hill and in the distance they could see a shining road with Golden Gates flung wide. The mother said, “I have come to the end of my journey, and now I know the end is better that the beginning…for now my children can walk alone and their children after them.” But the children said, “Mother, you will always walk with us, even when you have passed through the gates.”

And they stood and watched as she went on alone and the gates closed after her. But the children said, “Mother is with us still; for a mother like ours is more than a memory…she is a Living Presence.”
Author Unknown

Am I Really Hearing God’s Voice?

Have you ever wondered, “How do I really know if I am hearing God’s voice?

Habakkuk knew God was speaking to him (Hab. 2:2).

Elijah described it as a still, small voice (I Kings 19:12).

There have been days that I have been working around the house, and then suddenly a thought will come to me to pray for a certain person. I firmly believe that thought was the Holy Spirit telling me to pray for that person.

When I was attending Bible College, I had a dear friend who had been a missionary in the Congo. She related a story about a terrible time in her ministry. Here is story as she related it to me:

The rebels were outside our house. We had to hide under the bed to avoid bullets flying through the walls. When we heard the rebels stomping up the front steps, we ran out the back way and climbed over a fence to escape. Some months later, when my husband and I returned to the states, we related the incident to our pastor. As we talked with our pastor, we coincided the time…the pastor then told us that it was during that same time period, he stopped preaching in the middle of his sermon and told everyone to get on their knees. The pastor said he couldn’t explain why…but he instructed the congregation that they must pray for us.

Did God speak audibly to that pastor…no, but it was a sudden urging from the Holy Spirit that told that pastor to pray for those missionaries because they were in trouble.

When God lays people on our hearts, we must become still so that we can sense the Holy Spirit’s flow of thoughts in our spirits.

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.

Habakkuk knew that to hear God’s quiet voice, he had to first go to a quiet place and still his own thoughts and emotions.

Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still, and know that He is God. The average Christian’s life is so busy that he isn’t can focus his spirit on hearing God’s voice.

It’s in stillness, not busyness, that we can tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God. Although the Lord always speaks to us in that “STILL, small voice”, there are many times His voice is drowned out by all the noise around us.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh. Therefore, if we want to hear the voice of God, we must study and know the teachings of Jesus.

John describes Jesus in 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

If we are going to hear the voice of God, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus.

In an ordinary conversation, we speak, then listen for the response of the other person. It’s the same with God! Once we’ve prepared our hearts to listen through prayer, we’re more likely to hear the voice of God when He speaks to us through His Word.